Pre-primary, primary and compulsory secondary education: preregistration and enrolment

What do you need to know?

This formality refers to applying for schooling for students between 3 and 16 years of age at publicly funded schools with the following levels of education:

  • Pre-primary education (I3, I4 and I5)
  • Primary education (years 1 to 6)
  • Compulsory secondary education (ESO) (years 1 to 4)

These educational levels are available in different schools depending on the source of funding:

  • Public schools are financed by the State.
  • Private schools, which are divided into two types:
    • State-subsidized private schools (escoles concertades): these are schools that are partly financed privately and also receive subsidies from the Catalan Government.
    • Private (independent): that are privately financed.


In Catalonia, education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16, but it is common for boys and girls to start school at the age of 3.

Here we only explain how to complete the process for public schools and subsidised private schools or escoles concertades, since both are governed by the same regulations. This formality is carried out following a schedule and an established procedure. If a child arrives in Barcelona in the middle of the school year or when the official enrolment period has finished and wants to access the public and subsidised school system, another formality will be followed: schooling for newly arrived students.

If you are interested in a private school, you should contact them directly as each school has its own access mechanism.

Who does it apply to?

It is for children between 3 and 16 years of age.

  • Pre-primary education: Children who have their third birthday during the registration year can be enrolled in the first year of pre-primary education (I3).
  • Primary education (years 1 to 6): Students who have their sixth birthday during the registration year can be enrolled in the first year of primary education.  Also, students of an age other than the age for studying this educational level, because they come from the last year of pre-primary education.
  • Compulsory secondary education (ESO): Students who have their 12th birthday during the registration year can be enrolled in the first year of compulsory secondary education. Also, students of an age other than the academically appropriate age may start this stage of education.

How does it work?

To access schooling, this procedure must be followed, which has two phases:

  • Preregistration to request a place in a school. Only one application may be submitted per child. However, you may indicate, in order of preference, requests for admission to several schools (a maximum of 10) on the same application form. It is advisable to list as many desirable schools as possible to increase the chances of obtaining a place in one of them and thus adjusting to the preferences of each family as much as possible.
  • Enrolment is completed to confirm registration at the school where a place has been obtained.

Once the preregistrations have been completed, they are sorted.

  • To access the second cycle of pre-primary education (I3, I4, I5) if there are more applications than places in a school, the following priority criteria are scored to assign them. In the event of a tie, the supplementary criteria are assessed. If the tie persists, the order of the applications according to the number that comes out in a public draw is taken into account.
  • To access primary education or ESO, applications from affiliated schools are given priority. (Note: The education administration establishes affiliated reference schools in order to create a model that facilitates the transition from pre-school to primary education and from primary to ESO. Coordination and pedagogical continuity are thus promoted to achieve coherent educational itineraries). In the event of a tie, the priority criteria are applied, then the supplementary criteria, and if the tie still continues, the order of the applications according to the public draw number is taken into account.

Scoring criteria

Priority criteria:

  • If the child who opts for the place has siblings who are already studying at the requested school, 50 points are obtained. If the child is in foster care and the foster family's children are schooled in the school, they also get this score.
  • Geographic proximity. Each school has an educational zone (catchment area) to be able to establish the criterion of proximity. You can check the catchment area for each school on its website before submitting the preregistration application. It should be noted that geographical proximity criterion scores are not accumulated. According to the circumstances, different scores can be added:
    • When the family's usual address is within the catchment area of ​​the first school requested: 30 points.
    • When the location of the father's, mother's, or guardian's place of work is within the catchment area of ​​the first school chosen: 20 points. 
    • In the city of  Barcelona, ​​when the family home is located in the same municipal district as the first school chosen, but outside the school's catchment area: 15 points.
    • When the family home is within the same municipality, but not within the catchment area of the first school chosen: 10 points.
  • If a family member receives the guaranteed citizenship income: 15 points.

Supplementary criteria

  • Disability of the student, parent, guardian or siblings: 15 points.
  • When the parent or guardian works at the school at the time of submitting the preregistration application: 10 points.
  • For being part of a large family: 10 points.
  • For being part of a single-parent family: 10 points. 
  • For a student born in a multiple birth: 10 points.
  • For a student in foster care: 10 points. 
  • When victim of gender-based violence or terrorism status is proven: 10 points.

Other situations

Applications alleging the transfer of the family unit due to the forced mobility of the father, mother or guardian, the sudden disability acquired by any of the family members or a change of residence resulting from acts of gender-based violence or school bullying will be assessed. In these cases, the appropriate supporting documentation must be attached.

How long does it take?

​​​​​​It is important to consult the exact calendar each year. In general, for the school year that begins in September, the process begins in February of the same year with family visits to schools that organise open doors. Preregistration takes place in March. Applications are scored with the allocation criteria and if there is a tie, the draw is applied. Once places have been assigned, registration takes place in the month of June.

