Legalisation and translation of documents
For some formalities required to live in Barcelona, especially related to immigration, you will have to provide documents issued by public authorities in your country of origin.
For a document to be valid in a country other than the country where it was issued, it must be properly legalised and, if it is written in another language, it must also be translated with a sworn translation.
The form of legalisation will depend on whether or not the issuing country has signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, an international agreement regulating public document certification between States. You can consult the signatory countries.
If the public document issuer country is a signatory
The document will be recognised if it has the Hague apostille. The apostille is a stamp or note on the document, or an extension, certifying its authenticity. The competent authority issuing the document must add the apostille. Therefore, you must request a Hague apostille on those documents in the issuing country before coming to Barcelona.
If the public document issuer country is not a signatory
The legalisation process will be completed through diplomatic channels. You must go to the Spanish embassy or consulate with jurisdiction in the country where the document was issued. They will provide you with the legalisation signature and security label.
- What type of documents can be legalised?
Generally, any public document (legal, administrative, official certificates) issued by an administrative authority and required for use in another country. For example, a birth or marriage certificate or criminal record certificate.
- How much does it cost?
The formality is not normally very expensive. It depends on each country.
- How long is document legalisation valid?
One question frequently asked about document legalisation is whether it expires. This depends on the type of document. Legalisations that do not expire are those issued for documents that do not expire, for example, a university degree. On the other hand, the legalisation of documents with a validity period will expire when the document expires.
You must consider the validity period of the document you wish to legalise, as the legalisation process does not extend document validity.
Sworn translation of documents
As we have mentioned, for a foreign document to be valid here it must be properly legalised and, if it is written in a foreign language, it must be translated into Spanish for formalities related to immigration and others dependent on the Government of Spain. In the case of a procedure dependent on an administrative body of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), it may be translated into Catalan or Spanish, the two official languages of Catalonia.
Translations are valid if:
They are translated into Spanish by a sworn translator authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Spain (check the list) or into Catalan by a sworn translator authorised by the Generalitat de Catalunya (check the list).
They are completed and checked by Spanish diplomatic missions or consular offices abroad, which must bear their verification stamp or translation duly signed, and must then go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (Legalisations Section) to legalise the translation.
They are completed and checked by diplomatic missions and consular offices of the country of origin of the document located in Spain, which must be apostilled or legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (Legalisations Section).
Want to know more?
Where can I find more information?
Consult the Legalisation and apostille section of the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Spain.