International marriage in Spain – The marriage process

Have you met the love of your life and want to settle in sunny Spain?

If so, you may have many unanswered questions such as whether or not you have the right to legalize this relationship despite the different countries of residence? The answer is yes! In this article, we’ll show you how.

From the beginning of the process to the wedding, it can take several months. The Spaniards themselves, as a rule, prepare for the wedding in a year or even several years. Of course, the waiting period for marriage registration is directly affected by the population in the city and the workload of the registry office. So, for example, in Barcelona you cannot register a marriage earlier than 6 months, and if you go to some small coastal town, it is quite possible to manage the registration in a couple of months.

Marriage is possible both in Spain and in the partner’s country of residence. But it is advisable to formalize relations in the country of future residence. Otherwise, an additional stage of certification and registration of the marriage in the state register will be added.

In Spain, a marriage union is legally possible between a citizen or resident of Spain and citizens of another country who are non-residents of Spain. In the case of marriage with a foreigner resident in the country, it is important to confirm registration at the place of registration of the marriage. Depending on the internal rules of the registry office, it will be enough either to simply register one of the spouses or to have a registration history for at least 6 months or a year. This little nuance can significantly affect the timing of your marriage.

As a rule, documents are submitted to the registry office (Registro Civil) only by appointment. The waiting time depends on the workload of the center. If you have to wait several months in Madrid or Barcelona, ​​documents can be accepted faster in smaller settlements.

To register a marriage, you need to go through several stages

Stage 1. Collection and submission of documents

Requirements for documents of citizens and residents of Spain:

– Birth certificate or equivalent. It must be legalized and officially translated if the spouse is a foreign resident.

– Certificate of registration at the place of residence for the last 2 years.

– Copy of DNI, NIE or Spanish passport.

– Certificate of civil / family status.

– Divorce certificate, if there was one. In the case of resident aliens, a document is issued by the Consulate of their country in Spain stating that he did not remarry after the divorce.

– Certificate of death of the spouse (s) in widowhood, if necessary.

Requirements for (non) resident:

– Passport and a copy of it

– Birth certificate. Documents from the registry office issued in Russia do not require legalization or apostille, according to the signed agreement between the countries. However, until now, some Registro Civil employees unknowingly demand legalization.

It is advisable to make a notarized copy from the old-style certificate, since when submitting documents for marriage, the original document is taken away.

– Certificate of marital status:

In the event of a divorce, documentary evidence must be provided. Sometimes they also require a marriage certificate.
In case of widowhood, submit a marriage and death certificate of the spouse.
When changing a surname, documents are needed that reflect the entire process of changing.
– Certificate of registration at the place of residence for 2 years.

!!! All foreign documents must be properly legalized and translated by an official translator.

!!! IMPORTANT: The list of documents may vary depending on the Autonomous Okrug and the municipality. Better to check on the spot.

Stage 2. – Interview.

Before registering a marriage, an interview is conducted with each couple separately. In some cases, interviews can also be conducted with witnesses. In the process, a Registro Civil employee must find out how the partners know each other and whether this is a fictitious relationship.

After that, all documents and results of the interview are sent to the fiscal for verification, which within 1-3 months issues a decision to be or not to be a wedding.

Stage 3. – Registration of marriage

After obtaining a marriage license, prospective spouses can choose the date, time and place of registration. The marriage does not have to be registered at the registry office at the place of registration where the documents were submitted. It can be concluded at the city hall, registry office or at a notary in the presence of two witnesses, with mandatory registration in the register of civil states.

When the spouses receive a family book (Libro de familia) and a marriage registration certificate, you can begin the process of obtaining a residence permit for the foreign member of the couple.


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