How to find a job and get your NIE number in Barcelona!

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In case you missed a previous post on the matter, I have recently moved to Barcelona. Now, whilst I’m still very much in the ‘settling in’ phase, I’ve already learned a lot about how to get set up here (both through my own trial and error and from talking to other recent expats.) In turn, I thought it would be useful to pass on what I’ve learned so far. That way if you’re thinking about moving to Barcelona too then you’ll have an easier time when you arrive!

1. Getting your NIE number

First off, there’s a common misconception that if you’re an EU citizen you can just walk into a job here with nothing but your passport! That’s not exactly true. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot easier than if you’re a non-EU citizen seeking work, but there is still one key issue you need to take care of before you can legally work in Spain – your NIE number, i.e. El Numero de Identidad de Extranjero (an identification number for foreigners.)

Every foreign national looking for work in Spain needs an NIE in order to work legally and you can’t open a Spanish bank account until you’ve got an NIE either. Unfortunately, to get a permanent NIE can take up to 1 month from the date of application and you’ll need an offer of employment first in order to get it! I’ve been told if you’re an EU citizen it’s possible to get a temporary 3 month NIE a lot quicker than this (which can then be changed into a permanent NIE at a later date) however, as I’m working freelance at the moment (and therefore don’t need the number right now as I’m invoicing through my UK account) I am still to test this theory! Reports are though, that in most cases, you’ve got to wait at least 1 month from the date of application.

If you’re wondering where/how to apply for your NIE in Barcelona there is a police office that deals with it. The address is listed on the official Spanish police website. Just be sure you’re going to right address as it’s a different address for those who are non-EU nationals to those who are EU citizens when applying for an NIE. As far as I’m aware it is not possible to apply online.

And finally, you’ll need 2 photocopies of your passport, your actual passport, the filled out form (they can give you the form at the police station) and a letter of employment before your application will be accepted. You will also need to give an address that your NIE can be registered to and if you change that address your NIE will need to be updated. That and there’s a €10 admin fee to process the application.

Good websites for finding jobs – The equivalent to a Spanish version of Craigslist or Gumtree, you’ll find a lot of jobs listed here as well as a lot of English speaking ones in Barcelona specifically too. Just pick your location, head to the jobs section and click the industry you want. The site can also be viewed in English, but the actual job ad will be in whatever language the person posting it has written it in, e.g. it’s usually in Spanish or Catalan but ads aimed at English speaking people will usually be in English. This is probably the best site to find work in if it’s just quick casual employment you’re looking for. On a  side note it’s also a good place to find a flat.

Talent Search People – If you’re English speaking + have another foreign language that you speak fluently, Talent Search People have a lot of jobs advertised regularly for multi-linguists. It tends to be call centre stuff, but there are still some jobs advertised that are a bit better paying and/or more senior than your typical call centre stuff. If you need a job in Barcelona quickly and you speak more than 1 European language fluently/well, this is probably a good agency website to check out.

LinkedIn – For more professional jobs or freelance work, in all honestly you’re better just using LinkedIn. Since changing my location to Barcelona I’ve already had at least 4 offers of work, a combination of freelance or permanent positions being offered. – I also found this site had some decent jobs listed that were a bit higher quality than the likes of most Loquo listed adverts, but it depends what industry you are in.

You can of course just apply directly to companies too.

– In general, one thing I noticed here is that there is a big demand for developers. If you work in a tech related field – even if you don’t speak Spanish yet – there are still quite a lot of opportunities to work here either in a permanent position or freelance. Alternatively, if you’re a young backpacker with minimal experience in any particular field, there are a decent amount of telesales jobs here for English speaking people that you should just be able to walk into. I’m not saying it’s the best job in the world, but if you really need cash quick and you don’t have much experience in anything else, it could be an option.

Expected Salary / Expenses

This is obviously a hard one to talk about because it depends entirely on what your job is and what field you’re working in. As a general rule, I’m finding that wages here are a bit less than in the UK, but my expenses here are also quite a bit less too. It sort of evens itself out to be honest. I’ve also noticed right now (with the British Pound being a little bit higher than normal compared to the Euro) that my freelance rates here are a little bit higher than what I expected them to be when I converted GBP to EUR. How long the Pound will stay like this though I don’t know? In terms of getting to work, public transport is cheap. A 10-journey ticket will cost you just under €10. There are cheaper passes that you can buy too if you’re a resident. A room in an apartment will usually cost around €350 a month if you’re living right in the city centre, but I’ll talk more about accommodation in an upcoming post. This is just to give you a basic idea of how much you’ll need to live.

– These are the main things you need to know about getting a job in Barcelona. The most important part is getting your NIE number. Aside from not being able to get a permanent job without it (assuming that’s what you’re after), you also can’t open a Spanish bank account with it, buy a property or do a whole host of other things. So make sure you’re on top of this if you’re looking to seek employment in Barcelona, or indeed the rest of Spain.

(Oh and if you’re wondering why Barcelona is such a good city to live in, check out my recent post on the 10 reasons why I think it’s great!)

5 Responses to “How to find a job and get your NIE number in Barcelona!”

  1. Claire says:

    It’s interesting about the NIE. I never thought with it being EU that there’d be anything else to it.

  2. Larry says:

    Good resource for those looking to locate in Barcelona – how’s the search been for you so far?

  3. Hello, Good info. I just wanted to add and you probably already know now that you do not need an NIE number to open a bank account. I opened an account at Sabadel right away with only my US passport. The laws are finally loosening up. 🙂
    Enjoy your Spring!

    • James says:

      Which location? I’m living in Barcelona and want to open up an account in Sabadell, is love to open one up with my passport only


  1. […] How to Find a Job And Get Your NIE Number in Barcelona! Runaway Jane passes on some of the things she has learned during the settling in phase of her move to Spain. […]

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