It provides access to pilgrim hostels and serves as proof of the pilgrimage, allowing the pilgrim to request the Compostela upon completion. It can be obtained from the International Pilgrim Welcome Centre. It is also available at the offices of pilgrim confraternities, hostels and parish churches. It can also be requested from friends of the Way of St. James associations around the world, providing proof of identity.
With the pilgrim's passport duly stamped on each stage of the route, pilgrims who have completed at least 100 km on foot or horseback, or 200 km on bicycle, can obtain the Compostela at the International Pilgrim Welcome Centre, located in rúa Carretas number 33.
In order to calculate the minimum number of kilometres required, the Pilgrim's Office has established a specific location for each route. In the case of the French Route, the starting point is Sarria or Barbadelo for pilgrims on foot, and Ponferrada for pilgrims travelling by bicycle.
The Compostela can be requested by any individual – including minors, provided that they are accompanied by their parents or a group – with the capacity to understand the spiritual nature of the Way of St. James.
In order to obtain the Compostela, it is not necessary to have completed the route over a consecutive period of time, but the journey must be geographically consecutive. This means that it is possible to follow the route on weekends, for example. However, it must always be taken up again at the previous destination, as skipping a section would invalidate the right to obtain the certificate.
Those pilgrims who decide to follow the route on Fisterra or Muxía can continue to have their passport stamped (if they have space) or obtain another one at the Pilgrim's Office located at Rúa de Carretas, number 33, or the Fisterra and Muxía city halls, as they can issue a document certifying the pilgrimage.
Since March 2014, the Pilgrim's Office has also issued all pilgrims who so request a Distance Certificate, a document which provides a precise record of the days and kilometres of their pilgrimage, indicating the date and starting point of the journey, the route followed and the number of kilometres travelled.