Spain over the last 2 years has required new residents applying for a National Identity Number (NIE) to have private health insurance in place in Spain. Moving to Spain can be stressful and needing private health insurance may not sound like a priority when compared to arranging how to pay for your water, phone or electric bills, however having a private health policy in place from day one means in the long term you are safe guarding your future in Spain.
The first question you may have is what is an NIE and what does it look like
It is a fiscal identification number that allows the Spanish government to coordinate your financial affairs. It is not a social security number, but the NIE number is required to get a social security number up and running and eventually a work contract. An NIE number is also needed to buy a vehicle, property and other assets in Spain of high value. Spanish citizens also have this number however it is represented as a NIF number. As an expat in Spain you are required to carry ID and the NIE is the best ID to carry in Spain as the authorities can quickly verify your status with this ID.
An NIE in the past was issued as a convenient ID card that slotted in your wallet. Then probably due to the costs involved this was switched to a green color A4 piece of paper. Now a less fancy green card is given and a white A4 document. No doubt changes will occur in the future in the form of the NIE number.
What will not change is the actual number. It is 9 characters long, starting and ending with a letter and having numeral digits in between.
What are the steps to apply for Private Health Insurance in Spain
1. Firstly you will have to find a agent or broker that can arrange the policy. We would not recommend trying to go direct to insurers as you have to understand the small print
2. Agents may only work with insurers who only accept NIE numbers. Brokers on the other hand work with insurers that will accept your passport to start the health insurance policy
3. Once you have found a broker or agent that accepts your passport, you will have to discuss which Health insurance company best suits your needs
4. If you do not have a bank set up yet in Spain there are a few providers who accept your credit or debit card as long as they are Mastercard or Visa
5. Policies can be set up within 24 hrs once an application has been filled in and copies of passports provided
What else is required to get an NIE
This does vary however usually the following are required
1. Have a work contract
2. Have funds in a Spanish bank
3. Have a pre-contract
4. Have a student program planned
How to apply for a NIE
In the past you could apply by visiting the local police station early in the morning and standing in a queue with a passport size photo and a rental contract as well as a water or electric bill.
However now days we would recommend contacting a local “gestor” who act as administrators who specialise in this area. In our opinion doing it through a gestor will save you time and money.