The terms NIE and TIE cause a lot of confusion, don’t they? At Bennet&Rey we like making things clearer and easier for you.
FIRST, NIE: It’s an abbreviation for “Number of Identity of a Foreigner” – it’s the number which the Spanish police give you.
You will have it whether you are resident in Spain or not. If you are living in Spain, or you leave and then come back, this number will be there in the police records, and it will always identify you.
(Note that If you take Spanish nationality, you will then no longer have your NIE, but a DNI number instead.)
SO, WHAT IS A TIE? TIE is the abbreviation for “Card to Identify a Foreigner” .
It is the (small) card which Extranjería (the department for foreigners) issues to non-Europeans – and to UK citizens until recently. It is green at the moment. If you have the new “Brexit card”, it is plastic and has your photo! but it has the same number.
Your TIE will have a number which will be the same as your NIE or contain it!
If you are a “residente”, your TIE card has an expiry date. You must have a valid card and so you should renew it.
If you are a “residente permanente”, if your TIE expires, your right of residence does not. But you should renew the card. Whatever the situation of your card, your NIE remains the same.
Have we made this a little clearer for you? We hope so!