Cancellation of criminal records in Spain

What is it?:

In Spain, in accordance with article 2 of the Royal Decree 95/2009, of 6th February, which regulates the system of administrative registers to support the Administration of Justice, the Central Register of convicted persons includes the registrations of final decisions for the perpetration of a crime that imposes fines or security measures, dictated by the Courts or Tribunals of the criminal jurisdictional order.

All individuals convicted by final judgement who have extinguished their criminal accountability have the right to obtain the cancellation of their criminal records from the Ministry of Justice, which appears in the Central Register of Convicted Persons, within the timeframe established by the Law.

Requisites for cancellation required by the Law.

The cancellation of criminal records (background check in American or U.S. English) is registered under article 136 of the Criminal Code.

This article stipulates that no new offences must have been committed within the following timeframes:

  • 6 months for minor offences

  • 2 years for crimes not exceeding 12 months and those imposed for reckless offences.

  • 3 years for other less serious offences of less that 3 years

  • 5 years for less serious offences equal to or longer than 3 years.

  • Furthermore, the records of security measures shall be canceled once the respective
    security measures have been complied with or prescribed.


To cancel records of security measures:

Records of security measures shall be canceled once the respective security measures have been complied with or prescribed.


Who can apply for/file it

Once the requirements of the Law have been met, applicants must fill in an application form in which the following information must be included:
– Name and surname, affiliation, town, province and date of birth, document accrediting their identity and address, mobile phone number or email address for notification purposes. (A template for the application form is available on the Ministry of Justice website, but a simple letter from the applicant containing all the aforementioned data, as well as a clearly stated request, is sufficient to initiate the filing)
– In order to speed up the resolution of the process, it is advisable to attach a certificate of compliance with sentences, issued by the competent court or judge to the application.


Accreditation of the applicant’s identity:

The Criminal Code establishes that the reports of criminal records ‘shall not be public’, so that the applicant with the record whose cancellation is sought must prove his or her identity with the corresponding valid documentation, which can be done in person, by post or through a duly accredited representative.


Said documentation is:

– Spanish or EU holder:
– Valid DNI or duly certified photocopy
– EU card or passport, if applicable, both valid, either originals or duly certified photocopies
– Driving license with photo and signature
– Non EU holder:
– Residence card, (NIE), or passport where applicable, all valid, originals or duly certified photocopies.
– Driving license with photo and signature, issued by the authority of the country of origin.
– b) Proof of representation
– If the interested party works through a representative, he/she must also prove his/her identity, documenting the representative by a notarised power of attorney, declaration of personal attendance of the interested party, or any other legally sufficient means that provides a reliable record of such representation.
– Acting through a representative does not exempt the applicant, in any case, from the need to prove his/her identity).


Additional information

– The processing time is 3 months. Once this period has elapsed, the intended cancellation may be understood to have been assessed, even if there has been no express resolution, nevertheless the above, the resolution period will be suspended when it is necessary to obtain from the judicial body the date of extinction of the criminal liability, which is essential for the start of the calculation of cancellation periods. (article 22.1, of the Law 39/2015, of 1st of October, on the Common
Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations.)



The regulations in relation to the cancellation of criminal records are complex. And for this reason, if you are at any time charged with this offence, it is advised that you seek legal advice from a competent lawyer experienced in cancellations of criminal records in Barcelona as soon as possible. It’s important to remember that in some cases, the police may also make mistakes and as a result, it’s important to make sure that you have been charged justly.

Our criminal lawyers specialising in the cancellation of criminal records can help you and your case in Barcelona, Cataluña or other areas in Spain.

Disclaimer: This information in this article is not definitive, for up to date legal advice which is relevant to your case please contact our lawyers.


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