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The Credential & Compostela (pilgrims pass)

The Credential of the Camino of Santiago is a document, whether walking or biking, that certifies the pilgrims completion and serves to record their passage through distinct locations along any of the pilgrimage routes.

This is done through the use of stamps collected by the walkers in the pilgrim hostels, hotels, councils, parishes, shops and bars. Upon reaching Santiago, it serves as evidence to obtain the Compostela, the official text that certifies that the walkers have completed all their requirements of The Way. For spiritual reasons it is applicable to those who have covered a minimum of the last 100 kilometres on foot or on horseback, or at least 200km by bike.

The Official Credential for the Camino of Santiago includes, on its first page, personal information about each pilgrim, a space for the stamp from the entity that provided this “passport” and another one for the Cathedral of Santiago to be stamped upon completion of the itinerary. The rest of the foldable pages have a series of boxes that can be used to collect a variety of stamps from hostels or other locations passed by as pilgrims progress along The Camino. In the Pilgrim’s Office - the place where the Compostela is collected on reaching Santiago - walkers are required to have collected at least one stamp per day, two on the Galician stretch of the Camino, if done on foot (the last 100 kilometres) or over the last 200 km. If the pilgrimage is done by bike. To receive the Compostela it is not necessary to have completed The Way over a continuous period of time, although geographically continuation is mandatory. That is, pilgrims can complete a stage of the itinerary and then, later, resume the route and continue stamping Credential of the Camino of Santiago at the point where they last left off. It is not valid, however, to miss a stretch of the route and continue stamping in a different location.

The Compostela is issued to all those pilgrims who have had their Credential stamped and thus, have demonstrated their passage along The Camino, on a journey they’ve undertaken for religious or spiritual reasons or for self searching purposes, passing through the various enclaves of one of the many pilgrimage routes (all of which are considered valid). Those who have completed The Camino for other reasons (leisure, sports etc…) can apply to receive another certificate upon reaching Santiago, known as the Pilgrim’s Certificate.

Necessary distance:

Some walkers and cyclists have expressed doubts regarding the exact point at which they become eligible to receive the Compostela.
The Pilgrim’s Office has clarified that: For those going on foot, the minimum distance required to obtain the Certificate, in the case of the French Way, would be from Sarria or Barbadelo, for the English Way, from Ferrol or Neda, in the case of the Northern Way, from Vilalba or Baamonde and for the Primitive way, from Lugo. In addition, those walkers who do the Camino of Finisterre – Muxia, and then cover the first stage of the route that connects the two costal locations to then complete the remaining stages to Santiago, are also entitled to the Compostela. In this way, they would also cover the necessary 100 kilometres.

For cyclists doing the French Way the minimum needed to obtain the Certificate (200 kilometres) involves starting in Ponferrada, for those doing the Portuguese way, Póvoa de Varzim, for the Northern Route, Tapia de Casariego, and for those reaching Santiago on the Primitivo Way, Grandes de Salime.