Civil Marriages in Spain
Civil marriage between foreign nationals is not possible in Spain unless at least one party to the marriage has been resident in Spain for a minimum of 2 years. Although this residency is not enshrined in National Law, it is strictly enforced in all regions of Spain. The chances of getting a derogation are not good, so unless one of you is resident in Spain you should plan to have your civil ceremony elsewhere.
There are two ways in which couples regularly overcome this strict residency requirement:
- If you are marrying in a Catholic Church (but not a church of any other religion), you can avoid this residency requirement, and still have your marriage legally recognised.
- Many couples have a civil marriage in Gibraltar , then return to Spain afterwards for their reception.
The information below only applies if you can meet the residency requirement. All documentation must be submitted in Spanish and translation from English must be done by an approved translator.
Application for Marriage Licence
An application form can be obtained from the Civil Registry or District Court in the area in which the wedding will take place.
It must be signed by both bride and groom and requires information about full names, occupations, places of residence, and the citizenship of the couple and their parents.
The following documentation should be sent with the completed application form:
- Birth Certificates for both parties
The original certificate in the long form is required, not a copy.
For those not born in Spain the certificates must be have an "apostille," an official seal verifying a document for use outside its country of origin.
- Proof of Freedom to Marry
In Spain this is called "Fe de Solteria y Vida". Registry offices have a document for this purpose that can be signed when you present the rest of the documents, or you can use a Certificate of No Impediment (translated and with an apostille).
- Certificate of Residence
If you are legally resident in Spain you can obtain a residency card at no charge from the Tenencia de Alcaldía in the district where you live.
- In the case of a divorced persons a copy of your Decree Absolute
- In the case of widowed person
- Certificate of your first marriage
- Death certificate of deceased spouse
- Parental consent to marry if under 18
Posting of Banns
After the judge has accepted all the documentation required, banns are posted for a period of fifteen days prior to the marriage ceremony.
Issuing of Marriage Licence
A Licence to marry will be issued by the Office of the Registrar in the region where the application was made once the period of the Banns has passed.
After the ceremony is performed, the marriage is recorded in the Civil Registry and a Spanish marriage certificate is issued.