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Step by Step - How to Apply for a TIE card in Spain - for expat Brits resident before January 2021

A step by step guide to changing your paper based certificate of residence registration form for a TIE card in Spain

By Nick Nutter | Last Updated 18 May 2022 | Andalucia | Living In Andalucia

Many British expats are in possession of the green A4 size Certificate of Residence Registration (sometimes wrongly called a Residencia Certificate). Whilst the Spanish authorities maintain that the certificate is still a valid proof of residence in Spain, there have been a few problems reported at border crossings where the green certificate has not been accepted.


Green Certificate of Residence Registration – whether A4 size or credit card sized remain perfectly legal in Spain for British residents. However, there are advantages to carrying the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) biometric card that can be used as photo ID although there is currently no obligation to update from one to the other.

In March 2021, Julie and I decided to bite the bullet and apply for our TIE cards. As with many experiences, once you know how to do it, it is easy though you do have to be patient. This procedure applies to Almeria province although I believe it is the same in the other provinces.

The procedure for applying for or renewing a TIE card if your are living in Spain having obtained a Non Lucrative Visa is slightly different. Click here for Step by Step Renewing a Non-Lucrative Visa

Changing your Paper Based Certificate of Residence Registration form for your TIE card in Spain

Gather together
1 x In date Padron certificate plus a colour photocopy available from the Town Hall where you live
1 x Passport with at least six months left to run
1 x colour photocopy of passport
1 x Green Certificate of Residence
1 x colour photocopy of Green Certificate of Residence
1 x TIE photograph in colour - correct size is 2.6cm wide x 3.2cm high white background (a UK passport size photo is not acceptable)
1 x EX-23 completed
1 x copy of EX-23 in Black and White
2 x Tasa 790-12 certificates duly stamped by the bank


Completing the EX-23 Form

Download the form from here EX-23 Form download
Refer to the example form here Example form
- Complete the details in Section 1 - Datos del Solicitante as shown
- Leave Section 2 blank
- Complete Section 3 only if the details asked for are different to those given in Section 1
- Section 4 tick the box alongside ‘Residencia Con Certificado de Registro de Cuidano de la Union
- Complete the date section and sign, keeping your signature within the box

Completing the the Tasa 790-12

Download the form from here Tasa 790-12 download
Refer to the yellow highlighted sections on the example form here Example form
On the Form 790-12, complete the top part of the form
In the section Autoliquidacion
- Select Principal
Under Tarjetas de identidad de extranjeros (TIE) y certificados de registro de residentes comunitarios
- Click in the round box by Certificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de un ciudadano de la Unión
In the Declarante Section
- Enter the locality of the bank you will pay at
In the Ingreso section
- Note that 12€ has been automatically filled in (This is the charge in 2021, it will increase each year.)
- Click in the round box by En efectivo
- Enter the Capture code
- Click on Descargar impreso rellanado
- Print the forms as they appear
Take the forms to your bank and pay in cash. The bank will stamp the forms and will keep one and hand two back to you
This tax cannot be paid on-line

Making the Appointment

The appointment is made on line.
Go to Make an Appointment
- Select the Province you live in
- Click Aceptar
- Choose Tramites Cuerpo Nacional de Policia
- Select Policia-EXP TARJETA Asociada al Acuerdo de Retirada Cuidadanos Britanicos y Sus Familiares (Brexit)
(Depending which province you are in you may only have the option of POLICIA-TOMA DE HUELLAS (EXPEDICION DE TARJETA))
- Click Aceptar
- Click Entrar
- Enter your NIE and First Name / Surname
- Click Solicitar Cita
- Select the office you require
- Click Siguiente
- Add your telephone - this must be a mobile you will receive a code that you enter before the transaction is complete
- Add your email and repeat
- Click Siguente
- Select a time and date suitable for you
- Click Siguente
- On the next screen enter the code received to your mobile phone THIS is ESSENTIAL your appointment is not complete unless you complete this step An email will be sent to the address entered confirming your appointment
This email has a code on it that you will need when you go to the appointment at the address shown on the form

Arriving for your appointment

Remember to take your documents as listed above
When you arrive a guard will indicate where to wait
When instructed you enter and go through a security check then enter into a machine your CODE from the appointment details that was sent by email
A ticket is produced giving you a desk number
Wait until you are called
The desk clerk will take the required documents from you, check your photograph and take the finger prints of your index finger (left and right)
The clerk will give you a pre-arranged appointment to collect your card some 6 weeks hence. If this appointment is not suitable there are instructions on the sheet on how to amend the appointment.

Depending on which province you are in you may be given a RESGUARDO DE SOLICITUD O RENOVACION DE TARJETA DE EXTRANJERO which is stamped by the police

Collecting your card

If you were given an appointment slip
Take your:-
- Appointment slip
- Your passport
- Your Green Certificate of Residence Registration
The guard will indicate where to wait and the process once inside the building is the same as above

How to make an appointment to collect your TIE card

If, for whatever reason, you need to make an appointment, such as not being given an appointment slip, or being unable to make the first appointment to collect your card, wait at least 45 days from the date of your appointment then follow this procedure.
- Go to the SEDE Appointment site through the link above
- Select your province - Click Accept
- Choose National Police Force Procedures and second item down, Police - Collection of Foreign Identity Card (TIE). - Click Accept
- Read the terms and conditions carefully - Click Enter
- Enter your NIE number and name - Click Accept.
Then follow the procedure as for the initial appointment.

How to Apply for a TIE card with NO Green Certificate of Residence

For people that were living permanently in Spain before the 31st December 2020 and did not obtain a green certificate of residence there is an extra stage to go through. In effect permission to apply for the TIE card.

- Get an appointment online here
- Select your province
- Select the option "Trámite para la documentación de nacionales de Reino Unido (Brexit)"
- Complete the EX20 application form via this link
Collect together:
- For employed persons: Work contract, Pay slips, "alta" in the Social Security system, empadronamiento
- For self-employed persons: Registration as autonomo, vida laboral document, empadronamiento
- For those that do not work/retired: proof of health insurance or that your state pension covers you in Spain, proof of sufficient funds so as not to be a burden on the social assistance of Spain, empadronamiento at the town hall

If the application meets the requirements, the resolution on the residence document "Carta de resolución" will be issued and notified within a maximum period of three months. Within a month from the notification of the resolution on the right to the TIE residency document, the applicant must personally request its expedition.

Go through the procedure above for ‘Changing your Paper Based Certificate of Residence Registration form for your TIE card in Spain’


How do you know the application for a TIE has been refused?

The most common reason for refusal is a lack of evidence that you were living permanently in Spain prior to the 31st December 2020. This particularly applies to people that never bothered to obtain a green certificate of residency and cannot show a work contract or proof that they were self employed and paying tax and social security.

You will receive a "Carta de resolución" that informs you the application is archived with a non favourable result.

Refusals after the 1st April 2021

If you receive a Carta de resolución after the 1st April 2021 it is possible that you will be required to leave the country within 15 days. The reasoning behind this is that you have already admitted being in Spain before the 31st December 2020 and if you are still here to receive your Carta de resolución you have exceeded your maximum length of stay in Spain of 90 days.

What to do if your application for a TIE card is refused?

If your application for a TIE card is refused, there is an appeal process. At this stage it is advisable to obtain legal advice. You are allowed to remain in the country whilst the appeal is being heard.