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Old 22nd September 2010, 07:07 PM   #1
cullenw
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Default Moving to Barcelona and working remotely, lots of questions!

First I need to thank Marina and Ben for maintaining the blog, this forum, and building all the podcasts and amazing content for people in my position. You guys rock and after consuming everything I can from your sites for the past few weeks I really feel 100x more comfortable then I did before with my move. Keep up the good work and thank you!

While I have found a TON of helpful information I am still struggling with a few things. Before I ask questions I'll give everyone a little overview of my situation (which I plan to blog about full time as soon as I get organized):

I'm a 26 year old business owner living in Austin, TX, recently single, and one of my best friends in the world is a Barcelona native. She speaks amazing english and has offered to allow me to stay with her for 3 - 4 months for VERY cheap (300 euros per month). I've decided to take her up on this offer because, well, why the heck not?

So while I'm not worried about making friends and settling in because I'll have her help (not to mention all the great advice here like getting multiple intercambios), I am worried about work and little things related to maintaining my business.

While my business does have employees other then myself we are almost entirely a remote team. We either work from home, in coffee shops, or from other cities around the USA when traveling (we're in the web hosting, specifically WordPress, business). I do quite a bit of web development and design contracting as well, but again, this can be done entirely online. My clients could care less where I live.

So now that I've written a novel I'll actually ask questions:

- Visa: My guess is that I'm going to be one of those people simply ignoring that they have stayed longer then 3 months and/or I will be making the 1.5 hour trip to France once every few months to renew my visa? Does it even work this way? I don't plan on finding work in Barcelona as I'd make far more money by working remotely and continuing to run my business and doing contract work, so I don't think I can get a work visa.

- Visa & Marriage: The friend I'll be living with has actually lived with my family years back as an exchange student. At one point we talked about getting married simply so she could continue going to school in the states. We did not end up doing this but she would most definitely do the same for me. What I'm not positive about is if it even works this way in Spain. It seems like a loophole that is easily plugged by the government, but I can't seem to find any information on what my options are.

- NIE: If I am not working in Barcelona, but remotely in the states, is it impossible for me to get an NIE? I ask this because...

- Cell Phones: I plan on bringing my iPhone 4 with me to Spain. I've found a bit more information here but not much on the data end of things. I see that there are pay as you go options that include a decent amount of data (though I'm not positive), but if I plan on staying long term it probably makes more sense to be on a contract plan, correct? It's not the minutes I'm worried about, but more text messaging (as it seems to be much more popular in Spain, which is saying something), and data for email, Google maps, looking stuff up, and iPhone apps in general. The problem is I'd need an NIE to do this.. I think.

- Bank Account: It seems like at a certain point it might make sense to get a bank account in Spain? Or does it not matter because my income is still coming from the states? Direct deposit is probably not an option from a USA Bank to a Spanish Bank. For contract work I can simply continue to use Paypal and/or Google Checkout, so that should be fine. Again though, for a bank account, I believe I need a NIE?

- Internet Access: While we will have internet access in our flat I'm wondering how available public wifi is? Are there plenty of options (even if I have to buy a few coffees) outside of the home to go and work? I might go crazy if I had to work in a flat all day, every day.

- Coworking Spaces: I have found a few Google results on this in Barcelona but I can't seem to figure out if they are true coworking spaces or simply shared office space. Does this concept exist in Spain / Barcelona?

I have more but I'll leave it at that for now! Any general advice, tips, or tricks for someone in my situation would be VERY appreciated.

I'm SO excited to make the move (next month), start learning more of the language, and experiencing the adventure in general! I'm in need of a big life change and this seems to be the perfect opportunity!

Last edited by cullenw; 22nd September 2010 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 10:52 AM   #2
Tumbit
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You will need an NIE to function on any level above tourist status in Spain. As a Non-European (EU) Citizen you should really do this at the same time as applying for your residencia, and it is a requirement for opening a Bank account, Hiring a Car, getting a cell phone or paying any other utility Bill, getting a property rental contract etc...

