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Administrative procedures

Finding Work and Getting Your NIE in Barcelona

man on laptop
Written by Paula

Moving to Barcelona is absolutely exciting, and if you are planning to start a business here, you will deal with quite some paperwork before becoming a legal resident, being able to work and get paid. That is why today’s article will shine a light on how to get your NIE in Barcelona and how to get a job in the city.

You are in luck, because with the help of ShBarcelona‘s guide you will be able to smoothen the (sometimes frustrating) proces that one normally has to go through upon arriving in the city and finding work in Barcelona.

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What is a NIE?

Let’s start at the very beginning and explain what a NIE is. NIE stands for Número de Identidad de Extranjero, and it is a personal number that is exclusively connected to you, a foreigner wishing to come and live in Spain.

The document consists of a letter, is followed by seven numbers, and ends with another letter. Once you have your NIE, you will use it on each and every document with your name on it (mobile phone contract, utility services, bank account).

The NIE is issued by the Spanish Ministerio del Interior, and it is proof that you have economic, professional or social interests in Spain (family or work).

contract tekenen

Photo via Pexels

How to obtain a NIE?

The first and most important factor: your presence in the country must be legalised, and therefore you must provide the required documentation to justify the reason for your request for a NIE. Below we will give you the steps on how to obtain your NIE:

Steps on how to apply for a NIE

1) Fill in form EX-15 in duplicate. You can download the EX-15 form from the website of the Ministerio.

2) Collect all the documentation mentioned in the form.

3) Make an appointment with the Dirección General de Policía Extranjera or with the police station in the region where you live.

A) Steps for citizens from the EU and Switserland: Click on the link to make an appointment.

Answer: Barcelona


Field: Oficina
Answer: choose your location here

Field: FECHA
Answer: choose a date and time that suits your agenda

B) Steps for non-EU citizens or people from Switserland: Visit the Dirección General de Policía or the office of the Oficina de Extranjería on Passeig de Sant Joan.

4) Pay the requested amount for Model 012 “asignación de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) a instancia del interesado” of 9.64 euro.

5) Take all the required documentation with you on the day of the appointment. (and at least one copy)

contract met pen

Photo via Pexels

Required documents to apply for a NIE in Barcelona

We advise you to take the following documents with you on the day of the appointment:

  • Two EX-15 forms, filled in and signed
  • Passport/other ID (plus a copy)
  • Your justification for applying for a NIE (economic, social or professional reason)
  • If the procedure is not carried out by you, a power of attorney should be included in the documents

How long does the NIE process take?

According to the information provided by the Ministerio de inclusión, seguridad social y migración it will take “cinco días desde la entrada de la solicitud en el registro del órgano competente para su tramitación”, so five days to process your request.

For people who live outside Spain when applying for a NIE

You can start the process in your own country, and then you must go to the Spanish embassy with a request addressed to the Comisaría General de Extranjería y Fronteras.

Related article: Best Websites For Job Hunting in Barcelona

Finding a job before applying for a NIE

We advise you to start searching for a job at the same time (or before) applying for your NIE. You could very well already have a job offer when going to your NIE appointment, and this may help during the application process for your permanent NIE.


Photo via Unsplash

One advice: Some banks will not accept processing the payment of your NIE, because you don’t have an account with them (which is funny, because you need a NIE to open a bank account in the first place), but don’t panic, some banks are willing to break the cycle and accept your payment.

With a stamped receipt you will then return to the branch to complete the applying process and obtain your NIE number. The document itself, however, will be ready to collect at the same office one week later. It is a small card (credit card size) that will fit in your wallet. Don’t lose the card, because you will have to pay if you need a replacement.

Related article: Careers to Start From Home

rij bij de politie

Photo via Visualhunt

Finding a job in Barcelona

Barcelona is a bubbling and welcoming city, and more and more technologie companies are opening offices here with an increasing demand for skilled employees. It does, however, depend comletely on what kind of job you are looking for and how experienced you are if there’s a match.

A good level of Spanish and/or Catalan is helpful and increases your chances of finding work in Barcelona. If your language skills are not good enough, you can always decide to teach English, as a large number of people and schools in Barcelona are looking for English teachers.

Another popular place for newcomers in Barcelona is working in call centres. There are plenty of them, and they are all looking for English speaking employees or other European languages. This could be a good option, at least in the beginning, to work on improving your Spanish while getting paid for the hours you work at the call centre.

Other jobs – au pair, waitress/waiter, shop assistant – are relatively easy to find in Barcelona, but finding more specialised work can be complicated. You need different qualifications for this, although they do exist. It’s a matter of actively searching for them and being persistent.

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man working at a callcenter in barcelona

Photo via Unsplash

Online job searching in Barcelona

There are plenty of websites to find a job in Spain. Infojobs, Indeed or Expat life Barcelona are a good start for general tasks, while Lingobongo and LinkedIn are more suitable for specialised jobs.

Recruitment agencies

If you would rather have someone else looking for a job that fits you, you can always register with a temp or recruitment agency, also called ETT. Examples of these types of agencies are Michael Page, Page Personnel and Randstad.

If you are skilled in certain digital profiles, then you could be contacted via LinkedIn by headhunters. As we already mentioned, technology start-ups are flourishing in the city and they sometimes delegate the search for digital talents to headhunters.


Photo via Unsplash

Contact a company directly

If you already have a company in mind, don’t hesitate to contact it directly. You can call it or send your CV. You should know that nobody frowns upon contacting a company directly in Spain, so you might as well make good use of it.

Are you looking for an apartment in Barcelona?
ShBarcelona will help you find accommodation that meets your needs.


