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How to apply for a criminal record certificate in Spain

The Local Spain
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How to apply for a criminal record certificate in Spain
These are the steps to follow to get a criminal record certificate in Spain. (Photo by DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP)

There are several reasons why you'll need a criminal record certificate from Spain as opposed to one from your home country. Here we explain the different ways to apply for this through Spanish police, the best options, the process and more.


It could be that you’re applying for a visa for another country and they need a check from all the places you’ve lived. Maybe you’re applying for a job that requires potential employers to check your criminal background.

You also need a criminal record certificate from police in Spain if you want to apply for a firearms licence or if you want to benefit from the Ley de Segunda Oportunidad (Second Chance Law), which allows individuals to cancel debts in whole or in part and stay afloat when you can no longer pay your debts.

In Spanish this is known as a Certificado de Antecedentes Penales.

Note that if you’re applying for a police check to work with children, you will need Certificado de Delitos de Naturaleza Sexual instead. 

For the purposes of this article, we will be talking about the Certificado de Antecedentes Penales. 

You can apply for the certificate via one of three ways, either online, in person or by post.

If you want the process to be straightforward, however, it’s always best to apply online. Otherwise, the process can become a lot more complicated. 



The easiest way to get your Spanish criminal record is to apply for it online via the government website using the following link.

Step 1 In order to apply you will first need to register for a Cl@ve system. This is a digital signature system that allows you to do all kinds of official processes safely from the comfort of your home, and a way for the government to know it’s actually you, as you won’t be going into the office in person for them to identify you.

You can either get the Cl@ve PIN, which is a temporary password system valid for a short period of time or the Cl@ve Permanente if you think you will need to use it frequently.

If you’re only signing up for it for this purpose, it’s fine to assume you only need the Cl@ve PIN.

Click on Tramitación On-line con CL@VE and select which form of Cl@ve you want to use. Find out more about getting the Cl@ve with our handy guide. You may also need a digital certificate installed on your computer. 

Once you have identified yourself, the system will take you through the next steps.

Step 2 First, make sure that all your personal details are correct. They should all already be on the system, so you won’t have to fill them out.

Step 3 Next, from a drop-down menu, you’ll need to select the reason for your application. For example, if it’s for a visa you’ll select visado and then the country you’re applying for the visa for.

Step 4 The next section asks if you want your certificate apostilled or not. If you’re using your criminal record certificate to send to another country then you will need it apostilled. Again, you need to select the country you want it for.

Step 5 The final step is to pay the associated fee by either introducing your back or card details. The current fee is €3.86.

Once you re-check all the information again, you can click to send and finalise your application and download a copy of it for your records.

You will also receive an e-mail verifying that your application has been sent and will receive another one once your certificate is ready to download.

READ ALSO: How to save lots of time on official matters through Spain's online Cl@ve system

How long will it take to receive my certificate?

The Spanish government website states that Spanish citizens will usually receive their certificates within 24 hours, but it could take up to three business days.

If you are from an EU country, however, it could take up to 30 days, and if you’re from a third country it may take even longer.



Step 1 You’ll need to make an appointment (cita previa) at any registry office of the General Administration of the State or of the Autonomous Communities or at the Local Entities with an integrated office.

Find out where your closest office is here

Step 2 When it’s time for your appointment, you will need to bring with you your original or certified photocopy of your Spanish Residence Card such as TIE or green residence certificate, passport and Spanish driving licence, if you have one.

Any photocopies issued by another country must be certified or verified before your embassy or consulate, or before a notary with the seal of the Hague Apostille or diplomatic legalisation.

Step 3 You’ll also need to bring with you a completed copy of the Modelo 790-006 form, which is the payment form to pay the associated fee. This is the same cost as online - €3.86.

How long will it take?

When the application is made in person, the certificate is normally issued on the spot. If there are any unforeseen issues, however, it may take up to three business days. If you’re not a Spanish citizen, however, this may take up to 30 days or longer.

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


By post

Step 1 If you want to apply by post, you can send certified or verified photocopies of the original documents mentioned above to: The Territorial Management of the Ministry of Justice or the Criminal Records Section of the Central Citizen Service Office in Madrid.

Step 2 ​Your application must also contain an authorisation to send your certificate by ordinary mail or by email.

Step 3 Remember, you will also need to complete Modelo 790-006 to pay the associated fee.

How long will it take?

The Spanish government website states that it will not take more than 10 business days from receipt of the request to issue your police certificate. Keep in mind though, it may take longer if you’re not Spanish.


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