Legalisations
Legalisations
Legalisation is an administrative act whereby a foreign public document is validated, by verifying the authenticity of the signature on the document, and the capacity in which the signatory of the document has acted.

 

Unless there is a legal instrument providing exemption from that obligation, all foreign public documents must be legalised in order to be valid in Spain, and all Spanish public documents must be legalised to be valid abroad. Answers to the most frequently-asked questions are listed below.

 
In which cases is legalisation not necessary?
Given the growing number of exchanges between the world's different countries, many of them—including Spain—have signed agreements to facilitate these formalities for their citizens.
 
The most relevant agreement of this kind currently in force is the 12th Hague Convention, of 5 October 1961, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, more commonly known as the Apostille Convention.
 
Many countries have adhered to this Treaty, which simplifies procedures for issuers and recipients. This legal text establishes that between Member States legalisation is not necessary for mutual recognition of documents, although a seal, or apostille, is required. Anyone needing this may obtain information at the Ministry of Justice (Calle de la Bolsa, 8. 28071 Madrid Tel. +34 902 007 214). This is the complete list of countries that have signed the Agreement.
 
Moreover, there are other Agreements exempting certain documents from legalisation. This information text drafted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation lists the countries and the types of documents to which these exemptions are applicable.
 
For any cases not included in the abovementioned agreements, legalisation is necessary.
 
Which documents may be legalised?
Both original documents and authentic copies issued by Public Administration Authorities may be legalised, as well as copies attested by a Notary Public upon exhibition of the original. 
 
How much does it cost to legalise a document?
Legalisation is free of charge when carried out by the Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 379 16 55). If carried out at an Embassy or Consulate of Spain, it shall involve payment of a fee. For more specific information, it is advisable to directly contact the corresponding representation of Spain abroad. 
 
Do legalisations expire?
No. Legalisations do not have an expiry date. However, if the document issued has a limited duration, so shall the legalisation thereof. Nor is there any deadline for requesting the legalisation of a document. Legalisation may be carried out at any time when the interested party so requests.
 
Which documents issued by Spanish authorities are intended for use abroad?
Of all the documents issued by Spanish authorities, the following may have effects abroad:
 
Documents issued by the General State Administration
This category includes documents issued by national Spanish authorities and officials, public bodies and entities within its structure, and Social Security management bodies.
 
Their legalisation must firstly be carried out by the Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1– 28002 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 379 16 55), and secondly by the Embassies and Consulates in Spain of the country where the document is to have effect.
 
Documents issued by Spain’s Autonomous Communities
This category includes documents issued by Spain’s regional authorities, officials and public bodies.
 
Their legalisation must be carried out, in the following order, by: the Legalisations Unit of the respective Autonomous Community (this list includes the addresses and contact information for all of them); the Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 379 16 55) and by the Embassies and Consulates in Spain of the country in which the document is to take effect.
 
Documents issued by local corporations (City Councils, Provincial Councils, Insular Councils and other types of local government)
The legalisation of these documents is the responsibility, firstly, of the Ministry of the Treasury and Public Administrations, with two exceptions. The first exception involves documents from Madrid City Hall, which may be legalised directly at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. The second exception is of a general nature, and opens up the channel of legalisation through the judiciary or through a notary public for everyone.
 
Subsequently, legalisation shall be the responsibility of the Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 379 16 55) and, finally, at the diplomatic or consular mission, accredited to Spain, of the country in which the document is to take effect. 
 
Notarised documents
Certain documents must be attested by a notary public: public deeds, recognition of signatures, certifications, and many others.
 
These shall be legalised by a notary public, in the following order: public notaries, chambers of notaries (see the following list of chambers of notaries in Spain), Ministry of Justice - Legalisations (C/ de la Bolsa, 8 - 28071 Madrid Tel. +34 902 007 214), Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 379 16 55), and, finally, at the diplomatic or consular mission, accredited to Spain, of the country in which the document is to take effect. 
 
Judicial documents
This category includes, among others, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, certificates of marriage capacity, life certificates and marital status certificates, and court rulings.
 
