Jermain Defoe has hinted his future could lie away from Toronto FC after recent criticism from some of the club's fans.
Aston Villa have an option to sign Tom Cleverley from Manchester United in January.
Riera has been with the Catalan giants for nine years and captained the club at all youth levels, but the 19-year-old was told by Barcelona B at the end of last season that he would not be offered a new contract.
The centre-half becomes Forest's fourth summer signing following fellow defender Louis Laing and strikers Matt Fryatt and Lars Veldwijk to the City Ground.
He said via his Twitter account: "Today I start a new chapter in my life at NFFC. I'm really excited about this new project and I'm gonna give all for this team. Thanks so much for the messages I've received."