If your significant other is a Spanish citizen and you are not, planning to get married in Spain may pose many questions. At Breezom, we will discuss the different requirements, documents and procedures you need to follow to seal this important commitment. If the life partner you are marrying is a Spanish national, this will simplify your experience in the country and give you many advantages while settling in and starting your new life as a married couple.
The most important reason for getting married is undoubtedly to seal your commitment to your partner before the law and possibly before family and friends, however, if you intend to live permanently in Spain after the wedding and your spouse is a Spanish citizen, this can also facilitate the process of you subsequently getting a residence and/or work permit, and in a shorter period. Another plus is that it substantially fast tracks any application for Spanish citizenship. Usually, this could take you from 2 to 10 years, depending on your nationality, background and circumstances. For those married to a Spanish national it will take around one year to be able to apply for citizenship. Other benefits include you becoming eligible to make a joint tax declaration if this is more advantageous and utilising social security services even if just one person in the couple is working at the time.
Types of marriages in Spain
In Spain, both civil and religious marriages are recognised. In a civil ceremony, a judge or authorised deputy of the local Civil Registry officiates the marriage and signs the documents. Catholic, protestant and Jewish marriages are also recognised and the marriage certificate is signed by a religious authority which has to be legalised after the ceremony.
Spanish law provides for different marital property regimes. These will determine how the couple’s assets are distributed once they get married. For example, you can choose a community property regime, where property and assets acquired in the marriage are jointly owned and each person is entitled to their half. Another type of arrangement is the separate property marriage regime, where each person owns the assets acquired before and during the marriage, not needing consent from the other to, for example, sell a property. You and your partner will be able to choose which regime is best suited for your particular circumstances. Nevertheless you do need to be aware that unless you formalise your marital property regime before a Notary, you will automatically be designated the regime applied by default in the autonomous community where you are married, and they differ, depending on where in Spain you eventually tie the knot.
Legal requirements to get married in Spain for foreigners
Whether you are from an EU country, a British national or from any other place around the globe, you can legally marry a Spanish citizen. However, the procedure will require you to submit some documents. You will also need to make sure that all the requested documentation is in Spanish, otherwise you will need to get sworn translations by an official translator approved by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For a foreigner to get married in Spain, there are two main requirements. The first one is that the marriage is not fraudulent or of convenience, for example, to grant someone residential status. The second one is that both spouses are single at the time of the marriage. The paperwork and documents you need to gather must enable you to prove your status and formalise the marriage.
Besides the legally required documents, to get married in Spain both spouses must be over 18 years of age, show voluntary and intelligent consent to marry one another, and the Spanish spouse must have lived in the country for at least two consecutive years.
Paperwork and procedures
There is some paperwork you will need to present before the authorities to be able to get married and receive an official certificate. These are the following:
- Valid ID or passports
- Complete birth certificate: if your birth certificate is not in Spanish, you will be required to translate it as well as to get a certified copy from the relevant authority.
- A registration certificate also called Certificado de Empadronamiento. You should request this at a local council hall of the area or areas the Spanish spouse has been living in for the last two years. Depending on each council you might be able to request it online or in person.
Some additional documents that any foreigner would need to get married in Spain include:
- A certificate that accredits your current marital status to confirm you are not married. The Spanish partner should acquire this at their local authority, while the foreign party has to present an equivalent document issued by the consulate of their country of birth. This sworn declaration states their status and legal right to marry. With this document, the foreign spouse should go to the Civil Registry and fill out an additional form.
- If you have been married before or are a widower, you will need original documents to prove your status, such as divorce papers or a death certificate for your previous partner.
- A certificate of registration from the consulate of your country of birth.
- A consular certificate of your country of origin which accredits you have the capacity to contract marriage.
Once you have gathered all the documents you need to take them to your selected Civil Registry to complete a petition for marriage with which the authorities can initiate the full procedure, creating a file and document which authorises the union.