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Primeros pasos en Barcelona

First Things to Do in Barcelona

1. Get your N.I.E.

The first thing you should do on arrival in Barcelona is get you N.I.E. (Número de Identidad/Identificación de Extranjero) which is your identification number in Spain needed for opening bank accounts, file taxes and almost any other official form you will need to fill out in daily life, because it is also a legal requirement for foreigners in Spain obtaining a N.I.E. really should be one of your first priorities on arrival!

Both EU citizens and non-EU citizens get issued an NIE.  You can download the form here. You can take this form to the Spanish Embassy in your country before you leave and receive the NIE ahead of time which will probably safe you time and effort.  You can apply via a Spanish consulate in your home country.  You must fill in the NIE form and make an appointment to sign it in front of a Consular representative.  They will send your application to Madrid where it will be processed and posted back to the Consulate for you to pick up. For a detailed list of Spanish consulates around the world, see

C/ Balmes 192
08006 Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 932 903 098
(10 minutes walk from Diagonal metro; Line Green, L3 and Blue, L5)
The office is open from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday, but it’s advised to go earlier as people start queuing from 08.00am.

You’ll need:

A. Your passport and a photocopy of the main page (which has your personal details, photo etc.)
B. Two recent passport sized photos
C. For non-EU citizens, you will also need to take along a document that shows your legal entry
    into Spain. This is the form that you fill in at the immigration desk at the point of entry called the
    declaración de entrada.
D. Two filled-in copies of the following official form:

Master Tip: it’s probably easier to fill the form in online, print off two copies and you’re set!

You’ll have to pay a fee of €9,12, and will be given a payment form when you submit your application and told which bank you can pay this to. When you have paid this amount at the bank and come to collect your NIE afterwards, you will have to show them the proof of the payment, which is the stamped receipt from the bank.

It usually takes around 10-15 working days for the NIE number to arrive back at the same police station and all you need to take to collect it is the payment receipt and the official receipt (resguardo) given at the time of your application.

2. Social Security Number:

Your employer applies for this number when you start your first job in Spain.  This number then stays with you for all subsequent jobs.  If you are self-employed, you apply for this number yourself.

3. empadronamiento


The Empadronamiento refers to the process of registering yourself with the community neighborhood where you live. It will make you an official member of the community and benefits both you and the community. The community benefits because they will get funds based on how many people they have registered which goes into health-care, schools, security etc. It benefits you because you are now a member of the community (not to be confused with resident) and can enjoy benefits like your own doctor at the hospital, numerous discounts at leisure centers and other places, gives you the right to vote, put your kids in the local school etc. It is also needed for a variety of administrative procedures.

Required documents for getting empadronado

Since you will be dealing with a bureaucracy, you will need to furnish both the original and a photocopy of each required document (though you won’t need to photocopy the application form itself). Requirements may vary from municipality to municipality, so it’s best to check with your local ayuntamiento (city or town hall), but the most common required documents are:

The application form (hoja de empadromiento): The office that processes the applications will be able to provide you with one.

Documentation that accredits your identity (and those of your children if you are applying as a family): Passport, DNI or national identity card, residency card, NIE, etc.

Proof that you live where you say you live.

For more information visit the web site:

4. Open bank account

It´s easy to open a bank account in Barcelona, and there are many banks to choose from such as Santander, La Caixa, Caixa Catalunya, BBVA, Banesto, etc. However, not all banks have people that speak English so if you don´t speak Spanish or Catalan try to get a Spanish speaker to go with you.

Many foreign banks such as Barclays, Citibank, BNP, and Deutsche Bank have local branches in Barcelona as well.

To open a non-resident´s account all you need is your passport, or your NIE and a photo ID. If you are a resident you can open a resident´s account with your resident´s permit. When opening the account, you will be asked for your address and contact telephone number.
First Things to do in Barcelona
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