A student guide – Preparation for a sojourn in Barcelona (Part 2 – NIE)

For foreign students staying in Spain for more than six months, they need to apply for an NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero), which is, in your case, a student residence authorisation card for identification purposes. One must hand in all application documents within the first month (appointment is obligatory) after one’s arrival in Barcelona / Schengen Area.

Here is a list of documents you need:

  • Application form EX-17 (original and copy)
  • Passport, with your student visa and EU entry stamp (original and copy)
  • Acceptance letter from your host university (in Spanish or Catalan)
  • Enrolment certificate of your academic exchange year
  • Certificate of Census Registration
  • Passport-size photos

Application form EX-17

Please note that in order to obtain the residence card, one must use the application form EX-17 titled “Solicitud de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE)”, instead of the form EX-15 (“Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados”).

Most of the exchange students only need to fill in Section 1 (“Datos del extranjero/a”), Section 3 (“Domicilio a efectos de notificaciones”), and Section 4 (“Datos relativos a la tarjeta”).

If you are applying for the card the first time, select “Inicial” under Part 4.1. For exchange students, please select “Estancia por estudios, investigación-formación, intercambio, prácticas o voluntariado” under Part 4.2.

Certificate of Census Registration

This certificate is called “padró” or “empadronament”, which contains one’s personal particulars and one’s corresponding address. Each and every resident in Spain must be registered officially.

Before you visit the Oficina d’atenció ciutadana (OAC) of your district, you have to have already found a place to live in (click here to understand more). When you pay your visit to the OAC, you need to be accompanied by a person who is also registered at your address (e.g. your landlord or your flatmates). For those who are living in a student hall of residence, please contact your host university for more information.

Making an appointment

In order to make sure you are able to submit all relevant documents to the police station within a month after your arrival, I recommend that you should make an online appointment as soon as you settle in at your new home. Then, you can go to the OAC of your district any time you want prior to your appointment. Click here to make an appointment (in Spanish and Catalan only). Upon completion, the system will generate an “Expedición de tarjeta de identidad de extranjero”, where a “Nº de Justificante de cita” is included. It is necessary for you to mark down this appointment number.

After your appointment

On the day you bring all the documents (without any error) to the police station, you will be given this form by the administrative officer:

TASA:           Reconocimientos, autorizaciones y concursos
CÓDIGO:    012
MODELO:   790

You have to bring this form with you to any bank in the city so that the teller can stamp on it as the proof of payment of administration fees.

You will also be given a receipt titled “Resguado de solicitud o renovación de tarjeta de extranjero”. On this document, you can find all information regarding your student residence card.

Collection of student residence card

You will be able to collect your card in one-month’s time. Don’t forget to bring along with you your passport, the payment receipt, and the “Resguado de solicitud”!


Any views or opinions expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the policies of Ajuntament de Barcelona. This blog post has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice. For the latest information and arrangement, please consult the Spanish Embassy and Consulates General in your area, your home/host university, or the government of Barcelona (or of other cities in Spain).


A student guide – Preparation for a sojourn in Barcelona (Part 1 – Accommodation)


“¡Vamos a jugar en el sol! ¡Todos los días son días de fiesta! (Let’s play in the sun! Every day is a party day!)” – “Vamos a jugar en el sol” by Miranda.

For those who are/fancy going to Barcelona for an academic exchange programme, this is perhaps what you are going to do (almost everyday)! ;-)

Anyway, prior to your Barcelona bound, I’m sure there are a fair number of items on your pre-departure to-do list. In this “A student guide” series, I’m going to talk briefly about some of them, and to provide you with examples from my experience, as well as with selected tips from official student guides.

1. I’m looking for accommodation

Not all universities in Barcelona offer their own private halls of residence. What they usually do is to allocate students to various interuniversity halls, of which the majority is operated by Resa Housing. Resa’s properties are located very close to campuses of different universities, where en-suite studios and catered rooms (single & double) are available.

Alternatively, you might want to consider rooms run by Melon District and Residencia Onix. Walkable distance from their residence buildings to universities is guaranteed. Apart from them, you can check the following sites out for a wider range of types of rooms and for comparison:

Reserving a room from these private providers might save you a bit of faff time and make your life easier. However, one might want to find somewhere that is more affordable to live in. In this case, I recommend that you should pick the option of shared flats.

When I arrived in Barcelona, I stayed at a hostel for around two weeks so that I could take my time and pick the best place after days of flat hunting. The websites I visited for ads browsing were Craigslist Barcelona (in Spanish/Catalan/English) and Loquo (mainly in Spanish). All you have to do is to send the landlord/representative an email (quoting the ad number) or phone them directly (you might need to talk to them in Spanish!), in order to arrange an appointment for a site visit. Don’t forget to send them a thank you note afterwards, and reply to them as soon as possible your decision! :-)

Here are some important questions to ask/info to mention prior to an appointment:

  1. Any heater available? (Winter in Barcelona is fairly chilly!)
  2. Any washing machine at home? (Otherwise, you’ll have to go to a launderette somewhere in your neighbourhood… Faff-alert!)
  3. Exterior/Interior room? (Exterior rooms are usually brighter and with better ventilation, as they are either facing the streets or a very spacious patio; meanwhile, interior ones are usually damper and darker with no/small windows. Very often, there’s no view at all!)
  4. (If utility bills are not included) Expected monthly bills? (Try to look for somewhere with water, electricity, gas, and Wi-Fi included!)
  5. Provide with them a short description of yourself. For instance, your nationality, your school, your major studies, your habits (e.g. Do you smoke? Do you party a lot? Are you a nighter?), etc.

Barcelona is a multilingual metropolis. However, you might need to talk with your potential landlord/flatmate(s) in Spanish (or in Catalan, if you know the language), as not everyone in the city masters considerable English proficiency. Let’s give love. Respect the people, the culture, and, of course, the place you’re going to live in!

Next time, I’ll talk about the identification number for foreigners – NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). Stay tuned!