Immigrate to Barcelona. Things you should know before moving to Barcelona

Thinking of Spain often leads to Barcelona, the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Spain, Europe, and the whole world. It attracts more tourists than Rome, Amsterdam, and Shanghai. Some visitors are craving for moving to Barcelona from the USA, the UK, the Latin American and European countries. It is not that easy to immigrate to Barcelona, but your strong willpower along with the pieces of advice provided in this article will make your relocation easy.

International removals to Barcelona with Eurosender

Whether you are relocating from the USA to Barcelona or immigrate from any other region, you definitely need to learn more about this Catalan city and prepare all the necessary documents which will grant your legal stay there. Most likely you are also encouraged to move personal belongings to Barcelona safely. For that reason, we have prepared a brief guide with basic facts about this country and information about services for international removals to Barcelona. This will help you to better feel the vibes of the city before moving to Barcelona from the USA or any other country.

LocationBarcelona is located in the far northeast of Spain.
ClimateBarcelona has a maritime Mediterranean climate.
CurrencyEuro (EUR)
PopulationThere are about 1.5 million people living in Barcelona.
LanguageSpanish and Catalan are the two official languages in Barcelona.
TimezoneUTC +1
Surprising factThere were no beaches in Barcelona before the Olympics 1992.

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Living in Barcelona

Barcelona is definitely a unique tourist attraction, but it might be an ambiguous city for expats to reside in. Most people who immigrate to Barcelona and settle down there for several months report that this experience really changes their lives. Living in Barcelona is joyful and challenging at the same time. Why? Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of the expat point of view to figure out what is living in Barcelona like.


  • The Mediterranean Sea. The biggest and fattest advantage of Barcelona is access to the sea. Before the Olympics of 1992, there were no beaches in Barcelona at all, but nowadays the tourists and locals can enjoy sunny days on the coast side.
  • Strong economy. The GDP of Catalonia is the highest in Spain. That is why this region has always been striving for independence from Spain.
  • Cultural heritage. Barcelona is a city from a fairytale with the labyrinths of small buildings, fabulous masterpieces of Antonio Gaudi, and the treasures from the past embodied in the historical heritage sites.


  • Apartment rental crisis. If you plan to rent an apartment in Barcelona for the long term, you will need at least 1 month to do that even during the winter period. The immense number of tourists and expats are moving to Barcelona, so there is a limited assortment of accommodation options. Furthermore, the prices are relatively higher than the average Spanish.
  • The influx of tourists. While Barcelona makes much of its GDP from tourism, locals are not very satisfied with that. The city is crowded, especially during the summer months, so it seems that Barcelona does not belong to its residents any longer.
  • Pickpocketing. This disadvantage is naturally derived from the one mentioned above. The influx of tourists in Barcelona has always attracted lurchers and rogues.

Cost of living in Barcelona

Barcelona is probably the most expensive city to live in Spain. Local citizens and residents even go for protests as the prices are rising every year because of the influx of tourists. While 5 years ago, it was possible to get a drink with tapas for 5 euro, now it will be twice more expensive than before. At the same time, the average salary rate has not risen that much over the last several years. If you are going to immigrate to Barcelona, be prepared for higher than the Spanish average prices for everything starting from food to the apartment rental.

Apartment rental850 € (1-bedroom apartment)750 € (1-bedroom apartment)500 € (1-bedroom apartment)
Utility bills120-150 €120-150 €100-120 €
Internet42 €42 €35 €
A meal of the day12 €11 €10 €
A cup of cappuccino1.8 €1.7 €1.5 €
International school (optional)700 €550 €500 €


Visa regulations for Barcelona

If you plan to stay in Barcelona for longer than 90 days and you come from outside of the European Union, you will have to take care of visa before moving to Barcelona from the USA, Canada, Australia, and other non-EU countries. Here are the most common visa types among expats who are going to immigrate to Barcelona:

  • Work visa. If you have secured a job in Barcelona and signed a long-term contract with your employer, then you should apply for a work visa.
  • Student visa. ERASMUS students and those who enrolled in one of the Spanish universities for baccalaureate or master program can easily apply for this type of visa. Consider using our services for the international removals to Barcelona and get a discount to move personal belongings to Spain.
  • Family reunification visa. You can apply for this type of visa in case one of your relatives is a Spanish citizen or a legal resident based in Barcelona on a permanent basis.

