Legalisation of documents
The legalisation of foreign public documents is essential for their validlity in Spain. Unless a previous Agreement or Treaty exists that provides exemption, the same will hold true for one of the two following procedures according to which country issues the document:
1. Hague Apostille
In accordance with the Hague Convention, 5th Octuber 1961,the only formality required for documents issued by signatory countries to this Convention is the issuing of an Apostille Certificate by the competent authority for the document in the country of origin and that this would be valid for any Spanish authority. This is the case for some of the nationalities present in the municipality, for example Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador or European Union countries including Romania and Bulgaria. For a complete list of signatory countries to the Hague Convention see.
2. Diplomatic means
This is the procedure to be followed for the legalisation of public foreign documents from the Civil Registry, the Notary Public and the public administration of countries who are not signatories to the Hague Convention (as is the case of Bolivia, Paraguay, Morocco,...). The document should be presented to the following authorities, where it will be stamped in the following order:
In country of origin:
- 1. Appropriate Department or Ministry in country of orign that issued the document.
- 2. Ministry for Foreign Affairs in country of origin.
- 3. Diplomatic representation or Spanish Consulate in country of origin.
- 4. Ministry for Foreign Affairs Legalisation Service in Madrid.
For the last form to fill in a previous appointment, should be requested and then the document should be brought to the following address:
Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
4 Juan de Mena St. 28014 Madrid (between Cibeles Sq. And Neptuno Sq.)
Metro: Line 2 (Banco de España Station)
As well as the option of making a previous appointment, documents to be legalised can be sent by registered post to the same address.
The intervention of the Legalisation Service will not be necessary if the foreign document includes the security label issued by the Spanish Consulate in the place of origin of the document.
It is important to remember that all documents issued in a foreign language must be accompanied by a Spanish translation that can be carried out at:
- any diplomatic office or overseas Spanish Consulate .
- in the native country of the applicant or where appropriate, the country in which the document was issued.
- by a sworn translator.
- List of foreign representative offices that issue documents legalised directly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation