Useful information for students in Bilbao

Information about tourst offices in Bilbao

Main office

Address: Plaza Circular, 1 - 48001 BILBAO
Phone number: 944 795 760
Fax: 944 795 761
Opening time: 09:00h to 21:00h

Useful information for students in Bilbao

Information about free Wi-Fi

The city of Bilbao has an extensive free WI-FI network, with over 150 open spots. These areas are located both in municipal buildings and on the street. So if you visit places like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the New Square and the Basilica of Begoña, you can easily connect to Internet free of charge and use your phone, tablet or mobile device.

To pinpoint the exact locations, follow the link  Bilbao WI-FI zones

Information about the Bilbao Bizkaia Tourist Card

The Bilbao Bizkaia Tourist Card is a card that integrates public transport and cultural and leisure activities. It is a good option for those students of Spanish who want to spend a few days (1, 2 or 3) to sightsee, before or after their Spanish course.
  The rates are as follows: 30,00 € -24h / 35,00 € -48h / 72,00 € -72h

To learn more about Bilbao Bizakaia Card, follow the link.

Information on Bilbao transport services

Bilbao is a city with an excellent transport service. For all of the transport means (bus, tram, metro, funicular, puente colgante, EuskoTren and Renfe) a unique transport card is required: the barik.

The transport card, the Barik barik

  • How much are the Barik Cards?
    Registered and not registered cards: 3€
    Personalized cards: 3€
  • Where can they be purchased?
    Not registered Barik: they can be purchased in the card vending machines of Bilbao Metro.
    Registered and personalized: they can be purchased in the 4 customer care offices of Bilbao Metro.
  • Where can I use the Barik Card?
    In the railroads: (Bilbao Metro, EuskoTren, EuskoTran and in Renfe -apart from Gizatrans), busses (Bizkaibus, Bilbobus, Etxebarri Bus, Erandio Bus, Kbus Barakaldo), cable railways (Puente Colgante, Ereaga Elevator, Artxanda Funicular, Larreineta Funicular) and other services (Leioa parkings, Etxebarri and BEC, Uribe Kosta bikes).
  • How many people can travel together using the same Barik?
    A maximum of 10 people can travel together with the same registered or not registered Barik.
    In the case of a personalized Barik, only the owner is entiteled to travelling with it.
  • What is the Barik minimum top up amount?
    The minimum top up amount is 5€. It is not possible to purchase the card only, without topping up.
  • How can I block my Barik card in case of loss or theft?
    Cualquier persona podrá, en caso de pérdida o robo de su tarjeta barik, solicitar el bloqueo de la misma. El bloqueo puede solicitarse:
    - To a Customer Service Office, where you will be given a duplicate card.
    - By phone at 901 123 123. In this case, the owner of the lost or stolen barik must then go to a Customer Service Office if he/she wants a duplicate card.
    It will not be possible to use the locked cards again. When requesting a duplicate, you will recover the balance your card had when it was blocked.
  • Can I top up a monthly 3-zones ticket with a credit card?
    Yes, you can perform an operation for personalized Barik and credit card a day, regardless of the amount. If a person needs to recharge his barik and buy a monthly ticket, it is important to keep it in mind, because then the sum of the amounts of the transactions must not exceed 45 €.

The bicycle rental service

Bilbao City Council offers a bike rental service to anybody. This means that you can pick up a bike at one point of the city, use it, then give it back where it is most convenient. 

To do this, you need to register to the service, although the fee is very affordable. Then you will get a card to be used at the bikes rental points.

In the following link, you will find detailed information on the bicycle rental service in Bilbao.

Information on simcards for mobile phones

Whether you come to Bilbao with a cell phone and want to put a Spanish sim card or you've decided to buy a cheap one to use a national sim card, we mention below the different telephone companies operating in Spain, so that you see the rates that best suit your needs:

Information on sockets and electrical voltage

Sockets and plugs

Two types plugs are used in Spain: Schuko (type F) or Europlug (type C). The Schuko plugs have two 4.8 mm diameter cylindrical pins, and contacts on the bottom and top that act as grounds. The Europlug are flat and have two cylindrical pins, but usually carry only low power devices. The most common power outlets are Type F.


If you want to use your devices in Spanish sockets do not worry. For any of these sockets in Spain, you can easily find different adapters in electricity, hardware and department stores, at a price between 2 to 5 euros.

Electrical voltage

You should also pay attention to the voltage. The voltage has nothing to do with the type of plug. If the plug fits, but the appliance is 230 V, it might not work or provoke a breakdown.

If you want to know the voltage of your devices, you should seek the appropriate information. Normally it is detailed on a sticker on the bottom or back of the device, or on the plug itself. If it is 100-240 V, 220-230 V or 230 V, it will work without any problem. WARNING! If it is 110 V, 120 V or any other voltage or voltage range that does not include 230 V, do not plug in without a transformer plugs.

Information on where to change money

Usually, you can change currency at Bilbao airport itself, or in different banks in the city.

Note that sometimes you must go to the bank and request operation in advance.