  • Ayuntamiento de Barcelona
  • Ministerio del Interior

About the author


Paula is an experienced content writer, translator and editor.


  • Hey there, so I managed to get an appointment online. I am an eu citizen and I’m looking to get a temporary nie.should I just show up and explain to them I need a temporary one ? I also have an empadronamiento as well. My appointment is next month.

    • You should have all your papers with you….otherwise they will probably tell you to come back when you have them…read online about all the papers you need. Good luck!

    • I am in the same situation. I have got an appointment but it is in a month. If you can just turn up and get a temporary NIE in order to get a job I will do that?

  • Went to office today in lleida today with all papers with copies.told to come back with a precontract. Am looking for work, reason I need this number. This is only my first day on this but with a lot of research( in the net) and help from my friends working in the government of Spain didn’t see this one coming.well, asi es la vida. Just to let you know dudes. P.S. eu-citizen, just arrived, have address, no work.

  • We one EU Brit and one Ukrainka dove in with our docs,this tactic wotrked in poland and ukraine.We were just short of some photocopies but these places are naturally surrounded by copy shops.After initial confusion and being told to translate our wedding cert ( which we don’t need to do yet) we got our number, sat down and didn’t wait too long. They for some reason had a good laugh and a brief conference, no one spoke English that’s fair enough I speak cave man Spanish sprinkled with Russian and English. I told him I want to start a business and I want my wife to stay with me, this is going to be interesting as Ukraine now has visa free but us not an EEA member so we could be unique,does that feel good? No. Anyhow, we got our bill to pay which we did the next day and collected two temporary NIE numbers,cards take five days to come. I really wanted permanent ones but this is the tip of the iceberg of bank accounts,rental agreements, ex forms galore prior to being able to work on the radar and not live in fear of immigration police,which is far better than living in fear of Russian attack .In Spain every loud bang is what it is, a loud bang and nothing else. This all happened in Granada so maybe a bit more provincial ,system much the same.

  • Hi Paula! Is it really as simple as asking for a temporary NIE??? Is this the answer I’ve been looking for??? Because I have been back and forth as well. I am American, without any type of EU citizenship. Will a temporary NIE work for me?

    OMG you will make my dreams come true if you say yes! I’m sorry, its just been a frustrating ride for me, so if this is the answer to all my problems… you just don’t know how grateful I am!! 🙂

    • Hey Paula. Were you able to obtain your Nie and was this the only thing you ncould ended to get a job? I’m in the same situation as you are

  • I managed to get in NIE in about 10 days but had to pay to get it. It cost 20 euros I kept trying on the Cita website myself and it always said no appointments available. I assume the online companies have some way to jump the cue as I paid that company and got an appointment in an hour. Maybe that’s why there’s never any appointments available because the booking companies have snapped them all up?

    • agreed. After spending almost a month trying to get an appointment in Barcelona for a NIE I also used MY NIE and got a booking the next day. The appointment was 4 weeks away but at least I got one

  • hi
    i am muhammad rizwan, i take cita from website for arrigo paper but i put my passport number wrong, can i change my passport number in cita pls guide me
    and its also acceptable in ministry wehn i put my arrigo docouments

  • Hello, We have had hell using this company, can i just ask if your NIE is permanent or temporary?

  • This article needs to be updated – a “temporary” NIE no longer exists. Get a cita previa, pay the fee at any bank BEFORE your appointment, bring the paperwork as stated on the government website, give it to the person handling your case and pick up your permanent NIE a few days (in Malaga one week) later.

  • I’m in Madrid third time because of my girlfriend, trying to get a job but still no luck. I’ve applied for about 500 jobs last year but nobody hired me as I didn’t speak spanish so I returned to my country and learned spanish. Its been 4 weeks now being again in Madrid and doing interviews (about 14 already) on a web developer position but they didn’t want to hire me for not having this NIE. I’ve been to 6 offices and they didn’t want to give me NIE (for not having a contract) nor temporary NIE. Its really difficult in Spain, I speak 5 languages and know web development but not even a fucking mcdonalds wanted to hire me… If anyone has any advice I’d be more than happy to hear that.

    • Hello Stanislav,
      As you have noticed there are rules to apply for a NIE. Our best advice would be to figure out if you can somehow break the cycle. Sometimes it’s better to do that from you home country. At least it will probably be less frustrating then.
      If you don’t mind taking on a different job at first, it might be worth checking out if there are vacancies that match other skills. Some companies will then help you with a NIE.
      Good luck!

  • Good afternoon Paula,
    A fantastic article. It shows that you know what you are talking about. My congratulations.

  • Hello! I would like to ask if internships in Spain are paid, if there is a law or if some companies provide a salary and some not.

    Thank you very much!

  • What doesn’t help is the lack of information and how they keep information a secret. The Spanish are world-renowned experts in creating processes that end up nowhere. Recent one they tried to run for a while but were forced to break was the “COVID program inclusion endless loop” for people don’t have health card. You called the vaccine registration line who tell you to go a medical centre who then tell you to call the vaccine registration line who tell you to go to a medical cen………..

    There’s 3 DIFFERENT TYPES of NIE, and 99.9% of population with DNI think (wrongly) that there’s only ONE SINGLE NIE and think it’s the equivalent to their DNI.

    1. Number of NIE. Just the number alone printed on an A4 piece of paper with a three month expiry date. All you need is a padron certificate.

    2. Permission of residence >3 months. A creditcard-sized slip of green paper with number and no expiry date. You have to jump through hoops to get it.

    3. Plastic card photo ID equivalent to DNI identity card. This is what 99% of Spain people think is a NIE.

    What makes it confusing is all three are called “NIE”

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