Traveling by car is one of the most enjoyable parts of our travel, and personally, I feel very relaxed when driving a hired car in most places around the world. I have driven in both North America and Europe (as well as motorbikes in Asia) and it’s been an awesome experience every single time.
An important procedure that you need to do for newborns in Barcelona is to obtain the NIE card.
A NIE number is a “Número de Identificación de Extranjeros” i.e. a “foreigner’s identification number” in Spain. Expats moving to Spain need an NIE number to work in Spain, take out private Spanish health insurance and apply for Spanish state health cover. You’ll also need it if you wish to open a bank account, buy a car or set up a mobile phone contract in Spain.
The Decree (Real Decreto 338-1990) March 9th, establishes that anyone, of whatever nationality, resident or non-resident, who has any “official business” in Spain, must have a fiscal number (NIF/NIE).
To avoid confusion, if you apply for an NIE only, you will be issued with a white certificate that will assign you your unique foreigner’s ID number that is in the format of: A-1234567-Z (i.e. letter-seven digits-letter).
Previously, foreigners arriving in Spain had to first apply for a NIE and then later apply for residency. However, rules are often changing, and applying for an NIE may now not be the right decision for you.
Should I apply for NIE or residency?
There is one simple question to ask yourself, which will provide you with the correct answer to this question, and that is: “How long do I intend to stay in Spain?”
If you intend to stay in Spain for more than three months then you should apply directly for residency, using the EX18 application form.
If you plan to stay in Spain for less than three months, then you should apply for an NIE number, using the EX15 application form.
The “NIE or Residencia?” question is no more complicated than that.
If you’re an EU citizen you will already have a NIE (green card), your baby automatically has the same rights. You need to download and fill in the form EX18. Don’t confuse it with the EX15 which is for obtaining a white NIE (short term, non-resident).
You will also need the following:
- the birth certificate (original and copy, in multilingual format or translated by an official translator, issued within the last year and apostilled if issued outside the EU) or libro de familia
- passport of the baby (original + copy)
- passport and NIE of both parents (original + copy)
- it helps if you bring the padron although they usually don’t ask for it
- the “vida laboral” of the family member who already has a NIE or DNI
If none of the parents work in Spain, you have to demonstrate sufficient funds and private health insurance:
- Sufficient funds of €9.400 (per one kid and one adult) in the family account or the account of person who already has a NIE / DNI (certificate with the bank’s stamp)
- Private health insurance, contracted in Spain WITHOUT COPAYMENT
You will need to present these documents at the police department responsible for NIEs on Rambla Guipuscoa. The baby needs to be present but only 1 of the parents needs to come if you bring all the original identification.
You will also need to pay for the process, the form is called Modelo 790 and you can fill it in beforehand and bring it to the NIE center. After the appointment you will have to go out to an ATM to pay it and get the bank receipt showing it has been paid, then get back to the office to complete the process.
It is important to make an appointment (cita previa) beforehand. There are always limited spots available, so head over to the NIE appointment page on Monday morning at 8am for your best chance to grab one of those spots. If you try to get an appointment later on in the week chances are that they won’t have any.
Update June 2019: Unfortunately, the whole system of getting an appointment seems to have been turned into a scam whereby no public appointments are available, but you can get an almost immediate appointment if you go through any agency. Of course, the agency gets a cut of around €250. So even if you speak Spanish and have all your documents in place, you are currently forced to get an appointment through an agency and pay their fee.
I feel that this is a big disgrace on the part of the public authorities and it’s very unjust on expats. It’s a situation that is well publicised but nothing has been done to fix it so far.
Some people have reported that if you login with the Cl@ve system you have a better chance of being assigned an appointment. You can also try going to an office outside Barcelona, a list of which can be found here.
Having a valid will is good practice for any family, no matter your age. When changing residency and moving to another country, it is important to make sure that your will is valid in this country as well. Let’s see how foreign wills are treated in Spain.
In Spain, it is not essential for an owner of assets to make a will. Foreign wills are valid and enforceable, although, in order for them to be enforced within the Spanish jurisdiction, foreign wills must be legalized before a Spanish consul (or affixed with an apostille in countries signatory to the Apostille Convention) and translated into Spanish. However, it is advisable to execute a Spanish will for Spanish assets.
The law applicable to succession determines the formalities for making a will.
Within the Spanish jurisdiction, there are different regional regulations, which apply depending on the testator’s civil residence (vecindad civil). Where regional regulations do not apply, formalities for making a will are set out in the Spanish Civil Code.
Under the Spanish Civil Code, the formalities for making a will are the following:
- All wills must give proof of the testator’s identity and capacity to testate.
- Only sane people over 14 years of age can testate.
- A will is a strictly personal act that cannot be delegated; joint wills are forbidden.
Types of Wills
- Open will. A will is open if the testator declares his last will in the presence of a notary public who is aware of the dispositions made.
- Closed will. A will is closed if the testator, without revealing his last will, declares that it is contained in the document presented to a notary public.
- Holographic will. A will is holographic when entirely handwritten by the testator.
How Much Does it Cost?
Quotations I got from law firms in Barcelona were all around €500 including VAT for a couple (two wills). This is in the case of an open or closed will.
A holographic will does not really cost anything to prepare. Article 688 states that a holographic will can be granted in the testator’s own language, so, for example, it could be written in English.
In order for a holographic will to be valid, it should meet the following requirements (a testator is a person writing the will):
- The testator must be of legal age at the time of granting the will.
- The will and its contents must have been totally handwritten and signed by the testator stating the year, month and day when it was granted.
