Differences between DNI, NIF, NIE and CIF: identification in Spain


In the network of identification documents in Spain, it is common for confusion to arise between the DNI, NIF, NIE and CIF. Although they share the main function of identifying people or entities, each one has a specific purpose. Below we break down the key differences between these documents:

DNI (National Identity Document)

The DNI is the personal identification document for Spanish citizens. It contains essential information such as the name, photograph, date of birth and signature of the owner. Issued by the National Police, it is essential for identification in various situations, from banking transactions to internal travel.

NIF (Tax Identification Number)

The NIF is a tax identification code assigned to natural and legal persons in Spain. In the case of individuals, it usually coincides with their ID. For companies and other entities, the NIF is unique and is used in commercial transactions, contracts and tax returns. It can have various letters at the beginning, which indicate the type of entity.

NIE (Foreign Identification Number)

The NIE is assigned to foreign people who need to carry out procedures in Spain, such as working, studying or buying property. Although similar to the NIF in format, the NIE is intended to identify individuals who are not Spanish citizens. It is essential to formalize legal matters in the country.

CIF (Tax Identification Code)

The CIF has been equivalent to the NIF until 2008, but specifically for companies and legal entities. However, this nomenclature was repealed with the application of Royal Decree 1065/2007, and since then it became NIF. All commercial transactions and official documents were used. Like the current NIF, the CIF included initial letters indicating the type of entity, followed by a series of unique numbers

In summary, the DNI focuses on the identification of Spanish people, the NIF is used as a tax identifier for natural and legal persons (the CIF has been obsoleted since 2008 and has since been replaced by the NIF), and the NIE is reserved for foreigners. who carry out procedures in Spain. Understanding these differences is essential to avoid confusion and ensure correct identification handling in various situations.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact the Immigration Department of CINC Advisory.

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