Upon your arrival to Barcelona, you will have to get a tax identification number called Número de Identificación de Estranjeros. You need to prepare the necessary documents (application form and its copy, a passport and its copy, a receipt as proof of paid service fee, and the documents indicating the reason for your long-term stay) and go to the Extranjería, police station, or social security office in Barcelona. It will take no longer than 15 business days for your NIE to get ready.

Healthcare in Barcelona

Everyone who has received a healthcare card after moving to Barcelona from abroad has an opportunity to reach the services of Catalan public healthcare system. However, a visit to public healthcare centres is usually associated with long queues and weeks of waiting before getting specialist care. Thus, many locals and expats prefer public health insurance. It also grants access to private clinics with English-speaking doctors, which is of high value to expats who are not confident with their Spanish or Catalan yet. Check the list of some hospitals popular among expats living in Barcelona:

Centro Médico Teknon

Descobreix Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital

Hospital del Mar

Hospital Clinic de Barcelona

School and education

Given that the educational institutions in Barcelona have to adhere to the regulations set by the national Ministry of Education and the Government of Catalonia, public schools use Catalan as the main language. Even though Catalan does not differ much from Spanish, it will take time to gain full proficiency in it. Anyway, you can always opt for private schooling in Barcelona. Here is the list of private and international schools in Barcelona:

American School of Barcelona

International School of Catalunya

The British School of Barcelona

The job market in Barcelona

Catalonia is the richest region in the country, but the unemployment rate is still one of the highest in Spain. This province has many highly developed sectors of the economy, including car manufacturing, chemical and metallurgical industries. Electronics and telecommunication sectors also have leading roles in the economy of Catalonia.

Expats who are moving to Barcelona to find a job should better take care of employment in advance. Looking for a job in Barcelona means that you will have to apply for many vacancies and experience high competition with the locals and other expats. That is why it is better to secure a job before you actually immigrate to Barcelona. The most popular jobs for foreigners are in tourism, language teaching, and the IT sector. An employer usually arranges a work permit and healthcare insurance on your behalf. However, if you apply for a visa for self-employed people, you will have to take care of that on your own.

Property information

The accommodation crisis mentioned above is indeed one of the disadvantages of living in Barcelona. It does not mean that the quality of dwellings is not decent, it means that there is a lack of housing for all those who are willing to live in Barcelona. Nevertheless, the accommodation costs are not as extremely high as it is possible to rent a 1-bedroom apartment for about 800 €. Those who want to buy real estate property will have to pay at least 3,000 € per 1 square meter.

Driving in Berlin

There are no special requirements for driving in Barcelona. However, the traffic in the central part of the city might be limited as there are many pedestrian zones there. Instead, you can enjoy the convenience of a metro system the trains of which can carry you to any part of the city.

Cost of moving to Berlin

Before moving to Barcelona, you need to discover the average moving cost to Barcelona, estimate how much is shipping from the USA to Barcelona, discover the cheapest way to move furniture to Barcelona, and get the affordable cost of moving house to Barcelona. We have prepared the answers to these questions along with the shipping tips to move personal belongings to India safely, cheaply, and fast.

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Other destinations?

Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article were collected from other credible resources to be used for general information purposes only. Given that the legislative basis of the country and its economic development have a changing nature, the information provided in the article could be subject to change. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, Eurosender will not be liable for any inappropriate, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Certain links will lead to websites which are not under control of Eurosender. Thus, Eurosender accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services being not under control of Eurosender.