Getting married in Spain
In Spain, it is possible to arrange civil and religious marriages between foreigners or a foreigner and a Spanish national provided you do your paperwork first. In addition, the Spanish government is working on agreements with major non-Catholic faiths in terms of accepting their religious marriage ceremonies.
In the meantime and subject to the agreement of individual priests, it is possible to have a civil marriage blessed in a non-catholic church.
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Roman Catholic Marriages
These are a matter for the local Archbishop in the area of the forthcoming marriage and, in general, they require a baptism certificate and a statutory declaration by the parents of the English party to the effect that their son/daughter is single. Formalities do, however, vary significantly from parish to parish and the requirements should be checked well in advance with the local priest.
According to information from the Civil Registry in Madrid the requirements for marrying in this country are:
- A birth certificate (accompanied by a sworn translation)
- Consular registration Certificate
- Consular Certificate of No-Impediment to the marriage
It is also a general requirement that you show you are a legal resident in Spain and this is done by providing a recently issued copy proving “empadronamiento” or registration at the local town hall.
Formalities may again vary in different Registries and applicants should check in every case which precise documents are needed or waived. (Note: that in general throughout Andalucía all these documents are required).
Once your documents have been filed, a notice of intention to marry is displayed on a Consular notice board for 21 days. The notice itself is sworn by the applicant and can only be accepted if he/she has been residing for a clear 21 day period in the Consular district where the notice is displayed.
Where one of the parties to the forthcoming marriage is resident in the UK and will come to the marriage ceremony shortly before it is to take place they should approach the nearest Spanish Consulate in the UK to obtain information regarding the procedures involved. If proof of UK residence is needed, a letter can be obtained from the local Electoral Registration Office to the effect that the UK resident is on the electoral register for the year in question.
It is important to note that paperwork can be lengthy and time consuming and ample forward planning is necessary, especially where a marriage is to be celebrated during the summer months.
There are no facilities for marriage at a British Consulate in Spain. Some foreign consulates do provide a service for their nationals however.
Where marriage in Spain is not practical for nationality or other reasons, Gibraltar can offer a possible alternative. It is quite straightforward and the ceremony takes place in English. It is advisable but not essential to book the registrar several weeks ahead. More>