If you’re moving to Spain, you will ALSO need this Certificado Electrónico

Digital certificate, certificado digital
Digital certificate


This post wasn’t originally planned. 

I mean, I was planning to write about the Electronic Certificate (Certificado Electrónico) on a later date, only not now.

But I just had the wonderful experience of doing it, and I thought:

“Jimena, you have to write about this before you forget the details”.

So here it is. 

Yes, I was talking in my last post about the first four documents you need when you get to Spain, which is all good and useful and all. 


There is one more thing that I do recommend you doing as soon as you can. 

Before the NIE even?

No, having your NIE is a requisite for this one, so no luck there. 

And it’s not a document either, it’s a piece of software. 



(Bear with me, please.)

Let me introduce you to the…

Certificado Electrónico

Or electronic (digital, more like it) certificate. 

This is nothing else than an electronic signature for you to access all or most of the processes the State offers. 

With it, you can do online the following:

  • pay your taxes
  • pay your fines
  • register for unemployment benefits (paro) in case you need it and are entitled to it
  • get all kinds of official certificates

and much more. 

I just mentioned a few, but you can do much more stuff. 

Have I mentioned that you can do all of them online?

And I’m stressing it, because this will save you time going to the various offices and government buildings to do all these things. 

Plus you won’t need to make an appointment (cita previa), saving you even more time on the phone or online making the appointments. 

Here is the link to the website where you request it. The initial page is in English (yay!), but the next one isn’t (not-yay!) Link to it on the next section. 

“That sounds great, Jimena, but how can I do it?”

You may be thinking. 

Here is the fun part:
How to get your Certificado Electrónico

There are 6 basic steps you have to do: (this page says 4, but take it from me.)

  1. Go online and download a bunch of software on your computer – it’s all well described and pretty straightforward – 10 minutes of work, tops. (That’s step 1 on the web above and it says CONFIGURACIÓN PREVIA – previous configuration).
  2. Apply for the Certificate – this doesn’t involve anything else than filling out an online form (see why you need to know Spanish?) and you get an email with an application code (código de solicitud).
  3. I believe you need to create a password in this step – please don’t forget this password (been there). Write it down, tatoo it to your forhead or send yourself a whatsapp, but don’t lose it, or you will have to do the whole process from the start again. 
  4. Make a cita previa (appointment) in the closest office of the Tax Authority, or Seguridad Social to your house. This is necessary because they need to verify it’s you who is applying for the certificate. This is the link where you can check the closest verification office to your house. 
  5. Go to the appointment and bring the Código de Solicitud and your NIE + passport – once this step is done, you will get an email with another code. 
  6. Go home, go to the website you applied to for the Certificado, and download it– you will need the code you got in the last email and YOUR PASSWORD.
  7. Done.
Ok. Got it?

Good, because that’s the theory.

In reality, what I did was make the appointment first, and the day before the appointment I did steps 1-3.

After the cita previa I did the rest of the steps 5 & 6… or I tried to do it, because I forgot the password and I couldn’t download the f%&?! certificado and I had to start the whole process again. 

Except for downloading the initial software, I had to do the rest of the steps once more. 

Crucial here was NOT TO FORGET THE PASSWORD THAT TIME, and go through the joy of going to the Tax office once again

Which was interesting. 

I think I got the most bored, not caring and least pleasant of all clerks in that office that day. He was even chatting on WhatsApp as I was in front of him!


That was my adventure. 

Is it really necessary to get it?

It’s not the NIE.  You can live without it, but it will certainly make your life much easier whenever you need any certificate, to pay some taxes, fines, and much more. 

Truth is, you won’t know that you need this Certificado, until you try to do something online and you will find out that you can’t do anything without it, or that it would be much quicker if you had it.

So I do encourage you to go through the pain and get it over with. 

The good news is that it’s valid for 4 or 5 years. The bad news is that you have to renew it after that time.

But it’s worth the pain. 

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