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Registration, Permits & Other Documentation

Barcelona - Registration, Permits & Other Documentation


Citizens of the European Union do not need any residence visas or work permits to live and work in Spain. Citizens from other countries however will need to arrange their visas and/or work permits before arriving in Spain in their own country's Spanish consulate or embassy.

This process can take up to 8 weeks, therefore the application needs to be made well in advance of planned arrival in Spain. Each country's Spanish embassy or consulate have their own individual application procedures, so further information and advice should be obtained from them.

More information can be found on the Spanish Ministery of Foreign Affairs at www.maec.es, which can also be viewed in English.

Once you have arrived in Spain you are required to register your residence with the local town hall or ayuntamiento. This applies to both EU and non-EU residents. In fact, the city of Barcelon is keen to encourage all residents to register as it is believed that up to twice as many non-Spanish nationals may be living in the area than have registered, which impacts on local government services.

Firstly you need to apply for an NIE number (numero de idenficacion extranjero) or foreigners' ID number. This number is essential for opening a bank account, paying taxes or signing any document such as a rental agreement or job contract. This number is similar to the DNI number (Documentacion Nacional de Identificacion) that all Spanish citizens are required to have. It is a legal requirement in Spain to carry some form of identification with you at all times.

To obtain an NIE number you need to visit the Oficina de Extranjeros or Foreigners' Office which is situated in Av Paral.lel, 202-204, Sant Antoni, Eixample, telephone 93 256 2700 and which is open from 9am to 7pm Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 2pm on Fridays. It is, however, advisable to get their early as queues form early, and once a certain allocation of people have arrived, the remainder are sent home until the next day. You will need to take with you your passport and copies, plus a document confirming why you require the number, such as a rental agreement or work offer, and two passport sized photographs. It can take up to 6 weeks to receive the number. This number can be applied for through your own country's embassy or consulate but will cost considerably more than the 7 euros processing fee in Spain.

Once the NIE number is obtained you can then register as an official resident. The easiest way to do this is via the internet, where you can complete the form online here.

You can also do this at the Town Hall, but again be prepared for a lengthy wait. The office is situated at Pl Sant Mique, 4. There is a range of documentation you need to take with you including:

Passport, or other national identification document

Rental agreement or other document confirming residence in the city

Once registered you will be eligible to enroll your children in state schools and vote in local elections. You will not, however, be able to vote in national elections unless you become a Spanish citizen, a route which the vast majority of expats do not choose to take.


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