Calendar for the 2024-25 academic year

  • Publication of the number of places for each school and for each course: 5 March 2024.
  • Submission of preregistration applications:
    • 2nd cycle of pre-primary education (3-6 years) and primary education (6-12 years): from 6 to 20 March 2024.
    • Compulsory secondary education (ESO) (12-16 years): from 8 to 20 March 2024.
  • Publication of the list of preregistration applications with the provisional score: 17 April 2024.
  • Appeals against the provisional score: from 17 to 22 April 2024.
  • Publication of the list of applications once appeals are resolved: 25 April 2024.
  • Public draw to determine the tiebreaker number: 30 April 2024.
  • Publication of the lists of admitted students and, where appropriate, of the waiting list: 10 June 2024.
  • Enrolment of students in the 2nd cycle of pre-primary education, primary education and ESO: from 18 to 26 June 2024.
  • Start of the academic year: September 2024.

What do you need to do?

Preregistration will be carried out exclusively online, therefore you will need a computer, tablet or mobile phone with an Internet connection.

Families who have difficulties in preregistration or do not have the necessary means can make an appointment and go to any of the schooling support offices. (See directions below).

What steps must you follow?


Step 1. Check that you have everything you need for preregistration
  • Digital certificate or a digital identification tool, such as the electronic DNI, T-CAT, Cl@ve system or idCAT Móvil. To get information about the procedure for obtaining the digital certificate, go to the relevant document, where you will find the information and all the details about how to obtain it.
    • If you have a digital certificate, you can use the form with electronic authentication.
    • If you do not have digital identification, you can use the electronic form and you must attach your identification document previously scanned or photographed to prove your identity.
  • Register of Student of Catalonia (RALC) student identifier code. This number is assigned (uniquely and automatically) to a student when they enrol for the first time in public and private schools in Catalonia. If your child does not already have one, one will be assigned to him or her. If your child has it but you don't know it, look it up).
Step 2. Complete the form and send the application for preregistration
  • Choose the form of the corresponding education stage:
  • Fill in the information on data protection:
    • In the option "Opposition to data consultation", you can leave this box blank so that the Administration can consult data internally. Or, if you check this box you must attach all identification or scoring criteria documentation.
    • In the option "Declaration of census and, where appropriate, disability", check these boxes to allow the Administration to consult residence data or, where appropriate, the degree of disability.
    • In the option "Declaration of true data and responsibility", always check this box to start filling out the form.
  • Fill in the personal data on the form:
    • If you have identified yourself digitally and child has an identifier code from the Register of Students of Catalonia (RALC), specify it in the corresponding box. This will recover all personal data and you will only have to add the email address and contact telephone number.
    • If you have not identified digitally or if you have identified digitally, but your child does not have a Register of Students of Catalonia identifier code (RALC), fill in all the personal information requested, also the email address and telephone contact number.
  • Specify the schools chosen in the form:
    • Indicate in order of preference up to 10 schools in which you would like to obtain a place.
    • Indicate if you want an allocated position, which is the one that the Administration would award you in the event that none of the requested centres are assigned to you. In applications for the first year of second cycle pre-primary education (I3), the box to request an allocated position is automatically marked.
  • Just fill out the form and attach documentation:
    • Also indicate the particular circumstances of child (for example, if they have any specific educational needs or if they have a sibling requesting a place in the same school, level and course).
    • Mark the priority and supplementary criteria that you wish to claim.
    • Attach all the scanned or photographed documentation that is required.
  • Once the form is filled out, send the preregistration request.
  • You will receive a receipt by email, in which you can check if you must attach additional documentation within the established period.
Step 3: Consult the preregistration result lists
  • Once the preregistration period is over, you have to consult the lists to find out if the student has been accepted and what provisional score they have obtained.
  • The score is given in relation to the school chosen first. This score is maintained in the rest of the requested schools.
  • Lists can be consulted in different ways:
    • Online: You can check the status of your preregistration on the web portal for families. The Spanish national identity document (DNI), the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) or the passport number of the guardian specified in the application is needed as a reference to consult the results online and the code of the preregistration application.​​​​
    • In person: Go to the school requested as first choice and check its bulletin board. You will also find the list at the schooling support offices.
    • Through a telephone message: If you indicated a mobile phone where you can receive SMS, you will receive an informative message with the preregistration code, the score awarded and the random number assigned for the draw.
Step 4: File an appeal (if necessary)
  • If there is an error or you do not agree with the provisional score, you can file an appeal within the established period.
  • Once the appeals are resolved, the lists are published again with the assigned random number, which will serve in the event of a tie.
  • To break ties, a public draw is held to determine the number from which applications with the same score are ranked.
  • Check in which school your child has obtained a place.
Step 5: Formalise enrolment
  • Contact the school where your child has been assigned a place to make an appointment to formalise enrolment.
  • If you do not formalise enrolment within the established period, it will be considered that the place is forfeited.
  • The school will help and advise you regarding enrolment and will also answer all your questions.

