Spain cracks down on crooks using fake documents to stay

crooks using fake documents
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Spain cracks down on crooks using fake documents to stay in the country.

In a combined effort the UK and Spain are cracking down on crooks using fake documents to help people gain Spanish citizenship. Officers from the Spanish National Police have been working with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Interpol to thwart an organisation focused on faking certificates and diplomas needed to obtain Spanish citizenship.

During the joint operation, more than 30 people have been arrested and officers managed to identify more than 1,600 clients who had paid money to the criminal organisation. Payments made to the organisation for their services had been between 1,000 euros and 4,500 euros.


To obtain Spanish citizenship language competency (DELE) and cultural knowledge (CCSE) titles are required. It is thought that more than 1,300 people had obtained these documents from the criminal organisation already.

The documents are legally issued by theCervantes Institute under the oversight of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Justice.

29 people were arrested in Spain’s Barcelona and one of the leaders of the gang was arrested in the UK. The majority of people using the service were from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.

Europol commented: “36 suspects were arrested for a document fraud scheme in Spain and the UK last month.

“The suspects charged more than €1000 for fraudulent language certificates.”

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Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.


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