One of the first things that you will need to do when living in Barcelona, is to inform the local authority of your residency here.

Although Spain is quite famous for its bureaucracy and red-tape, it really isn’t that hard to do all the administration you initially need. Once everything is taken care of, it will make your life much easier when moving to Barcelona, and will ensure that your legal status is recognised by the government.

This includes obtaining your Empadronamiento, your NIE, and a few other things which we will gladly explain.

What are the residency documents in Barcelona that you will need?

Empadronamiento is the address registration and it is sometimes needed to obtain the NIE. It is also needed for applying for public health card.

NIE it is maybe the most famous of all documents. It is your foreigner number in Spain and it is given for life. How to apply for it will depend on your circumstances and county of origin. For EU citizens, you need to prove that you are working, studying, being a freelancer, you are a retired person of another EU member, you are a family member of another EU citizen or you are none of those, but you have sufficient funds and a private health insurance. For more information on the EU NIE – you can check this link. If you need assistance obtaining the NIE in Barcelona, we can help you.

Social security number this is needed in order for you to be hired by an employer or when you register as freelancer (or your own company). Another time you would need it, is if you are a family member of somebody who is working and you want to be registered as their dependent.

Public health card – this is the card issued by the public health authorities and gives you access to the public health system. Many people think that if they have private insurance from the employer they don’t need it, but keep in mind that if you need to get a sick leave note, the public doctors are the only ones who can issue that.

Driving license – depending on multiple factors such as the country that issued the license, how long you have been living here, expiry date on the license, type of license, you would eventually be required to exchange or renew your driving license. Please note that usually the EU countries, some South American countries and few others are the ones that allow the exchange. If a country has no bilateral agreement with Spain, regardless of how long you have had a driver’s license, you would be expected to start from scratch (take lessons and the exams) in order to obtain the Spanish driving license.

For example, when it comes to paying taxes, purchasing a car or property, or whether you want to ask for a loan or credit from a financial institution, you will always be required to prove your status in Spain, by means of your NIE, or empadronamiento. These are the two main residency documents in Barcelona that will allow you to perform these types of tasks.

Speaking of paying taxes, just as with most other countries, you are expected to do your tax returns during the financial year end, which in Spain is between 1 April to 20 June. If you are a Spanish resident you will be taxed for your worldwide income. You may deduct your income tax paid in your home country. Certain countries have “double tax treaties” that are put in place to avoid double-taxation. Assuming that there is no treaty with your country of origin, you may deduct the foreign tax paid. You can read more about Spanish tax declaration here.

Your tax returns can be done at the “Agencia Tributaria”, or if you are expecting a tax refund, you can do this at your bank.

Non-residents living in Barcelona more than 183 days are also considered residents for tax purposes, even if they have not obtained their residence permit.

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