So you’ve decided to take the plunge and feel like you are as ready as can be to dive into a new phase of your life, in Barcelona? Not so fast. We are positive that there is at least one item on our to-do list that you have yet to check off!
Learn some Spanish.
You can fool around with gadgets like Duolingo, but if you’d rather not waste your time learning phrases like “The cat drinks the water” and “The little girls are smart”, we recommend that you sign up for an intensive language course or get a private tutor. This way, you may actually be able to learn some useful phrases that could come in handy when you and the real estate agent who’s showing you the apartment that you’re about to rent are staring at each other with absolutely no human language in common.
Start looking for an apartment online, but don’t fall in love.
When you arrive in Spain, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a place to stay. Starting your search while still in the cozy comforts of your old home may prove useful, because you’ll have a general idea of things like which neighborhoods are close to your workplace, how high prices are in a certain area, and what level of comfort you can afford. However, don’t get too enthusiastic about any particular crib, because they’re usually taken fast, sometimes on the very day that the advert appears online! It’s very likely that by the time you set foot in Barcelona, someone else will already have moved into the place where you’d imagined you’d be spending your upcoming year or so.
If you need some more help finding an apartment, check out our guide to apartment hunting in Barcelona.
Add up your savings and be prepared to empty your bank account.
Once you’ve actually found a place to sleep, the next thing you’re going to have to do is pay up. You are likely to be asked to pay two months’ rent in advance as a deposit, plus the agency fee, which is either another month’s rent or 10% of your yearly rent. This is mostly done in cash, so have those bills stacked and ready.
Get a NIE appointment.
Ideally, you should have done this yesterday. Before you can start working in Barcelona, you’re going to have to prove that you’re worthy of becoming a resident and employee in Spain by becoming victorious in a series of trials set by the government and executed by its bureaucratic institutions. One of these dreaded tests will be acquiring your NIE, which is basically a document certifying that you are allowed to live and work in Spain. And in Barcelona, there ain’t no workin’ without a NIE. You can find out everything there is to know about the NIE on this website, but for now, just make sure you book an appointment at the office, because you may get an appointment three weeks or even a month from now. You can do it online here.
If you’re struggling with getting your documents sorted, read our tips on how to survive bureaucracy in Barcelona.
Open your Google Calendar and set aside at least three weekends when you will not be accepting visitors.
Yes, really! There have been incidents where people were still in the phase of planning to move to Barcelona, and most of their relatives and half their Facebook friends had already invited themselves to their future home. Which of course happened to be located at a very attractive tourist destination. Don’t let this happen to you, or else you’ll find yourself hosting sleepovers and playing tourist guide every single weekend and holiday, instead of enjoying the city and your new life with your new friends. Everyone will get their turn of course, just make sure that in your efforts not to neglect anyone, you aren’t neglecting yourself!