All these documents require legalisation by the judiciary. Those in charge of carrying out legalisations are, in the following order: the High Court of Justice of the corresponding Autonomous Community (the addresses can be found on this list); Ministry of Justice - Legalisations (C/ de la Bolsa, 8 - 28071 Madrid Tel. +34 902 007 214), Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel:  +34 91 379 16 55), and, finally, at the diplomatic or consular mission, accredited to Spain, of the country in which the document is to take effect.
 
Mercantile documents
These include certificates of origin, free sales certificates, company invoices, and many other commercial documents. Different authorities are responsible for their legalisation, depending on the nature of the document.
 
- Documents regarding exports shall be legalised by the Chamber of Commerce of the corresponding province or, failing that, the High Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Navigation (C/ Ribera del Loira 12 – 28042 Madrid. Tel:  +34 91 590 69 00).
- Bank documents may be legalised by different authorities. If they were issued by the Bank of Spain, legalisation can be carried out at any of its offices (see list). Those issued by nationwide banking institutions may be legalised at the central offices of that bank, or at their offices in Madrid, or at the Bank of Spain. Finally, those issued by local banks without central services in Madrid may be legalised at the provincial delegations of the Bank of Spain. Legalisation by a notary public is also possible for bank documents.
 
In any case, mercantile documents shall always go through the Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 379 16 55), and, finally, at the diplomatic or consular mission, accredited to Spain, of the country in which the document is to take effect, in order to complete their legalisation process. 
 
Sworn Translations from Spanish into other languages
These translations must have been made by a sworn translator or interpreter certified by Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. In each case, ask the Embassy or Consulate of the country where the document is to have effect whether the official Spanish translation is already valid there. If not, it must be legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. 
 
Academic documents
Each type of transcript or certificate requires different steps for its legalisation.
 
Official higher education documents
These are valid throughout Spanish territory. University degrees must be legalised by the Deputy Directorate-General for Degrees and Recognition of Qualifications (Paseo del Prado, Nº 28 Entreplanta - 28014 Madrid). Non-university degrees must be legalised by the Service for Degrees and Validation of Foreign Non-University Studies (C/ Los Madrazo, nº 15 3ª planta - 28071 Madrid). Both are within the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.
 
Official non-higher education documents
These are issued by teaching centres in Spain’s Autonomous Communities. They are legalised by the Regional Department of Education or its equivalent in the corresponding Autonomous Community.
 
Non-official documents issued by private institutions
In these cases, legalisation must be carried out by a notary public, a chamber of notaries (see the following list of chambers of notaries in Spain), or by the Directorate-General for Registers and Notaries of the Ministry of Justice (C/ de la Bolsa, 8 - 28012 Madrid).
 
In any case, the procedure shall not be complete until it has been validated by the Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel:  +34 91 379 16 55), and the Diplomatic or Consular Mission accredited in Spain of the country where the document is to have effect.
 
Documents of religious organisations
Documents of the Roman Catholic Church must be legalised by the Apostolic Nunciature and/or the Diocese, and by the Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel:  +34 91 379 16 55). This procedure can also be carried out through a notary public.
 
As for documents issued by other religious authorities, two types can be distinguished:
 
- Documents recorded in Civil Registries in Spain, such as Koranic, Rabbinical or Evangelical marriages, shall require legalisation by: the High Court of Justice of the Autonomous Community whose Civil Registry issued the marriage certificate, the Legalisations Unit of the Ministry of Justice (C/ San Bernardo, nº 45 - 28071 Madrid. Tel:  +34 91 390 20 10) and the Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (C/ Pechuán, 1 – 28002 Madrid. Tel:  +34 91 379 16 55).
- Documents not recorded in Spanish Civil Registries must be legalised by a notary public.
 
In both cases, the last stage of the legalization process shall be the legalization by the diplomatic or consular mission, accredited to Spain, of the country in which the document is to take effect.
 
Medical certificates
The physician must fill in the corresponding official form, sign it and stamp it with the seal accrediting membership of the medical association. Subsequently, if legalisation is required, this is carried out by the General Council of Official Medical Associations of Spain (Plaza de las Cortes, 11 4º - 28014 Madrid. Tel:  +34 91 431 77 80) or by the Official Medical Association of each Province. The list of these Associations can be found at the following website. 
 
