One of the most touching moments in the pilgrimage to Santiago happens on the queue to get the Compostela, the pilgrim credential, the document that confirms our journey to the Galician capital. This paper could be the most important and meaningful souvenir of an unforgetable experience.
We’ve been asked many times about the pilgrim credential, that’s why from Santiago Ways we wanted to do an article as complete as possible, hoping to be useful for all pilgrims.
We are going to do an thorough revision of everything you need to know about the credential: what it is and where to get it? What’s for? What requirements do you need? We’re anwering to all this common questions and some other that can be interesting as well.
Do you know everything you need to do in order to get your Compostela?
What is the pilgrim credential?
The credential is an indispensable document for the pilgrimage. We could say that it’s like an official and special passport for pilgrims.
It’s a trptych that has on it the pilgrim personal data, some useful information about the Camino and some squares or boxes that we’ll fill with stamps from the places we pass through, together with the date of when we were in each of these places.
What is it for?
#1 It’s essential to access to the pilgrim hostels in the Camino, because it identifies you as a pilgrim.
#2 It’s necessary to get the Compostela, once you arrive to Santiago. If you are not sure about what it is the Compostela, we’ll explain it to you further on in this post.
#3 It serves also to get some discounts in museums, leisure centres, monasteries and other interesting visits.
Is there more than one model?
Yes, but we recommend to use the official one, that is distributed by the Office of Pilgrimages of the Diocese of Santiago.
Where can I get this official model of pilgrim credential?
You can get it in different establishments autorized by the Cathedral of Santiago, like parishes, Amigos del Camino associations, hostels, et.
IMPORTANT: to do everything easier for you, in case you contract the services of Santiago Ways we’ll deliver to you this credential in the hostel where you start your journey.
Who can apply for this credential?
Any pilgrim who’s going to do the way by foot, by bicycle or riding a horse, continuously and without using any kind of motorized vehicles in any stage.
Documents and costs
What documents do I need to give to get my credential?
The only document you need to show is your ID card. If you want to get a credential for a friend, you can do it as long as you take his ID card with you.
You also have to fill a form with your personal data, which you can see and print here to speed up the process.
Is there any charge?
The pilgrim credential could be given for free or for the money you want to contribute with, but in some other places it may has a specific cost between 0,50€ and 2€. In case someone ask you to set your own price, the usual is 2€.
All about stamps
How do the stamps work?
The idea is to get a personal souvenir of the most special places you visit during your Camino, those who really attract your attention.
It’s very simple and even pleasant: in the place where you start your Camino, they’ll certify the day you’re starting and what way are you going to do it (by foot, bike or horse). After that, you can get stamps in your credential in every place that you want through your journey.
How many stamps do I need?
The minimum is to have one stamp for every stage, but you can get as many as you wish!
If you’re doing your pilgrimage by bicycle, you must get two stamps for stage during your way, instead of one.
In what kind of establishments could I get a stamp?
In some points you’re going to find signature books where you can share your experiences or write some comment, and in this places it’s usual to find also a die that you can use to seal your credential by yourself. As for the establishments you can get stamps is:
#1 Tourism offices: during your Camino, you’ll go through different villages and in their information offices you could mark your credential.
#2 Restaurants and other ludic places: in some ludic points you could also get a beautiful stamp for your credential. Ask in the picturesque places you stop by!
#3 Hostels: in every kind of hostels in the Camino, doesn’t matter if they’re private or not. Remember to get your stamp in the hostels you sleep in!
#4 Churches and touristy places: also here you can get stamps.
When should I apply for my pilgrim credential?
In the Amigos del Camino associations, you can apply for it a month in advance. If you’re going to do the Camino during the summer, we recommend you to get your credential with some time, because there will be more applications than usually.
But if you’re not very foresighted and you remember about the credential a little bit late, or even once you have started your Camino, no panic! The usual is that you can ask for it in the first hostel you visit.
And what if I don’t get it in my hostel either?
There’s always a solution. Use a notebook to compilate the stamps anyway.
What will I get once I have all the stamps?
When you arrive to Santiago, the pilgrims goal, you could ask for the Compostela or the pilgrim certificate. This documents are given to the people who had completed at least 100 km by foot or by horse, or 200 km by bycicle, of the Camino de Santiago.
Once we got our credential with the stamps that prove we have completed the different stages, we could go to the Pilgrim Office, that is located very close to the Santiago cathedral, and they will give us our official certificate.
What’s the difference between the Compostela and the pilgrim certificate?
Traditionally, the Compostela is given to those pilgrims who had made their journey for spiritual or religious reasons, even if it’s in a sense of research.
The pilgrim certificate is intended for those who had completed the Camino for ludic or sports reasons.
Enjoy the experience
There are many different reasons to do the Camino, as we told you in this post about the motivation for doing the pilgrimage to Santiago. All kind of reasons are equally valid, because the really important thing is that the pilgrim enjoys the trip he’s making. Anyway, there will always be some shared experiences, like the admiration for the landscapes or the spontaneous friendship with other travellers, whatever the motivation.
We’re always happy to help you!