Information on useful phone contacts in Bilbao

  • General:
    Todas las Urgencias: 112
  • Taxi:
    Radio Taxi Bilbao: 94 444 8888
  • Airport:
    Bilbao Airport: 913 21 10 00
  • Hospital and medical urgencies:
      Basurto Hospital: 94 400 60 00
    Cruces Hospital: 94 600 60 00
    Red cross: 94 4222222
    Medical emergencies: 94 4100000
  • Pharmacies:
    C/ Hurtado de Amezaga, 10
    (In front the train station: 94 4155716)
    C/ Ronda-Cruz: 94 4152128
  • Police:
    National Police: 94 4709000
    Basque Police (Ertzaintza): 94 4204200 or 112
  • Firemen:
    Firemen: 944233000
  • Consulates:
    C. of the Italian Republic: 94 4230772
    General C. of France: 94 4255180
    King of Marocco C.: 94 4100260/94 6072176
    Honorary C. of the Federal Republic of Germany: 94 4238585
    Honorary C. of Brasil: 94 4474950
    C. of Sweden: 94 4356570/94 4158188
    C. of the Kingdom of Sweden: 94 4247719
    C. of Finland: 94 4239036
    C. of the Kingdom of Jordan: 94 4212214
    Honorary C. of Ivory Coast: 94 4273902
    General British C.: 94 4157600
    C. of Portugal: 94 4354540
    Honorary C. of Finland: 94 4239036
    Honorary C. of Greece: 94 4239739/94 4251573

Information on register in Bilbao (Empadronarse)

"Empadronarse” means registering on the Municipal Register, a record which lists all the residents of the town. Both people with Spanish nationality and foreiners can register, regardless of their regular or irregular situation and their age.

People living in the city are required to enroll in this registry.

  • There may be a requirement for many official procedures, social assistance and economic assistance.
  • Allows you to request the Individual Health Card, and schooling for the children, or to access municipal social services.
  • Allows people to demonstrate how long they have been living in Spain and Bilbao.
  • Enables participation in programs to improve the living conditions of the neighbors.

The non-EU foreigners, except those who have a long-term authorization, must renew their registration in the Municipal Register within two years from the time they first registered. If not, the council may erase them without notice.
The registration and change of address are made in the Citizen Advice Centre or in the district offices.

  • You can ask for a registration form :
  • In the Public Service
  • In the District Offices
  • Online
  • By phone (010/944 010 010)

Information about how to obtain the NIE in Bilbao

The NIE (Foreigner Identification Number) is a personal, unique and exclusive number that must be possesed, for identification purposes, by all foreigners:

  • Who have been initiated a procedure for a document authorizing them to remain on Spanish territory, except from visa.
  • Who have been initiated administrative proceedures under the provisions of the law on foreigners.
  • Who relate to Spain, due to economic, professional or social interests.

In the first two cases, the NIE in Spain is granted ex officio by the General Directorate of Police in Spain, provided that the foreigner is not in Spain in an irregular situation and communicates the reasons for requesting the number in question.

In the third case, all foreigners who relate to Spain for their economic, professional or social interests, may request the NIE personally from the General Directorate of Police or, if not in the time of application in Spain, to the Embassy or Honorary Consulates.

Consequently, if the applicant intends to study or work in Spain and, therefore, is going to live in the near future in this country, he/she can not submit the application through the Embassy, but needs to do so to the police in Spain (citizens of Member States of the European Union will have to register as such and thus obtain the NIE, the citizens of non-member States of the European Union will get the NIE with the right of residence).

Approximately one week is needed to obtain the NIE through the Embassy, except in the case of opting for the NIE to be sent by post rather than e-mail, in which case more time might be required. In any case, the terms do not depend on the embassy; it depends on the authorities in Spain.


Information about VISA

Student Visa

Foreigners, who wish to undertake or to extend a study course in Spanish public educational institutions or officially recognized private educational institutions, must have the corresponding student visa. The student visa allows a foreigner to remain in Spain. The duration of the stay will be equal to the course for which it is registered.

Requirements for obtaining a student visa:

  • Meet all requirements for entry.
  • Have been admitted to any Spanish public or private educational institution, officially recognized, to undertake or extend studies, indicating a schedule that involves attendance and curriculum.
  • In cases of minor students, when not accompanied by their parents or guardians, those will be required as well to authorize the student to travel to Spain to conduct studies, stating the center and the period of stay provided.
  • Have sufficient financial means to cover the costs of their studies and of their living expenses, those to return home and, where appropriate, those of their families.

Procedure to obtain a student visa:

The student visa application must be submitted personally, in official form, to the diplomatic mission or to the Spanish consular office in whose district the foreigner resides. If it were minors, the application must be presented personally by a parent or guardian or by a duly accredited representative.

While appling for the student visa, further documents should be attached, which prove:

  • The validity of the passport or travel document of the applicant for the entire period for which a visa is requested.
  • Admission to an officially recognized public or private educational institution.
  • The content of the curriculum the student is going to follow.
  • A health insurance that covers, throughout the duration of their stay in Spain, the medical expenses and the repatriation due to accidents or sudden illness.
  • The provision of means of subsistence and accommodation which are enough to cover the period requested and, where appropriate, to ensure the return to the country of origin.
  • In the case of minor students, the authorization of parents or guardians.

When the duration of the studies or research is more than six months, it will also be required as follows:

  • A medical certificate.
  • In the case of applicants over the age of criminal age, have no criminal record

The diplomatic mission or consular office may require the applicant appearance and, where deemed necessary, a personal interview.

The diplomatic mission or consular post will process the request and, where appropriate, will issue the student visa, within a maximum of one month.

In the case of granting the visa, the foreigner is to pick it up within two months from the notification. If the student residence would last more than six months, the foreigner must apply for foreign student card within a month from his/her entry into Spain.

For more information on issues related to this theme, you can also visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain.

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