How to register a foreign marriage in Spain?

Legal in Spain, Living in Spain Leave a comment   Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

With the wave of immigration, it is becoming increasingly common for people to marry in one country and reside in a different one. But what happens in legal terms? Do you know how to register a foreign marriage in Spain? In this article we tell you everything you need to know!

What is marriage registration?

When a wedding is celebrated outside Spanish territory, it is understood that it complies with the regulations of a foreign country, and therefore it is not valid in Spain for legal purposes.

In this sense, it is necessary for the couple to carry out the corresponding procedure to register their foreign marriage. What does this mean? To verify that the Spanish public order is respected and that there was not any defect of will by any of the parties at the moment of contracting the marriage.

This process is known as the Transcription of Foreign Certification and, as its name indicates, is nothing more than registering the foreign marriage certificate before the Spanish Civil Registry, specifically at the Central Registry in Madrid.

Who can apply?

The registration of a foreign marriage in Spain can be requested by any of the spouses who have celebrated their marriage in a third country, regardless of their nationality.

However, in order to successfully complete the procedure, it is important that the couple has certain documentation. Do you want to know the requirements? In the following section we will tell you what you must take into account in case of civil or religious marriage.

What documents are required?

In case of civil marriage

To register a civil marriage celebrated abroad it is necessary to present the following documents:

  • Marriage certificate issued by the Civil Registry located in the region of the country where the marriage was contracted.

  • Birth certificate of foreign spouse

  • Spanish spouse’s birth certificate or DNI (National ID card)

  • Passport of the foreign spouse and the NIE (Foreigner’s Identity Card)

  • Data declaration sheet

  • Certificate of census registration

  • Request

In case of religious marriage

On the other hand, religious marriages celebrated by churches, confessions, religious communities or federations that are registered in the Registry of Religious Entities and have obtained the recognition of notorious roots in Spain will be recognized.

According to the Order of April 19, 2016, concerning the registration of religious marriages, it is then declared, the notorious rootedness in Spain of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Buddhist Communities and the Orthodox Church.

Basically, the documents that you must present in this case are made up of:

  • Ecclesiastical certification that complies with the data required by law.

  • Birth certificate / birth certificate of foreign spouse

  • Passport of foreign spouse

  • Birth certificate of the Spanish or naturalized spouse

  • Spanish spouse’s DNI

  • Certificate of census registration of the spouse with Spanish nationality

  • Data declaration sheet

  • Request

It is important to note that those documents that have not been issued in the country and are in a foreign language (other than Spanish) must be legalized, apostilled and translated in order to proceed with the application for registration of a foreign marriage in Spain.


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Now that you have collected the necessary documentation to register your marriage you will realize that the procedure is quite simple:

  • You must first collect the required documents according to the type of marriage you have contracted.

  • In case you are not yet resident in Spain, you can rely on expert lawyers and grant a power of attorney that allows them to submit your application on your behalf.

  • The next thing to do is to submit your application to the Central Civil Registry, located in Madrid, or to the Civil Registry of the domicile of the spouse who is residing in Spain, so that it can be forwarded to the Central Office.

  • Once your case is in the registry, the processing and acceptance by the authorities will proceed. At this point they will check that you comply with all the documentation.

  • Finally, the spouses will be summoned to a face-to-face interview, also known as a reserved hearing, to confirm that they are a real couple and not an agreement of convenience.

  • The time it takes for the marriage to be approved may vary depending on the country in which the marriage was contracted, the nationality, and the place where the documents are filed. In some cases, it is estimated that the process can take up to 2 years.


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Why is it important to register a foreign marriage in Spain?

As mentioned above, if a Spaniard marries outside his or her country, this does not mean that the ceremony is valid in Spain. Therefore, it is considered as the main factor of great relevance that drives the spouses to carry out the registration of their marriage in the Spanish territory.

In addition, it is subsequently beneficial for the foreign spouse, since he/she will be eligible for the EU family member resident card. Not to mention that, he/she will also be able to acquire the nationality by residence (as spouse of a Spaniard) by remaining one year residing in the country legally and without interruptions.

On the other hand, in case of widowhood, the couple will be able to collect the pension without any inconvenience, as well as assert their rights for inheritance purposes.


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Keeping up to date with the legal regulations of a country may seem a challenge, both in the personal and labor field. However, at TAS Consulting we make sure that each of your procedures are carried out efficiently and avoid headaches. Would you like to start any legal process and you have doubts about it? Contact us!


Published on par Jonatan Carbonell

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