Spanish DNI for foreigners

Picture of Miguel Ángel Pollino

Miguel Ángel Pollino

Coordinator of LegalSpain

To obtain the Spanish DNI as a foreigner, a series of documents are needed, including the birth certificate or birth certificate issued by the Civil Registry, the registration certificate and a 32 x 26 mm color photograph with a white background. The DNI application process involves requesting a prior appointment at the National Police, submitting the documentation and paying the fee of €12. The validity of the DNI depends on the age of the applicant and the cost can be paid online or in cash on the day of the appointment.

The DNI (National Identity Document) is a personal and mandatory identification document for all Spanish citizens over 14 years of age, as well as for foreigners residing in Spain. Obtaining the DNI is a relatively simple process, although it may vary slightly depending on your particular situation.

If you have been notified that your application for nationality has been approved. Now, you must complete the process by taking the oath. After this, you can request your ID and passport.

In this post, we will explain in detail how to obtain the Spanish DNI for foreigners, including everything you need to know to make the process easy.


What documentation is needed to request the DNI?

First of all, it is essential to prepare all the documentation required for the process. Here we show you the list:

  • Birth certificate or literal birth certificate issued by the Civil Registry. It is necessary to specify that the certificate is issued to obtain the DNI.
  • The registration certificate issued with a maximum notice of three months prior to the application for the DNI
  • Color photograph of size 32 x 26 mm (card type), with a white background. In the photo there cannot be any piece of clothing or object that makes your identification difficult.
  • In the case of being the first registration as a Spanish national, the foreigner must also provide their TIE (physical residence card) or European Union Registration Certificate in which their NIE appears.


How to request the DNI?

The first step to obtain your DNI is to make sure that you have all the necessary documentation, which has been specified in the previous section. After having everything prepared, you must request a prior appointment at the National Police to deliver the documentation and obtain your ID.

You can request an appointment through the National Police portal or by calling 060. You can choose any police station office to request an appointment, not necessarily the one closest to your home or registration. In this link you can make an appointment at any police station office.

The process is very fast, and you will obtain your ID the same day of the appointment without having to return later. However, after applying, you will still need to obtain your certificate of agreement and notify all the institutions where you registered with your NIE that you will now use your new DNI as a method of identification.


How long is the validity of the DNI?

After obtaining your DNI as a Spanish citizen, it is important that you are aware of the renewal deadlines, which are based on the expiration date that appears on the card itself. The duration or validity of the identity card depends on how old you were when you applied for it:

  • Less than 2 years old at that time, the validity is 2 years.
  • Between 5 and 30 years, the validity is 5 years.
  • More than 30 years, the validity is 10 years.
  • If you were 70 or older, the identity document is permanent.


What is the cost of the Spanish DNI currently?

Currently, the cost to request and obtain the DNI in Spain is €12. Unlike other immigration procedures, it is not necessary to pay this fee in advance and bring the receipt to the appointment. On the contrary, you must pay in cash the day of your appointment at the national police station.

However, it is also possible to make the payment online through the link available on the appointment request page. Once you’ve completed the application, you’ll see a link at the bottom of the page that says «use this link to checkout.» By clicking there, you will be redirected to the online payment process.

Finally, you need to know that if you want to renew your DNI, since you must make some change to your address and/or affiliation, you will not have to pay the €12 and the process would be free.


Some frequently asked questions


Can I travel abroad with my expired ID?

If your ID is expired, it is as if you do not have a valid and updated identification document. Therefore, if you need to travel or stay in a hotel, it is essential that you have a valid ID, since transport companies and hotels are obliged to verify the documentation to comply with the established rules and regulations. If you present an expired ID, it is possible that you will be denied access to transport or accommodation. Therefore, it is important that you renew your ID before it expires to avoid problems in situations of travel or stay in hotels.


Is it possible to update the DNI without an appointment?

Previously, in justified urgent cases, such as last-minute trips, bureaucratic procedures, scholarships or employment, you could go to a National Police ID issuing office and the renewal was carried out without prior appointment at the end of the day.

However, this has now changed in most cases. Unless there are exceptions, renewals of the National Identity Document are not allowed without the corresponding appointment. Only a few police stations in Spain still distribute a limited number of shifts early in the morning, around 7:00 a.m., to cover these emergencies.


Can you vote with an expired DNI? And with a photocopy?

To vote you will need to bring your National Identity Document (DNI), passport or driving license. It does not matter if these documents have expired, but they must be the originals, photocopies are not valid.

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