A Social Security number (número de seguridad social) is necessary to be able to work or be self-employed in Spain. The Spanish social security number is what you need to be able to stay legal in Spain if you´re staying for more than 3 months. To obtain it, you first need to register in a Spanish address.
Where can I get the social security number in Barcelona?
You must have an appointment in order to go to the office and get your NIE. Depending on the city you live in, it can take up to one month to get an appointment. For example in Barcelona is really difficult to get it, given that they are many expats in the city.
What papers do I need to present?
- passport + photocopy
- completed Modelo TA1form
It is not necessary to print it and take it with you. You will get one once you get in the office. Of course filling it in before might save you some time.
- proof what you need the social security number for
Work contact or prove of study.
Once you´re in the social security office, getting the NIE is pretty simple and not too time consuming (depending on the queue of course), but in general shouldn`t take more than an hour.
What’s the social security number for?
Once you are assigned a número de seguridad social, you are connected to the Spanish social security system and have the same number for life. All your labor activity is attributed to you and can be checked by downloading a Vida laboral (“working life”) document.
When getting your social security number, make sure to fill in your Spanish telephone number in the application form as later on, many transactions can be done over the internet and the security code is sent to you by SMS.
You will also need it to obtain the healthcare card, which will give you access to the Social medicine in Spain through the CatSalut organization. This means that a percentage of your income taxes go towards a medical plan that gives you access to doctors and specialists in Barcelona, and you will be able to find a clinic in your neighborhood, where you will be assigned a doctor.
Note: If you lose your NIE you have to repeat the whole process of getting it again.
So if you need to have it with you, better make a copy and leave the original at home.