Getting Married, Weddings & Giving Birth in Spain

A child born in Spain is not automatically a Spanish citizen..."

Posted by The Expatriator

Information about getting married, registering a wedding, eloping and giving birth for expatriates in Spain.

In Spain, the marriage certificate is called a Libro de Familia. You inscribe your children in the same booklet.

If the spouses (or spouses-to-be) are from different countries, once the marriage or birth takes place, be sure to take the certificate to the expat’s consulate, so the marriage/birth can be registered with that country.  If you don’t, you may regret it eventually.

A child born in Spain is not automatically a Spanish citizen -  though, with a few rare exceptions, any such child has the right to receive Spanish citizenship.

Suppose you are a legal resident of Spain, and you return to your country of origin to give birth. Once you return to Spain, you may ask for residency for the child, based on reagrupación familiar.

When marrying a Spaniard in Spain, you can choose between a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony. Before the wedding you have to show proof of identity, and proof that you are not currently married. If you’re a Christian-but-not-Catholic foreigner getting married in a Catholic church in Spain, you may find the paperwork is easier than it is for your Catholic partner: you won’t need to show a Baptism certificate. The process of getting married starts with edictos (initial announcements of the wedding).  If no one presents proof to the contrary, the ceremony can take place about 20 days later.

After the ceremony, you have to register in the Registro Civil, where the Spanish government will give you a Libro de Familia.  This is the universal proof of your matrimony and of the children that you have, as well as other family conditions. Don’t forget to report your wedding at your own country’s Embassy or Consulate.

If you are married outside of Spain and one of the spouses is a Spanish citizen or legal resident (that is, with an NIE), the non-Spanish spouse does not automatically receive Spanish nationality. This person can get a reagrupación familiar visa before going to Spain. Once they are in Spain, the application process for the NIE will be easier. It will also take less time if they want to become a Spanish citizen. After the wedding, the Spanish citizen has to report the matrimony to the Spanish Embassy or Consulate, so it can be registered and validated in Spain. The Spanish Embassy or Consulate then gives you the Libro de Familia.

We started getting ours done 2 months ahead (on the advice of the British consulate) and very nearly had to cancel the wedding..."

Not Spanish? Eloping in Spain

You can get married in Spain, even if neither of you are Spanish, but it’s complicated. Following is a list of documents that are normally requested:

  • Application form
  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof that both parties are free to marry
  • Divorce/Annulment Certificate of any previous marriages.
  • Certificate of Residence. If not a permanent resident in Spain, you can sign an affidavit before a Consular Officer indicating your place of residence for the last 6 years, as well as your temporary residence in Spain.
  • Posting of Banns (a public declaration of intent to marry)
  • Certificate of Consular Inscription

We received the following from a fellow expat about her marriage experience, offering advice to get started with any paperwork earlier than you might initially consider:

You should add a note to your bit about marrying in Spain that you should start getting the paperwork done at least 6 months ahead of the wedding (even if your own consulate says you should wait) because of all the documents and official translations of documents you need. We started getting ours done 2 months ahead (on the advice of the British consulate) and very nearly had to cancel the wedding (cue tears in the registry office and lots of pulling hair out). Also that the requirements for foreigners getting married vary from province to province - Granada, for example, asks for additional paperwork from the consulate/embassy of the foreign national.

Separation is a legal process in Spain. After a year, you may divorce, but you can generally get legal separation validated as divorce in other countries.

Last updated 11 04 2006

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canadiense said:

hello, I am a Canadian who has submitted my application to marry my Spanish partner in Zaragoza, Spain. Unfortunately our marriage will not likely happen until next May. My tourist visa is about to run out soon. I am wondering if I can stay here illegally while waiting for my marriage date. Or if I will be punished by being refused marriage in Spain as well as deportation?

elvismustafa said:

hi! here are some information to all the foreigners they live abroad and that wishes to get married to a Spanish citizen. First you need to get married in your country of origyn and after the marriage you need to take a "marriage certificate" and some other personal documents that the embassy will request. After your marriage you go to the embassy and they will offer you two options 1) is to register your marriage in spain through your wife (you can't go to spain it has to be your wife doing all the paper work in spain and the process lasts up to one year) 2) the embassy offers you to register the marriage there in the embassy which (remember the embassy works faster to register your marriage in

elvismustafa said:

spain and to get the visa) they will tell you what documents you need to process for the visa (remember there will be an interview between both of you it is a bit provocative be careful). The presentation of the papers is split in two parts one part is to register the marriage in the embassy and present all the papers requested for that part and then wait for an answer which in my case I waited only two weeks and half, you will receive a call from the embassy that they say you marriage has been approved and you have to go to the embassy to pick up the so called "libro de familia" and a marriage certificate. Now we have the part two to present which is for the visa application, the embassy will tell you what type of documents you need for the visa (remember all the documents that you are

elvismustafa said:

presenting in embassy have to be shared with you and your wife/husband) the all process of waiting is only up to 60 days because so says the European law no more than 60 days.