Veterinary certificates
 After a certificate is issued by the veterinarian, it is necessary to address the corresponding Government Delegation or Subdelegation, where a pet health certificate shall be issued. 

This certificate must be legalised:

- At the Directorate-General for Agricultural Production and Markets of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, at C/ Almagro, 33, Madrid (phone no. +34 913 473 695).
- At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation – Legalisations Section.
- And, finally, at the Diplomatic or Consular Mission accredited in Spain of the country where the document is to have effect. It is advisable to check with said Mission regarding other possible requirements that may affect exporting pets to the destination country.

Can legalisation of a document be denied?
Yes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation shall not legalise documents in the following cases:
 
- When the original document submitted is not a public document or a private document given public document status by a notary public.
- When it does not contain the prior legalisations from other authorities established by regulations.
-  When the signatures to be legalised are not deposited in the Registry of the Legalisations Section of the Ministry.
 
However, any denial may be appealed through the channels established by Spanish legislation (Act 30/1992 on the Legal System of the Public Administrations and Common Administrative Procedure).
 
Which foreign documents can be legalised for their use in Spain?
The Legalisations Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation shall only admit:
 
- Original public documents
- Copies of these documents issued by the issuing body.
- Copies, certified by Spain's representations abroad, of documents that have previously been legalised through diplomatic channels or bear the apostille
- Notarised copies
 
Do documents to be legalised require translation?
For those documents issued by Spanish authorities that are to have effect abroad, the interested party must consult local legislation, which is the legislation establishing the possible need for translation. Most countries usually only accept documents in their official language(s).
 
Foreign documents that are to have effect in Spain must be translated into Spanish. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation shall only admit official translations:
 
- Translated in Spain by a sworn translator or interpreter certified by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. (These translations are exempt from legalisation and are valid without any further formalities)
 
- Translated or accepted by a Spanish Representation abroad. (These translations require legalisation by the relevant Section of Spian’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.)
 
- Translated by the Diplomatic or Consular Representation in Spain of the State issuing the document. (These translations require legalisation by the relevant Section of Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.) 
 
What is legalisation through diplomatic channels, and in which cases is it used?
Legalisation through diplomatic channels is the procedure applied to legalise foreign public documents issued by States that are not signatories to agreements aimed at facilitating these formalities. In general, it means that each of the authorities involved legalises the document in question on an individual basis.

If the document was issued by a non-consular authority in the document's country of origin, the only authority involved shall be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of origin, as well as the Spanish Diplomatic or Consular Representation in said State.

If the document was issued by a Consular authority duly accredited in Spain, only the Legalisations Section of Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation shall be involved in the legalisation.

Pursuant to the regulations applicable to each case, the following documents are exempt from legalisation:

• Academic documents presented at the Registries of the Embassies and Consulates of Spain
• Academic documents presented at the Registry of the Ministry of Education of Spain

Foreign documents legalised by the Consulates or Embassies of Spain abroad, bearing a transparent security label, do not need to be legalised at this Legalisations Section. 
 
How are documents concerning trade in war materiel or similar goods legalised?
Foreign documents concerning transactions in defence or dual-use  materials  (those that can have both military and civilian use) may be legalised by the Representation of Spain in the issuing country and/or by the Representation of the issuing State in Spain. In both cases, the formalities must be carried out by a diplomat with a signature registered at the Legalisations Section of this Ministry.
 
Documents of this nature also require subsequent legalisation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
 
Which documents issued by Foreign Embassies and Consulates in Spain are legalised directly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation?
The foreign Representations in Spain included on this list issue certain documents, such as certificates of criminal record and certificates of acts recorded in local Civil Registries, which are legalised directly by the Legalisations Section, resulting in less inconvenience for citizens.
 
Formalities for legalising documents may, in certain cases, be complicated, time-consuming and cumbersome for those interested. Bearing this in mind, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has set up a hotline at +34 91 379 16 55 and an email address, legalizaciones@maec.es, so that the public may clarify any doubts. In all email correspondence, please include your name, address and contact phone number.

