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For a longer-than-ninety-days visa to Spain, the Houston Spanish Consulate requires a raft of documents, all with "certified translation into Spanish."

Now if the original is in Spanish, wouldn't they accept that? I speak and write Spanish, but I'm afraid that if I ask them, they'll get suspicious and reject what I write claiming I wrote it in English and didn't pay a "certified translator" forty bucks a page.

Update: My Spanish-speaking lawyer friend says that the translator just has to self-certify that he/she is fluent in the language. But he apparently based that on requirements of the U.S. State Department.

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    You can write your own documents in Spanish. It's things like your birth certificate and the like that need a certified translation. If you were born in a county that offers documents in Spanish though, you wouldn't need the translation. – phoog Oct 18 '16 at 3:33
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    Can you specify what those documents are? Like @phoog I have mostly seen this requirement in relation to documents you cannot write yourself. – Gala Oct 18 '16 at 8:33
  • All of them. Lease in Spain of course will already be in Spanish. Police check, health check, proof of income, reason for going, what you want to do, etc. Long list, and each consulate has their own version of the list. – WGroleau Oct 18 '16 at 14:51
  • @WGroleau Do you have the list for Houston? The list for LA does not contain anything that suggests you would need to write some documents yourself and have them translated in Spanish. In fact, I don't see any document you could write yourself in there. – Gala Oct 19 '16 at 13:47
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    If you did your own translation you could make it say whatever you wanted. Of course they won't accept that! On the other hand, if you can do good translation I wouldn't be surprised if you could find a translator that would verify your translations for a lot less than creating them from scratch. – Loren Pechtel Oct 20 '16 at 0:51
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There's a lot right in the comments, but I'll try to organize what I've learned since the original post.

Presenting a contract for a vivienda is not a requirement in the actual law, and a lawyer in Madrid says if I hire her, she'll educate the consulate.

The translations, according to the same lawyer, can only be accepted from someone on an official list. The list comes from the Spanish government, not any individual consulate.

Items where the original is Spanish don't have to be translated. (It's obvious, but when dealing with bureaucrats, one should never assume...)

According to the lawyer, presenting a translation for the agency to edit will not save any money.

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