Getting married is one of the most memorable things to happen in your life. And one of the most stressful ones, given the amount of organisation and planning involved.
If a wedding is hard to plan, a bicultural wedding isn’t a walk in the park either. It requires some extra paperwork and time (and patience!) than usual. The Spanish bureaucracy is infamously notorious, so brace yourself for a slow and time-consuming process.
With this article about Anglo-Spanish weddings, I want to give you a general overview of the process and requirements for getting married in Spain.
Requirements for getting married in Spain
The main requirement for you to get married in Spain is being a resident in Spain for the last two years or, if you live in the UK, for either party to be a Spanish national. Therefore, British couples living in the UK can’t get a Civil wedding in Spain.
Before the wedding can take place it’s mandatory for you and your partner to get your expediente matrimonial (documentation) officially approved. The process involves submitting documents, making a statement and going for a personal interview. Some witnesses will also need to answer a few questions about you and your partner. If everything goes well, your expediente will then be approved.
If you live in Spain, you need to process the expediente at the local Civil Registry where you live. The wedding can then take place at a different Civil Registry, if you wish.
If you live in England the process will take place at the relevant Spanish Consulate. All the documents must be submitted to the Consulate at least eight weeks before the signature of the documents and your interview with the Consul. Within two weeks from signing the documents you’ll be informed whether your expediente has been approved or not.
Documents required from both parties, whether Spanish or British, in all cases:
- Birth certificate
- Copy of the Spanish National Identification Document or passport
- Certificate of no impediment/Marital status certificate (or both)
- Certificate of residence for the last 2 years
- Details of a witness and copy of his/her passport
Additional documents are required in some cases:
If divorced: a divorce decree and a certificate of previous marriage, if applicable
If widow/widower: death certificate of spouse and certificate of previous marriage, if applicable
Notes for British nationals living in the UK regarding the documents needed
CERTIFICATE OF RESIDENCE
The British authorities don’t issue certificates of residence, as British citizens are not required to register their address at any institution or British Consulate. It’s advisable to print out and submit this proof of address letter by the British Consulate-General in Madrid written in Spanish.
Then, how can you proof your UK residence to Spanish authorities? From my translation experience for marriage purposes I can say most of my clients submit certificates of electoral registration for the last two years. Other clients had to submit a notarial certificate confirming their UK address for the last two years.
CERTIFICATE OF NO IMPEDIMENT
You can request a CNI when giving notice of marriage to your local register office.
REQUESTING A MARITAL STATUS CERTIFICATE IF YOU LIVE IN SPAIN
On this link you can download the Marital Status Certificate for Marriage Application Pack prepared by the British Consulate General in Madrid. It contains the application form, information about the supporting documents you need, a credit card authorisation form and an affirmation to be signed before a local Public Notary in Spain before posting your application to the Consulate.
Spanish Embassy in London
20 Draycott Place
Londres SW3 2RZ
Email: [email protected]
Phone numbers: 020 7589 8989, 020 7594 4904/07
You may also like to read these articles:
- Cultural differences: 15 Spanish weddings curiosities
- Things to bear in mind when planning a bilingual wedding
- Ideas to help break the ice at your bilingual wedding
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IRENE CORCHADO RESMELLA is a Spanish translator and content writer based in Oxford. A Spanish sworn translator and Chartered Linguist, she specialises in Legal, Marketing and Travel translation. Irene combines her linguistic skills with her knowledge of content marketing and a creative mind to help you get the right message across to your Spanish clients.
Blogger at Piggy Traveller and The Curiolancer.