A digital certificate is an electronic encrypted document that allows public entities to identify people and companies when accessing a government website. It's also called an electronic signature or digital signature. Spain made the decision to use digital certificates for identification in 2003. In our opinion, this solution is overly complex, requiring a lot of technical knowledge. Other countries register a simple email address for tax office notifications.
This electronic document is a secure way to communicate with the Spanish tax office, social security and almost every other public entity you can think of, from the tax office to your local City Hall. Think of it as an electronic ID that allows you to appear before these authorities without actually being physically present, so you can carry out any process needed.
The digital certificate includes personal information about the user such as their address and ID number. It can even be linked to a bank account, so it's important to hand it over only to people you trust.
Who can obtain a digital certificate?
What are the advantages of having a digital certificate in Spain?
How can I get a digital certificate in Spain?
What should I consider before requesting a digital certificate for the first time on my PC?
Do digital certificates in Spain expire?
Is there a difference between a company digital certificate and a personal digital certificate?
What happens if I lose my digital certificate? Can I get a new one?
Any Spanish citizen or foreign citizen with a DNI or NIE may request and obtain their digital certificate to sign and prove their identity safely before any public entity.
We would say one of the biggest advantages of having a digital certificate is to save time, money and unnecessary trips, especially during COVID-19 times.
It has become a main requirement for citizens to be in possession of a digital certificate in order to comply and appear before any public entity.
Even though having a digital certificate is not necessarily mandatory for everyone, there are some tax forms that can only be filed using a digital certificate.
These are some of the tasks that you can achieve with a digital certificate:
This electronic signature can only be obtained by submitting your application on the website of FNMT (Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre). There is no cost to get it.
First of all, a special software is required in order to be able to begin the process of obtaining the digital certificate. This software can be downloaded through the FNMT's website.
Setting up your PC:
Now any of your browsers will be ready to request a digital certificate from FNMT.Steps to request a digital certificate in Spain:
To ask for a company digital certificate the process is pretty much the same. The only two differences are:
Digital certificates in Spain have an expiration date depending on the type. If it’s a personal digital certificate, it expires within 4 years. If it's a company digital certificate, it expires in 2 years.
In both cases you can renew it once expired by following the same process above.
You can also renew before it expires by going to the FNMT’s website, selecting which type of certificate you would like to renew (personal/company) and clicking on the “Renovar” option. A pop-up will appear requesting you to access with your digital certificate.
Yes, there are a few differences between a personal and a company digital certificate:
If you no longer have access to the same PC you requested and downloaded your digital certificate from, you can request a new digital certificate. The process is pretty much the same as if you were to ask for it for the first time. You will be issued a new digital certificate and the old one will be unavailable to use.