NIE Barcelona 2017 – How I got my NIE number & Residencia quickly in Spain
In this post I’ll telly you how I was able to get a NIE number in Barcelona and how I got past the obstacles the system threw in my way. Like many of you readers right now, I was going through the gruelling bureaucracy of trying to get a NIE number and my resident status or “residencia” in Barcelona just recently. As you probably know, all of those EU nationals that plan to stay in Spain for over three months required to sign into the Registry Central de Extranjeros by law. This means that you should get yourself that green, little card, if you plan to stay in Spain for longer than 3 months. Once given a little green card, you will also have your own Numero de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE), which translates to Foreign Identity Number. As you can imagine, also I was struggling to find recent information online on how to get this piece of green paper with numbers on it.
- I used Google’s time tools to find new posts and articles searching “NIE Barcelona”.
- I tried to read only those articles that had been written within the past year, but I wasted a huge amount of time following old links leading to outdated information.
- I read through numerous posts online and spent way too much researching how I could get a NIE as fast as possible.
- Most articles I read through were about Spanish rules that have already expired.
That is exactly why I want to give you most recent information on how you can get through the process, like I did.
Cita NIE Barcelona – Do They Even Exist?
They do, but if you need to get your appointment fast, read this first to stop wasting time:
Here is what did NOT work for me when getting an appointment in Spanish
- I tried to book an appointment online, also known as CITA NIE or Cita Previa. I kept visiting their website (link to the Barcelona NIE City Previa service is at the bottom of this page), but the issue was that there just were no appointments available. It wasn’t a matter of not having appointments left for this week, this month or even this year. There were just no NIE Cita Previa appointments for Barcelona in the system at all! I kept getting this error message: “En este momento no hay citas disponibles. En breve, la oficina pondrá a su disposición nuevas citas”
- I had read that you need to try to book your appointment at exactly 8 am, as the appointments would be released then. This did not work for me, there just were no appointments for NIE numbers available, ever. When we decided to move to Barcelona, we didn’t think the biggest challenge would not be finding an affordable apartment that we liked or arranging our moving boxes all the way to Spain from Malta. The NIE application was beginning to look like a monster that we would just have to tackle face on, although our odds were slim!
- Some articles I saw suggested that I would have only a 2 minute window during the whole week to get an appointment – this would be 8:00 – 8:02. Some claimed the window would be at midnight at 00:00 while other sites tell you need to try at noon. None of these times worked for me. But just imagine how much coffee I was putting into my system! Going to bed after midnight and not getting sleep for all the stress… Then getting up with the alarm at 07:45 to get disappointed once again. I was beginning to believe these “Cita NIE Barcelona” nightmares that featured a certain office at Rambla Guispuscoa 74, were going to haunt me forever. In these nightmares the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona would mystically close its doors and relocate to the Himalayas when I was about to go in for my NIE number appointment.
- Some of the sites I found online advice you to have a booking app ready and try getting the appointment through the app and the website simultaneously. This has to be done exactly when the Cita Previas are released in the system. Apparently the app is only available for Samsung devices, so as an iPhone user I was nowhere near the goal. I have gotten feedback from a reader that she had luck with the app twice – as you can save your details on the app and keep refreshing over and over, you stand a much better chance of booking a NIE appointment than going through the website.
5. In the past, people have been able to get a NIE without a Cita Previa. Many have travelled to nearby towns like Badalona or Girona early in the morning. On a few expat groups on Facebook I was advised to get to the Badalona police station for 5 in the morning. If you get there around 6 and you are number 11 in the line, you won’t get seen the whole day and you have to keep getting up after 3 in the morning until you succeed. This turned out to be a massive pile of rubbish. Someone from the same Facebook group travelled all the way from Barcelona to the Badalona police station and waited there from 5am onwards, only to be given an appointment for two weeks later. Apparently the authorities found out about the practice of Barcelona residents travelling over to their side and cut this option out of the limited pool of options of us expats.
How I finally got a NIE Barcelona appointment
We were running out of time, as we were also spending too much time apartment hunting at the same time. I turned to 3 agents that deal with NIE Barcelona queries and who take you through the whole appointment at the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona. The prices of their services were all pretty much on the same level, around 90€. As we were in a rush to secure a cita previa, I proceeded with the first agent that answered on a Sunday night. I was so thankful for getting the same day email reply on a weekend evening and it really lifted my moods from the dumps back to hopeful. I sent the agency the details of my passport – my name and the passport number. The payment was to be made after the NIE appointment. Now it looked like having the little green card in my hands was turning into reality!
My appointment was scheduled to be in 2 weeks based on my own availability, which was fine, as we were heading out of the country anyway. Soon we got some Cita NIE Barcelona documents to fill out online, which didn’t take me more than 5 minutes. We were also referred to a great insurance broker, who gave me a call on WhatsApp soon after and explained everything I needed to know about our health insurance options. If you are applying for the NIE with a job offer in hand, you don’t need to worry about a private health insurance, like I did.
