Other Consular Services
Consular services can also perform notary functions, assist in searching for missing persons, and provide information regarding the transfer of bodies and mortal remains to Spain, issuance of criminal records certificates, renewal of driving licences, and online filing of Personal Income Tax and Wealth Tax returns.

Notary functions
Consular Posts and Consular Sections under the Spanish Embassies overseas are tasked with exercising notary functions pursuant to the provisions of prevailing legislation (Article 5.f. of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, of 24 April 1963; Articles 11 and 734 of the Spanish Civil Code; Annex III of the Regulation on the Organisation and Regime for Notaries, of 2 June 1944).

At those Embassies with a Consular Section, notary functions are generally exercised by the Chargé d’affaires and, in his absence, by the diplomat delegated as Chief of Mission.

At Consular Posts, notary functions correspond to the Head of Office, who may delegate them to the Consul or Deputy Consul.

These functions may never be delegated, however, to the Councillor of the Embassy or Consulate.   

Honorary Consulates are not authorised to perform these functions.

The exercise of notary functions includes attesting under the same conditions as a Spanish notary public in Spain. It should be noted that, on a general basis, the provision of notary functions exercised by the Consul has no legal effects in the recipient State. Hence, these functions can only be justified when the object of the action by the Consul is in Spain or affects in some way private legal situations related to Spain, or when the interested party is a citizen of the same nationality as the Consul (i.e. Spanish).

In particular, the law empowers overseas Spanish Consuls to act in the following circumstances:
 
• Authorisation of powers of attorney granted by Spanish citizens or foreigners when the mandate seeks to carry out any valid legal action by the proxy in Spain. This is the instrument most frequently authorised by Consuls.

 • Authorisation of an open or closed will, which, in principle, can only be granted by the Consul for Spanish citizens (Article 734 of the Spanish Civil Code). Foreign citizens that wish to dispose of assets in Spain must resort, preferably, to a local notary public, who can correctly perform, as the case may be, an assessment of capacity in accordance with the personal law of the testator.

 • Authorisation of public instruments.

• Issue of certificates (attendance, reference, deeds, deposits, etc.).

• Performance of testimony by sighting the authenticity of copies of documents, testimony of validity of laws and testimony of legitimacy of signatures.
 
Missing persons
Spanish Consulates may help in the search for Spanish nationals missing overseas, based on the information available to them, provided that the missing person is registered in the Consular Register.

Similarly, requests to search for nationals that reside in Spain may be presented at Consular Sections. These can be formalised through the Directorate-General of Spaniards Overseas, and of Consular and Migratory Affairs.

In both cases, the details of the missing person will only be provided if the person being sought authorises this.
 
Death of Spaniards abroad and transfer of bodies and mortal remains to Spain
When an embassy or consulate becomes aware of the death of a Spaniard abroad, it will endeavour to locate their closest family members with the aim of notifying them of the news, assisting them with formalities and paperwork and providing them with the necessary information.

In the event that you become aware of the death of a family or friend of Spanish nationality abroad, you should contact the corresponding embassy or consulate or the Sub-directorate General of Protection and Consular Assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (telephone numbers: 0034 91 379 17 00/ 0034 91 379 16 10).

As from that time on, the family of the deceased will have exclusive decision-making authority over the actions and processes to undertake.

The repatriation of a body – a decision that corresponds to the family – is a costly and complex procedure due to the number of requirements under international law on health and safety issues.

The embassy or consulate, at the request of the family of the deceased, may carry out the following actions.

  1. Facilitate contact with local funeral directors, which will indicate the costs and possibilities of a local burial, a local incineration or the transfer of the remains to Spain (transfer of ashes or casket).
  2. Perform the corresponding formalities with the local authorities and provide all the documentation necessary to authorise the transfer of the body or the ashes of the deceased.
  3. The embassy or consulate will register the death in the consular Civil Register.
  4. In those cases in which doubts or suspicious circumstances may exist surrounding the death of the Spaniard abroad, embassies or consulates may offer information on the local police and judicial system, and provide the interested party with a list of lawyers should you wish to resort to legal services, particularly in those countries where the authorities do not allow third parties, including the consular authorities, to intervene in the investigation of criminal cases.


However, there are some actions that an embassy or consulate may not perform:

  1. Embassies and consulates may not speed up or expedite those formalities that correspond to the authorities of the country in which the death has taken place. This is because the procedures related to the handling and transfer of the remains vary from country to country, and hence in certain cases it will not be possible to embalm or incinerate the body.
  2. The embassy or consulate may not cover the costs resulting from the death, and hence the family must cover any costs deriving from the burial or cremation. Similarly, it will not pay for the transfer of the body to Spain. For that reason, it is important to underline that when you travel abroad, you should take out the appropriate insurance to cover a local burial or cremation or, as the case may be, to cover the transfer of the mortal remains to Spain, given the high costs of this procedure.
  3. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, aware of the complexities and costs of performing these procedures, recommends those Spaniards who travel abroad to previously take out travel insurance that covers the possibility of their death abroad while travelling.

Criminal record certificates
This document allows a person to substantiate the absence of a criminal record or, as the case may be, the existence of the same. Resident Spaniards overseas have two methods available to obtain this certificate:
 
- By post, through an application addressed to the Central Criminal Record Register. For more information on this procedure, please directly consult the Ministry of Justice
 
- Through the Consular Section. To do so, you must present your national ID card or passport, fill in an application form and appoint a representative to collect the certificate in Spain from the Ministry of Justice (C/San Bernardo 45, planta baja, 28025 – Madrid, Spain) or at any regional office. Under no circumstance can the document be issued by the Consular Section.

In the event that a Spanish citizen has been arrested abroad, the Consulate in the district where the detention centre is located will undertake the entire process for obtaining the criminal record certificate.

Those persons of another nationality cannot apply for this certificate through the Embassies and Consulates of Spain, but must apply for this through the diplomatic representation of their own country accredited in Spain. 
 
Driving licence renewal
Those who have obtained their driving licence in our country, albeit if they reside outside of the European Union but wish to renew it, must present the following documentation to the corresponding Spanish Consulate:

- Photo-card (provided free of charge at the Consulate).
- Two permit-sized photographs (32x26mm).
- Psycho-physical aptitude test, issued by an authorised centre, with a photograph attached, endorsed by the Consulate and translated into the Spanish language.
- Copy of the fee payment set by the Directorate-General of Traffic (Spanish acronym: DGT), by bank transfer into the following bank account: IBAN: ES23 0049 5103 7926 1657 8716, SWIFT Code: BSCHESMM. Those over the age of 70 are exempt from the fee payment.
 
Online filing of Personal Income Tax and Wealth Tax return
At present, it is possible to make your Personal Income Tax and Wealth Tax returns, and comply with other requirements under Spanish tax law over the Internet.

To do so, it is essential to have previously obtained a certificate issued by the Spanish Royal Mint (Spanish acronym: FNMT-RCM): https://www.sede.fnmt.gob.es/en/certificados

 

You may access the contracts relating to the various certificates: https://www.sede.fnmt.gob.es/en/descargas/contratos

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation recommends interested parties to obtain the necessary information to make an electronic presentation of the returns directly from the Spanish Tax Agency, which is the entity responsible for this process.

At the Spanish Consular Sections overseas, it is possible to initiate the application process and identify the applicant (by presenting your passport, national ID card or Tax Identification Card), which is an essential formality for obtaining the document.

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