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Administrative procedures

How and Where to Register in Barcelona

street near harbour in barcelona
Written by Adriana

If you are moving to Barcelona for the first time, and you are planning on staying in the city for a couple of months, it is good to know that there are certain procedures to complete after having arrived. These procedures (some of them obligatory) allow you to live comfortably in the city, without encountering any problems.

  • rental apartments in Barcelona


One of the compulsory procedures you need to take care of is registering, as this makes it possible to fully enjoy all the services that are offered to Barcelona’s citizens. 

Keep reading this article by ShBarcelona, as we will tell you exactly what is needed to register in Barcelona.

Advantages of registering in Barcelona

To start this article with some general information, the municipal register of residents is a register that is managed by every municipality in order to know who lives within the boundaries of the municipal area. Every person who stays in Spain for more than 6 months must complete the registry procedure.

The law states that you must be registered, whether you are a Spanish resident or an international visitor staying in Spain, and the registration process doesn’t cost you anything.

📌 For people coming from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland, the registration never expires, but non-EU people without permanent residence in Spain must renew their registry every two years. Do not forget the renewal process if this is the case for you.


block in barcelona from above

Photo via Unsplash

There are many advantages to being registered in Barcelona, and we will sum up some of them:

  • Having access to public health services, which means you will be able to apply for a tarjeta sanitaria and receive medical treatment in the health center closest to you
  • Having access to schools for young children
  • Having access to public primary and secondary schools and universities
  • Having the right to vote
  • Getting your driving license
  • Receiving help or financial assistance
  • Being able to carry out administrative procedures, like getting married or buying a car

If you are an international resident, you will be able to carry out other immigration procedures, like family reunification or obtaining a temporary residence permit. Some procedures mean you will then be able to move (the rest of) your family to Spain or apply for the Spanish nationality.

To be able do this, you must have your empadronamiento for at least three years, without letting it expire. As already mentioned above, don’t forget to renew it to avoid problems or complicate procedures.

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Requirements when registering in Barcelona

In order to apply for registry in Barcelona, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Live in Barcelona
  • Not being in the municipal registry of residents
paperwork to register in barcelona

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The person who applies for registry must be of legal age, and he can register himself and other family members, if they live in the same place. If you are a minor or legally incapable of carrying out the procedure, then a legal representative will be responsible to carry out the application process for you.

📌 If you live in more than one place, and these places are in different municipalities, then you should be aware that you can only register at one. This municipality must be the place you spend most of your time in during the year.

Documents needed to register in Barcelona

When you are going to register, you need a series of documents and they vary depending on the type of accommodation and the way you want to register (in person, by telephone or on the internet). 

In the following table you will see what documents you should collect when registering in the most common cases:

Type of person Documents needed
  • Spanish resident: DNI or passport
  • Citizens from Europe, Switserland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein: residence permit, passport or other proof of identity from place of origin
  • Other countries: residence permit or passport
Under-age persons
  • Over 14 years of age: DNI or passport
  • Under 14 years of age: birth certificate or family book, but when possible also DNI or passport
  • Over 14 years of age and from outside of Spain: residence permit, passport or DNI. If you don’t have all information from parents, you must take the family book or birth certificate with you as well.
  • Under 14 years of age and from outside of Spain: family book, birth certificate or a parent’s  passport with all your information. Also take your residence permit and passport with you.
  • Legal documents that show you are the legal guardian and allowed to carry out procedures.
  • Proof of identity of the representative, including a copy


Type of housing Documents needed
Renting a house

You can provide the following information:

  • A valid (not indefinite) rental contract for a period of at least 6 months
  • An extended rental contract
  • A contract that is not valid at the moment, but extendable

If it concerns a definite rental contract (of more than 4 years) you must show:

  • Last payment of rent with details
  • Last payment of utility services (gas, water, electricity), but NOT your mobile phone subscription
  • Bank statements from which the rental property can be identified
Owning a property

If you are already officialy registered for Property Taxes, you don’t need to provide documents to prove this. If not, one of the following documents must be shown as your proof of purchase:

  • Deeds
  • Purchase contract of less than one year old
  • If you have inherited a property, you must be able to show acceptance of the inheritance (less than one year old)
  • Nota simple, less than 3 months old

If your situation is not described in the table, for example you are divorced or a single parent, then you can check here for documents needed when registering in Barcelona

Related article: What You Need to Know Before Renting an Apartment in Barcelona

How to register in Barcelona in person

If you are already living in Barcelona and you want to register in person, you can visit one of the municipal offices that is closest to you. You should always book an appointment in advance, and you can do so on Barcelona’s City Council website.

As for the documents you need to bring with you, they should always be original and in hard copy.

appointment to register in barcelona

Photo via Pexels

Your registry will be processed the same day, and, if there are no problems, you will be provided with a registration form straight away, after the  registration process is completed.

📌 Be aware that all documents must be in Spanish or Catalan. If you have documents in another language, you must bring the originals with you to the appointment, but also a translation by the Spanish consulate or by an official translator.

How to register in Barcelona by telephone

If you are in Barcelona and want to complete your registration by telephone, you can call 010. They will be able to attend to you in Catalan, Spanish, French or English.

Once you have made the call and requested the procedure, they will send you further instructions. Documents may be deliverd by regular mail to the office closest to where you live and where your procedure will be handled. After applying for registry, you will have one month to send the signed application and other documents.

Find your new home and register in Barcelona

How to register in Barcelona on the internet

If you would prefer completing the procedure online, these are the steps to take:

  • Select procedure “alta en el padrón”
  • Add requested documents
  • Confirm information provided and sign the application form digitally

Within one month you will receive a confirmation by email and your proof of residence. Print it out and never lose it. 

On Barcelona’s City Council website you will find all the specific details on how to register in Barcelona

As you have now read, registering in Barcelona is not at all a difficult procedure. You will only need to collect the right documents depending on your personal situation, and provide them in person, by phone or on the internet. You will then receive your residence permit shortly. From then on you can enjoy all that Barcelona has to offer!

Have you registered in Barcelona yet?
Tell us about your registry experience!

About the author


Adriana is a writer, content & community manager, web designer, media analyst and tireless traveler.


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