Does Barcelona have reception and assistance services?
The municipal government is committed to ensuring compliance with the international right to refuge and that the basic rights of people coming to Barcelona are fully recognised and applied.
Hence it has launched the “Barcelona, city of refuge” plan to help and offer assistance to all refugees in need, putting the city's resources at their service.
Barcelona has also had a reception and assistance network since 2007, which combines the actions of the city's respective municipal, district and association services. The aim is to provide support and the necessary resources for ensuring the personal independence and social integration of every immigrant, refugee, stateless person and asylum seeker.
What do I have to do when I arrive in Barcelona?
If you've got resources or a place to stay, the first thing you need to do is register with the city's padrón or residents' registry. That will enable you to become a resident of Barcelona and give you access to public education and health services. Such registration is also mandatory for any procedures relating to Spain's Alien Status Act (family reunification, establishing social roots, finding employment).
You may register with the registry at the citizen help and information office (OAC) of your residential district.
If you have no accommodation or resources, you should go to SAIER, the free municipal care service for immigrants, emigrants and refugees run by the City Council and several social organisations.
It is located at C/ Paral·lel, nº 202-204. Plaça d’Espanya metro station (green and red lines).
What services does SAIER offer?
SAIER specialises in international mobility and offers several services:
- Reception and general information on the city
- Legal advice and dealing with paperwork relating to alien status
- Legal aid for asylum seekers and international protection
- Social care for immigrants and refugees
- Information on housing
- Recognition and approval of foreign qualifications
- Information on learning Catalan and Spanish, the city's two official languages
Will SAIER provide me with accommodation and social care?
SAIER offers information on the city's hostel network and soup kitchens, and provides help to families with young children who lack resources and whom it deems more vulnerable so long as they have no access to the Spanish State's care programme.
SAIER also offers social care to non-EU individuals who have been in the city for a short time, who are in are in an illegal situation and who are homeless.
For everyone else, Barcelona has a basic social-care network made up of the city's social service centres (CSS), which work together with their area's social organisations, institutions and associations. If you wish to be attended to, you will need to call 936 197 311 and book an appointment in advance.
Am I entitled to see a doctor and do I have access to health-care services?
Everyone who applies for international protection has access to the public health system's general health-care cover. They will receive this cover once they have obtained their individual health-care card (TSI), which they can apply for from the primary health-care centre (CAP) in their neighbourhood of residence.
Are vaccinations mandatory?
They are recommended but not mandatory. The Catalan Ministry of Health recommends the administration of several vaccinations for the region's children, on a general level. It also recommends the administration of several vaccines for adults, on an individual level, according to their personal or environmental circumstances. The aim in both cases is to ensure the people's well-being and prevent possible outbreaks of infections in our environment.
Is it compulsory for children to go to school?
It is voluntary for children aged 3 to 6 to go to school and compulsory for children aged 6 to 16. Children aged 3 to 12 have to go to an infants and primary school (CEIP) while children aged 12 to 16 to a secondary school (IES). It is a free service in public centres. Barcelona also has a network of public nurseries for children aged 0 to 3 but they are not free.
Pre-enrolment and enrolment procedures are carried out at the school applied for. If the school year has already started, a place will have to be applied for at the Barcelona Education Consortium's Help and Information Office. The office is at Plaça d'Urquinaona, nº 6. Tel. 935 511 050.
You will find all the information you need on education in Barcelona at this link.
Does Barcelona offer specific services for women?
Yes, because inequalities still persist between men and women in our society.
The Women's Information and Care Points (PIAMs) are municipal services in the city's districts that provide information and care on every topic of interest and concern to women, and allow access to the city's various employment, association, cultural and education resources, among others. They also offer free counselling and legal advice.
Women in Barcelona also have a gender violence helpline which is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day: 900 900 120
What languages are spoken in Barcelona and how do I learn them?
Catalonia has two official languages: Catalan and Spanish. Learning both helps newcomers to integrate socially and find a job in the city.
There are a lot of places for studying both languages, including adult schools and public libraries.
The Consortium for Language Normalisation (CPNL) offers courses in Catalan, language immersion, language volunteers and other services.
Its language immersion centre is located at Plaça de Catalunya, nº 9, 2-1. Tel. 902 075 060
What do I have to do if I need to look for work or want to receive employment training?
If you have a work or residence permit and you want to look for work or receive employment training, you can get in touch with the public employment services, SAIER, the network of associations offering support for social and vocational integration, Barcelona Activa, or any of the adult schools.
The Catalan Employment Service (SOC) has a network of employment offices and self-service points (PAS) that offer help in looking for work, career guidance, training courses and obtaining unemployment benefits.
Barcelona Activa is a City Council service that offers programmes and services for improving access to work..
How can I get my qualifications officially recognised?
Official recognition means successfully completed foreign studies are treated as an equivalent to Spanish qualifications or degrees.
SAIER will advise you on official recognition and approval of studies, higher or otherwise, and help you to prepare your records.