What is an apostille and when must a document be apostilled for submission in Spain? I explain below.
What is an apostille?
The apostille or Hague apostille is a certificate used for legalising documents to be submitted abroad. As a result of the Hague Convention, an international treaty of which Spain and the United Kingdom are signatories, the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents was abolished. This means that between Spain and the United Kingdom, an apostille will suffice for certifying any document’s validity.
Apostilles can be bilingual or trilingual. This is what a trilingual apostille looks like:
When an document needs to be translated by a sworn translator, the apostille must also be translated.
When must a document to be translated by a sworn translator be apostilled?
According to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the governmental body regulating sworn translations, any document issued in the United Kingdom that is going to be submitted in Spain (via a sworn translation) and that must be legalised (ie, officially certified as legally valid), must bear an apostille. Equally, any document issued in Spain that is going to be submitted in the United Kingdom and that needs be legalised (ie, officially certified as legally valid), must be apostilled.
IMPORTANT: any foreign public document that needs to be translated by a Spanish sworn translator must be apostilled beforehand, since the apostille must be translated too. It is usually legal and official documents that need to be apostilled (excluding, for example, bank statements), but please enquire first before sending a document for translation.
Also, please note that the certificate of naturalisation as a British Citizen that needs to be submitted at the Spanish Consulate in London as part of the procedural steps for preserving the Spanish citizenship now needs to be apostilled.
Since Brexit, any British official documents to be submitted in Spain must be apostilled.
Sworn / Legal English-Spanish Translator with more than 15 years of experience in legal translation. BA in Translation & Interpreting and Graduate Diploma in English Law. Specialising in trusts, contracts, company documents and civil litigation documents. Traductora jurada y jurídica de inglés con más de 15 años de experiencia en la traducción jurídica. Licenciada en Traducción e Interpretación y Graduada en Derecho inglés. Especializada en trusts, contratos, documentos societarios y escritos y documentos para procesos civiles y mercantiles.