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Moving in

What You Need to Know About Moving to Barcelona

Written by Roisin

With the laid back lifestyle, glorious weather and interesting culture, Barcelona is an extremely popular city for expats.

bcn 1Google becomes a useful tool for those wishing to make the move. Finding a job, somewhere to live, the technicalities of becoming a resident, it can be quite daunting and stressful.

Below are some key tips to get you started if you’re thinking of signing up to the Catalan way of life!

Renting a flat

  • Expect to pay around 2-3 months rent up front as a deposit. It is the norm and unavoidable.
  • If you go through an agency then you will have to pay a fee which is around one month’s rent or 10% of annual rent cost.
  • Monthly rental costs vary depending on the area. For a room in a shared apartment in a central area, expect to pay around 300-350 euros a month, sometimes including bills. One bedroom apartments are around 700-800 euro

Finding a job

People automatically rhyme off the phrase “unemployment is high in Spain, you won’t find a job in Barcelona”. Rubbish. Well, not rubbish, but it’s not impossible. Being an English speaker is a huge bonus over here. There are many large companies with offices in Barcelona but don’t expect a massive salary. The cost of living is affordable in Barcelona, so it evens out.

  • Telesales/call centre – if you just want a basic salary to get by on. Sellbytel is the most popular, good pay, good opportunities and international employees.
  • Teaching English – if you have a TEFL type qualification this will be a piece of cake. However, you don’t actually need teaching qualifications. There are some businesses that employ you to teach in a school and live with a family during this time. Or, you could teach some private lessons, there are plenty of people looking to learn the language.
  • Startups. The number of innovative startup companies rises by the day in this city. These businesses are always looking for talented people to join their teams so if you have some niche skills then you could be in luck. Have a look on and Linkedin.

Speaking the language

It is pretty easy to get by speaking English in the city due to the high level of tourism. However, you will get major points with locals if you learn some basic Catalan or Spanish. Plus, why would you not want to learn a new language?

The technical stuff

bcn 3The most important thing to obtain when moving here is your NIE number. A lack of NIE causes problems for a lot of people. It’s a catch 22 situation because you need one to get a job, but you can’t get one without having a job. There are ways around it but this should be high on your to-do list when moving here.

You must go to your local police station to get your NIE,where you will have to present your job contract to prove you are working or about to start working in Barcelona. Make sure you print a few copies of your passport and some passport sized photos before leaving your home country, they will come in handy!

The essential legalities are as follows:

  • NIE number and Social Security number
  • Registering at your local town hall (when you have somewhere to live) called empadroniamento.
  • Obtaining a CAT Salut (health card)

About the author


Roisin is a professional writer who works as a PR and Content Manager. In her spare time, she writes articles for her own blog called "Blonde in BCN".

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