Times can vary according to which consulate in UK one applies but it is highly unlikely that one can be issued same day due to the number of applications that are now being made, as in Spain.
❗ It is a fact now that many Notaries are refusing to allow the transfer of ownership (purchase) of property until the non resident purchaser(s) can proove that they have either the NIE or proof of application (where the provisional number has been allocated). The lesson to be learned is not to leave the application until the last minute. This should not be difficult especially if the purchase is made off plan and completion can be months/years ahead. The NIE is essential for non residents who plan to or have a property in Spain.
I seem to recall that I addressed a similar question recently but for the sake of completeness from personal experience clients have waited as long as 10 or 12 weeks for the number to be issued when the application process was commenced in the UK.
Indeed, the time that any application takes may now be exacerbated by the delays in Spain which have been caused by the recent expansion of the EU and the consequent sudden demand on the system for new numbers.
As such, it is wise to apply at the earliest opportunity as law now requires that buyer and seller present their NIE´s at completion and should they fail to do this the Land Registry will not register a deed.
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