MADRID – In this article, we answer the question of how you can apply for your ‘certificado digital’ in Spain without leaving your home. You need this digital certificate to identify yourself when performing numerous online procedures.
The digital certificate is an electronic identity document used to sign and verify online transactions. It is a digital equivalent of a physical ID, such as a passport or ID card.
In Spain, the digital certificate is widely used for various purposes such as electronic government services, tax returns, online banking and signing official documents. With the certificate, users can safely and legally conduct online transactions, without having to be physically present.
To identify in person not necessary anymore
Until recently, the process to apply for the certificate required one more step where you had to report and identify yourself in person at an authorised certification office of the municipality. That option is still there, but now you can also go through the entire process completely from home. That is, provided you have a computer, a mobile phone and internet (the mobile phone is essential for identification via the camera).
As the FNMT itself states, the certificate itself is always free. However, the video identification that this process requires costs €2.99 plus taxes. Below you can see at what point payment is required.
Step one, from a computer
You will need a computer for this first part of the process. Then install the ‘FNMT-RCM’ configurator on Windows, Linux or macOS. To do this, you just have to go to the FNMT website and go to the section where you can install the configurator and click on the one that is compatible with your computer. The file will then start downloading and should be executed as soon as you receive it.
Basic information form
After you’ve taken that first step, you’ll need to fill out a form that asks for some basic information, such as your proof of identity number (NIE), last name, and email address, with the option to include this email in the certificate. If so, you can then formally/officially sign emails. After that, it is a matter of reading and accepting the terms and conditions.
Once you do this, the installed configurator will open and you will be asked to choose a password. This is probably one of the most important steps, as it is the password that will be associated with your certificate, so you must remember it.
Identification by mobile phone
After you complete the form step, you will receive an email giving you a request code that you should keep safe for what comes next. The next step is to identify yourself via the mobile phone. This is the process that costs money: However, you don’t have to pay for it yet.
You can then find the link to the mobile identification service in the e-mail. When opening the link, you will be required to fill out the requested information, including the aforementioned request code provided in your email. Once you have entered the details correctly and clicked on ‘Start’, you should have your proof of identity to hand.
Biometric recognition process
A verification process will then take place in which both sides of the document are checked via the camera of your mobile phone. Once the system has verified it is authentic, it goes through a biometric recognition process that requires your face to match the photo on the ID.
“Proof of Life”
It is also possible that a so-called “proof of life” will be requested. You don’t have to be photographed with a newspaper of that day, but you may be asked to make a certain gesture or do something specific so that the system cannot be tricked by forgery techniques.
Control and payment
Although there is a system that can do an initial screening for possible fraud, the process you went through earlier will be checked by an employee of the FNTM. This process is not instant but will take no longer than 2 business days.
Once the check has been performed and everything is correct, you will receive a new email in which you can download the certificate. You can do this on this page. To do this, you will need to re-enter your NIE number, last name and application code. At this point, it’s time to make the payment of €2.99 + taxes, which can be paid with a VISA card, MasterCard or Bizum.
With that certificate, you can click ‘Download the certificate’ and save it to your mobile phone, computer and any other devices you want to have it on. As for the payment service, the FNTM indicates that you will receive an electronic invoice at the specified e-mail address within 2 working days.