UPDATED 17:32 6/9/19 - added a link to where you can download the application form.

The recent article here about paying traffic fines online prompted a reader to ask about the digital signatures from the town hall (as you need one to be able to be able to pay traffic fines online).

Firstly I asked a contact associated with the Junta Local for Almerimar, Christine G, about digital signatures. Here was the response about who can get them and how to go about it:

"Anyone with an NIE number can get a digital signature, it doesn't matter if you are resident or non resident. You have to download the form to Solicitar Firma digital, you will then be issued with a code which you have to take to the town Hall in El Ejido with your passport and original NIE number and they will activate it for you. You have to do this either the same or next day after getting the code, otherwise the code will be invalidated. You can do this in the town hall between 8 and 13.00 . You need to get a ticket at the main desk to do this."

I have asked Christina for a link to where you can download the form. Rather than me search for it myself. In case I get it wrong. I will update this article once I have the link recommended by the council. Updated: here is the link.

Secondly, the reader provided a link to the article here in Spanish about digital signatures. My thanks to the reader who provided this link.

Read More for a Google translation of the article.

Guide to use your electronic signature in Spain

In the case of being interested in using your own electronic signature to carry out procedures in a faster and easier way, in this guide we explain how to get the digital certificate so that you can enjoy all its advantages and thus, be able to use your electronic signature in a way easy and safe

First of all it is important to differentiate between the electronic signature and the digital certificate as well as the relationship between them.

To sign documents digitally there are different types of signatures according to the degree of security required and the specific needs of your company. Viafirma offers a wide range of specific solutions adapted to the needs of each sector and each company.

In broad strokes we could differentiate between two large groups, the digitized or biometric signatures and the electronic or digital signature.

We speak of a biometric or digitized signature when we refer to the signature that you reproduce with a pen on an iPad, on your mobile, etc. While in the case of the digital signature or electronic signature, a digital certificate is required.

As explained by the Electronic Headquarters of the Royal Mint, the Digital Certificate (also known as Citizen or Users Certificate) is:

    “A digital document that contains your identifying data. It will allow you to identify yourself on the Internet and exchange information with other people and organizations with the guarantee that only you and your interlocutor can access it ”.

Thanks to this certificate, innumerable bureaucratic procedures can be carried out safely and from the comfort of home, both with the Public Administration and with other private entities. What kind of steps can the Digital Certificate help me to speed up the processes? These are some examples:

    Presentation and settlement of taxes
    Presentation of resources and claims
    Completion of population and housing census data
    Consultation and registration in the municipal register
    Query of traffic fines
    Consultation and procedures for grant application
    Query of assignment of electoral colleges
    Communicated performances
    Electronic signature of official documents and forms

The National Coin and Stamp Factory (FNMT) is the body normally used to receive the digital certificate, but it is not the only one with the capacity to issue it. Professional associations and the European Digital Trust Agency are other equally valid certifying authorities.

Another big question that is usually raised, who can get a Digital Certificate? Any Spanish or foreign citizen, of legal age or emancipated minor who is in possession of his ID or NIE. The validity period of this certificate is four years. Once that time has passed, the application process must be carried out again.
Previous configuration

To obtain the Digital Certificate there are two different processes, which have to do with how to identify. One of them requires the transfer of the interested person to a Registry Office and the other the identification through the DNIe (it is necessary to install the cryptographic software and the root certificates).

The browsers supported to carry out the process are only Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, so it is advisable to have the latest version installed. This page explains the steps to follow to correctly configure the programs and even has a configurator that performs this process automatically.

The certification could also be achieved through an Android app, but at this time, this method of obtaining is in maintenance and with no date planned for the new version.

Once the browser is correctly configured, the certificate request must be filled in with the basic user data (ID, full name and email). Immediately, we receive an email with a request number that is associated with our identity document.

Identity Accreditation

This is when the user must prove their identity, which can be through a registration office in person or through the DNIe remotely. Throughout the Spanish geography, there are more than 2,400 offices authorized to make this accreditation effective, including the Social Security offices and the AEAT Delegations and Administrations. With this locator, you can find the nearest place for your convenience.

It should be remembered that in one of the offices you need an appointment to carry out this procedure. To complete the accreditation, all you have to do is bring the application code you received in the email with your ID (or passport or driving license) to confirm your identity.

In the case of having a DNIe, this whole process of going to a registration office is not necessary and accreditation is done from the comfort of your home, thanks to the electronic chip of said document.

It is important that from the beginning of this process (receive the request code) to the end (install the certificate), neither the browser nor the operating system of the equipment on which we have made it receives any changes or updates.

When we have accredited our identity in a registry office, presenting some supporting document -DNIe or Passport-, you will receive an email with a link to download and install the digital certificate. This should be done on the same computer and with the same browser where it started. The download has a limited time, so you should do it as soon as possible.

It is recommended that, once you have finished and already have the digital certificate downloaded and installed, make a backup on an external storage device (the file is protected by a password). In this way, if something happens to the host computer, the certificate is safe and it is not necessary to repeat the accreditation process.

After following these simple steps, you already have the digital certificate in your possession and you can make use of the electronic signature, which has the same validity as a handwritten signature and has many benefits.
Electronic signature ready to be used

The use of the electronic signature means a significant saving of time for the citizen, who previously needed to wait for hours in a queue to get a birth certificate, for example.

The Government is committed to the implementation of Electronic Administration, which also brings significant cost savings, money that can be dedicated to other issues of greater importance.

The electronic signature not only has its advantages in the relationship of the citizen with the Administration, but also in its own private procedures and for companies. In addition, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article there are different types of signature according to the specific needs of each moment.

Viafirma offers specific solutions Viafirma Documents, Viafirma Inbox or Viafirma Fortress, help to take advantage of the benefits of digital in your daily transactions, always committed to technological neutrality.

In short, it is important to get the digital certificate to enjoy all the advantages of the electronic signature and the great savings that it entails for its users. In three simple steps (application, accreditation and installation), you will have the certificate ready to be used.