When will I need a Spanish sworn translator?

The services of a Spanish sworn translator become necessary as part of cross-border transactions involving the submission of legal and / or official documents either in Spain or in an English-speaking country (for documents originally written in Spanish).

Only a translation provided by a sworn / official / certified translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs bears ‘official’ status and is legally valid to be submitted in Spain before public entities (ex. tax authorities), universities, notaries public, etc.

These are some examples of those transactions or procedures.

When will I need a Spanish sworn translator
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Executing a contract or a power of attorney before a Notary Public in Spain

When a contract or an original power of attorney or contract is in English, one of the parties (a contracting party, the agent or principal) may not speak English. In that case, an official translation into Spanish that has legal validity is required, that is, a sworn translation.

This is also the case when a power of attorney or contract originally written in Spanish is to be executed before a Notary Public in England or Wales. A certified / sworn translation into English may be necessary when one of the parties is not well-versed in Spanish.

This translation can be used as a guide for the execution and notarization of the document in question.

Applying for Spanish visas

Having to apply for a Spanish visa is but one of the many burdens brought about by Brexit.

Your application documents must be translated by a Sworn Spanish translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The documents to be submitted (and translated into Spanish) vary depending on the type of visa your applying for (a non-lucrative visa (NLV), a student visa, digital nomad visa, etc.). These documents usually include medical certificates, ACRO certificates, bank statements, employment contracts, leases, P60 forms, etc.

For more information on sworn translation for Spanish visa applications, check this blog post.

Purchasing property in Spain through a UK limited company

It is not uncommon to purchase property in Spain through a UK limited company. Depending on the property holding structure chosen, this may be more tax-efficient than purchasing as an individual.

These are the documents you may need to submit:

  • Certificate of incorporation of the limited company
  • Certificate of good standing of the limited company
  • Memorandum of association / articles of association
  • Share certificates
  • Annual accounts
  • Criminal record

Any documents required for completing the sale in Spain must be translated into Spanish by a Spanish sworn translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Please also note that if the director or agent is a non-resident British national, a N.I.E. (national identity card for foreigners) must be obtained, too. Find more info on the process here.

Administering Spanish assets upon death

If you have been appointed as the executor or administrator of an estate including Spanish assets and the will (if any) was executed in England or Wales, or you are involved in contentious successions proceedings covering both jurisdictions, you may need to submit a sworn translation of the following documents before a Spanish notary public or in court as part of the probate process or claim, apart from the sworn Spanish translation of the English will: last will and testament (including any trust provisions and instructions to trustees), grant of probate and death certificate. Other documents include: deeds of variation, powers of attorney, certificates of law and affidavits from probate lawyers.

Travelling with firearms from the UK to Spain

With Brexit, the requirement to submit sworn translations of various documents has increased, including firearms certificates from the United Kingdom.

On January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom ceased to be a member state of the EU and became a third country, so that British citizens will no longer be able to apply for the European firearms card or use the one they already had, whether in Spain or in any other Member State.

Furthermore, those who wish to export firearms to an EU Member State can no longer benefit from the intra-community transfer regime, but rather rely on the general rules governing the import, transit and export regime of goods.

These changes brought about by Brexit have been an obstacle for those British residents who wish to practice hunting temporarily in Spain, since Article 110 of the Spanish Firearms Regulation (Reglamento de Armas), which now applies to them because they are non-resident foreigners in a Member State of the Union European, requires them to obtain a special authorization.

In order to request the aforementioned authorization, the interested party must: submit, among other documents, a firearm certificate translated into Spanish by a sworn English-Spanish translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which must also be endorsed at a Consulate or another Spanish representation, although it is not necessary to apostille it.

Setting up a subsidiary or a branch of a UK limited company in Spain

If you are setting up a branch or a subsidiary company in Spain, you will need the services of a sworn Spanish translator to translate your certificate of incorporation and other certificates, memorandum of association and articles of association into Spanish.

The process for setting up a company or a subsidiary or a branch in Spain is a bit more burdensome than it is in the UK. Find more info on the process here.

Securing a mortgage in Spain

When applying for a mortgage in Spain, the Spanish bank may require you to submit sworn translations of some documents such as an employment contract, contract, payslips, P60 form, tax residency certificate from HMRC, etc.

Note that, whereas you do not need to be a citizen or resident in Spain to apply for a mortgage, you will need a N.I.E. (identity card for foreigners).

If you require the services of a Spanish sworn translator for these and other transactions, do not hesitate to contact me here.

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2 thoughts on “When will I need a Spanish sworn translator?”

  1. Being part of the translation industry, I completely understand the importance of this blog post. Thanks for sharing a complete guide about Spanish sworn translators. I really appreciate your research.

  2. Virginia Pérez Román BA GDL MCIL CL

    Dear James,
    Thank you for your comments and for appreciating the effort put into creating this guide.
    Kind regards, Virginia

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