For members


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

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.

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

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.


How do I get a digital certificate?

Step 1: In order to apply for your digital certificate, you will follow this link 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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For members


How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain

If you fancy yourself green-fingered or live in an apartment without access to your own outdoor space, you'll find that Spain has many urban gardens and allotments that you can potentially join.

How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain

Urban gardens or huertos urbanos have become very popular in Spain’s big cities, so popular in fact that in some of the bigger cities there are now long waiting lists if you want to be able to have your own little vegetable plot.

According to Focus on Spanish Society, a publication edited by Funcas, almost two-thirds of the total population (65 percent) of those in Spain live in apartments, the second-highest number in the EU, after Latvia.

This means that over half of Spaniards don’t have their own gardens, fuelling the need for green spaces in cities where people can fulfill their green-fingered ambitions or simply learn more about the cultivation of vegetables.

Urban gardens were created to meet this demand and have been around in Spain since just after the Second World War. Today, the report on Urban Agriculture in Spain, says that there are over 20,000 allotments around the country.

All of these work slightly differently – some are owned by the city council, others by cultural or social associations and some are private. There are different ways to get involved, from signing up to waitlists provided by your local Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) to paying a monthly fee to rent your own plot or joining a communal garden to work with others, instead of having your own individual space.

Here’s how it works in some of Spain’s main cities, what you need to do and how to get involved.


Barcelona has an extensive network of urban gardens in almost all barrios across the city, even in the very central ones such as Ciutat Vella and Raval.

Barcelona’s Urban Gardens Network is aimed at people over 65 in the city. They must be physically capable of agricultural work and at the time of requesting a plot and must not live with anyone else who has been given one. Part of the program is also reserved for people at risk of social exclusion.  

To be able to get your own little garden in Barcelona you must ask at the offices of Atención Ciudadana de los Distritos and bring the original and a copy of your DNI/TIE, as well as a certificate of convivencia, which can also be applied for at the same office.

Neighbourhood gardeners at Madrid’s community garden “Esta es una Plaza” (This one is a Square) Photo: GERARD JULIEN/AFP


There are 74 urban gardens distributed throughout the Spanish capital, which receive training and advice from the City Council. They are also part of the Network of Ecological School Gardens of Madrid so that kids can learn about gardening and planting vegetables too.

The Network of Urban Gardens of Madrid is an initiative promoted by citizens who are dedicated to community agriculture within the city. On their website, you’ll find a list of each urban garden, as well as details on how to contact, join or rent a plot at each one. 


There are several urban gardens located both within Malaga city itself and on its outskirts. While there isn’t a central organisation managing all the urban gardens like in Barcelona, if you want to get involved, you’ll have to contact each one individually.  Some of the best located closest to the city centre are La Yuca, El Caminito and Huerta Dignidad.

El Caminito is one of the most well-known and is located next to the old San Miguel cemetery. It’s managed by the El Caminito association and the main purpose of the project is to raise awareness of environmental issues.  On their website, they state that all you need to do to join in is to show up and be willing to participate. You can also e-mail [email protected] to find out more.


How to get involved with urban gardens in Spain. Photo: jf-gabnor / Pixabay


There are several urban gardens in Valencia city. The four main ones are Parque de la Torre, Huertos de Benimaclet,  Hort de la Botja and El Espacio Verde Benicalap.  

Parque de la Torre is the largest urban garden in Valencia with a total of 274 plots. There is currently a waitlist to be able to get one, which you can join by contacting them via their website. 

Huertos de Benimaclet is a dedicated space of 60 plots for residents of the neighbourhood to grow fruits and vegetables and learn about cultivation and the environment. The cost to join is €22 per year and currently there is a waitlist. You can contact them via their website to sign up.

Hort de la Botja-Velluters grew out of the need for education and including those who were at risk from social exclusion. They have an active Facebook group, through which you can contact them and ask about getting involved. They also organise lots of activities such as those for local children.

El Espai Verd Benicalap is an urban garden and civic centre which was created between 2020 and 2021. It has just 15 plots, as well as an edible forest. The garden is reserved for those who live in the area of Benicalap and join one of the Benicalap barrio associations.


Seville currently has 13 urban gardens within its city limits, located in several of the main neighbourhoods. Click here to find out where they are and information about each one.

There’s also a website dedicated to Huertos Urbanos in Sevilla, which lists events, tours and open days when you can go and help out. You can contact them directly about the availability of renting your own patch or how you can get involved on an ongoing basis.

Just last year, the Ayuntamiento of Seville created 33 new vegetable plots in the Parque Guadaíra. Each one has been given to a different association to manage, so you may find that by joining a local association, you’ll have access to an allotment too. 

What if I can’t join an urban garden?

If you’re unable to join an urban garden because the waitlists are too long, you can’t afford to rent a plot yourself or you are in the right age bracket, then remember it’s always possible to create your own mini vegetable patch on your balcony.

No matter how small your balcony is, there’s always room for planters that hang off the edge, where you can grow smaller edible plants such as cherry tomatoes, herbs and small peppers. You can also place pots around the edge to grow various vegetables instead of flowers or traditional house plants.