How to Get a Digital Certificate

How to Get a Digital Certificate

Save yourself from future Spanish paperwork nightmare with the digital certificate, also known as certificado digital. Read on to know how to get a digital certificate.

Warning: This is a long post. And the process may have changed from the day I started the download process, depending on the government’s updates. I’ll do my best to keep this post up-to-date, especially for the Mac/Chrome combo users like me.

You must have heard these phrases before while reading through posts in Spanish expat and auxiliar forums. You must have seen people commenting (read: complaining) about this process, with people saying that they have given up on it.

Well, that’s the reason it took me a year to finally get this: I thought the process of obtaining the digital certificate was going to be a nightmare in itself. But once I did it, I realized a few things:

  1. It is easy.
  2. It isn’t so complicated.
  3. Yes, it is easy.

Before I continue, let me write a couple disclaimers:

  • I’m using a Macbook, so that’s a MacOS;
  • I used Google Chrome to get my digital certificate.

Surprise, surprise!

A lot of people say that it won’t work at all with Mac and Chrome (bad combo, they say), but I guess I’m one of the few who could prove otherwise.

So, let’s get to it!

What is a digital certificate?

A digital certificate (Spanish: certificado digital) is an electronic document that serves to confirm your identity. During the process, you are assigned keys that you can use to perform encryption operations, as well as to perform an electronic signature.

Still confused with the highfalutin words?

Okay, I got you.

Imagine that you need an official document from the Spanish government. What do you do?
  • You go online to make an appointment. Appointments are 99% mandatory due to COVID.
  • You go to the appointment, wait for minutes if you’re lucky, hours if you’re not, hoping and praying that the documents you brought are everything you need.
  • The funcionario (aka government employee) calls your name or says, “Siguiente!
  • The government employee confirms your identity by looking at your IDs (such as your passport and TIE).
  • The funcionario prints your documents.
  • You sigh with relief. Done!

The digital certificate eliminates all of that, so you can get your document in the comfort of your home (or wherever you are, really). It is your online ID, so to speak.

What can I do with a digital certificate?

As an auxiliar de conversación, you can use your digital certificate to:

  • Submit your prórroga de estancia application (your renewal application documents)
  • Request for a volante or certificado de empadronamiento (a requirement to renew your TIE)
  • Obtain your certificado de delitos de naturaleza sexual (a document that you need to submit to your school on your first day as a language assistant, whether you are a first-year or not)
  • Download the certificado de antecedentes penales (the equivalent of the NBI Clearance, especially if you have been living in Spain for more than 6 months, which is also a requirement for your prórroga de estancia application*)
    • *Some will say that this is not a requirement, but I submitted this along with the other docs and I got my prórroga approved in 7 days, so I am speaking from experience *shrug*

Nice! What else can I do with it?

Beyond your auxiliar de conversación life, you can also use your certificado digital to:

  • Use your electronic signature (e-sig) on official forms and documents
  • Receive administrative notifications
  • Pay your taxes and file your tax returns
  • Lodge claims and appeals
  • Complete housing and population forms for census purposes
  • Check for traffic fines
  • Consult and register the electoral roll and polling stations
  • Consult and apply for grants

Sounds promising! Can we get on it already?

Sure!

In this blog post, we are going to focus on one of the two ways to obtain your digital certificate. This step-by-step guide will show you the process done through FNMT, or the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre.

How to Get a Digital Certificate

Step 1: Pre-configuration

First, you must prepare your computer for this important task before you even begin to request for your digital certificate.

Remember that you:

  • Must use the same computer/laptop throughout the process;
  • Should not reformat your computer if you haven’t completed all the steps.

Most people recommend using Internet Explorer or Firefox. In my case, I did all of the steps using Google Chrome. So, as mentioned, this post shares my personal experience on how to get a digital certificate using a Macbook and through Google Chrome.

how to get a digital certificate
Link: https://www.sede.fnmt.gob.es/en/certificados/persona-fisica/obtener-certificado-software/configuracion-previa

The Pre-configuration process is about installing the key-generation software called CONFIGURADOR FNMT-RCM. Click on this link to get to the download page, and select the link depending on your device and OS (operating system, as in whether you are using Windows, MacOS, or Linux).