- If there are any crossed out words, amended words or words written between the lines, then these should have been corrected by the testator and signed by him.
Holographic wills are very simple to grant and require no type of formality beyond the abovementioned elements. However, issues arise when it is time to validate the will upon the death of the testator. The will must be notarized at this time unless the will in question was previously validated by the Judge of First Instance (Juez de Primera Instancia) of the last residence of the testator. The document signed by the deceased must be presented to this Judge within five years of the time of death, and it must be presented by the individual to whom it was entrusted or by an interested party, whether heir, legatee, executor or any other interested individual. It is important to note that holographic testaments are invalid if they are not validated by the Judge within the designated time period.
Given the inherent simplicity of this type of will, the procedures that the heirs must follow for determining the validity and identity of the will and the testator are very arduous, complex, and above all, costly. Judicial intervention is necessary. The judge may make use of handwriting experts and a notary public. There is a risk that a judge may not deem the will valid.
In any case, the greatest risk is that this type of will may be destroyed by an individual disfavoured in the will provisions, or that the will is either lost or found after the statutory period of validity has expired.
The many risks assumed once this type of will is drafted make it inadvisable in practice.
Barcelona is currently my favorite city in Europe, and I thought it would be fun to do some research into renting an apartment in Barcelona. I’ll be focusing on long term rentals as short term rentals have been covered to death, and anyway, we all know that nowadays companies like Airbnb have completely dominated short term rentals.
Let’s say you want to spend more than 3 months in Barcelona, a year even. What should you know before you get to Barcelona?
The Importance of Agents
Your best bet for finding an apartment in Barcelona is through an agent. These agents can either be independent or be employed by one of the big agencies. This holds especially true if you are looking for a mid to high-end apartment and don’t want to waste time trawling the various property rental listing websites.
Upon finding an apartment, the new tenant pays the agent’s fee, and it’s usually the equivalent of one month’s rent, but can be up to 10% of the annual cost of the rental. VAT at the rate of 21% will be added on top of that.
Any reasonably priced flat that’s in a good condition will rent out quickly. Spain might be in a recession but the rental market in Barcelona certainly doesn’t seem to be affected, things here move fast. If you find something you really like, go for it. A good property can be gone in a matter of days, hours even.
Properties are available for viewing when the previous tenants have moved out. That means you’ll be seeing the apartment in a ready-to-rent state and also implies that you should be ready to move immediately.
When you find a property you like, you’ll probably want to dig a little deeper. Here’s a handy checklist:
- Are communal charges included in the rent? (usually yes)
- Are utility bills included? (usually not, ask about electricity, water and gas)
- Is there an extra cost for central heating?
- Is the agency fee 1 month’s rent or 10% of the annual rent? (the latter works out more expensive)
- What are the deposit terms? (usually two months rent)
I would also suggest checking if there are any planned works (construction) nearby, and see what kind of neighbors you would have. It’s also important to have a good look at the state of the building itself. Some rental apartments can be in great condition, but the building itself would have some serious problems.
For example, I rented an apartment that was absolutely excellent and we were the first tenants in, however, after a few weeks we discovered that if someone smoked in any of the other apartments, the smoke would seep through into our apartment through the kitchen extraction fan tubing. Ridiculous, I know, but it’s just an example of the many non-obvious problems that you can have.
I also suggest speaking to the owner about how they handle repairs, especially if it’s not a new apartment. Some owners that are not professional will leave you waiting for days, while others offer same day (usually within the hour) repairs because they have someone on call for such incidents.
Prices have been on the rise in recent years. As of August 2018, you can expect to pay between 900 and 2000 euros for an apartment, depending on the size and condition. A reformed three bedroom apartment in a good area will fetch between 1500 and 2000 euros. A reformed one bedroom will be closer to 900 euros.
Renting a Room
If you’re strapped for cash and don’t mind living with other people, you can also rent a room in an apartment. One of the best apps for finding such rooms is Badi. Expect to pay 400-800 euros for a good room.
Good luck with your apartment or room search, and if you have any questions just leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer.
In recent years I’ve taken quite an interest in real estate, and I’ve been learning the ropes by investing through crowdfunding platforms such as StockCrowdIN in Spain/Italy/Portugal, Property Partner in the UK and Raizers in France.
I also love checking out what’s on the market. I have always loved great design, and buildings are one of the most obvious incarnations of design that we see and interact with on an everyday basis. Unfortunately, there are so badly designed buildings, especially where I grew up in Malta, but also in other countries of course. I, therefore, love when I come across amazing properties and so it’s become a kind of hobby to keeps tabs on amazing apartments and properties, especially in Spain where I now reside.
For anyone else who is interested, I’ll be keeping this list of awesome developers or agencies that I come across. Mostly they deal with high-end properties as that’s where most of the quality stuff happens.
The best website overall is probably LuxuryEstate as it aggregates offers from various top agencies in Spain and also in other countries. On the main Spain landing page, you can also check out the best areas in Spain for luxurious properties. Surprisingly, Barcelona and its surroundings have clearly inferior offerings than other areas like Madrid or the Spanish coast further down south.
- Larsson Estate – Barcelona area – Scandinavian style properties
- Coldwell Banker – Spain general
- All Houes BCN – Barcelona and surroundings
- HJapon – Maresme
- Proddigia – Sant Cugat, Barcelona
- AProperties – Barcelona area
- NuvoBarcelona – Barcelona
- Green Acres – Mostly Malaga and the south
- James Edition – Mostly southern Spain
- Eliore Properties – Barcelona
- Mansion Global – Spain
If you have any more positive experiences with developers and agencies let me know and I’ll include them in the list.