Note: once the embassy has given you the "libro de familia" you don't worry for anything else because you decently have been granted the visa.

elvismustafa said:


I hope this was helpful for you all
Good luck

Paulam said:

I am Canadian and hopefully on my way to getting married soon!!! I believe that I have all my papers but now because of the red tape on the Spanish side of things people have told me that my birth cetificate from Canada, which has been translated and stamped only has a 3 month validity? Is this true? If anyone has any information on this topic, please help. Thank you

Cyros said:


Thank you for this great website. Now i have better knowledge on how to get married with my Filipina wife to be. thank you so much to all the guys in this forum and to Spain Expat.

jossy said:

hi all i am a nigerian married to a spainard for almost 2yrs now i have not been able to get my libro de familia due to a wrong information i got from spainish embassy lagos. my documents has been in the embassy for about 2months now for legalization. can anyone tell me how long it will take for the libro de familia to come out when i submit thise time since the 1st submission is 13months now. thanks

chris595 said:

Please help anyone!!

I am from Hong Kong and am planning to get married with my Spanish partner in Spain...we have come across with all the documents EXCEPT the Certificate of Consular, in which the Chinese embassy in Madrid refused to issue me because I am from Hong Kong (which doesn't make sense to me)...

I can't search any where else from Hong Kong regarding to this document... Could anyone please advice me...

Thanks a LOT!!

jossy said:

hello all, what is the process of getting an adopted child to travel with you to spian.

Melvie P said:


I am working here in Spain, but I don't have legal papers. My boyfriend, who is a Danish (from Denmark), and I would like to get married. Can you help me? What should we do?

Thank You.

tart said:

hi...Im a Filipina. I was working in Denmark before and move here in Spain before my visa as an au pair in Denmark expires.In short I have no legal Documents here in Spain..I have a Danish Boyfriend and we want to get married,..What should i do?

thormo said:

Hi there Tart,

I am a Norwegian with a Filipino girlfriend. We are in the same situation as you. I contacted a lawyer in Madrid and hopefully we will come up with some good news later this year...

Ogbona Ogbona said:

I am a Nigerian married to a Spaniard.

Things have been very difficult for us because we had no job and decided to move to Germany. We did move down to Germany, got registered, rented an apartment and used the last money we had to furnish the apartment.

For us to live in Germany both of us have to be working. I found a very nice job and I have been working for three months. My husband is not working. In order for us to stay, my husband must be working too. But the problem is that my husband is very lazy and refuses to work even though I kept begging him to FIND A JOB so that we are allowed to stay. But he still refused and worst of all he has left me and went back to Spain.

He is behaving how he likes and threatens to divorce me knowing full well that I can only stay in Germany through his signatures. If he does not start work by the end of this month, they will have to stop me from working and I must go back to Spain doing nothing.

Please help me out. Tell me what should I do?

Ma. Cecilia said:


Just want to ask if my husband was from different country and I am here leaving in Spain but not a Spanish citizen, is it possible for my husband to come here in Spain if give birth?

Thank you and Good day! 😊

Ruby Khan said:


I am a British national,i live in spain,i want to marry my boyfriend who lives in Spain but he is not yet legal in Spain(waiting for his papers to be filed)
how can I marry him? please can someone advice me if they have been in a similar situation.


sallaj said:

Hello every body

after along search over the net i have find such great website where I could share my problem.

I have born in spain 1982 ,my parants are not spanish , my father got graduate from spain ,the thing that I did not get the spanish nationality ,

I feel that i have the right 2 be spanish as i was porn in spain ,life in jordan is not what am looking for ,I love euroup and i travel alot ,

I have seen a spanish man and he said to me (you porn in spain land mean u are spanish).

so please if there any person can help,advice


Zyxel said:

Hello Thormo & Tart,

I am in the same situation as you,hows your papers now?can you help me?do you have the legal papers now?

Please need your advice..



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