This article was updated in August 2022.

The first thing that you will need to do once you arrive in Barcelona is to get el Empadronamiento; it is a registration certificate, which confirms that you live in the city and an apartment. This document will benefit you since you will be able to get a NIE, Health Insurance (CatSalut card), and get done other paper stuff.

Also, it is kind of important, because based on this document, you will be proving that you’ve been living in Spain all this time, in case if you will need to change the type of your resident card/resident permit. 

You can do it online or you can go to the City Council office. I think the people that came up with the idea to get done all these procedures online definitely are not expats. And here is why. You can’t sign up easily for online steps, because you need a NIE or a special app Cl@ve PIN24 or a Digital certificate. And to install these apps you need…NIE! Bingo!
Well, now they released a new app, that is called iD CAT Mobile and it sends you temporal passwords to your mobile phone when you want to perform any procedures on this web-site.

idCAT Mobil “app”

On that web-page you will be able to sign up without a NIE, after filling in a special form and confirm your email address. I tried to sign up, but didn’t receive a confirmation link.

When you choose an option C, you will be redirected to a web-page where you will be offered to sign up with a selfie.

But I didn’t manage to finish the process, since after filling in the form, I didn’t receive anything and don’t really know what goes after.

This appeared when I clicked “Sign up with a selfie” and after “Continuar” nothing happened

But I did sign up with a NIE number. I had to fill in the form where I put my NIE expiration date, my CatSalut number card and my date of birth. I received a confirmation password number and after that I was registered in that app. It means that now I can request my “Empadronamiento” online.

After all the steps are done and you have registered in the iD CAT Mobile, let’s go to a web-site Of course it will be in Catalan, but you can change the language to Spanish or English. In case for the English language the link will be You will need to find the part with “Procedures”.

Then you will be redirected to a web-page, which is called “Virtual paperwork office”. And it is kind of true. The web-site services let you do some paperwork online, download certificates and documents, without any need to go to the City Council office. The only small issue, this page is translated only to Catalan and Spanish, but no worries, you’ll manage it. First of all, log in to “Your Space”.

Once you click “Mi espacio”, you will need to log in and here is where you will need your iD CATMobil app.

Fill in your passport and phone number, or the document’s number you registered with. Then click “Utiliza mi iDCAT Mobil” and wait for a password that will be sent to your mobile phone.

idCAT Mobile app in action

Once you’re logged in, you have your “Virtual office”. From here you can start procedures to request your Empadronamiento certificate or change the address.

Virtual paperwork Office

Choose an option you need, click “En plazo” and search for a button to start procedures: “Iniciar el trámite”.

Requesting an Empadronamiento certificate

Since I already have the Empadronamiento, the system doesn’t let me to perform the steps, but basically you will need to fill in another form, where at the top part you put the info of a lease contract owner, then goes the info about the owner of a property, then the information about the property and only in the bottom part, where it says AUTORIZO A LAS PERSONAS RELACIONADAS A EMPADRONARSE EN EL DOMICILIO, there goes the info of a person that will be registered in the apartment.

You also probably will need to provide a copy of a lease contract (a current contract).

A few words about a lease contract. It has to be a current contract, which means if you have a contract with an expiration date and it passed, you can’t use it. If this is an old version of a contract, then you (or the owner of a contract) should provide a confirmation of paid utilities bill of the last month.

If you want to do these procedure in a face-to-face way, then it’s easier to call this number 010 and ask for an appointment. They do speak English sometimes, even when you choose an option 1 (Castellano). Before you probably should check which is the closest office to you. It can be any office. Check them here in your neighborhood. On the website, it is called Oficina d’Atenció Ciutadana (OAC).

The website of the City Council

Once the appointment is arranged, you can start preparing the documents that you should bring for the process. The employees of the City Council office will fill in all the docs for you, but you should have the lease contract, your ID document.


  • Your ID document 
  • The current contract of the lease in case if you rent the whole apartment or have the contract for a rented room

The lease contract can expire, but it also can be renewable automatically. The point is that signing a rental contract has a specific cost, and real estate agents sometimes make an extendable contract, which means if the contract wasn’t broken/stopped during the first year, it renews automatically for 5 years usually. So the cost is avoided, and everyone is happy. Usually, it has this formula — a 1-year contract, a 5-years contract, and then it converts into an extendable contract.

If you have the Rent Antigua contract. I posted an article about this tricky lease contract. It is called Renta Antigua. Since this law was released many years ago, you probably won’t see an owner name in the indefinite contract. It is more common that the contract will be with a subrogation document. Don’t recommend you to be involved in any lease with this type of contract. To make sure that it is not a Renta Antigua, always check that in the contract appears the name of the landlord and not anyone else.

Registration in the registry aka Empadronamiento certificate does expire and should be renovated every 2 years. And nope, you can’t do it online. You have to go to the City Council office for that. It is needed to confirm that you are still in Spain, live and pay taxes (hopefully).

It is free of charge.