Getting Married in Spain - Non-EU Foreigners Marrying a Spaniard

27 February 2021

US Citizens Marrying Spanish Nationals


A quick guide for what you will need to get married to a Spaniard as a non-EU citizen. This is based on a Madrid-based experience with a US citizen.


You have decided to tie the knot with your Spanish honey. The first thing you need to do is get all your US paperwork in order.

Non-EU foreigners wanting to get married to a Spaniard in Spain should take heed that the process is neither quick nor easy. Below is a quick guide for what you will need. This is based on a Madrid experience with a US citizen. Expect several months for the process.

  1. Congratulations! You have decided to tie the knot with your Spanish honey. The first thing you need to do is get all your US paperwork in order. a. Birth certificate- This needs to be a less-than-three-month old copy. It must first bear the seal of the apostille (the issuing state does this) in order to make it legal in Spain. Once you have it, get it translated by an official translator into Spanish in Spain. b. Residence- If you have been in Spain for more than two years, make a cocktail for yourself and relax. If not, you will need to justify your residence in the US. In Spain there is empadronamiento to do this, we are not so ‘’fortunate’’ in the US. Any government office that is willing to write a letter stating your legal residence for the required period of time should suffice. Remember, Spain only requires the last two years. The issuing body then needs to notarize the letter and send it to the state for the apostille. Once in Spain, it will need to be translated. Personally, I was fortunate enough to have my tax office write the original in Spanish to save a step. Note: If you have been in Spain without being empadronado, shame on you. However, all is not lost- just have a Spaniard (old roommate, landlord, etc…) write a letter stating when and where you lived (specific time period) with a copy of their DNI.
  2. After you get your US documents sorted out, you will need to go to the US Embassy in Spain for two more papers. The first is one stating that you are free to marry, the second states that no Bonns need to be posted.  An appointment is required. What the embassy will not tell you, however, is that these then need to be taken to the Spanish Ministry of the Exterior for an apostille. You can make an appointment on the ministry’s web site to do this.
  3. You will have to get a special copy of your empadromiento for a wedding produced for you. Your local city hall can help you with that.
  4. Before you go to the registro civil, make photocopies of everything including your passport and your partners DNI. The registro will take those copies and the origional birth certificate.
  5. The day that you go to the registro, you must have a witness to begin the process. Preferably, this should be a Spaniard. They MUST accompany you and your partner. Also, do not forget your passport or NIE (if you have one). Go early and be prepared to wait several hours. The Madrid registro civil is a madhouse.
  6. Hopefully, when when you sit down to turn in your paperwork, all will be acceptable to the lovely civil servant. If not, don’t panic. You are “in the system” and you will just have to come back another day with the missing bits.
  7. Once everything is turned in correctly, you will have to wait a month or so for the registro to process everything. They will give you a date and call you if something is amok. After the wait at your appointment, you will be able to select a date for your wedding or take the approved paperwork packet to another city if you are to be married there.

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