The credential or accreditation of the pilgrim is a document of medieval origin. In the Middle Ages special safe-conducts were created so that pilgrims could cross the European territories and find accommodation in pilgrims’ hospitals and monasteries and the present- day credential reflects this ancient tradition.
The current Credential has two very specific practical functions: allowing the bearer to spend the night in a pilgrim hostel and, once in Santiago, to obtain the Compostela or pilgrimage certification. In this sense it is important to know that to deliver the Compostela, the Cathedral of Santiago only accepts some models of Credential: those that are issued by the Pilgrim Assistance Office of the Cathedral of Santiago or from some recognised pilgrim associations.
The Credential is a document with a book format, printed on cardboard and with a number of pages (16 in the case of Santiago Cathedral) which unfold in the form of an accordion. On the first page must be clearly written the association or institution that the pilgrim belongs to , together with his or her personal data. This must also be accompanied by his or her original point of departure. At the top of the first page, the body that delivered the Credential must put its stamp, while the lower one is reserved for the Cathedral of Santiago, which at the end of the Way will put the date of arrival and its official stamp.
As we have explained, the objective of the Credential is to identify the pilgrim as such, therefore all users must be pilgrims who follow the way on foot, by bicycle or horseback and, according to the credential of the Cathedral of Santiago, do so for religious or spiritual reasons or, at the very least, in the spirit of a personal ‘quest.’
The new pilgrim can request and obtain his Credential through the Pilgrim Office of Santiago, parishes, town halls, pilgrim hostels, brotherhoods and, above all, through Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, both Spanish and foreign . . To locate the association or place where the Credential can be obtained, as well as information about the Way, you can consult our section of useful links.