When you don’t want to come to Spain, and you need a document to be legalised by a notary in Spain. Then you can do this in your home country when Spain recognises the notary in your home country. This article will provide information on how this works through the Apostille Stamp.
When do you need an Apostille Stamp?
People use the Apostille when they want to work, retire, inherit, do business, and do other things in another country. They need legal documents to prove their identity, nationality, marital status, medical status, among other things. The foreign country will recognise and accept the documents in the official translation and carry an Apostille Stamp.
Legalise Spanish documents for your home country
When you have received legal documents in Spain, and you want them to be recognised in another country. Then you can translate them and get them Apostilled. For example, a Spanish diploma for a Master’s degree will need to be translated and then legalised in your home country.
In Spain, stamps are sometimes provided free of charge when the documents come from a governmental authority. Stamps from a notary for notarial and private documents carry a fee, which depends on the number of documents and the notary.
When your country doesn’t recognise Spanish as an official language, you need a sworn translation.
Legalise your home countries documents in Spain
When you are coming to Spain, and need to provide your home country documents. Then you can do this in a notary in your home country, or get it from one of the public agencies. Spain will need to recognise this authority, and you will need to provide the documents. If the documents are not in an official Spanish language, they will need to be translated into the Spanish language by a certified translator, and then Apostilled. Following this, Spain will recognise your home country documents.
What is the Apostille certificate?
It is an international certification that verifies the authenticity of public documents, and it certifies documents issued by an authority as official and genuine. The Apostille Stamp will make a national document officially recognised by a foreign country. This is useful because the foreign government does not need to verify the document themselves. For example, in the case of Spanish documents, it brings foreign documents abroad into the public domain of Spain.
Legalise foreign documents for Spain in your home country
The Apostille stamp will give an official certification of the authenticity of your Spanish document. You can get the Stamp in most countries, including most European countries. Documents issued by the Spanish administration used abroad must meet certain requirements before being certified.
The effects of an Apostilled document
There are many effects an Apostille will have on a document
- The Stamp merely verifies the document’s origin: it confirms the person or entity that signed or sealed the public document’s validity and capacity in doing so.
- The entity that issues the Apostille will determine the weight of the public document.
- Contents not attached are not certified by an Apostille.
- Apostilles are not licenses and do not add additional authority to the content of underlying documents.
- Authentication in a nation where it was issued is not permitted.
- Public documents that carry Apostilles are only valid for outside their own country.
The history of the Hague apostille convention
The Apostille Stamp (or Hague Certification) is a stamp on the documents and certificates that certifies official foreign documents. A Notary Public / Legal Officer has checked their authenticity registered to use this international system.
This Apostille is valid throughout all countries part of the Hague Convention of 1961, and several other countries ratified this Convention. The Apostille legalises the Stamp by the requirements of the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention brings together all member states which recognise public documents certified with this mark.
What documents can carry the Apostille Stamp
It depends on the type of document and its requirements by the Spanish government if a foreign document needs to be Apostilled.
Documents that can be validly certified through the apostille process
In general, documents and situations that can need the Hague Apostille convention stamp are:
- Company formation (Certificates of Incorporation, Memorandum & Articles of Association, Form from Companies House, Certificate of Good Standing, etc.)
- Power of Attorney (Poder notarial)
- Divorce Certificate (Certificado de Divorcio)
- Birth certificate (Certificado de Nacimiento)
- Marriage certificate (Certificado de Matrimonio)
- Medical documents (Documentos Medicos)
- Death Certificate (Certificado de Defunción)
- Certificate of no impediment (Certificado de Idoneidad)
- Criminal Records (Informe del Registro Central de Penados y Rebeldes o Certificado de No Antecedentes Penales in Spain)
- Notarial attestations of signatures
- Academic records
- Licenses and certificates issued by public bodies
Documents that can’t be validly certified through the apostille process
In general, documents that cannot carry the Hague Apostille convention stamp are:
- Documents issued by diplomatic or consular officials that show an unmarried status. For example, a certificate of singlehood from a foreign embassy in Spain.
- Documents for commercial transactions or customs declarations. For example, a certificate of origin for goods produced in the United States.