As mentioned above, my laptop is a Mac, so I clicked on the “Configurador FNMT-RCM para MacOS”.

how to get a digital certificate
Link: https://www.sede.fnmt.gob.es/en/descargas/descarga-software/instalacion-software-generacion-de-claves

After clicking on the MacOS link, this will appear:

how to get a digital certificate

Don’t panic! The FNMT webpage did warn about this happening. What you need to do is:

  • Click on the Apple Logo on the top left-hand side of your screen;
  • Select System Preferences;
  • Find and double-click Security & Privacy;
  • Make sure that the tick is on “App Store and identified developers” under “Allow apps downloaded from”;
  • Click on the lock icon to unlock this window and make changes (you will be asked for your laptop’s administrator password);
  • Keep waiting until it says “‘Instalador…1.0.1.kpg’ was blocked from use because it is not from an identified developer“.
  • Click “Open Anyway
  • Click on “Open
  • Follow the installation process.
how to get a digital certificate
how to get a digital certificate
I honestly don’t remember how long I waited, but I do remember having to read the guidelines on keeping the laptop safe from malware and such. At this point I was starting to think that this would be a lost cause. But I clicked on a link on the guide that said “Open an app by overriding security settings”, and the “Open Anyway” button appeared.
how to get a digital certificate
how to get a digital certificate
Select the disk where you want to install the software. You will be asked for your administrator password.
Once done, click Install Software, wait, and then close the window. You’re almost there!

To check whether you have successfully downloaded the Configurador FNMT-RCM, go to Finder, then Applications. You should see and app named “CONFIGURADOR FNMT” with a CERES logo. Double click on the icon, and a popup will appear. Click OK.

how to get a digital certificate

Step 1 done!

Step 2: Online Request for Certificate

This is the part where the process begins (as if the Pre-configuration part wasn’t long enough).

  • Go to this link
  • Fill out the form by providing the following: your NIE, your last name only, and your email address (you must enter it twice)
    • Click “Pulse aquí para consultar y aceptar las condiciones de expedición del certificado
    • Tick the box next to “Acepto las condiciones de expedición” after reading it
    • Click Enviar petición.
  • The next webpage will confirm that your request has been successful.
  • Check your email for the copy of the confirmation.
How to Get a Digital Certificate
Enter the details as instructed in red. Then, click on “Pulse aquí…” to show the terms and conditions. Finally, tick the box next to “Acepto“, then click Enviar petición.

How to Get a Digital Certificate
This is what appears after clicking Enviar petición. You can then close this tab and save and print the email you received.
How to Get a Digital Certificate
The confirmation will be sent to the email that you entered in the form. Once you receive this confirmation, save it, and print it.
Bring this with you on your in-person appointment aka Step 3.

Step 3: Identity Verification

Now that you have your unique request code, it is time to go to the nearest government office to verify that it is you who requested for the certificate. It is highly recommended that you do this yourself, in person, rather than having a representative do it for you, because that is extra paperwork.

An appointment is needed for this step, either by calling your chosen office or by making an appointment online.

What do I need to bring?

As a Filipino auxiliar (or a third-country national for that matter), you need to bring the following:
  • Your printed appointment confirmation
  • The printed request code confirmation email (you received this upon completion of Step 2)
  • Your valid TIE
  • Your passport
If you are a passport holder of a European Union member state, you must bring the following:
  • Your printed appointment confirmation
  • The printed request code confirmation email (you received this upon completion of Step 2)
  • The national identification document (like the TIE) that shows your Spanish NIE and your passport, OR
    • The European Union Citizen Registry Certificate and your passport, OR
    • The concession form of your NIE/TIE request and your passport
If you are a Spanish passport holder, you can bring the following:
  • Your printed appointment confirmation
  • The printed request code confirmation email (you received this upon completion of Step 2)
  • Your DNI, passport, or driver’s license

Where do I have to go to verify my identity?

The FNMT has more than 2,400 locations where you can go and do your identity accreditation.

