The Pilgrim's Passport is one of the most important features of the Camino de Santiago . No walker or cyclist should start the Route without it, since it is the document that accredits us as pilgrims (also known as the Credential). Both personal and non-transferable, the Passport grants us access to hostels and allows us to complete the Compostela, serving as irrefutable proof of our pilgrimage to Santiago. Today we shall clarify some of the issues regarding its origin, function and use, as well as where the Camino de Santiago Passport can be obtained.
What is the Pilgrim's Passport?
The origin of the Passport goes back to the Middle Ages, when every pilgrim was given a letter of safe passage that allowed them to travel freely and without risk along the Camino de Santiago. Since then this document has developed into a type of guide in which the pilgrim can record their journey.
Where can I get the Pilgrim's Passport?
Many pilgrims ask where or how they can buy the Passport. There are a number of options available: the Passport can be obtained via the different Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de España (in Spanish), via associations abroad, in hostels and parish churches, and in the Brotherhoods of the Santiago Apostle. You can view the list here. Don't worry if you have still not obtained your Passport when starting the Camino de Santiago. It can usually be provided at the first hostel or at tourist offices located at key points on the Jacobean Route. The price of the Camino de Santiago Passport ranges between 50¢ and €2. It can be obtained free of charge in hostels managed by the Friends of the Way Associations and in their local offices, in exchange for a donation for their efforts to maintain and improve the Camino.
In addition, pilgrims can apply for the Passport at the Oficina del Peregrino, located just a few metres from Santiago Cathedral at 33 Rúa Carretas. If you have any questions, you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
How do you use the Camino de Santiago Passport?
The first page of the Passport is used to fill out the pilgrim's details as well as displaying the stamp of the issuing body. The remainder of the document is filled with blank boxes which the pilgrim must use to collect the stamps that serve as proof of passage through the different stages of the Route. These stamps can be obtained in hostels, Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino, parish churches... and also at Correos. At certain branches you can even get special postmarks displaying images of iconic places from the area alongside the date of passage. You can collect as many stamps as you want, although in order to present the Compostela upon arrival at Santiago Cathedral, there is a minimum requirement of having had your Passport stamped twice daily throughout the last 100 kilometres for pilgrims travelling on foot or on horseback, and throughout the last 200 kilometres for those who travel the Camino by bicycle.
What is the passport for?
The pilgrim's Passport serves a double function. On the one hand, it is the document that accredits us as pilgrims and grants us access to hostels. On the other hand, we can use it to complete the Compostela (which some also call Compostelana), the document that proves that you have completed the Christian pilgrimage by visiting the tomb of the Santiago Apostle.
How do you get the Compostela?
To receive the Compostela your Passport must show that you have completed at least the last 100 kilometres to Santiago on foot or horseback, or at least the last 200 kilometres by bicycle. However, it isn't necessary to have completed the Camino in one go, but all locations must be accounted for. As such, we can undertake the Route in sections as long as it is taken up again from the place we left off. Skipping any stages between distances of 100km (200 km by bike) would not be considered a completion of the Compostela.
Other certifications for the Camino de Santiago
The Compostela is the only document that certifies the pilgrimage to Santiago. However, there are other certifications that may also be of interest to the pilgrim:
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¡Buen Camino! Eso es lo que queremos en Correos, que los peregrinos puedan disfrutar al máximo de la experiencia del Camino y descubrir a través de nuestras postales nuevos lugares, historias, personas y experiencias sobre el Camino de Santiago.