Cost of Living in Spain and Living Expenses for International Students
Make the most of your money
One of the first things you will have to consider when you move to Spain is changing your existing funds into Euros. While many banks can handle this service for you, it usually comes with a fee and often an exchange rate markup, which is a sneaky way to shave more of your money off the top.
To protect yourself from getting a bad rate, a good place to start is an online currency conversion calculator. Knowing the correct rate can help you avoid doing business with a bank or service that is trying to overcharge you. You can also transfer money using TransferWise, which always guarantees the mid-market rate and is helpful for cutting back on fees in general.
YOUR BANKING AND PAYMENTS OPTIONS
What documents are required to open a bank account for a foreigner?
- A valid passport or national identity card
- Your reason for opening an account (documentation is not always required but it is recommended to bring, for example, the letter of acceptance of your university in Spain or a copy of your Spanish work contract)
- Indication of your address in Spain. If you do not have a Spanish address just yet, you will be able to hand in this information later. Some banks will also ask for your TIN, so it might make sense to have it at hand too.
- To open a bank account as a resident, you will need your NIE/TIE number at hand.
Getting your phone and internet organized
- Telefonica bill (if available) or a recent utility (electricity) bill)
- NIE and passport number
- Bank Account Information
Making international calls
To call internationally from Spain: Dial exit code (00) followed by Spain’s country code, area code and number. In some countries, the leading zero of the area codes must not be dialed. For example:
00 + country code + area code + tel number
To call internationally to Spain: Dial the number required for an international call, such as 00, then 34 (country code for Spain), then the phone number without the leading zero of the former area codes. For example: 0041 34 995 1570
City Codes: Barcelona 93, Madrid 91, Seville 95 and Valencia 96.
Accessing the internet
The most common and practical way to get the Spanish Internet is to include it as part of the package with your phone provider. You can also look to include TV and/or mobile phone, so you will have fewer bills to worry about each month. ADSL and fibre cable broadband are the main options offered by providers these days as they are faster and offer unlimited internet time. You can get packages offering speeds of between 50 – 500Mb. Monthly prices are usually between €20-40 a month.
Fibre-optic broadband is the more reliable option of the two as the speed is more reliable (ASDL is often advertised as ‘speeds of up to…’) but is only available in the bigger cities. You can check fibre coverage in your area with each company. Whatever Spanish internet deal you sign up for, you will receive equipment that you will have to set up. Sometimes, for more complex equipment, a technician will come and install everything for you.
If you need the Internet throughout your home, or if several computers need Internet access, a WIFI router will be your best option, allowing other computers and mobile devices to connect to your network. High-speed access usually involves signing a contract of one year, and if you terminate the contract, you may incur high fees.