Barcelona at a Glance
Visas and Transportation in BarcelonaiStockphoto
Barcelona has an excellent public transportation system.
Visa for Non-EU/EEA Citizens
Are you moving to Barcelona for less than three months? Then you may be eligible to settle there without applying for a visa first. Please remember that visas are never issued from within Spain. Thus, if you are unsure or if you plan for a longer stay, contact a Spanish embassy or consulate first. Expats who wish to live and work in Barcelona for more than 90 days, however, may choose between the following visa categories:
- Visa de reagrupación familiar: Expats who have married a Spanish citizen or are related to one can apply for this visa.
- Work visa: Before applying for a work visa, you need to secure an employment contract, which you can later submit with your visa application.
- Student visa: You can apply for a student visa if you are studying at a school or university, or are part of an exchange program. With a student visa, you are eligible to stay for more than 90 days and also secure visa for your spouse or children.
- Tourist visa: It is necessary to apply for a tourist visa if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen and if your country does not have a non-visa agreement with Spain. A tourist visa is valid for up to three months.
For more information on visa restrictions and requirements, please contact a Spanish embassy or consulate near you. The Ministry of Foreign Relations is also a great place to find more information.
Local Transportation: Taxis
Taxis are available all over Barcelona and can either be hailed on the street or booked via phone. The latter however requires a surcharge. All in all, you should be prepared to pay extra for big luggage as well as trips to the airport. If you require a taxi between 9pm and 7am, the fare is higher. The basic fare is 2.05€, with an additional 0.98€ added for every kilometer.
There are many taxi companies which offer their services throughout Barcelona. Fono Taxi and Amic are particularly tending towards people with disabilities. Catalunyataxi and T033 Radio taxi service even allow you to book your taxi service online. Many companies allow you to pay via credit card. This is not always the case, though, and you should definitely not rely on it.
Bus, Tram, and Train
Buses are an important mode of transportation, both in Barcelona proper and in much of the Pyrenees and along the Costa Brava as railroad services are incredibly limited there. In Barcelona city, buses run every few minutes or so and are replaced by nitbusos (night buses) after 11 pm. Barcelona’s bus network is operated by Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona. The city’s suburbs are connected to the city via three different tram lines, operated by TMB.
Barcelona also has a comprehensive metro system with seven lines spreading all across the city. The color code (one color for each line) makes it easy to find the right connection. The train network also connects Barcelona to other Spanish cities like Valencia or Madrid. But travelling by train also makes sense if you are trying to reach smaller towns outside of Barcelona.
Bicycles and Ferries
For all those athletic types among you, Barcelona may be just the place to be. It is, after all, very easy to explore the city by bike. The large network of bike paths is constantly extended. In addition, Barcelona’s city government has started the “Bicing Service” in 2007, a bicycle system for residents which allows you to use the city’s red and white bicycles for a monthly fee. Cyclists are, unfortunately, not allowed to travel on bus lanes and footpaths. So, when there is no bicycle lane for you, be careful when navigating Barcelona’s thick traffic.
If you are ready for a quick get-away, you may also travel by boat or ferry. Acciona Trasmediterránea, among others, offers frequent connections from and to the Balearic Islands. You can choose between standard ferries and high-speed catamaran ferries. The latter is a lot more expensive. Other companies also offer connections to Italy or Morocco. It makes sense to shop around, however, as a plane ticket might be a lot cheaper.