Getting a Social Security Number in Barcelona (2020)

The time has finally come. I am going to officially start working in Barcelona soon. Likely as an autónomo (self-employed person), but very possibly as an employee too.

Regardless, the one thing I need for this is my número de afiliación de la seguridad social (aka. Social Security Number).

Contributing to the social security system in Spain gives you access to their social security services. These include :

  • Public healthcare
  • Benefits – e.g. temporary incapacity, maternity, pensions, unemployment etc.
  • Employment re-training
  • Rehabilitation of invalids
  • Assistance for senior citizens

I was a little wary of the process to start with, because I had no idea what to expect. The internet gives you lots of different pieces of advice (quite a lot of which, I now realise is no longer valid!).

Thankfully, the process ended up being pretty painless. Even if it was not quite as straightforward as it was made out to be.


Finding the correct social security office (Step 1)

The first stop on my journey to getting my Social Security Number was my local Social Security office. I found out almost by accident that the office was just around the corner from my place.

My roommate asked me to tag along one day to translate at an appointment, as she needed to get the EHIC European Health Insurance card. It just so happened, that this appointment was at the Social Security office – how fortunate for me!

Once we arrived at the office, I asked at the reception whether I could get an appointment for a new Social Security Number.

I was informed that my local office did not offer this service. Instead, I would have to go to the central:

Administratión de la Seguridad Social
Carrer de la Indústria 114
08025, Barcelona

Apparently, I could go without an appointment, but only between 9am and 10:30am Monday – Friday.


Getting access to Cl@ve (Step 2)

The following week, I went to the Administratión de la Seguridad Social as directed. I turned up at 10:02am and was seen to at around 10:45am, so the wait wasn’t too gruelling.

Having filled out the TA.1 Form which the receptionist gave me to apply for the Social Security Number, I thought that I would receive my number immediately upon submission of the form. (At least that’s what all the internet pages had told me).

However, what actually happened is that the lady explained to me that she would assign me a Cl@ve digital activation code instead. I would then need to head home and apply for my Social Security number online.

The reason she could not give me the number immediately, was apparently related to the fact that she needed the signature of my employer on the TA.1 Form. Since I didn’t have an employer yet, and as such had no signature, the process looked slightly different.


Documents I needed:

  • NIE Number
  • European Passport


Activating the Cl@ve System (Step 3)

Once I got home, activation of the Cl@ve system was pretty easy. I simply had to do the following:

  1. Go to (available in: English, French and Spanish/Spanish dialects)
  2. Click on “Cl@ve: Password Management” icon
  3. Scroll down and click on “User Activation” and then the “No certificate” icon
  4. Enter NIE number, email, activation code and solve the security question
  5. Click ‘siguente’ (next) and create a password for the account on the final page

With that done my digital access was granted and I was now able to apply for my Social Security Number.


Instructions as pictures:


Applying for the Social Security Number (Step 4)

Following the activation of my Cl@ve account, applying for my Social Security Number proved simple too. To do that I needed to:

  1. Go to (available in: English, French and Spanish/Spanish dialects)
  2. Click the “Citizens” tab at the top
  3. Then click the link for “Affiliation and Registrations” from the dropdown
  4. Click “Assignment of Social Security Number” from the options list
  5. Click the “Username + Password” icon
  6. Enter the username and password I created upon registration with Cl@ve (from step 3)
  7. Confirm my contact details (email, phone etc.) and then click confirm
  8. Instantly view my Social Security Number on screen
  9. Print out the Social Security number document, but clicking the print icon on the top right


Instructions as pictures:


Useful Pointers

I realise that I am applying for my Social Security Number significantly after most other people normally would. I’ve been in the country almost a year now and as such am pretty familiar with the workings of the Spanish system by now.

My Spanish is also very functional, so I don’t have any issues communicating my needs, for the most part. Having said that, I know that isn’t the case for everyone.

I also haven’t been here long enough to have forgotten the stress of the first few weeks after landing, when I wasn’t at all familiar with what to do to sort out my paperwork.

That’s why, I’ve added a few couple of questions and answers below, which you may find interesting.


When to get your Social Security Number?

A couple of facts…

  • You DO need your ‘NIE Number’ to get your Social Security Number
  • You DO NOT need an ‘Empadronamiento’ to get your Social Security Number

As such my recommendation would be to get your NIE first (click the following links to learn more about my experience using an NIE service and the documents needed to apply for the NIE).

After that, the order in which you choose to sign up for the Social Security Number and the Empadronamiento does not really matter. You will not be requested for one or the other document/number when applying.

However, legally speaking, the Empadronamiento should be completed within 6 months (183 days) of your move into the country.


What if I don’t speak Spanish?

