Opening a Spanish Bank account without an NIE. And securing private health insurance

Opening a Spanish Bank account without an NIEOpening a Spanish Bank account without an NIE

One of the first steps in working towards a Spanish non-lucrative Visa is to get Spanish private health insurance coverage. It’s a requirement of the “non-lucrativo” as they call it.

Simple enough right? It was (mostly). We met with an agent from Adeslas (one of the most popular private health insurance companies in Spain), went through all the documentation, signed everything…and then found out that you can only pay Adeslas through a Spanish bank. You can’t pay by credit card, you can’t even pay them in cash. You have to pay them through a Spanish bank.

I’ll write about Adeslas private health insurance further below.

So the issue was: how to we open up a Spanish bank account so that we can arrange payments to Adeslas? All the reading I did stated that you require an NIE (Número de identidad de extranjero ie. Foreigner’s identity number) before opening an account.

Note: You can get an NIE number from the National Police. But it can be complicated depending on where you are in Spain. I’ll write about that further below as well.

So we were in a catch 22: we needed the health insurance to work towards the Spanish non-lucrative Visa so that we could get our NIE (which usually comes at the end of the process). BUT we suddenly needed an NIE to open a bank account so that we could get the health insurance.

I did more research. I went on the Sabadell Bank website. There I saw, contrary to all the articles that I had read, that non-resident, non-EU foreigners CAN open an account without an NIE.

Opening a Spanish Bank account without an NIE


So we went to the nearest Sabadell branch (we were in Alicante). It was a bust. They told us that we required a NIE number.

I decided that we would go downtown. We went into another branch. There they told us where to go (Av. Federico Soto, 13 if you happen to be in Alicante. It’s not a commercial branch, they just handle accounts).

From there on it was easy. Sabadell just required our passports, our tax ID (for us being Canadians that was our social insurance cards), and a copy of our latest tax assessment (which we emailed the manager after our meeting). The cost for the account (we got a joint account): 35 Euros every 3 months.

It took less than an hour to have our accounts set up. The lady in charge gave us a copy of our paperwork. I emailed our new account number to Adeslas who promptly told us that we were now all good to go with our private health insurance.

So it was all very easy. It was just a question of having the proper information. We now have a Spanish bank account and Spanish private health insurance.



Private Health Insurance

I had spoken to a few expats living in Spain and based on their recommendations went with Adeslas. We made an appointment and then spent about an hour with an agent.

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of the insurance but it covers almost anything you can think of. And it’s not only good in Spain, it covers up to 3 months while travelling in other countries. Just to give you an idea, I’m 53, Lissette 52 and we’ll be paying 56 Euros/month each for our Adeslas coverage.

I found this very good article on Health Insurance in Spain.



Getting your NIE number

Most foreigners get their NIE (Número de identidad de extranjero ie.Foreigner’s identity number) when their Spanish non-lucrative Visa has been approved.

But you might need an NIE before that for any variety of reasons including buying a house in Spain or opening a bank account as we did. And to get you NIE you have to go to a branch of the National Police…but not any branch of the National Police. They have a specific branch in each city that deals with foreigners (they’re called Oficina de Extranjeria).

Depending on where you are applying it can be easy or a more lengthy and complicated process getting your NIE. Our friend Norah in Jaen mentioned that there it took a couple of hours. When we were looking into it in Alicante we were told that we would have to book an appointment online (with over a week’s waiting time), fill out forms, photocopy every page of your passport, bring a passport-sized photo, and have a motive form filled out stating why you needed the NIE…it sounded like a complicated process.

I found this article which tells you how to get your NIE in Alicante Province.

And that’s why being able to find a bank where we didn’t require an NIE was such a big deal. We would have been tied up for weeks trying to get an NIE to open up a bank account otherwise (which in our case would have been a big deal because our expat insurance with Allianz was expiring at the end of February and we wanted to have the Adeslas coverage effective March 1st).

Note: we don’t get any compensation of any type for mentioning Sabadell bank.


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Opening a Spanish Bank account without an NIE

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  1. It’s the same in Portugal. As temp residents we qualify for health care but have yet to open a bank account from which they draw the monthly payments. We haven’t yet found a need for the health care, so no bank account as of yet. We had to get our ID # from the get go. Glad you found a work-around.

    1. “We had to get our ID # from the get go” you mean when you applied for your Visa in the US Patti?
      From my reading it seems to all be quite a similar process between Spain and Portugal.

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