Getting married in Spain, may be a little bureaucratic but should not be too complicated as expatriates are allowed to marry in the country. Specific formalities apply and we recommend that you enquire with the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country before proceeding. Moreover, you will have to request specific documentation from your home country's authorities before getting married in Spain. You are thus advised to seek all related information beforehand.
Above all, one of the partners has to be a Spanish resident, registered with the nearest municipality to their home. Both should also be at least 18 years of age.
In Spain you can opt for a civil or a religious marriage. Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish marriages can be celebrated without an additional civil wedding as they have the same legal status as traditional unions. Most communities also recognize civil partnerships, which allow for kinship, inheritance and property rights.
Good to know:
Gay marriage is authorised in Spain since 2005. Same-sex couples benefit from the same marriage, legal, inheritance and adoption rights as spouses in heterosexual unions.
Wedding administration in Spain
First of all, you have to contact the Registro Civil (civil registry), that is the nearest civil status office to your place of residence in Spain. This is where you’ll obtain the document needed (expediente matrimonial) to reserve your wedding date. As a Spanish resident you are required to produce the following documents:
- NIE, your passport or identity card and photocopies
- birth certificate. Note, non-EU citizens must present the document legalized by their consulate and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- “Empadronamiento” certificate stating your place of residence for the last two years or since you entered Spain (it can be obtained at the nearest municipality). At least one partner should have been a Spanish resident for the last 2 years.
- affidavit of civil status.
- in the case of a divorcee, copies of your first marriage and divorce certificate
- in the case of a widower or a widow, a copy of your first marriage certificate and of your late spouse's death certificate and family book (libro de familia)<
- solicitud or filed request for civil marriage completed and signed
- a 'no objection' certificate issued by the nearest consulate to your place of residence in Spain and in your home country
These documents must be apostilled in your home country and if not multilingual they must be translated into Spanish by an official sworn translator.
Make sure to check required validity dates for the documents to be supplied. Local civil registries may ask for recent issue dates no older than 3 to 6 months prior submission.
The expediente matrimonial documentation, however, is only valid for six months. During this time you’ll need to present it to the Junta Municipal (Town Council) where you would like to get married so that date and time can be arranged. Before authorising the papers, a witness may be required (who does not necessarily need to be the witness on your wedding day).
In case you prefer a church wedding, contact your local parish at least 3 months in advance. To process your application (expediente matrimonial), you will also need baptismal certificates that have been issued at least six months before the wedding and at the place where you were baptised. If you decide to get married in a different parish, just ask for your documents to be transferred.
Celebrate your wedding in Spain
Once you have obtained all required certificates, you can proceed with your wedding celebration at the Civil Status Office. Two witnesses will have to sign the marriage register. You will obtain your marriage certificate within 30 to 120 days if your application has been accepted by Spanish authorities. You may want to get married at the town hall (ayuntamiento) or district court. The date for this will be agreed by the mayor or district court judge.
In general, district court or town hall weddings are free of charge. If you prefer to marry in church, a donation of around 300 euros is recommended. Note that church marriages do not require court formalities. However, you will need a baptismal certificate which has been issued at least six months before the wedding.
Proxy marriage is also possible in case one of the spouses is unable to move to Spain (in case of disability, illness or hospitalization). The proxy marriage document, containing all relevant information to the couple, has to be signed by a public notary.
Once you have celebrated your wedding, you will have to register it with the Civil Status Office where you will also receive a family planning booklet, that is the “Libro de Familia”. You also have to notify your home country's embassy or consulate in Spain.