International students staying in Barcelona for more than three months are required to have an identity card in Spain. A residence certificate is needed by EU citizens and they have 90 days from the date of arrival for processing. For non-EU students, the term is 30 days from arrival, although, many times, this is not possible!
It is mandatory to get an online appointment at one of the police stations in the student’s province of residence, in this case Barcelona. But it is usually difficult to get an appointment in the city. The administrative process is designed so that any foreign citizen must go through the same procedure regardless of the reason for their stay in Barcelona. Resources allocated to the processing of NIES are proved to be clearly insufficient to meet the increasing demand in recent years in Barcelona and other Spanish cities. The system is collapsing and getting an appointment can become an impossible task. In this way, selling appointments to get the NIE has come up as a black market, especially in the city of Barcelona.
ISR recommends carrying out the procedure as soon as possible, even from the country of origin, before arriving in Spain. Only the personal data of the applicant is needed (passport number and name and surname).
Another tip is trying to get an appointment by entering the application several times a day, at different times and especially on Mondays first thing since that is when they usually make available new hours for NIE appointments. If you cannot find an appointment within the deadlines fixed by the Government, it can always be argued that you tried on repeated times. Immigration officials are fully aware of the situation, and if the appointment only exceeds the deadlines for a short period of time they will be understanding.
In ISR we can make an appointment for you, but always working in advance and assuming that the appointment may be at a police station located outside the city. We advise you not to reject this possibility and accept the appointment at the assigned local police station. Distances are relatively short and easily reached by the regional train network. It is worth carrying out the process as soon as possible!
Once you’ve got the appointment, it is very important to check out all documents needed (detailed on the police website) and bring copies and originals of all the documentation related to your studies. In some police stations they can request additional information to that stated on the website (such as proof of payment of tuition, for example).
And finally, a piece of advice that can avoid you many problems at the end of the course: if you plan to stay in Spain or travel around Europe after completing the studies, or you are required to take a mandatory internship or prepare a final project not included in the official program timeline, ask your school / university to specify this possibility in the admission letter. In this way, they can issue your visa with a finishing date that allows you a longer stay. If you don’t do that, you will have to renew your NIE card and the process is much more complex.
We hope this information has been useful for you!