How to Get Married in Spain

Be sure to plan ahead if you are getting married in Spain. Approval of a marriage application often takes as long as 45 days. Policies and procedures will vary from region to region, so you should consult with regional authorities as early as possible.

You may choose to have a civil or a religious ceremony (or both). If you decide to have both ceremonies, the civil ceremony must be performed before the religious marriage takes place.

Civil Marriages

Applications and/or Documents Required: Bring along original copies of the following (and be sure pack these in your hand luggage, never in your checked bags):

  • Application Form: This form can be obtained from the Civil Registry or District Court. It should be signed by both bride and groom and include their full names, occupations, places of residence, and the citizenship of the couple and their parents.
  • Birth Certificate: The original document is mandatory. If you were not born in Spain, you should submit the document with an "apostille," an official international seal verifying a document for use outside its country of origin. (If you live outside of Spain, you should also have a Spanish translation of the certificate made and authenticated by the Spanish Consulate or Embassy nearest your place of residence. If you are in Spain, the certificate must be translated into Spanish by an official translator.)
  • Proof Both Parties Are Free to Marry: (Fe de Solteria y Vida) Civil Registries have a document for this purpose that can be signed when presenting the rest of the documents.
  • If previously married, you must submit proof that the marriage has ended. Certified documents which originated outside Spain must be accompanied by an apostille and Spanish translations.
  • Certificate of Residence: Legal residents of Spain can obtain a certificate of residence at no charge from the Tenencia de Alcaldía in their district of residence. (First confirm that you are registered with the Censo). Foreigners who are temporary residents of Spain or have lived here less than two years may complete an affidavit regarding their place of residence before a consular officer.
  • 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. Banns are a public announcement that a couple plans to marry, giving any knowledgeable citizen (such as another wife) an opportunity to object.

After you have assembled these documents and the ceremony is performed, the marriage is then recorded in the Civil Registry and a Spanish marriage certificate is issued.

Religious Marriages

Couples will need to first obtain authorization from the Civil Authorities by presenting the documents listed under "Civil Marriages".

Spanish law recognizes Catholic, Protestant, Islamic and Jewish marriages as valid in Spain without the need of a second civil marriage. Regulations may vary depending on the religious denomination.
For Catholic marriages, the arrangements generally take from one to three weeks. The following documents must be presented to the priest performing the ceremony:

  • Birth certificate: Spanish translation is required.
  • Baptismal certificate: This must be issued within the six month period prior to your wedding, and authenticated by the issuing Bishop. A Spanish translation must be attached.
  • Proof Both Parties Are Free to Marry (Fe de Solteria y Vida).
    After a religious ceremony, you have one week to present the church-issued certificate to the nearest civil registry. The marriage is NOT recognized in Spain if you fail to register.

~ by Liz Stiglets

Related Pages:

Note: provides the above information for guidance purposes only. Couples should verify all information with the consulate from their respective countries and with the local offices before making any plans.

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