Twitter@CogLosangeles

  • 21 oct @CogLosangeles * Celebrate indie cinema & open bar with @NFMLA THIS SATURDAY and enjoy the Spanishshort film "Dada." Info/tix here: https://t.co/wriQNkeC8G
  • 21 oct @CogLosangeles * Campaña humanitaria de donaciones para este Domingo tras ultimas catástrofes naturales. https://t.co/TLyoFVZx5L
  • 17 oct @CogLosangeles * RT @SpainUN: It's official! Spain is a member of @UNHumanRights Council for the period of 2018-2020 👏🏼👏🏼 Congratulations to 🇦🇺🇨🇱🇲🇽🇵🇪🇸🇰🇺🇦🇦🇴…
  • 04 oct @CogLosangeles * You can buy your tickets and see the program for the #RecentSpanishCinemaFestival. Don’t miss out!… https://t.co/4Lh8P6FZQt
  • 04 oct @CogLosangeles * This #Saturday is the 3rd Annual #Paella #Wine & #Beer Festival in #LosAngeles for info and tickets… https://t.co/ErvMqQxDoS
  • 03 oct @CogLosangeles * RT @AlfonsoDastisQ: Terrible e indiscriminado ataque en#LasVegas. Nuestra solidaridad con las víctimas y con el pueblo americano en estos d…
  • 02 oct @CogLosangeles * RT @CityOfLasVegas: How to help and find loved ones. Please share #PrayforLasVegas https://t.co/v0xaV3SAIm
  • 02 oct @CogLosangeles * RT @ConsuladoEspSF: Tiroteo en Las Vegas. Teléfono emergencia Consulado General San Fancisco: +14158468124
  • 02 oct @CogLosangeles * RT @MAECgob: #LasVegas: El @ConsuladoEspSF realizando seguimiento de acontecimientos. Por el momento no tenemos constancia de víctimas espa…
  • 30 sep @CogLosangeles * The Spanish @perianespiano will be playing for the whole weekend at the @LAPhil. What a great chance to hear Mozart! https://t.co/kdge9M18FY
  • 29 sep @CogLosangeles * RT @mapamagob: Por unos mares limpios, por un futuro sostenible, feliz #DíaMaritimoMundial #WorldMaritimeDay 🐟🦀🐙 https://t.co/5dxJSijhQ6
  • 29 sep @CogLosangeles * Feliz #NationalPoetryDay ¿qué tendrá la poesía que a todos nos encanta? Nuestro Bécquer se aventuró a contestar.… https://t.co/uWCX3qAAb5
  • 28 sep @CogLosangeles * Today starts the #FlamencoArtsFestival in #SantaBarbara with the presentation of ‘Flamenco flamenco’ by Carlos… https://t.co/jno5Fz8m7g
  • 27 sep @CogLosangeles * Cónsul Vallaure con los profesores y estudiantes que atendieron un panel sobre #politicainternacional en la Univers… https://t.co/Ick3ajMQa6
  • 26 sep @CogLosangeles * RT @SpainInTheUSA: Working lunch between President @marianorajoy and @POTUS @realDonaldTrump to discuss the main challenges of the internat…
  • TWITTER
  • FACEBOOK
  • YOUTUBE
  • FLICKR
  • Instagram
  • Twitter SpainMFA
  • BLOGS
  • ATLAS DE REDES SOCIALES
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • MAEC / Sede Palacio de Santa Cruz
    Plaza de la Provincia, 1
    28012 MADRID
    Tfno: 91 379 97 00
  • MAEC / Sede Palacio de Viana
    Duque de Rivas, 1
    28071 MADRID
    Tfno: 91 379 97 00
  • MAEC / Sede Torres Ágora
    Serrano Galvache, 26
    28033 MADRID
    Tfno: 91 379 97 00
  • AECID
    Avda. Reyes Católicos, 4
    28040 MADRID
    Tfno: 91 583 81 00 / 01
    Fax: 91 583 83 10 / 11
  • Dirección General de Españoles en el Exterior y de Asuntos Consulares y Migratorios
    C/ Pechuán, 1
    28002 MADRID
    Tfno: 91 379 17 00
Gobierno de España
©Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación
Portal gestionado por la Oficina de Información Diplomática