This paper presents the first results of a project aimed at investigating the arrangement of polyelectrolyte layers on unalloyed steel. We studied the structure of double and single polymer layers consisting of cellulose phosphate (HP-PP-C) and polyethyleneimine (PEI). Layers were characterized by variable angle ellipsometry, AFM and XPS. In particular, XPS indicated the incorporation of iron ions into cellulose phosphate layers, but, in contrast, these ions could not be observed in PEI layers. Results indicated that the homogeneity and qualitative corrosion performance of double layers (HP-PP-C/PEI) on unalloyed steel depend on the deposition of cellulose phosphate at the interface with steel.