If you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and move to Barcelona, it’s best to prepare for the big move as thoroughly as possible, well ahead of time. From preparing your documents to finding the best neighborhood to settle in, here are the most critical things you need to know before becoming a resident of Barcelona!
#1 – Rent Is Not as Cheap as in Many Other Destinations
There was a time when rent in Barcelona was very affordable compared to other European cities. But in recent years, rent in the international city has soared, by 26% in some areas! It’s now among the higher-priced cities to live in.
Aside from the high rental prices, you also need to consider that rental agencies impose their own fees. However, you can get around this by renting directly from the owner. Subletting is also an option, but there’s always a risk of being evicted without notice and no legal foot to stand on.
#2 – Choosing the Best Neighborhood to Settle in Can be Tricky
The neighborhoods of Barcelona are as varied as day and night. In El Raval, for example, the streets are always bustling and rent is generally cheaper than the mansions in Eixample. And where you settle will heavily impact your experience of Barcelona.
If you’re looking for something outside of the hustle and bustle that still offers a little something of everything Barcelona is known for, Gràcia Village is a great option. Smaller neighborhoods like l’Eixample, Sagrada, Sant Gervasi, and Sagrada are also all great to consider. El Poblenou is great for settling, and for a vibe that resonates with Miami, there’s Diagonal Mar. Whatever you do, make sure you properly research your neighborhood of choice and weigh up all the pros and cons.
#3 – Get Your Admin Game On
You’ll most likely read many horror stories about queuing for hours on end to get your NIE (which is your resident’s ID). It’s also highly likely that you’ll hear other like-minded expats talking about the confusion caused by the various offices you need to visit to get your Empadronamiento certificate and social security certificate. But do not get discouraged by these stories. The Spanish Government and your nearest Spanish embassy can provide you with all the information you need.
If you’re an EU citizen, it’s relatively straightforward to sort out your paperwork since you’ll simply need to get a NIE. It’s advisable to work with a NIE expediter for this as you’ll end up frustrated if you’re turned away from your NIE appointments if you don’t have all the correct documents with you for your appointment.
As a Non-EU citizen, you need to first apply for visas to stay in the country for more than 90 days. There are various popular visa options including the golden visa and the non-lucrative visa route. If you plan on studying or working in Spain, you’ll need to make use of academic evaluation services to ensure your credentials or academic qualifications are accepted once you land in Barcelona. You also need to sort out private health insurance, get registered on the social security system, and set up a Spanish bank account. Again, using a relocation team to assist you with handling the legal requirements is one of your best and less stressful options.
#4 – Learn to Speak Spanish
This one seems pretty obvious, but language skills are what many English-speaking expats forget about. Yes, it’s relatively easy to get by in Spain as English speakers. But only if you work for an English-speaking company and stick to the English-speaking crowds. But if you can’t speak Spanish (or the local language, Catalan), you’ll never truly experience the culture of the amazing city. An important thing on your to-do list should be to learn Spanish.
You don’t need to be fluent in speaking Spanish when you step foot in Spain. You can also learn on the go and use on-demand phone interpreting for times when the language barrier feels impossible to bridge. We recommend you download a real-time interpretation app for free to get you started and lend a helping hand when and where you need it most.
#5 – Commit to Getting Out of Town Once in a While
The Catalan capital of Barcelona has heaps to offer when it comes to food, culture, nightlife, and shopping. But it’s still important to get out of the city every now and then and explore other Spanish cities. Weekends on the Costa Brava, for example, are a great way to spend your free time if you can afford it.
There’s also the Catalan countryside, which is breathtaking and makes for a fantastic escape route out of the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. Getting out of the city from time to time will help you appreciate it more while also exposing you to a different side of the region and country as a whole.
#6 – Settle Down and Soak Up the Local Culture
If you already know a handful of people in Barcelona, it’ll be easier for you to integrate into local life. But the key to making the most of the experience is becoming an active part of the local community outside of the ex-pat crowds.
Yes, you’ll need to build a support system for yourself once you’re there, but getting involved in the community will help you feel more connected to the locals, which enriches the moving experience. If you have kids and they are enrolled in a school, it’s also important to get them involved in extracurricular activities to help them integrate faster.
The city boasts plenty of prestigious universities, and some of them are genuine cultural melting pots. For instance, IED Barcelona is an international education network for everything related to design. |As one of their flagship programs, the master of design and innovation in fashion management gathers students from all over the globe to provide them with the theoretical and practical know-how to overcome today’s fashion market challenges and efficiently manage the full cycle – from the product’s conceptualization all the way to the shelf and into the customer’s shopping bag.
Every city has flaws. Barcelona is one of the world’s noisiest cities with its many tourists and bustling city life. But even with its flaws, it’s still one of the most captivating destinations in Spain and a stunning site for settling down. Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations for English-speaking students and families alike, and among other European countries, Spain is one of the easiest to move to.
With the six considerations we’ve mentioned in this post, you should be armed with enough knowledge to help you prepare and execute a fool-proof plan for moving to Barcelona!