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 itself 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. Spanish bureaucracy is infamously notorious, so brace yourself for a slow and time-consuming process.
In this article about Anglo-Spanish weddings, I share a general overview of the process and documents needed to get married in Spain.
NOTE: this article applies to Civil weddings only. Religious weddings are not legally recognised in Spain. You need to register with the local civil authorities to obtain a marriage certificate.
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.
Before the wedding can take place, you and your partner need 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 Office where you live. The wedding can then take place at a different Civil Registry Office, if you wish.
If you live in the UK, 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:
- full birth certificate;
- copy of the Spanish National Identification document or passport;
- certificate of no impediment/Marital status certificate (or both);
- certificate of residence covering the last 2 years; and
- details of a witness and copy of their passport.
IMPORTANT: all your UK documents must be legalised/Apostilled and then translated into Spanish by a sworn translator (traductor jurado). Read everything about the legalisation and Spanish sworn translation process on the blog, and send your documents by email to request a sworn translation quote.
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. If you live in Spain, 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. Note that Certificates of no impediment are only valid for 3 months in Spain.
REQUESTING A MARITAL STATUS CERTIFICATE IF YOU LIVE IN SPAIN
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 Consulate in London
20 Draycott Place
Londres SW3 2RZ
Email (Civil Registry Office services): [email protected]
Phone numbers: 020 7589 8989, 020 7594 4904, 020 7594 4907
British Embassy in Madrid
Paseo de la Castellana 259D
Phone: +34 917 146 300
The information included in this article is correct at the time of publication/last update. This article is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. ICR Translations will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from loss of data or profits as a result of, or in connection with, the use of this website.
IRENE CORCHADO RESMELLA is a Spanish translator based in Edinburgh. A Chartered Linguist and member of the CIOL, she is also an English-Spanish sworn translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Irene specialises in sworn and legal translation (particularly in wills and succession) and is an Affiliate member of STEP. ICR Translations is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and has professional indemnity insurance.