Nowadays, the vast majority of legal or administrative procedures can be carried out online. However, in order to verify your identity online and formalize any legal process effectively, you need a digital certificate. In this article we will show you exactly what this digital ID is and why you need one, and we will see how to obtain yours step by step without leaving your home.

Why do you need it?


Going to any government administration office to do your paperwork is now a thing of the past.

Currently, the vast majority of procedures can be carried out online, whether regarding immigration, taxes, business or any other administrative issue. 

For example, it is possible to register as a self-employed worker, submit your quarterly/annual tax returns, or carry out procedures related to your residence permit, all online without leaving home.

But to enjoy that easiness you’ll need a digital certificate.

So, if you don’t have it yet, we strongly recommend that you apply for one.

It will save you a lot of time and facilitate many administrative procedures. If you want to avoid losing a whole morning because you need to request an appointment, queue up, wait, and wait… (and we all know how slow the Spanish administration can be). You need a digital certificate.

Besides, as we will see below, applying for it is very simple!


What exactly is a digital certificate?


On a general level, the digital certificate is just your online identification document that will allow you to carry out procedures with the administration over the Internet.

The traditional way of formalizing any kind of official paperwork is simple. You went to the corresponding office, fill in the specific document and sign it, and afterwords the clerk asked for your ID card or passport to verify your identity.

But what happens if you do the paperwork online?

As you cannot present your ID, the digital certificate is created to verify your identity and automatically sign any type of document with just one click.

Procedures you can carry out with it


More specifically, this certificate will allow you to communicate and carry out online procedures with:

  • The Tax Office, for example by uploading your tax returns or reviewing the income tax returns of previous years.
  • Social Security, so you can see from your computer how many years you have left before you can retire or request your work-life report.
  • The Court and justice system, to file appeals.
  • Bank of Spain.
  • Immigration offices, so that you can, for example, make an appointment to submit your visa application, pay fees online, or provide any missing documents.
  • Other procedures such as consulting fines, verifying the registration in the census, etc.




In order to verify and validate any online procedure with the Spanish authorities via the internet, there are currently two different certificates:

  • That coming from the DNI-E chip (electronic ID)
  • Those issued by the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (the National Currency and Stamp Manufacturer)

In the vast majority of situations, you will be able to sign and verify your identity with both. However, you may sometimes only be able to use your electronic ID card.

For its simplicity, we recommend that you use the digital certificate in the second option. As using the DNI-E requires you to install a specific application on your mobile phone and a PIN.

Both have expiration dates and require periodic renewals.


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How to apply for a digital certificate


Let’s now take a look at the step-by-step process to get your digital certificate online.


1. Select your browser


This introductory step is crucial and very important.

You can just request the digital certificate via Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

Besides, Firefox in its new versions will not work for you either, so you will most likely have to install an older version.

If you don’t have any of them installed, that’s the first step to take.


2. Enter the FNMT website’s


This is where you’ll do all the paperwork.

First of all, access the portal of the “Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre”, by clicking here.

On the top bar, access Ceres.


digital certificate


Then, click on “certificados“.


digital certificate


3. Select the type of certificate you want to apply for


As you can see, there are different options. But you should only focus on the first two.

Generally, you will mark the option “persona física” (natural person), if you are a private individual or freelancer. This would be the most common situation.

Only in cases where you are a company administrator would you check one of the “certificado de representante” (representative certificate) options. However, in this case, you will also need the previous certificate, so the process always starts with the natural person certificate.


digital certificate


After clicking, select on the new sidebar “obtener certificado de software”.


digital certificate



4. Obtain the software certificate


To proceed, you must click on either of the two related options: either “solicitar certificado” on the left sidebar that has just been displayed, or “Solicitud vía internet de su certificado” in the center of the screen. Both options will redirect you to the same place.


digital certificate


5. Fill in your details


In the new screen you must include:

It is important to enter an email that you have access to, as you will immediately be sent a verification code.

When you have filled in the fields, do not click directly on “enviar petición”. You must first click on “pulse equipara consultar y aceptar las condiciones de expedición del certificado”, and accept the checkbox.


6. Verify your identity at any Public Administration office


Once you have finished this online procedure, you will receive an email with a verification code. With this code you will be able to attend any administration office designed for it. 

Bringing your ID or passport, you will verify your image and that you are indeed the owner.

Make sure to get an appointment before attending.


7. Check the code you received by email


After having gone to verify your certificate in person, you will receive an email with a link to the email address you had noted.

You will see a link to download the individual certificate. Click on it.

Now a new screen will open up, very similar to the initial one, in which you will have to introduce again your DNI or NIE, last name, and the code that you have received by mail.

You’ll have a short period of time to perform the installation, so do not leave the mail in your inbox unread for long.


8. Export the digital certificate


Then, in your browser, once installed, go to preferences, privacy and security settings, and scroll down to “certificates”. If you hit “see certificate,” yours will appear.

Click on make a copy to save it on your computer.

In this step, your browser will ask you for a password. It is very important that you save this password, because if you install the digital certificate in another PC, it will ask for it too.

With that you will already have the certificate on your desktop; and you can install it in other browsers, now you can use Chrome, for example.

And that’s it! You can start working with your certificate online now.


Get assistance to apply for the certificate as a foreigner


Do you need help? Our team of lawyers will help you request your digital certificate quickly.

In addition, we can use it to handle any legal proceedings with the administration for you, so it will be very useful to have a team of specialized legal advisors.


Book a consultation with one of our lawyers and solve all your doubts:


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