On the day of my NIE Barcelona appointment, the agent turned up with filled out forms that I had seen online in the past, when I had been doing my research. Having him do all of the necessary paperwork was a massive weight off my shoulders, as these documents were all in Spanish. I was very concerned was that I could accidentally leave important information out. Now I didn’t have to concern myself with any of these worries and I could focus on more important things, like booking house viewings in my spare time. Actually house hunting had turned out to be another nightmare, which inspired me to write this post: Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam. Barcelona is full of scammers that try to steal your rent deposit and run with it, so don’t get fooled by these incredibly resourceful and clever criminals!
My Cita Previa at Rambla Guispucoa 74 – how my appointment went
We met outside the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona, which is located at Rambla Guispucoa 74. As standing outside the police station is not allowed for security reasons (the guards will tell you that), I waited in the pedestrian lane in the middle of the road. We had scheduled to meet at 8:00 with the but in fact the appointment was actually for 12 o’clock. Regardless, once the doors were opened exactly at 8, I and the NIE agent were first in line. It was great being there with him, as I watched other applicants trying to work out which queue they needed to be in. The correct line for those applicants with a Cita Previa (appointment in Spanish) was on the left hand side. Everyone else, who came without an appointment had to queue on the right.
We were the first ones to be given a number and after a couple of minutes wait, our turn was up. The whole appointment was in Spanish and the agent kept handing my documents over to the lady behind the desk. I found the whole appointment actually quite nice, as I trusted that the agent knew what he was doing. I didn’t have any concerns over my paperwork – they had been filled out carefully by a pro that speaks Spanish, understands the process and does this every single day. I knew things were going well when the lady reached out for a green paper card and printed my details on it.
And how long did my appointment take?
We were out of the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona exactly at 08:06. This was quite impressive, given that we had agreed to meet outside just before eight. Next I’ll walk you through the frequently asked questions so keep reading!
NIE Barcelona FAQ – These answers have been confirmed with a NIE agent
Can I get a temporary NIE?
- There was lots of outdated information online regarding temporary NIE numbers. These don’t exist anymore (this was confirmed by my NIE agent). Applicants should now be added to the permanent system. This means that you should have a written job offer in hand when you walk into your NIE appointment, unless you intend to show them that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in Spain. I will tell you more about this below.
If I can’t get a Cita Previa, can I live in Spain without a NIE number?
NIE will be required if you plan to stay in Spain for 3 months or more. This also stands if you are an EU citizen. It is also needed to do any of the following:
- Opening a bank account with some banks (see exceptions below)
- Getting salary from your employer
- Registering as a freelancer (autónomo)
- Starting a business
- Getting utilities accounts, such as electricity, water and an internet connection for your home
- Paying tax
- To become eligible to get a loan
- Getting a driver’s license
- Applying for social security benefits
- Registering with the social services
- Buying or selling a property and getting an insurance to that property
- Getting a Bicing card that you can use to rent bicycles all year round for very low cost
Which documents do I need to get a NIE in Spain if intend to prove I can support myself financially and I don’t have a job offer?
- The original health insurance policy, signed by the insurer
- A letter from your bank, stating that your balance is at least 6 000 euros. This document should be recent and not older than 2-3 days
- A tax document, stamped by the bank. This will cost you 10,60€.
- Your passport and a photocopy
- A receipt for paying your NIE tax at a bank. This should be done before your appointment. This is why I recommend using an agent – their company provided me with the tax papers so I could easily walk in and out of my Cita Previa NIE appointment in Barcelona
Do I need to prove I have money in my bank account if I have a job offer?
- No you don’t and this is probably the best way for most applicants to apply for their NIE
Do I need a private health insurance if I have a job offer?
- No, you should be covered within the public system but it’s good to check with your employer
Do I need a permanent address to apply for NIE?
No you don’t, as nothing will be sent to your address. Some use the address of their hotel, others their AirBnB or a friend’s address.
If I get a private health insurance for the NIE purposes, what will it cover?
- You can discuss the price plans with your insurers but as a rule of thumb you should have the full coverage with no excess if you want your NIE application to be accepted
- Usually private health insurances don’t cover pre-existing conditions
- Usually private health insurance kicks in with an un-written 6 month rule: within that time frame you can only make a claim for accidental incidences like trips, falls or other accidents. When you see the doctor, make sure you get a stamped document that says: “person X has been diagnosed with X that is due to an X type of accident, which could not have been prevented”.
- That’s why you should also have an EHIC card from your country, if you are a EU citizen. According to some forums, you can still visit the clinic and send them a picture of your EHIC card once you get it, if you had to see a doctor urgently but it was not covered by your private health insurance. My insurance broker gave me an example: a client was diagnosed with cancer in Spain a few weeks after the insurance policy came into effect. The insurance company denied the claim for the treatment costs as they didn’t think it was likely that a cancer was not a pre-existing condition that had already been diagnosed in another country. This person was able to get great care in the Spanish public health system with the help of his EHIC card.
