If you recently became a parent in the UK and you are (or your partner is) a Spanish national, you may be looking to register your child’s birth in Spain.
This article aims to provide a general overview of the registration process, the steps involved and the documents you need to register a UK birth in Spain.
First things first
It is only possible to register a birth abroad in Spain after its registration in the country of birth, so the first thing to do is registering the birth in the UK. Birth registration deadlines vary across the UK – 42 days of the child being born in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 21 days of the child being born in Scotland.
Once the UK registration has been made, you can proceed to register the birth in Spain. While this is a free procedure, some steps in the process such as requesting original certificates and Apostilles and arranging translation involve fees.
Steps to register a UK birth in Spain
1. Register at your Consulate of Spain
Spanish nationals must register at their relevant Consulate of Spain to be able to do things like registering their UK marriage or a UK birth in Spain.
2. Gather all the necessary documents
The information below is geared towards married couples registering the UK birth of their first child together where at least one spouse is Spanish.
- Birth registration statement form, duly filled in and signed by both parents;
- UK resident registration forms, duly filled in and signed by both parents (required to apply for a Spanish passport) and a recent passport picture of the child;
- The child’s full birth certificate, issued within the last 6 months and a copy thereof;
- Certified copy of the parents’ valid passport/Spanish national identification document (DNI);
- Spanish family record book, if available (after registering the marriage in Spain); and
- The parents’ full birth certificates, issued within the last 6 months, and a copy thereof.
Bear in mind: The documents required to register a UK birth in Spain may vary depending on the parents’ circumstances regarding nationality, marital status, marriage registration in Spain (or lack of), existing children, age of children, etc. Visit the relevant Spanish Consulate’s website to read the latest information applicable to your particular circumstances and download the appropriate forms.
Some things to remember about birth and marriage certificates:
Birth certificates: only full certificates which include the parents’ details are accepted.
For English-born people, this means submitting a full birth certificate (‘certified copy of an entry’) and not a short certificate.
For Scottish-born people, this means submitting an extract (‘extract of an entry from the register of births in Scotland’) and not an abbreviated certificate or ‘abbreviated extract’.
Marriage certificates: registering your marriage in Spain is required before you can register your child’s birth.
If you married outside your Consulate’s jurisdiction (e.g. you reside in London but married in Scotland or in Spain) you need to submit your marriage certificate, issued within the last 6 months and duly legalised/apostilled and translated (if applicable).
If you married within your Consulate’s jurisdiction (e.g. you reside in London and married in Oxford), you must register your marriage in Spain at your Consulate first before you can register your child’s birth.
3. Request Apostilles
Documents issued outside Spain must be legalised or apostilled so they can take effect in Spain. The institution dealing with Apostilles for UK-issued documents (e.g. birth or marriage certificates) is the Legalisation Office. Gather all documents requiring legalisation, visit the Legalisation Office website and simply follow the instructions.
Bear in mind that it may take up to 20 working days to get your documents apostilled, which will then have to be translated into Spanish. As birth and marriage certificates must be submitted to the Consulate within 6 months from the date of issuance, it is advisable to request Apostilles soon after you receive your certificates and allow plenty of time to prepare your registration application.
4. Arrange sworn translations
Generally, foreign documents to register a UK birth in Spain require Spanish sworn translation but exceptions may apply at certain consular offices if your child is born within your Consulate’s jurisdiction. For more information, check your relevant Consulate’s website.
If you need any English-Spanish sworn translations, I will be able to help. Get in touch by email, send full scanned copies of your documents and confirm one of the three available delivery options I offer. I will get back to you as soon as I can with a formal quotation.
5. Submit documents and translations
Once you have gathered all the necessary original documents, copies of documents and original sworn translations, post them to your relevant Consulate of Spain. You will find the postal address on the birth registration statement form which is available on the Consulate’s website.
Make sure you include a prepaid Special Delivery envelope with your name and address on it so that the Consulate can post the original documents back to you.
Under normal circumstances, registering the UK birth of your child may take up to three weeks upon reception of your documents and consulates do not provide application progress updates. Once the birth has been registered, you will receive your child’s Spanish full birth certificate and a family record book. Non-married couples may be asked to book an appointment before the birth can be registered.
Note that your child cannot be registered with a name not complying with the strict Spanish naming rules. Children can have up to two forenames and must have two surnames. For more information, read my comprehensive guide to Spanish naming customs.
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.