A student's personal journey at IESE Business School

Moving to Barcelona

You’re in! What are you waiting for come to Barcelona!

The city is great, its bureaucracy much less. There are literally tons of things to do to have a normal life in Barcelona and it takes so much time. I will try to list a step-by-step guide to what needs to be obtained.

Another student from IESE made a super great guide to obtain your NIE as a non-European citizen and it’s available here. I’ll make a point of sharing it several times in this article because it’s just super great.


This is the first step into your residency application. It tells the Spanish state that you actually have a home in Spain. It’s the first step to getting anything else done in the city. (EU citizens don’t really need it though, so you lucky people can skip it).
How to get this done?
Easy Squeezy just go to this place during the opening hours and bring THE ORIGINAL COPY of your rental contract and your passport and you should be ok. It usually takes something like an hour between the queues and the actual meeting with the municipal officer.


This is your national number. Nothing can be done in Spain without your NIE. You need one to get a insurance, to get a mobile phone contract etc…  The process for the NIE is the most complicated and I will transfer you to the other IESE students blog. I present to you, the most amazing guide on how to get your NIE. It’s a bit simpler for EU residents as we don’t need empadronamiento, but for the rest it’s fairly similar.

Opening a bank account

Banc Sabadell offers a pretty sweet deal. As a student, if you come with your acceptance letter to IESE and your passport you get to open an Expansion account without any fees. The accounts come with a credit card and ok deals with transfers etc… Normally you are supposed to make a deposit of 700€ per month on the account, but it’s waved thanks to the partnership with IESE.

N26 is an online bank that is totally free and has amazing deals when taking cash abroad. I strongly recommend getting an account as it takes only 8 minutes to subscribe and you will save a huge deal of money if you come from non-EU countries. It comes with a free debit card and the credit card is a paid service.

I heard from other students that Santander has better deals than Banc Sabadell, but I can’t tell you more for now. I will come back to this post with answers later.

Getting a motorcycle

The best way to get around the city is by scooter. Lots of students already bought theirs, even though you need a NIE to contract an insurance.
Thus, it’s difficult to get to ride your motorcycle before getting your NIE.

The best websites to get a motorcycle are:

If your Driving License is valid in Spain and you don’t have your NIE yet,  you can use Ecooltra, it’s a minute per minute electric scooter rental service. It comes with 2 helmets, you book the scooter with the app and you park it anywhere when you’re done. It’s super convenient (started by an IESE grad btw). If you want to get 30min for free you can use my referral code nzrtj 

Health insurance

It comes with the MBA. You just need to ask the proof of your coverage to IESE. One little thing, your coverage only starts on the first days of Business Spanish Class. If you arrive weeks before the start you won’t be covered by the school and thus I suggest you get a travel insurance in the meantime.

Getting an Apartment

Getting an apartment is not an easy task in Barcelona. It’s a seller market and the agencies really share the lion’s share. Basically, to rent a place in Barcelona you will have to pay:

  •  1 to 2 months deposit (Legally they can only charge 1 month, but they generally ask for 2 in Barcelona. Make sure the deposit is stored in a special blocked bank account. You normally get the entirety of the deposit when you leave, but agencies usually find reasons to keep a large amount. Make sure you repair/replace everything before you leave to avoid inflated prices.
  • 1 month for the administration fee. The agencies work so hard to find tenants that they pay themselves generally 10% of the 1 year total rent. This is totally normal for the city, be ready to cough up.
  • City Tax: There is some sort of city tax that you need to pay as well, it’s generally around 150€

In total, you should count around 4000€ to move into a place. Make sure you have the cash available.

Getting a mobile phone plan

Most companies require you to have a NIE before doing anything. Luckily, Tuenti does not.

You may require a Spanish bank account, but you already have one if you followed this guide.


Getting wifi in your apartment

I also used Tuenti for this. The prices are cheap and the service is great. For 50€ you get wifi, free instalation and a mobile phone line of 4gb.


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