Both civil and religious marriages are legally recognised in Spain, and a Spanish marriage is legally recognised in most other countries. Any citizen has the right to get married, as long as they are over 18 years old, not already legally married and are not marrying a close family relative. Ceremonies can be performed by a justice of the peace, a mayor, a representative designated by the mayor, or a priest. Civil weddings can be held either at the Ajuntament (Town Hall) or at the Registre Civil (Civil Registry)—unlike some other countries, it isn’t possible to hold the official ceremony at private venues such as a restaurant or country house, although some couples decide to hold a ‘humanist’ ceremony –without legal force – at the place that they have organised the reception.
The process for civil marriage requires fulfilling the Wedding File procedure.
Application for this file can be made at the Civil Registry (see below for details of the Civil Registry in Barcelona); if you or your partner live outside Barcelona, you can choose to apply at the Civil Registry of that other town, which will likely be located at the local Town Hall; is not mandatory applying in the town where the ceremony is to take place. You can submit the documents at your town Civil Registry specifying in which court of peace are you going to get married finally. You’ll have to fill out the official application form, available from the Civil Registry, in advance, then take the completed form back to the Registry along with:
- Your passport, NIE (Foreign Identity Number), Foreign Residence Card (Tarjeta de Residencia) or DNI (Spanish National ID card) + photocopy
- Your original birth certificate stamped with a Hague Apostille from the relevant issuing office in your home country (eg in the UK, it’s the Foreign Office) and legally translated into Spanish.
- Foreigners also need to present a declaration from their Consulate which confirms that they are not married in their home country and that there is no other impediment to the marriage. When you apply for this declaration, it usually takes 21 (working) days to come through
- Padró Municipal d’Habitants (Certificate of Residence) to prove you have been a resident in the any Spanish town for two years or more. – Marriage is not allowed in Spain to two foreign residents for less than two years. At least one of them has to be a long term resident.
- If you are a widow or widower, your previous marriage certificate and your spouse’s death certificate are required; if you’re divorced or your marriage was annulled, relevant certificates must be presented. Again, if these were issued abroad, they must be stamped with a Hague Apostille and legally translated into Spanish
Depending on your nationality, there may be other paperwork required to fulfill the Wedding File —you should check this with the nearest Embassy or Consulate.
After examining the documentation presented, the assigned judge issues an order, by which a Wedding File is opened and a date and time assigned when the couple must appear at the Registry. That day, the couple must bring their original DNIs, passports or residency cards, and provide a witness of legal age who knows them (can be a family member or friend). The appointment is sent by post to the address on the application.
The couple must swear under oath on their civil status and the witness has to testify about the truthfulness of the information provided on the application. Additional questions can be made by the officer to check the reliability of the relationship. Once sorted this step you will be given a date and time to get your Wedding File that you will then take to the place where the ceremony will take place.
It’s important to remember that all foreign documents should be translated into Spanish and translated documentation should not be more than three months old.
When you have the Wedding File done, you need to schedule the time for your ceremony either at the Town Hall or at the Civil Registry itself. In Barcelona, you can get married either at the main city hall or one of the local district town halls: click here for a list of the district town halls where you can marry in Barcelona, including details of times and days that ceremonies are officiated.
After the ceremony, the official who conducted it will register the marriage with the Civil Registry.
SAME SEX MARRIAGES
Same-sex marriages were made legal in Spain in June 2005 – a civil marriage in Spain allows homosexual couples the same legal and adoption and inheritance rights as heterosexual couples. Therefore the procedure is the same as any other current civil marriage.
Adoption and Natural Birth
Same sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples to adoption and to assisted reproduction: children born within a lesbian marriage by in vitro fertilisation treatment may be legally recognised by the non-biological mother.
In addition to marriage for gay couples, most of Spain’s autonomous communities recognise and provide for civil unions and registered cohabitation between same-sex people. This allows for kinship, inheritance, and property rights.
In the case of a religious marriage, the church administrators will take care of the Wedding File. In this case there’s no requirement of any specific time of residence in Spain, because of that most of couples who want to marry legally in Spain choose this kind of wedding.
The regulations for a religious wedding may vary depending on the religious denomination and the area in which the marriage is to take place. On this document we will explain the steps of the current Roman Catholic church marriage. Procedure is similar in case you profess Muslim, Jewish or any Christian Evangelic religion.
