Have you tied the knot in England recently? If at least one of you is a Spanish national, you may want to organise the registration of your English marriage in Spain reasonably soon.
This guide aims to provide an overview of the registration process, the steps involved and the documents you need to register your English marriage in Spain.
Why register an English marriage in Spain?
Marriages in one country are not automatically registered in another one. Registering your marriage in Spain is necessary for it to take full effect in Spain; not doing so will make future procedures in Spain unnecessarily difficult and complex.
Advantages of registering your marriage in Spain include:
- A foreign spouse being able to apply for Spanish nationality by residence as the spouse of a Spanish national.
- Spouses being able to exercise succession rights on the death of the other spouse.
- A widow/widower being able to receive a Spanish pension as a widow/widower of the other spouse.
Registering your English marriage in Spain is free but some steps in the process such as requesting certificates, legalisation and translation involve fees.
According to the Spanish legislation, married women do not take their new husband’s surname after getting married. More information on my guide to Spanish naming customs.
Steps to register an English marriage in Spain
1. Register at your Consulate of Spain
Spanish nationals must be registered at their corresponding Consulate of Spain before they can register their English marriage in Spain.
2. Gather your documents
Standard documents required:
- Personal details statement form (hoja de datos) and formal declaration (declaración jurada), duly filled in and signed.
- Your marriage certificate, issued within the last 6 months.
- Certified copy of Spanish ID (DNI) or passport for each spouse
- Birth certificate for each spouse. Spanish nationals must provide a full certification (certificado literal) issued by the corresponding Civil Registry Office in Spain within the last 6 months. English people can request their birth certificates from the General Register Office for England and Wales or from the local register office where the marriage was registered.
- Proof of address
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.
Apart from the above-mentioned documents, the Consulate may request additional documents. Make sure to double-check with your Consulate whether additional (non-certified) copies of your original documents are required.
3. Request Apostilles
Documents 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 documents you need (e.g. English marriage certificate, English 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, send full scanned copies of your documents including any non-Apostille legalisation (Apostilles can be requested either before or after translation) and confirm one of the three available delivery formats. I will get back to you promptly with a formal quotation.
5. Submit documents and translations
Gather all original documents (and copies, if applicable) and sworn translations and submit them to your nearest Consulate of Spain, either in person by appointment or by post. Remember to include a prepaid Special Delivery envelope with your name and address so the documents can be posted back to you.
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 English 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 Family Record Books yet.
Visit the Consulate’s website or contact them by email before starting the registration process to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
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.