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Access all areas: how to get a digital certificate in Spain to aid online processes

Access all areas: how to get a digital certificate in Spain to aid online processes
How to get Spain's digital certificate? Photo: Bartek Zakrzewski / Pixabay
Not to be confused with a Digital Covid Certificate, Spain's digital certificate makes many online administrative processes a lot easier. Here's everything you need to know from what you need it for to how to apply for one.

What is a digital certificate?

A digital certificate is a piece of software in Spain that you can download on your computer, allowing you to identify yourself during administrative processes.

Spain is notorious for its difficult bureaucratic systems, but the digital certificate can save you a lot of hassle and allow you to complete many processes online, without having to go in person to the various offices and agencies.

What is the digital certificate used for?

The digital certificate can be used for a whole host of processes with various Spanish institutions, including the Hacienda (Tax Office), DGT (Traffic Office), regional health system, INSS social security, your bank, or your Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).

You will need it to do anything from logging on to your personal health page and making changes to your employment status to paying fines, declaring taxes and registering your vehicle for road tax.

Anyone who is autónomo or self-employed in Spain should already have a digital certificate to process anything to do with taxes or social security. If you have a gestor who does your taxes for you, they will also need a copy of your digital certificate in order to submit tax returns for you.

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How do I get a digital certificate?

Step 1: In order to apply for your digital certificate, you will follow this link https://www.sede.fnmt.gob.es/. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a button saying ‘Obtenga/Renueve su Certificado Digital’ – click on this. 

On the next page, if you’re applying for yourself, you will click on ‘Persona Física’.

Step 2: Next, you will need to download a special piece of software that allows the digital certificate to work on your computer. Click on Área de Descarga de Configurador FNMT and then select your computer operating system in order to download the correct software.

Once you have downloaded the software correctly, you will click on ‘Solicitar Certificado’ on the left-hand side panel.

Step 3: A new page will open asking you for all your personal information such as your NIE – the number on your TIE/DNI card or green residency certificate – plus your name and an e-mail address. When you’ve filled out all the fields, click ‘ENVIAR PETICIÓN’ to send your application.

Step 4: Once you have sent your application, a pop-up box will appear, if you have downloaded the software correctly, asking you for permission to open it. Click on ‘Abrir’. Another pop-up box will then appear, asking you to choose a password. You will need the password later, so choose one that you will remember or keep it somewhere safe. Then click ‘Aceptar’.

Step 5: After your application has been sent and your password set, you will receive an email with an application code. You will then need to make an appointment to visit one of the FNMT or Tax Agency offices to accredit your identity in person. You can find a list of offices and locations here, in order to find your nearest one.

When you get your appointment, you will need to take your identity documents such as TIE card, DNI card or residency certificate, plus your passport and any other documents you are asked to bring with you.

Step 6: When your identity has been verified, you will receive another e-mail with a link to download your digital certificate, as well as the same application code. To download it correctly, it will ask you for your name, NIE and code. Click on the option ‘Instalar Certificado’ in order to install your digital certificate onto your browser. This means that it will pop up every time an official Spanish website, such as the ones mentioned above, requires your identity for an administrative process.

Keep in mind, your digital certificate will only be on the one device you installed it on, to install it on other devices, you will need your application code and password. If you have a gestor to help with taxes and other administrative processes, they will also ask you for your code and password to be able to download it on their computers too. 

READ ALSO: Spanish bureaucracy explained: Saving time through the online [email protected] system


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