- After 6 months with a private health insurance, they tend to get a bit more flexible with your claims
If I am to apply for NIE based on proving that I can afford to support myself without a job in Spain, how much money do I have to have on my bank account?
I was told to have 6 000 euros on my bank account. This could be a joint account with your partner (however we didn’t apply the NIE at the same time).
How do I prove I have these funds on my bank account?
You need a stamped letter from your bank. My bank tried to order me some kind of a certificate from the head office that would have cost 12€ and taken 4 days to do. This is unnecessary – a printed balance is sufficient as long as it is stamped by the bank.
What if I have under 6 000 euros on my Spanish bank account?
A small variation should be ok, when you plan to prove your finances at your NIE Barcelona meeting. I was 15 euros short to begin with, until I had been able to squeeze the last missing cash into the account.
What is the best Spanish bank account for non residents?
I personally believe in Banco Sabadell. Their app is in English and also offers the finger print login option. Another major bank is La Caixa bank. It’s good to choose a big bank, as other banks can charge you 2€ or more for any cash withdrawals from an ATM that is not your own bank’s ATM.
Which bank in Barcelona has English speaking staff?
Go to Banco Sabadell at Atlantico, Calle Muntaner 242, Barcelona. They are very familiar with expats and know what will be required to get the NIE. You can open your non-resident bank account without NIE, which is helpful, considering your circumstances! Make sure you go early as most banks close at 2pm for the rest of the day!
Can I apply for a NIE by proving I have the financial means to support myself and then accept a job offer or start freelancing?
Yes, as people’s circumstances change
Are you looking for travel insurance, flights or hotels?
My favourite NIE and Residencia horror stories from readers
The cleaner saves the day
Someone recently commented this post with an experience of their own. This guy had travelled to the Oficina de Tramitació del DNI i del Passaport – Sant Feliu de Llobregat office. This trip was made in August 2017. He had got there at 8:15 and there were 15 others waiting to be seen. At 8:30 a police officer shouts something from the steps. Some visitors stay put whilst others head towards the door. At 9 sharp the doors are opened. Those asking for numero de NIE wait whilst those applying for a passport are prioritised. My reader is given number 3. Whereas numbers 1 and 2 are seen quickly, numbers 3 and 4 have to wait 3 hours. After 3 hours he tries to speak to someone about the appointment as it’d be nice to be able to use the bathroom too once in a while. With Google Translator in hand, he wasn’t able to work out what the answer may have been.
Finally it’s his turn. As the employee doesn’t speak a word of English, a cleaner is brought in to discuss the needs of the applicant. The cleaner translates that he is applying for the NIE for the first time. Luckily the employee then fills out most of the form on behalf of the applicant. Next, the cleaner steps in again to save the day by guiding the applicant to a photo booth in the town centre. A copy of the passport was taken and an invoice for something, what ever it was, was 2,70€. Next the photographer guided him to a bank nearby, where he paid 10€ for something. My guess is that it may have been the tax document. Returning to the police station, the applicant walked straight back to the desk of the lady he “spoke with” earlier without too much care for the waiting numbers.
Total: 5 hours spent and a massive need for a toilet break!
This is by far one of my favourite NIE number stories. DreamWorkAndTravel congratulates this applicant for his perseverance as he is now a holder of that precious document!
I will soon apply for the Padrón from the city hall. I will of course let you know how it all went! The empadronamiento is a census and registering yourself on one is compulsory for anyone, who is planning to live in Spain for over 6 months of the year. There is no fee involved, which is good news!
Here’s a few frequently asked questions about the empladronamiento application process in 2017
Do I need padrón or empadronamiento?
You should apply for one if you are planning to do any of the following:
- Applying for a health insurance card
- Buying a car or another vehicle
- Planning to get married
- What documents do I need to get the empadronaimento in Spain?
You should bring these along, when applying for the padrón:
- Your passport and a photo copy
- A receipt for paying the rent
- Proof of address, which can be any of the following: the original copy of your rental agreement that is written in either Spanish or Catalan. This tenancy agreement must be for over 6 months and it should have been signed within the last 5 years. If you own the property, you should bring the original copy of the title deeds, also known as “escritura”. If you only rent a room, you need a written document from the owner, stating that you live there. You also need a signed copy of his or her ID. If you wish, instead you can also bring along a “autorización expresa, which is a document signed by someone who is already registered at the same address. You will also need to take a signed copy of this person’s ID.
Good luck booking your NIE appointment in Barcelona! The site is entirely in Spanish too, which is convenient for us foreigners!
Still not sure about something regarding your NIE application? Then have a look at this official Europa.eu source
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