UPDATED 13th November 2020
OBTAINING OR REPLACING A DIGITAL CERTIFICATE IN TENERIFE
Contents of this Page
- Do you NEED a Digital Certificate?
- Types of Digital Certificate
- What Administrative Procedures are available using a Digital Certificate?
- How to Apply for your Digital Certificate
- How to Renew your Digital Certificate when it Expires
In the current digital age, a surprisingly large number of legal and administrative procedures can be conducted online. However, how do the authorities know it is actually you sitting at the computer, as opposed to an imposter? To verify your identity online, a digital certificate is now commonly required.
We will now explain how digital certificates work and how you can obtain one.
1. Do you need a Digital Certificate?
For certain transactions, wasting half a day travelling to and queuing at a government administration office to conduct basic paperwork has been consigned to the history books. Fortunately, the majority of procedures can now be conducted online, including tax, business, immigration issues and a whole lot more.
Having a Digital Certificate will save you a lot of time and hassle. Why waste an entire morning or more in requesting an appointment, queuing up, then waiting, more waiting, and yet more waiting…..etc. You really do need a digital certificate.
Fortunately, applying for your Digital Certificate is fairly simple, as we will now demonstrate.
2. What Administrative Procedures are available using a Digital Certificate?
The main administrative departments that offer Digital Certificate transactions include, but are not limited to:
- Tax Office (Tributaria) – filing tax returns etc
- Social Security (Seguridad Social) – Checking and downloading your Work History etc
- Courts (Juzgados y Tribunales) – filing appeals or queries against traffic fines etc
- Bank of Spain (Banco de España)
- Immigration Offices – Visa applications, filing documents etc
- Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) – Filing and checking status of business and planning licence applications
Click HERE for a comprehensive list of ALL departments in Spain that accept Digital Certificates for certain procedures.
3. Types of Digital Certificate
To validate an online procedure with the above authorities online, there are currently two different types of Digital Certificates:
- Certificate with DNI-E chip (electronic ID card)
- Certificate issued by the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (FNMT) (the National Currency and Stamp Manufacturer)
In most situations, you can verify your identity using either. , you will be able to sign and verify your identity with both. However, in limited circumstances, you can only use an electronic ID card.
Most people only obtain the FNMT certificate, due to its simplicity, which covers most standard transactions you are likely to need. Using the DNI-E card requires you to install a specific application on your mobile phone and a PIN, which makes it more complicated.
Both types of Digital Certificate have expiry dates and have to be renewed accordingly.
4. How to Apply for your Digital Certificate
Firstly, only certain Internet Browsers will work with the registration procedure, namely Internet Explorer (all versions) and older versions of Firefox (but not the latest versions). So if your current browser doesn’t work, you may need to download and install one of the above browser versions.
Secondly, go to the FNMT website, which can be accessed here: http://www.fnmt.es/en/home
In the black bar at the top of the page, click on CERES.
Then in the pale green bar in the middle/top of the page, click on CERTIFICADOS.
You then need to choose the type of certificate that you need, which for an individual person applying on their own behalf, is “Persona Fisica”.
Then in the menu column on the left of the page, click on the first option “Obtener Certificado Software”. Then click in the same menu on “Solicitar Certificado”.
Then fill in your details in the displayed form.
“N° de Documentacion” for non-Spanish nationals is your foreigner’s NIE number.
“Primer Apellido” is your first surname.
“Correo Electronico” is your email address, which you must re-enter again below. Make sure you insert a correct email address that you have immediate access to, as they will send you a ‘verification code’ that you will need in order to proceed.
You then need to click on the link entitled “Pulse aqui para consultar las condiciones”, and then tick the box at the bottom to agree to the terms & Conditions.
Finally, click on the “Enviar Petición” grey button underneath. This is the point where non-compliant Internet Browsers may stop working.
You should then see a pop-up box asking you to choose a Password (Contrasena) which will be valid for the remainder of the application / download process. Choose a passport and enter it in both boxes and click OK.
If everything has worked correctly, you should see the message “Su Solicitud ha sido procesada correctamente”. You should now check your email inbox for the confirmation code.
You now need to make an appointment at ANY PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION OFFICE to verify your identity physically, by bringing your passport or accredited National Identity Card, plus your NIE or Residencia, as applicable.
Here is a map link to all accredited Public Administration Offices in Spain (zoom down to Tenerife on map). http://mapaoficinascert.appspot.com/
There are numerous offices, no doubt all operating entirely different appointment procedures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so it is wise to search for their contact number and enquire as to the appointment procedure before visiting.
Once you have obtained your Certificado de Persona Fisica (Certificate of Real Person), that certificate will be recorded in the national computer. You should then receive an email with instructions for proceeding to Stage 3 below.
Once you have obtained the certificate from Stage 2 above, you should then receive an email with a Code plus a link to download your Digital Certificate. A webpage will then open, in which you must type in your NIE and surname, plus the Code you have just received in the email. It will then take you through the necessary steps, including selecting a password required to open your Digital Certificate in the future. The email link will expire fairly soon, so it’s important to access the link without excessive delay.
Then we recommend checking that the Digital Certificate has been correctly stored in your browser:
In Internet Explorer, go to:
TOOLS › INTERNET OPTIONS › CONTENT (tab) › CERTIFICATES (button)
Or in Firefox, go to:
TOOLS › OPTIONS › PRIVACY & SECURITY (left menu) › CERTIFICATES (at bottom) › VIEW CERTIFICATES (button)
If you see your certificate, then it is correctly stored and ready to use when requested/required whilst conducting online business with any of the relevant authorities. The Digital Certificate will be automatically located and inserted by your browser whilst conducting online business, at the appropriate moment when your digital signature is requested by the relevant government website.
5. How to RENEW your Digital Certificate when it EXPIRES
Once again, go to the homepage for Digital Certificates here: http://www.fnmt.es/en/home
Click on “Persona Fisica” (Individual)
Then click on “RENOVAR” (Renew) in the menu in the left column.
You first need to download the correct configuration software on your PC, Mac or Linux. There are TWO items to download, namely the CONFIGURADOR (Configurator) and the AUTOFIRMA (electronic signature) software.
Scroll down to CONFIGURADOR FNMT-RCM, and then click on the “Area de Descarga” link. Choose the option applicable to your computer, then download and install it on your computer, like you would install any other program.
Then scroll down to the AUTOFIRMA link and click on the relevant Autofirma option for your computer, at the top of the page.
Then download and install the software, like above.
Once BOTH the Configurator AND the Autofirma softwares have been correctly installed, you can proceed to stage two below.
Go back to the RENOVAR page and click on option 2 “Solicitar la Renovacion”. Follow the instructions to complete the application. You will then receive an email with a link and Code.
Again on the RENOVAR page, click on option 3 “Descargar el Certificado”. Insert the link and Code that you received by email in order to download your replacement Digital Certificate, which will be added to your browser as before. It will ask you to select/confirm your chosen password to access the Digital Signature in the future. It will also ask you to confirm your address and personal details, following which the Autofirma software will open and request confirmation of which digital signature you wish to renew. Finally, it will take you to a Download Certificate button.
However, there may be a time delay of up to an hour before you can physically download your new Digital Certificate, so you might receive an error code the first time you try. If so, just wait one hour then try again.