How to get a Digital Certificate in Barcelona


Let's face it, completing administrative tasks is never fun. We’ve all made the dreaded journey to a government office on the other side of town at some point, only to find there’s a huge queue or we’ve come to the wrong place. While this might be considered a right of passage for foreigners living in Spain, there is a way to avoid these nightmare situations that we highly recommend: getting your digital certificate. We’ve put together some simple instructions to help you navigate the process and say goodbye to ‘cita previas’ for good!

What is a Digital Certificate? 

A digital certificate is an online identification document, almost like a digital fingerprint, to prove your identity online without having to be face to face with any administrative personnel. It allows you to carry out processes that traditionally would need to be completed in the corresponding administration office. 

Which processes can you do with a Digital Certificate? 

  • Tax office (apply for tax returns, view previous tax statements)
  • Social Security office (obtain a social security number, view your work life report) 
  • Immigration office (submit visa applications, renews and pay taxes) 
  • City Hall (apply for “empadronamiento”, pay fines) 

How to apply for a Digital Certificate

Step 1: Choose your certificate type

The first step is to access this webpage, which lists the different types of certificate you can apply for. Select ‘persona física’ (this means you are requesting a certificate for you to carry out your own personal processes.) 

Step 2: Download the software

The second step is to download the software to your computer. After selecting “persona física”, you may get a warning that the connection is not private; don’t panic! This is common on Spanish government websites as they don’t use https, but it’s fine to continue on to the next page and download the software, we promise!

From the menu on the left hand side of your screen, choose “Obtener Certificado Software” and then the sub-option “Configuración Previa’ below that. 

Finally, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Área de Descarga de Configurador FNMT then choose the download option corresponding to your device. 

Step 3 - Request Certificate

Now you have the correct software, the next step is to request the certificate. 

From the same left hand side menu as before, select “Solicitar Certificado”, and from here it is pretty simple, just fill in with your details. You will then be sent an email with a code which will be used when you attend your appointment to prove your identity. It is very important to use your correct email and NIE/NIF in this step! Once you’ve filled out and double checked your details, accept the terms and conditions by selecting “Pulse aquí para consultar y aceptar las condiciones de expedición del certificado” and complete the process by clicking “Enviar petición”. 

Step 4 - Prove Identity 

Next up, you need to make an appointment at the social security office to verify your identity. Request a ‘cita previa’ through this link by choosing “Obtener cita previa para pensiones y otras prestaciones (INSS)” and the option “sin certificado”.

Fill out your details and choose your selected office, move on to the next page and select “Certificado Digital o Cl@ve Permanente”. 

You may find that it can take you a few tries to find an available appointment so we recommend trying multiple locations to increase your chances of getting one.

Step 5 - Attend appointment and download software

You are almost done! Attend your appointment, making sure you bring a print out of the email with the verification number, a copy of your appointment confirmation, your passport and a copy of this just in case.

The official will confirm your identity and send your digital certificate via email, and then they will provide you with a document detailing how to get started with your digital certificate. It is recommended that you export the certificate as soon as possible onto your device! 

Hopefully after this process, your Spanish administration anxiety will exist no more!  

Good luck!

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