These offices include:
  • City halls (ayuntamiento)
  • Social security offices
    • Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social or TGSS
    • Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social or INSS
  • Tax agencies (Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria aka Agencia Tributaria or AEAT)
  • Financial regulation agencies (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores or CNMV)
  • Ministry of Finance offices (Hacienda)
  • Marine offices (Instituto Social de la Marina or ISM)
  • Spanish Agricultural Guarantee Fund (Fondo Español de Garantía Agraria or FEGA)
  • Public administration offices (Ministerio de Política Territorial y Función Pública)
  • Public treasury offices (Dirección General del Tesoro)
  • Ministry of Agriculture offices (Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación)
  • Ministry of Industry (Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo)

Outside of Madrid, the best places to do the identity verification is through the ayuntamientos, agencias tributarias, and social security offices, because there are many offices.

Click here to view the office nearest you. Remember, some of these offices listed here have been dissolved for a few years, so your best bets are listed just above.

You can also verify your identity through the Spanish Consular Office if you are outside of Spain.

Step 4: Download Your Certificate

In this part, we will talk about the final steps on how to get a digital certificate.

As soon as you’ve finished your identity verification appointment, the government official that processed your appointment will send you an email that contains the link to download the certificate.

Warning: This is where all the frustrations (and Facebook group posts) start.

Remember that you have to download this file into the same device that you used to complete Step 1, and it must be with the same browser that you used.

If you downloaded Step 1 through Google Chrome, make sure that the account you have activated is linked to the Google Chrome browser, especially if you have multiple Google accounts. I learned it the hard way. It’s safe to say that this is the same for all other browsers.

Follow the list below:
  • First, open the email you received and click on the link
    • The link will take you to Step 4 of the FNMT webpage
  • Next, enter your credentials: Your NIE, Last Name, and Request Code (from Step 2)
  • Click on “Pulse aquí para consultar y aceptar las condiciones de uso del certificado
  • Tick the box next to “Acepto los términos y condiciones de uso
  • Click Descargar Certificado.
  • Then, a popup will appear. Click OK.
    • Another popup will appear. Enter the password that you created for the code.
    • On the next popup entitled “Copia de seguridad“, click Yes. This will allow you to create a backup file of your digital certificate.
    • Click OK on the next popup.
    • The next popup confirms your download. Click OK.
    • In the next popup, enter the password you created, then click OK. You may have to enter your password twice.
    • The next window opens into the location of your digital certificate within your device.
How to Get a Digital Certificate
This is the body of the email you will receive as soon as you’re done with Step 3. Click on the link to get to the next steps.
How to Get a Digital Certificate
The following will appear in order.
How to Get a Digital Certificate
These are the last screenshots for Step 4.
  • To ensure that you have the file downloaded, click on the three dots on the right-hand side of your Chrome Browser.
    • Go to Settings
    • On the left column, choose Privacy and security.
    • Click Security.
    • Scroll down and select Manage certificates.
    • There should be a popup that opens your Keychain Access that shows your digital certificate file name under “My Certificates“.
How to Get a Digital Certificate
To check that you have successfully downloaded your digital certificate, follow the screenshots taken on Google Chrome.

There you go! I hope that this post was helpful on how to get a digital certificate.

Comments and questions? Post them below! CM

4 Comments

  1. Shelly
    May 19, 2021

    Hi Cha. Thanks for these steps for helping me a lot get and install a digital certificate. Based on experience, there were fewer steps with the Windows 10 + Google Chrome combo (didn’t change anything in the Settings).

    Anyway, have you ever submitted requirements for the prórroga de estancia using your digital certificate? I hope to read a blog about it. I’m quite lost, hehe.

    Reply
    1. chmntr1
      May 20, 2021

      Hi! Glad the post helped. And yep, surely the steps are dependent on the OS you are using.

      I’ve never tried doing the prórroga through the digital certificate; I’ve only tried getting an empadronamiento as of now.

      Reply
  2. Nadine
    May 19, 2021

    Thanks for your help! Got the certificate without any problems.

    Reply
    1. chmntr1
      May 20, 2021

      You’re welcome! Appreciate your taking the time to post a comment. 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :-)