It is a well known fact that Catalan bureaucracy does not make it easy for foreigners who do not speak Spanish to get around.

Many of the government office workers do not speak English, so it can be advisable to take someone who does speak Spanish with you to apply for documents.

That being said, if this is not an option, you can use the following resource to help you fill out the Spanish paperwork:

  1. TA.1 Form (English Example) – Use this to help you complete your TA.1 Form in advance. (Make sure to get your employer’s signature on it if you are working already.)

You can also follow the instructions/screenshots above for your digital application, once you have an activation code.


I hope you found this useful. Let me know if you feel like any information is missing!


  • Filip

    Thank you very much for this guide! I now received a job offer but in order to start working I will need social security number. I have NIE number assigned (as a family member of EU citizen) but I did not get TIE card appointment yet because there is none available at the police station.
    All this mess because of the current corona situation… do you know how different is the process now because of this new situation? I went to their office yesterday but they didn’t let me in – instead they told me to apply online which I did but I have no idea how long will it take (and what’s the process) to get it. Could you please help me? I do not speak Spanish and I don’t know anyone that does…

    • Claudia // Rjunkie

      Hi Filip,

      I’m a little confused by your message as you say you have an NIE, but haven’t done the TIE.

      I can only assume that means you have a temporary NIE via your relatives, but need to officially apply for your own TIE as you are not an EU citizen?

      In case you have your own NIE number, the most up to date and official instructions on applying for a SSN are available here:

      If you follow the steps there, you should be able to get your registration.

      Normally you should be able to get your Social Security Number immediately on the cl@ve confirmation screen.

      However, perhaps if you need to apply for the official TIE first then I expect you may need to wait for it to be issued, however, I don’t know the specifics on current issuing delays (if any).

      I hope all goes well!

  • Diego

    Hi Claudia,

    Actually it is not an instant proccess. If you follow the link you have provided, you still need to apply to the digital certificate before hand, which requires you to visit the office in person.

    I think what the Filip (and I), would ask, is how to get the SSN if all offices tell us to do it online and then we have to come back anyways to do the digital certificate (otherwise the online proccess does not work). Why not just do it in person when we are there?


    • Claudia // Rjunkie

      Hi Diego,

      If you read the full article you will see that I had to go to the office first and then I had to go register online once I came back.

      So yes, it is not instant, because you need to go to the office first to get the ability to sign up for the online Cl@ve system.

      However, once you get the online Cl@ve set up you do automatically get the number assigned.

      I was also surprised that I was not able to get the number directly from the office. (I thought that would happen too)

      However, I can only assume that it has has to do with a process of in person identification.

      I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in Spanish bureaucracy though – there are a lot of things that don’t make sense!

      Are you saying that you are being asked to register online first now though? Without going to the office?

  • Diego

    Hi Claudia,

    Oh yes I see! As you said, I also believe that this process is a little overcomplicated right now and does not make sense.

    I visited the office and to be honest, firstly they told me to go home and do it online. After I asked a few more questions, they told me that only the company that is hiring me is allowed to get my SSN during covid-19. So, frankly, I don’t know what exactly I should do. I was thinking of visiting another few offices on Monday and also starting with the online process. The only issue is that I would need an appointment to get the digital certificate. ( I start working on Thursday)

    So, the digital certificate and “Cl@ve” are the same?

    And what would you recommend in this case?

    Diego Leone

    • Claudia // Rjunkie

      Hi Diego,

      As per my blog article, my suggestion would be to go to this office:

      Administratión de la Seguridad Social
      Carrer de la Indústria 114
      08025, Barcelona

      You shouldn’t need an appointment (I was told we wouldn’t need one and went in without one. I had to wait about 30-40 minutes or so, wasn’t too bad). But you do need to go between 9:00-10:30am Mon-Fri)

      I’m not sure in times of COVID, but before this, I was told by my local SSN office that that office is the only office in Barcelona that does NEW SSN registrations.

      You go in with your NIE number and your TA.1 form filled out and then they will activate your profile so that you can open the Cl@ve account once you get home after the office visit.

      The office is open these days, so it should still be possible to go.

      Have you tried that already?

  • Diego Leone

    Hi Claudia,

    So, atually the office that at Carrer Indistria 114 is the one I visited and that’s what they told me. I believe during covid-19 times they changed it. I went at 11am though.

    Do you think I should try visiting very early and persist on it?

    Diego Leone

    • Claudia // Rjunkie

      Hi Diego,

      I was told that you do need to go at the specific times or they will not process the application. So, I don’t know about in times in COVID-19, but it would be my recommendation to go during the set hours that new SSN numbers are being issued and try.

      I don’t really see another way unless you hire someone to take you through the process directly.

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