Who can submit the application?

The application should be submitted by the child’s parents or guardians in person or by a representative. If the application is submitted by a third person, authorisation must be submitted, signed by the child’s parents or guardians.

What documentation is needed?

Some documentation is not required, because inter-administrative consultations are made. But if you have to submit any documentation, it must be digitised (by means of a scanner or a photograph).

Documentation necessary to prove the identity of families in preregistration

  • Electronic certification of birth registration, family book or other documents related to affiliation where the name and date of birth of the child and the relationship with the parent or guardins can be checked.
    • If the child is adopted or fostered, documentation relating to the adoption or the ruling on fostering must be provided.
    • The identification or parentage details for foreign students may, extraordinarily, be attested with identity documents, family book from the country of origin or such alternative documents as the person may provide, translated, if necessary. The school board will assess it and record the decision made in writing.
  • Spanish national identity document (DNI) or identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) of the father, mother or guardian of the student if the electronic application is used. You can provide your passport or, in the case of a foreign national from a European Union country, the identity document from your country of origin.

Documentation necessary to accredit the scoring criteria in preregistration

  • Where there are siblings at the school or parents or guardians working there: Documentary justification is not needed as the school checks this itself.
  • Proximity to the family home. When sending the application, the automated register consultation is scheduled. This consultation serves to confirm the address of the family home. If the register data cannot be obtained, residence must be accredited by attaching a certificate or volant de convivència of the student (document that shows where a registered individual lives and with whom), where the address must be recorded and prove that the child lives at least with the father or mother who submits the application.
  • Proximity to place of work: photocopy of the employment contract or a certificate from the company. In the case of self-employed individuals whose address is where they work, the address recorded at the Tax Office will be used and a copy of the registration, change of details and deregistration form.
  • In the case of receiving the guaranteed income subsidy: updated certificate issued by the Department of Social Rights that proves you are a beneficiary.
  • Where evidence is provided of a large family or single-parent status: This information will be validated through inter-administrative consultations. Only when it is not possible to validate it or status is granted by other regional governments in Spain (Comunitats Autònomes), it will be necessary to submit the corresponding family certificate.
  • Being born in a multiple delivery: accredited with the family book or the electronic certification of birth registration.
  • Fostering situation is accredited with the acceptance resolution of the Department of Social Rights.
  • In the case of disability: this situation is validated by inter-administrative consultations. If it cannot be validated or if it is a disability recognised by other regional governments (Comunitats Autònomes), it is necessary to submit the certificate or the disability card issued by the Department of Social Rights or the competent agencies in other autonomous communities.
  • The condition of victim of gender or terrorism violence is accredited with the judicial ruling of any jurisdictional order, the current protection order, the report of social services or the certificate that provides the condition of victim of terrorism issued by the Sub -Directorate General of support for victims of terrorism of the Ministry of Interior.

Documentation for enrolment

Apart from the documentation provided when you have submitted the preregistration application, at the time of enrolment the school may also ask you for additional documentation, such as:

  • A photocopy of the vaccination card showing vaccines doses received with the corresponding dates. If you do not have the vaccination card, you must submit an official medical certificate or the student's health card stating the vaccine doses received with the corresponding dates. If the child has not been vaccinated due to a medical condition or other circumstances, an official justifying medical certificate must be presented.

What does it cost?

Preregistration and enrolment is free in public schools.

The process in subsidised private schools (escoles concertades) is also free, although there may be fees and voluntary expenses for extracurricular activities.

Want to know more?

Body responsible for the formality

Further information

You can use the link to the official Barcelona Education Consortium website (only available in Catalan, but it does have Google Translate which means that the portal can be viewed in many languages).

Families who have difficulties in preregistration or do not have the necessary means, can make an appointment and go to any of the support offices for schooling in the city of Barcelona:

  • Ciutat Vella (placeta del Pi, 2)
  • Eixample (calle de Roger de Llúria, 1-3)
  • Gràcia-Horta (calle de la Virgen de la Salud, 87)
  • Nou Barris (calle de Nil, 27 and calle de Vallcivera, 14)
  • Sant Andreu (calle del Montsec, 20-22)
  • Sant Martí (calle de Cristóbal de Moura, 223)
  • Sants-Montjuïc (Sala Artur Martorell del IMEB - Plaza de Espanya, 5, planta baja)

Important linked formalities

Some examples of formalities which you may be asked to complete prior to preregistration and enrolment are set out below:


The procedures tend to change frequently. Therefore, only what is provided by the regulations in force at the time of carrying out the procedure in question is applicable.