Last updated on 18/07/24

If you have recently tied the knot in Scotland and you are (or your spouse is) a Spanish national, you may want to arrange a prompt registration of your Scottish marriage in Spain.

This short guide aims to provide a general overview of the registration process, the steps involved and the documents required to register your Scottish marriage in Spain.

Why register a Scottish marriage in Spain?

Marriages in one country are not automatically registered in another one. If you marry in Scotland, your marriage will not be registered in Spain unless you take the necessary steps. Registering your marriage in Spain is required for your marriage to take full effect in Spain; not doing so will make future procedures in Spain unnecessarily difficult and complex.

These are some of the advantages of registering your marriage in Spain:

  • It allows a foreign spouse to apply for Spanish nationality by residence as the spouse of a Spanish national.
  • It allows spouses to exercise succession rights on the death of the other spouse.
  • It allows a widow/widower to receive a Spanish pension as a widow/widower of the other spouse.

Registering your Scottish marriage in Spain is a free procedure but bear in mind that several steps in the process (requesting certificates, legalisation, translation) involve fees.

Please note that, according to Spanish legislation, married women maintain their maiden name after marriage and do not take their new husband’s surname. For more information, read my comprehensive guide to Spanish naming customs.

Steps to register a Scottish marriage in Spain

1. Register at the Consulate of Spain in Edinburgh

Spanish nationals must be registered at the Consulate of Spain in Edinburgh before they can register their Scottish marriage in Spain.

2. Gather all the necessary documents

Standard documents, required in all circumstances:

Other documents:

If either of the spouses was divorced before the marriage (and the previous marriage was not registered at the Consulate), then the previous Spanish marriage certificate with a marginal note on divorce or a divorce decree, as applicable, must be submitted.

If either of the spouses was a widow or widower before the marriage, then the previous marriage certificate and the former spouse’s death certificate must be submitted.

If the spouses have children, they must also submit either the original Spanish family record book (Libro de Familia) or the children’s birth certificates.

Note that, apart from the above-mentioned documents, the Consulate reserves the right to request any additional documents they deem necessary. Make sure to double-check with the Consulate whether the copies of your ID/passport need to be certified and whether additional (non-certified) copies of other documents are required.

3. Request Apostilles

Any document issued outside Spain in a language other than Spanish must be either legalised or apostilled (and translated).

The Legalisation Office is the UK institution dealing with Apostilles for UK-issued documents. Simply gather all the documents you need (e.g. Scottish marriage certificate, Scottish birth certificate, proof of address, UK passport), visit the Legalisation Office website and follow the steps.

4. Arrange sworn translations

Generally, foreign documents require Spanish sworn translation but exceptions may apply if you married within your Consulate’s jurisdiction. For more information, check your relevant Consulate’s website.

As an Edinburgh-based English-Spanish sworn translator myself, I will be happy to help with this part of the process. Get in touch by email and attach full scanned copies of your documents including any non-Apostille legalisation (Apostilles can be requested either before or after translation). I will get back to you promptly with a formal quotation.

5. Submit documents and translations

Gather all the original documents and original sworn translations and send them to the Consulate of Spain in Edinburgh. You can submit your documents in person by appointment or by post (remember to include a prepaid Special Delivery envelope with your name and address so you can receive your documents back by post).

6. Attend an appointment (if applicable)

After examining your documents, the Consulate may request to meet you and your spouse in person (individual meetings) before your marriage can be registered. If that is the case, you will be informed by email to arrange an appointment.

Once your Scottish marriage is registered in Spain, the Consulate will send (or you will have to collect, depending on how you submitted your documents) your Spanish marriage certificate and your Family Record Book. While hard-copy Family Record Books have (in theory) been substituted by digital ones, at the time of writing this article, Civil Registry Offices (including those at Consulates) are not issuing digital Family Record Books yet.

Before starting the registration process, visit the Consulate’s website or contact them by email to make sure you read the most up-to-date information and solve any doubts you may have.

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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, a Spanish translator based in Edinburgh. English-Spanish sworn translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chartered Linguist and member of the CIOL. As a legal translator, I focus on Private Client law, specialising in Wills and Succession across three jurisdictions (England & Wales, Spain, and Scotland). Affiliate member of STEP. ICR Translations is registered with the ICO and has professional indemnity insurance.

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