The story of LEX documents is a story about how my family and I moved from Colombia to Spain and grew from a small operation of a few people to helping tens of thousands of immigrants, growing to over twenty-five countries worldwide. Indeed, Lex Documents is the result of family and community coming together and solving the issues immigrants faced when moving to Spain.
It all started with my father and brother in 2001.
My father was the Colombian Consul in Valencia, Spain, serving the many Colombian nationals who were moving to Spain at that time, fleeing some unrest in the country. It became clear that procuring and legalizing documents from Colombia, and other parts of Latin America, was a big problem as people tried to get their residence in Spain.
Still, it was a booming era for immigration to Spain, and many people needed support acquiring the required immigration-related documentation for their visa applications. But the Colombian consulate in Valencia couldn’t provide this service – they didn’t have the means to help authorize and procure documents for individuals on another continent. This meant that these Colombian immigrants had to work through the complex process of procuring and verifying documents back home by themselves, which was stressful and time-consuming, to say the least.
My brother, who was unofficially helping my father out with some of his work in the consulate, could see the problems Colombian immigrants’ were facing, so he set about trying to solve the issue. Always entrepreneurial-minded, he decided to set up an office on the floor below the Colombian consulate in Valencia and began delivering immigration documentation services himself!
Thus, when people went to the consulate and needed official immigration-related paperwork back from Colombia, such as birth certificates, police records, or marriage certificates, they would often find a solution downstairs — a true family affair! It might not have been officially sanctioned, but it was a service that the consulate couldn’t provide, so the opportunity was clear.
And to tell you the truth, that’s how the company was born.
In the beginning, it was named Latin Express, as it focused on Latin immigrants — initially Colombians — in Spain. But as time went on and as immigration continued to grow, we started to realize even more pain points that these Colombian migrants were facing, such as not having easy access to immigration lawyers. In other words, we provided them with all the correct immigration documents, but they still needed more help..
So, as an entrepreneurial family, my father and brother put their heads to work and eventually hired local immigration lawyers who could support these applicants with their applications and residence visas.
As immigration continued, and as it broadened from just Colombia as the origin to other Latin American countries, so did Latin Express – we began helping individuals coming from other countries into Spain and eventually opened our next offices in Madrid and Barcelona.
I mentioned that the business was a family affair, so the second office, in Madrid, was to be managed by my sister, and the third office, in Barcelona, was to be managed by me. So in 2004, I came to Spain from Colombia; I was very young and studying for a graduate degree in Spain, but I now found myself also trying to grow our Barcelona office from scratch while attending business school and learning a new culture!
Being busy wasn’t going to stop me, though. I was determined to grow our family business, so my first order of business was to start giving out flyers, and really doing anything I could, to bring clients to the office – a true start-up mentality. Slowly but surely, we began to grow. We partnered with small offices and agencies working in other countries, hired subcontractors and encouraged current and past clients to spread the word. Whatever we had to do to grow our business and deliver the best service, we did it.
Things were going well, but everything changed during the 2008 Spanish financial crisis.
Latin Express became Lex Documents and started serving B2B clients.
2008 was a difficult time in Spain. People were losing their jobs as there was simply no work available, especially for new immigrants. Indeed, immigrants already living in Spain, who had their residency, started moving to other countries in Europe where salaries were higher, and work was readily available.
Honestly, things became difficult for us. By this point, we were a medium-sized company and had been exclusively focusing on B2C clients, meaning individuals moving to Spain, whose numbers were significantly reduced. This was when I turned to my brother and told him, «we needed to start focusing on working with companies to help them move employees. We need to go from B2C to B2B!»
And so our pivot towards B2B began.
We stopped focusing exclusively on individual immigrants coming to Spain and started marketing to companies moving employees to and from Spain as well as the various service providers who worked with them like immigration firms, global mobility companies, and other organizations that might benefit from a reliable and professional immigration documentation service.
We spent the next two years working hard to pivot, and eventually, a lawyer from a significant US immigration law firm reached out to us in 2010 with a problem. He was having trouble getting hold of a birth certificate in Barcelona for an immigration process he was handling in the UK and asked us to step in. Of course, we obliged and helped him right away. And after being so impressed with our good attitude and service, he wanted to know what else we could provide. Our relationship developed from there, and it was our first major B2B client… indeed we still work with them today!
His immigration law firm noticed that by partnering with us, they could not only offer their immigration law services but also offer to procure immigration documents that their corporate clients needed for their relocated employees to move around the world. Having the law firm as a one-stop shop made things easier for everyone involved, so we became their partner. This also allowed us to clearly see where we could expand the business.
Soon, our original clients came to us and asked if we could cover countries beyond Latin America. Of course, we said, «yes!» and just realized we would need to adapt quickly. In fact, this was one of our most exciting challenges – setting up a European office in just fifteen days with our proven business model! We established a small office within Germany and hired a local team member with experience to help acquire the German documents they needed.
In 2012 my brother decided to return to Colombia with his family and expand our LATAM operations and clients, so I started managing the company. At the help in 2012, I was ready to support global clients and rebranded the company as Lex Documents. Shortly after the pivot, we partnered with several large multinational consulting firms in the US, UK, and beyond, helping them better serve their clients.
We now have offices in over twelve European countries, all operated by us as well as offices in Latin America and other parts of the world.. Instead of saying «no» to that initial, we said «yes» and figured it out!
Lex Documents going forward: using tech to support immigration documentation
Based in twelve countries with our own offices and staff across Europe, Colombia, and the US and operating across many more, we are proud of how far Lex Documents has come from its humble beginning.
Though our Lex Documents offices are not open to the public for walk-ins like they were back when we got started in the early 2000s, we do have «Lex Express» offices in Spain, which still operate in the same way our older Latin Express offices did — delivering our original service to individuals in our community. It’s something we’re still incredibly passionate about.
So what’s next for Lex Documents?
We have some big and exciting future plans that stay true to our roots of supporting the individual but also help serve our bigger clients.
Today we’re looking to build an automated platform where anyone from any country or city will be able to obtain immigration-related documents. Whether we’re moving for work or simply relocating across the world for personal reasons, we want to enable anyone not living in their home country to access documents from anywhere in the world quickly and efficiently through the use of technology while also continuing our personalized VIP service.
Helping people at scale while still servicing the individual – that’s what we’re about.
As we build toward that future, today, we help individuals procure everything from marriage certificates, birth certificates, criminal records and any other official documentation, and we help apostille official forms as needed. Consular visa applications and otherwise support the global immigration process, one document at a time.