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Universal legalisation or The Hague Apostille

What is it?

The apostille procedure consists in applying an Apostille or certification to a public document, or an extension of the same, which certifies the authenticity of the signature on public documents that have been issued in a country which has signed the XII Hague Convention, of 5 October, 1961, abolishing the requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, which shall be accepted as valid in another signatory country to the Convention.

Therefore, the documents issued in a country that has signed the Convention which have been certified by an Apostille shall be recognised in any other country of the Convention, without any other kind of authentication being required.

List of the States signatories to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 (PDF. 50 KB), prepared by the Ministry of Justice from the Convention itself.

Which documents are eligible for an apostille certificate?: public documents

  • Judicial documents: Documents issued by an authority or public servant linked to any jurisdiction of the State, including the Public Ministry or a secretary, official or judicial agent.
  • Administrative documents.
  • Official certifications that have been affixed to private documents, such as the registration certification for a document, the certification of the certainty of a date and official and notarised authentication of signatures on private documents.

However, it is not affixed to:

  • documents issued by diplomatic or consular officials.
  • documents directly related to a business or customs transaction.
  • the documents that, on applying other International Conventions, are exempt from being legalised or apostilled

Who can request it?/present

The Hague Apostille can be requested by any holder of a public document who wishes to certify its authenticity.

Further information

Which places can apply apostille certificates?

Pursuant to the Royal Decree 1497/2011, of 24 October, which determines the officials and authorities with the competence to apply the Apostille Certificate established by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, of 5 October, 1961, the following places can apply an apostille certificate:

  • Legal public documents issued by the National Administrative Court and the Supreme Court:

Government Secretaries of the respective courts to which they have delegated.

Administrative documents that require prior authentication of signature in order to be apostilled:
Document Type Prior authentication of signature Address
Qualifications and Certificates of Studies issued by Universities and Official Educational Bodies. Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and Inspectorates of Education in the Autonomous Regions (only in some cases, consult link). Paseo de la Castellana, 162 - Madrid, and the addresses of the Inspectorates of Education in the Autonomous Regions.
Official non-university qualifications and certificates. Departments of Education of the Autonomous Regions. Consult the website of the competent Department of Education.
Documents issued by the Tax Administration Agency. Ministry of Economic Affairs and Public Administrations. C/ Alcalá 7-9, Madrid.
Documents from the Office of the Public State Employment Service and Bodies of the Social Security (such as unemployment certifications, employment history, etc.). Ministry of Employment and Social Security. Paseo de la Castellana, 65, Madrid.
Non-educational documents issued by Autonomous Regions. In some cases, such as in the Autonomous Region of Madrid, prior authentication of signature from the Regional Ministry of the Presidency is required. For documents issued by the Autonomous Region of Madrid, C/ Carretas, 4.
Documents from Local Bodies (such as Census Certificates). Prior authentication of signature is not required, as long as the document has been signed by an authority whose signature has been recorded in the computer system of apostille from the Ministry of Justice, with the exception of the Madrid City Council, which requires, in any event, prior authentication of signature. For documents issued by the Madrid City Council: C/ Montalbán, 1, Madrid.
Consular documents (acting as a Civil Registry or Notary Public). Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. C/ Pechuán, 1, Madrid.
Certificates of Land Registration, Companies and Personal Property. The person in charge of the Companies Register (for the Registers of Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia) or the Dean of the Professional Associations of Land Registration, Companies and Personal Property in Spain. Calle Diego de León, 21, Madrid.
Documents from AENA, the Merchant Navy, Airline Pilots, or a ship's crew member. Ministry of Public Works. Paseo de la Castellana, 67, Madrid.
Banking Documents. Current Accounts Department of the Banco de España. C/ Alcalá, 48, Madrid.
Official National Gazette. Prior authentication by the State Agency of the Official National Gazette is not required for documents issued after June 2011. C/ Manoteras, 54, Madrid
Documents issued by the State Security Forces. Ministry of the Interior. C/ Amador de los Ríos, 7, Madrid.
Documents issued by the Directorate General of Traffic. Ministry of the Interior or Directorate General of Traffic. C/ Amador de los Ríos, 7, Madrid or C/ Josefa Valcárcel, 28, Madrid, respectively.
Other. Consult the Citizen Service Centre of the Ministry of Justice. +34 902 007 214 /+34 918 372 295

Documents issued electronic signature

The only Legalization or apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature of a document. Documents with some kind of electronic signature required for Apostilled about IT developments so far are not available at the Central Office of Citizen Services of the Ministry of Justice and the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice and Delegated Offices of Ceuta and Melilla. For this reason, for the processing of digital documents apostille it is necessary to present the document with handwritten signature of the issuer.

You can get more information of that Convention on the website of the Hague Conference on International Private Law*

*In the case of the People's Republic of China, the application of the Hague Convention is only extended to the territories of Macao and Hong Kong.


How to request it/present

How to request it/present
  • Inicia tu solicitud
  • Status of my application
  • Ministry´s Citizens Services Office and General Register