Relocating To Barcelona


When you make the decision to relocate you will soon realize that there is a lot more to it than simply finding a new home. You may choose to buy or rent, either way, you will have to face cultural changes as well as the logistics and paperwork.

Residential areas in Barcelona

If you have been to Barcelona you might have an idea of the various residential areas. If you haven’t, it is well worth doing some internet-research before the move. Eixample, Gracia, Gotico (the old town) and El Born are some of the most popular areas.

Some people will have to take schools into consideration. International schools will allow for a smoother transition for your children. Most of the international schools are in Sant Gervasi, Sarrià and Pedralbes. In our experience, it is better to decide on the school before you decide on your residential area.

How to open a bank account in Barcelona

Before attempting to do anything, you will need to get an NIE, this is a national identity number. You won’t be able to sign a rental agreement or even get a mobile phone without one. You can open a bank account with just a passport but you will have to provide your NIE as soon as you have it.

How to obtain an NIE and other administrative procedures

This is the most important thing you will have to do either before you move or as soon as you arrive. Your NIE (Número de Identificaciòn de Extranjero) allows you to sign contracts, buy a car and sign up for the social security system. If you do not have a work contract in Spain you will have to demonstrate your income and have private health insurance.

Another important administrative procedure is to register with your local town hall. This is called Empadronamiento and you will need to register everyone who is going to be living in the home. To do this, take your NIE and rental contract to your local Ayuntamiento – Spanish for town hall.

Health care in Barcelona

If you need to visit one of the national healthcare centers in Barcelona, you will have to go to one of the Centres d’Atenció Primaries (CAP’s). When you have your NIE, social security number and empadronamiento you can register with your local doctor. Many residents and non-residents decide to get private healthcare in Barcelona. It is cheaper than most private health care in the UK. Some of the largest insurers are Sanitas, Cigna, and Alliance. You can also talk to your bank to see what health insurance they offer.

Services for Relocating to Barcelona

There are numerous relocating services in Barcelona as the rental market is highly competitive. If your Spanish or Catalan is a little rusty, you might prefer to choose an international service or even a property finding service that will take care of everything before you arrive. Not only will it save you a lot of stress but also time and money.

Purchasing a Property in Barcelona

As with any property purchase, we need to have a good knowledge of the associated fees and taxes beforehand. You should expect for a cost of around 10% – 15% of the value of the property for the expenses, depending on the area and whether you need a mortgage or not.

Having a lawyer before you begin to look at properties is a sensible idea, especially as you are going to have to hire one to buy the property. They will also be able to help you with a notary for when you register the property in your name.