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 The internet gives you lots of different pieces of advice (quite a lot of which, I now realise is no longer valid!).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!

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