Carrying a notarized copy of a passport is the same as carrying the original

Since the question has arisen over the passport theft post earlier today, it’s worth mentioning once again that we have to carry an original ID document with us at all times.
Spain’s Citizen Security law (aka the gag law) does not require this to be a passport: it allows for the ID to be an EU driver’s photo licence instead. Spanish police say, however, that although this is the case as far as they are concerned, private businesses or non-police legal entities, e.g. banks, may impose other requirements … i.e. they may demand a passport.
Obviously many people worry about their passport being lost or stolen if they’re carrying it about even if they’re not hiring a car, and the easiest solution is for people to go to a notary and ask for a notarized copy. This is a photocopy made by the notary himself, on notarized paper, and with a notarial stamp and seal on it. It is therefore not a “copy” as such, but becomes an “original” passport as far as Spain is concerned.
A notarized copy will cost a few Euros and avoids the need to carry the original booklet passport. This will satisfy the police, Tráfico, banks, and anyone else who might need to see ID. For this and other “getting it right” questions, just see THIS page.


  1. Hi Janet, I am a tourist from Croatia and I will be staying for a few months in Barcelona area. I made my passport and driving licence notarised by Notario in Blanes. I have bad experiances with my original documents so i will carry just those copies. Is it perfectly safe for me to drive a spanish plate car in this area and to show only these copies if GC/Mossos stops me?

    1. Author

      I’ sorry I can’t answer for regional police in Catalonia. Apologies.

  2. Hi Janet thanks for all your great work and information on your site.
    I took advise on your site and got my passport notarized today in Los Cristianos took 10min and costed 3 Euro well worth the time and money spent.
    Regards Eddie

    1. Author

      That’s great, Eddie. Around €3 is exactly what I’d expect.

  3. Hello, I live in Canada but have been visiting Tenerife at Christmas for a number of years now. I’ve generally never carried my passport on me, and have never been stopped or asked for ID. I do however always have a driver’s licence with me and this does have a photo. Would that suffice for the Spanish police – or must it be an EU licence? Would an international driver’s licence be needed? If I were to get a notarized copy of my passport would that have to be notarized in Spain/Tenerife or would a copy made and notarized in Canada be accepted? Apologies for all the questions – and thanks for any answers you can provide.

    1. Author

      yes, an EU (or international) driving licence or passport … or a copy notarized in Spain or by a Spanish embassy in another country.

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