- With regards to WIFI, the majority of the City of Barcelona has excellent broadband speed and coverage and personally, I would trouser the monthly line rental fee and spend the cash by working from the literally hundreds of WIFI zones in the cafes & bars. Look upon this as a further opportunity to meet new people, pick up a bit more Catalan and maybe even pick up a few business contacts.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 11:46 AM   #3
grantc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumbit View Post
You will need an NIE to function on any level above tourist status in Spain. As a Non-European (EU) Citizen you should really do this at the same time as applying for your residencia, and it is a requirement for opening a Bank account, Hiring a Car, getting a cell phone or paying any other utility Bill, getting a property rental contract etc..
I'm not sure you do need a NIE to get services. Certainly it makes life easier but it's possible to get a mobile/cell phone using a passport. In addition you can get a non-residents bank account which does not require a NIE. This is what I did when I first moved to Spain and when I got the NIE I opened a new account.

As for bank transfers, you can request the SWIFT and IBAN codes for your Spanish bank account. That will allow you to do an international money transfer. Alternatively if you have an account with Citibank in the US, opening an account with Citi in Spain will allow you to transfer money internally. The last time I checked with a colleague who is state side the cost per transfer was $10 which will be cheaper than a SWIFT/wire transfer.

For your cell phone you've got several options but your first problem will be to get the iPhone unlocked from AT&T so that it will accept any GSM (micro) SIM card. From there you can pick from any of the major providers here; Movistar, Vodafone, Orange. If you're not sure how long you are going to stay for you might want to look at simyo. They do contracts and pre-pay without any lock in time, see https://www.simyo.es/simyo/portal/st...ShoppingType=5. Most of the providers will require some form of 'permanencia' (or lock in ) of 12-24 months if you get a plan with data.

I don't have much to offer on the Visa / marriage question other than if you do decide to get married here then it's probable that you'll both have an interview with a judge to verify your relationship. At least that is what happened in my case when going for a civil wedding. I imagine a religious/church wedding might have the same requirement?

Barcelona has a couple of "hacker spaces" that might be of use for working, see http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Spain for more info.

regards

grant
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Old 23rd September 2010, 06:57 PM   #4
cullenw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grantc View Post
I'm not sure you do need a NIE to get services. Certainly it makes life easier but it's possible to get a mobile/cell phone using a passport. In addition you can get a non-residents bank account which does not require a NIE. This is what I did when I first moved to Spain and when I got the NIE I opened a new account.

As for bank transfers, you can request the SWIFT and IBAN codes for your Spanish bank account. That will allow you to do an international money transfer. Alternatively if you have an account with Citibank in the US, opening an account with Citi in Spain will allow you to transfer money internally. The last time I checked with a colleague who is state side the cost per transfer was $10 which will be cheaper than a SWIFT/wire transfer.

For your cell phone you've got several options but your first problem will be to get the iPhone unlocked from AT&T so that it will accept any GSM (micro) SIM card. From there you can pick from any of the major providers here; Movistar, Vodafone, Orange. If you're not sure how long you are going to stay for you might want to look at simyo. They do contracts and pre-pay without any lock in time, see https://www.simyo.es/simyo/portal/st...ShoppingType=5. Most of the providers will require some form of 'permanencia' (or lock in ) of 12-24 months if you get a plan with data.

I don't have much to offer on the Visa / marriage question other than if you do decide to get married here then it's probable that you'll both have an interview with a judge to verify your relationship. At least that is what happened in my case when going for a civil wedding. I imagine a religious/church wedding might have the same requirement?

Barcelona has a couple of "hacker spaces" that might be of use for working, see http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Spain for more info.

regards

grant
This is great information, thank you!

I'll start looking into CitiBank now, I'm not a fan of my current bank anyway (Bank of America), though they are a member of the ATM alliance which means I can withdraw for free at most Spanish banks. I'll have to see if Citi is the same.

Unlocking the iPhone is no problem, I've done it quite a few times. Good to know all of the carriers make it easy. As far as how long I'll be staying.. I imagine if after the first three months I'm still happy and enjoying myself I'd stay for at least a year, if not much longer.

Marriage / Visa: I would definitely only do this as a last resort, but I don't think convincing a judge would be a problem.
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