One of the typical things that regularly crops up in conversations about living in Barcelona is being empadronat. This basically means being registered at your local town hall, and it's a very straightforward process
Anyone living in Barcelona can become empadronat (or empadronada for women). You need to go to your neighbourhood town hall (ajuntament)—find yours on the official city website: www.bcn.cat. They are usually open in the mornings only, from 8.15 or 8.30 until lunchtime.
When you go, take along an official form of personal identification (eg passport or national identity card) and something that proves where you live. This can be one of the following:
- property deeds that are less than three years old showing the applicant as the owner
- written confirmation from an adult already living at the address together with a photocopy of that person's official identification
- private purchase contract for the property showing the applicant as the current owner
- latest bill from one of the major utility companies; eg. gas, electricity, water, telephone (landline) or home insurance, that shows the applicant's name and the address of the property. Alternatively it can be a service contract of less than three years for one of these utilities
- latest receipt for community expenses (from the apartment building where you live) showing the applicant's name and address
- latest receipt for the rental of the apartment or house showing the applicant's name and address
- Certificate of Property Registry for the apartment or house (Certificado del Registro de Propiedad)
- latest mortgage receipt showing the name and address of the applicant
To register children, the accepted documentation includes:
- a photocopy of the family book (libro de familia)
- a photocopy of the sentence of official separation or divorce showing the guardian and custody terms
For other acceptable documentation, see www.bcn.cat
Once you are registered, you will be able to apply for a public health card which will give you access to free health services here and throughout Spain (there are some other eligibility requirements; see the 'Healthcare in Catalunya' article in Related Content for more details). In addition, you will be able to vote in local municipal and European Parliamentary elections. Furthermore, the funding that town halls receive depends on the number of people on their official register, so if people don't register but do take advantage of local services such as rubbish collection, the council could face problems in covering all its costs.
Once you are registered, you will receive a certificate that lasts for three months; however, your registration is indefinite and you will only need to go back for another certificate for certain procedures, such as applying for a wedding licence. If you move neighbourhoods, you should go to the town hall of your new area to re-register to make sure you are listed in the right neighbourhood for health care, voting and other administrative matters.