Requirements for your document
An Apostilled document has specific requirements. Below are the main conditions:
The document you’re submitting must be original and authentic. This means copies are not allowed. Only public documents not altered in any way are allowed.
Have all references and appendices
Suppose the paper includes references, appendices, or other notations. Then you must include them with the documents.
Translating the document
When you want to legalise a document for the Spanish authority, and the document is not in an official Spanish language. You will also need to translate the document by a sworn translator. If the translator is not a sworn translator, Apostillisation of the translation is necessary.
Hand over of documents
Prepare to hand over the original document for some time to be processed. With this, you must factor in losing control over the papers.
Frequently asked questions
Below you can find frequently asked questions about Apostilling documents for Spain.
What do I do when a country is not part of the Hague Convention?
You need a separate legalisation process if the country you are from is not in the Hague Convention. In this case, you will need to consult the Spanish Consulate of your country for more information. Sometimes, an Apostille Stamp will be recognised, but other processes are needed to fully authenticate the documents.
The countries relationship with Spain will determine the regulations needed to legalise the documents. Sometimes, a different organisation than the ones that give out Apostilles is in charge of this process.
Is there a gold seal certification in Spain?
No, instead of the Gold Seal, Spain uses the Apostille Stamp.
What documents require Apostille authentication?
In Spain, all public documents issued by a notary or a state official must be legalised with an Apostille stamp to be used outside the European Union. The most common examples of these documents are birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and Power of Attorney documents.
What is the difference between legalisation and Apostille?
The Apostille Stamp replaces the process of “legalisation” by Spanish consulates. In other words, the legalisation aimed to certify that your public document is issued according to the laws of Spain. The legalisation is now done through an international procedure.
How much does an Apostille cost in Spain?
The number of documents and the institution that will handle the Apostille will determine the fee.
What are the benefits of the ApostilleStamp?
The benefits are that you can use the Stamp in any signatory state of the Hague Convention without legalising the document again by a local notary in Spain.
Who can legalise or Apostille my documents?
In general, a public notary abroad or in any Member State of the Hague Convention can legalise/Apostille your document.
What is a notary public?
A notary is an official with special powers to certify that certain documents are authentic. In the case of Apostillising documents, it will verify that the signer’s signature on the documents is genuine and affixes their seal.
What is a sworn translation?
An official translator makes sworn translations. They will translate legal documents correctly. A sworn translator must have a license and pledge to provide a correct translation upon any request.
Do I need anything else to show that the signature or seal on my public document is genuine?
No. The signing or sealing of a public document merely requires that the relevant Competent Authority issue an Apostille. Furthermore, it establishes that the signature or seal on the public document is genuine and shows that the person or authority who signed or sealed it could do so.
Can a country that requires an apostille deny it?
The government must accept an Apostilles, per the Convention’s requirements. But, the government can refuse a document when its origin is unclear or doesn’t follow the rules of the Convention.
What is a public document?
If signed or stamped by a person who holds a public office in Spain, a document is a public document in Spain. For example, such documents include the Power of Attorney documents, official certificates, notarised copies of academic records or diplomas, etc.
What languages does Spain recognise?
Spain’s accepts Apostilled documents in Spanish, Basque, Galician, and Catalan. These are the official languages in Spain. You don’t need to translate the document by a sworn translator, if the other country you are dealing with has it as an official language
What countries are in the Apostille Convention?
The list of signatory countries is long and is here.
How much time does it take to Apostille a document?
In theory, it takes a few days to issue a standard The Hague Apostille. However, Spanish bureaucracy can sometimes be lengthy. Next to this, if you email documents. It will more than likely take up to four weeks due to verification procedures. You have to wait longer if you need to translate the documents into the official language first.
A word from SpainDesk
A Spanish Apostille stamp will help to legalise your documents for the Spanish government. It is an official certification that authenticates the signature and seals of a notary public. In that way, recognition of foreign documents in Spain is easier.
To Apostille documents often you can use the notary in your home country. When the document is not in Spanish, you will also need to translate the document through an official translator. When you need documents Apostilled, SpainDesk can assist you. For example, our lawyers in Spain will pick a trusted notary for you, get an official translation, and communicate the documents to the Spanish government offices that need requires them.