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There may come a time in Spain when you need to obtain certain documents or carry out the procedure to have your documents officially recognized. As you might expect, both processes involve paperwork and considerable time and effort on your part. They will become even more onerous if your command of Spanish is not proficient.

The good news is that the team at Costaluz Lawyers is on hand to assist with all of the procedures to ensure that you save time and energy, and get them right the first time.

For a no-obligation quote for our services, get in touch with our office.

Obtaining official certificates

For certain paperwork procedures in Spain, you may need a certain certificate, for example, of birth. The certificates are available from the Central Registry in Madrid and you can request them online or in person.

However, the process is much quicker and easier if you use professional services such as those provided by our team. Contact us if you need the following:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage or divorce certificate
  • Death certificate
  • Will certificate (known as a certificado de últimas voluntades, it describes the contents of a deceased person’s will).

We’ll be only too happy to provide a free quote and estimation of the time involved in obtaining the certificate.


If you have had a court case in your home country and need Spain to recognize the sentence, you will need an exequatur. For example, in a case involving divorce, alimony or debt collection. The exequatur process allows Spain to recognize the court ruling and enforce it in Spain.

To get a Spanish court to recognize a sentence made abroad, you need to provide the following documentation:

  • A certified copy of the sentence.
  • A certificate confirming that all interested parties were present or legally represented when the sentence was passed.
  • A certificate confirming that the sentence is final and that no appeal is possible.
  • A power of attorney authorizing your appointed lawyer to act on your behalf.
  • Certificates of marriage and birth if the exequatur is for divorce and/or alimony.

Note that all certificates must have a sworn translation in Spanish and some need an Apostle.

There are slightly different procedures for countries outside the EU or like, Denmark, those that have not signed the Lugano Convention.

You need legal representation for an exequatur. We recommend you take professional legal advice before you start the process to ensure its correct resolution.

Find out how to get foreign court rulings recognized in Spain

Contact us for more information about exequaturs in Spain.

Recognition of academic qualifications

You may require this service for two reasons:

  1. You have just arrived in Spain and wish to have your academic qualifications recognized as their equivalent in Spain.
  2. Or you have studied in Spain and are moving abroad and need your Spanish qualifications recognized in your new country.

Each of the processes has a different procedure as follows:

Recognition of foreign qualifications in Spain

In order to work as a professional in certain fields in Spain, e.g. lawyer, doctor, teacher or architect, you need to prove that your foreign qualifications are the exact equivalent to those required in Spain. The procedure to do so is as follows:

First, you make the application (online or in-person) to the Ministry of Universities. You must present certain documentation including originals of your degree and other academic certificates. They must include a sworn translation into Spanish and legalized (i.e. carry an Apostle).

You also have to prove your proficiency in Spanish, provide additional documentation depending on the profession you wish to work in and pay the appropriate fee.

You can find full details of the process here.

Recognition of foreign qualifications in Spain takes time – up to several years in some cases – and you may be required to present new documentation at any time. At Costaluz Lawyers, we offer advice and assistance on the process. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

Recognition of Spanish qualifications outside Spain

The procedure depends on the type of academic document.

Higher and post-graduate qualifications

Your first step is to get the document legalized at the Spanish Ministry of Education. It then needs to be stamped by the Spanish Foreign Office (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores) before you can present it at the corresponding consulate for acceptance.

Other academic qualifications

If you wish to get non-university documents recognized, such as a diploma or certificate of attendance, you need to present them before a notary public in Spain. The notary will check their authenticity and your identity.  

Each of the above steps involves documentation, filling in forms and payment of fees. At Costaluz Lawyers, we provide the full service – contact us now for a no-obligation quote. 

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