The wedding can be celebrated by a Spanish priest in your native language – your Wedding Planner can provide you one – as well as by any priest you provide from your country. You only have to specify it when talking to the Spanish parish. In any case only the rector of that parish can sign and seal the Canonic Wedding Certificate.
Foreign Roman Catholics may marry in a Spanish church provided they have proof of their religious background and bonds to any parish in their homeland. The couple should contact their local diocese and the Roman Catholic Church to make the arrangements. Documentation required includes:
- Passports or identification documents (and copies of them) depending on the country.
- Birth certificate (with Spanish translation if foreign). Full form made no more tan six months prior to the wedding.
- Baptismal certificate issued, authenticated by the issuing Bishopric (and translated into Spanish)
- Proof of permission to marry (Certificado de Capacidad Matrimonial) depending on the country and religión you belong to.
- Certificate of attendance of the marriage training course at any residence town’s parish.
- In case one member of the couple is a non Catholic, he/she has to sign a document certifying he/she respects the Catholic faith of the other person and will allow the Catholic education of the children to come.
- Actually the priest of the Spanish church you are going to cellebrate the wedding will ask for a personal interview. Take advantadge of any journey you make to sort your wedding organization for it. Is quite useful you attend it with a translator as most of priests only speak the Spanish and Latin languages.
- The Spanish priest usually will ask too for copies of you and your witnesses passports or identity cards to fill the parish wedding registry.
The Wedding File has to be sent from your original diocese to the Catholic diocese your chosen church belongs to at least one month before the wedding day. They will check all the documents and, once approved, send them to the parishe’s office.
Keep in mind checking it some weeks before the wedding day. Your Wedding Planner can take that step for you too.
Once the religious ceremony has taken place, the marriage should be registered at the Civil Registry within one week, provided of the ‘green sheet’ or Canonic Wedding Certificate, and your Passports. You can do it by yourselves, but normally you’ll be on Honeymoon short after the wedding, hence it can be sorted by your wedding planner of any friend authorized by you. Mind that this person has to know your personal data to fill the Wedding Registration form.
BARCELONA CIVIL REGISTRY
The Civil Registry in Barcelona is located at: Plaça Duc de Medinaceli, 2, 08002 Barcelona; tel. 93 412 0474; fax: 93 342 6171. It celebrates marriages every morning from Monday to Friday
INTERNATIONAL WEDDING CERTIFICATE and LIBRO DE FAMILIA (FAMILY BOOK)
In the case of both civil and religious weddings, once the marriage ceremony has taken place and been registered, couples will be issued with the Libro de Familia (marriage certificate which is actually a book in which details of any children born to the couple will be written, as well as the deaths of family members) and the International Wedding Certificate in case you are foreigners, that will allow you register and legallize your wedding in most of world’s countries. This is usually ready for collection around three weeks following the ceremony.
Actually, the Civil Registry of Barcelona doesn’t produce any more the Family Book for foreign couples, just the international Wedding Certificate. The rest of Civil Registers still produce it, but as it’s useless as Wedding Certificate out of Spain, you only really need it in case you’re going to live in Spain for a long time.
Note: There is often a large queue at the Civil Registry in Barcelona before the doors open at 9am. If you do decide to queue, the advantage is that you can get quickly to the relevant section within the Registry and will probably be one of the first to get your paperwork handed in. Alternatively, you can come later, when there is no queuing outside the building, but you may find a large number of people ahead of you at the relevant section of the Registry inside. It is possible to send your paperwork by post to the Civil Registry rather than queuing up to submit it; however if you do this, you should certainly send it certified.
Because of that, is much better you check your Wedding Planner includes this service within the portfolio. They will get your Canonic Certificate and submit it to the Civil Registry. Some weeks later (usually once you are back from the honeymoon) you will receive the International Wedding Certificate at home by registered post.
The steps necessary to have a Jewish wedding in Barcelona do not differ from Jewish weddings in other countries. You will need to contact your local Rabbi and request the religious paperwork necessary for a Jewish wedding. Your Wedding Planner can arrange for the Rabbi in Barcelona to officiate the religious wedding, or you can opt to bring the Rabbi from your local Temple.
On the contrary as Roman Catholic weddings celebrated in Spain, a Jewish wedding is not legally valid in your country of origin. You will have to arrange for the legal paperwork and signing of the legal wedding in your country of origin or current residence.
As Barcelona is a city rich with different cultures and religions, your Wedding Planner can provide Kosher catering, as well as Jewish musicians and bands suited to your Jewish wedding.