Whether you want to get residency or you are thinking about consolidating your relationship with your partner, registering a civil partnership is the easiest and quickest solution. That is why in this article we have tried to collect all the frequently asked questions about pareja de hecho, while explaining everything you need to know about this legal procedure. So if you would like to know about the requirements, necessary documents, application process and other information about civil marriage, keep on reading!


What is a civil partnership?


If you have been living together uninterruptedly for more than 2 years, or the relationship has been formalized through a notary, or there is a common child, then the law recognizes your situation as one of a civil partnership.

Although for many legal purposes it is quite similar to marriage, it is a slightly less strong type of union.


Differences between civil marriage and marriage


We have listed the main differences between the two types of unions here. Nevertheless, and to sum up, we can highlight that both are options for obtaining residency in Spain as a foreigner, they both give the right to receive a widow’s pension and they allow for joint adoption.

Nevertheless, they present important differences. Neither the law that regulates them is the same, nor is the registration process equivalent. In addition, there are other important differences in terms of inheritance, joint taxation, and employment benefits that separate one from the other.


So, is it better to register a marriage or a civil union?


This question does not have a right or wrong answer. There are many differences and similarities between marriages and civil unions, as we have already noted.

In order to determine what is best for you, you must carefully analyze all these differences and commonalities.

Which way you go will depend 100% on your situation and interests.


civil partnership in Spain

Rights you will be granted under a civil union


It is then important to highlight the main rights that being registered as a pareja de hecho will grant you within the Spanish territory:

  • Under certain specific situations, in the event that one of the two members dies, the other will be granted a widow’s/widower’s pension
  • It is possible to agree on the economic regime that both members choose and that will regulate their relationship at the legal level
  • In certain Autonomous Communities, civil partnerships enjoy the same inheritance and donations tax allowances as if they were a marriage
  • Civil partnership couples can adopt kids in the same way a marriage can


Spanish Civil Partnership Legislation


Civil marriages in Spain are based on the application of the 2/2003 law.

However, this BOE just defines and places civil unions in their legal framework. But it does not regulate them.

That is because parejas de hecho are regulated at the regional level. That is to say, civil union couple are regulated by the rules established by the autonomous community in which both members are located.

Thus, both the requirements, documents to be provided and all the advantages of such legal union will depend greatly on the region in which you are living in.


Civil Partnership legislation in Catalonia


In Barcelona, the prevailing law is the Catalan law. Under that law, article 234 of the Civil Code (book II) states that two people (whether men or women) who share a daily coexistence within prolonged in time, thus engaged in a life analogous to marriage, can be registered as a De Facto Couple (pareja de hecho).

Those would be the main requirement for the fact union in Spain.


Benefits and Advantages


What are the main benefits of registering as a de facto couple? You will find them summarized below:



  • Firstly, the application process is very quick and simple (especially compared to marriage).
  • The requirements (which we will see below), are easily achievable.
  • Registering as a civil partnership with a European citizen will allow you to obtain residency in Spain.
  • Once you have the residence permit, this procedure will also allow you to obtain citizenship.
  • As long as you have been with your partner in Spain for a minimum of 3 year (living and being registered together), you will be able to break up your common-law relationship and continue having the residency in the country.


Which are the main requirements to register a civil partnership?


The requirements will vary depending on the autonomous community or region in which you are located. However, some of them are generally applicable throughout Spain. Those are:

  • The European Union citizen member of the couple must be a resident in the Spanish territory
  • Both partners are required to be registered at the same address
  • Depending on the region in which you are based, a minimum period of living together may be required
  • The civil union must be registered, by public deed, before a notary
  • Both members must be of legal age or emancipated
  • None of them can be married


How long do I have to live with my partner in order to register as a pareja de hecho?


In the case of registering a civil union in Barcelona, there is no minimum period. You only need to be registered in the same town as your partner (demonstrated trough empadronamiento), carry your passport, and partnership registered!

However, as we have been pointing out, this may vary depending on where you live. In the case of Madrid, for example, you must have lived with your partner for 12 months in the same address.


Is there any minimum period of relationship for the partnership to be valid?


That information is not relevant. There is no way of checking how long you have actually been with your partner. The only thing that authorities check (something that is directly or indirectly reflected on your padron) is the time spent living together under the same address.

Required documents


Basically, the documents that you must provide to constitute the pareja de hecho are:

  • Identity documents
  • “Padron” (demonstrating you live together), which is basically your registry certificate
  • NIE of both partners
  • Family book
  • If required by law, a document certifying that the couple is living together

However, the documentation required depends largely on where the procedure is performed. 


How long does it take to register a civil partnership?


The process is quite fast. The constitution before a notary is done immediately (especially if you let us help you with all the constitution procedures). That is to say, you only need to come with all the required documentation and the partnership will be legally registered at the same moment.

You will not have to wait another day to find out if the registration has been possible or not.


And how long does it take to get a resolution?


Although it is true that the union will be registered immediately when you go to the notary, there is a 2-to3-week delay until it is recorded in the civil registry. That is the maximum time in which the process will be 100% complete, although it will not be a resolution, as you will already know in advance that it has been registered effectively.

From that point on you can initiate all the legal processes related to obtaining the residency as a family member of an EU citizen


Can I constitute a pareja de hecho in a different city than the one where I am registered?


It depends. You can only form a civil partnership in the same province in which you are registered. That is to say, if you are registered (hence live) in Barcelona, you can only form the couple in the province of Barcelona (but in any city within that province). Tarragona, for example, would not work.

Where to register your civil marriage


In order to register as a civil union, you must get an appointment at any public notary located in the city where you reside.

It is not possible to register online or in person.

Once the couple is constituted before the notary, he will be in charge of sending the documentation to the civil registry so that the partnerships can become legally effective.


Registering the civil union in Barcelona


Don’t waste any time! If you want to get an appointment as quickly as possible with the notary, let us take care of everything. Our team of lawyers will get you an appointment with our trusted notary in record time.


I want to register my civil partnership fast


Registration of the couple in Madrid or in any other city in Spain


However, we can also help you with all the paperwork in any Spanish city you are located in. By managing everything for you we will make the process much easier and faster. More information at info@balcellsgroup.com.


What are the main advantages of constituting a civil union in Catalonia compared to other regions?


The answer to this question is completely open. Depending on the region in which you are registered, the procedure may vary slightly, as well as the deadlines and the necessary documentation.

However, in specific regions such as Catalonia, there is no minimum period of living together required for registration. This can be a big plus for those who have lived together for little or no time.


How much does it cost?


Prices vary depending on the notary where the public deed is executed, the region and the lawyer that helps you.

In the case of Balcells Group, we will manage the whole process for you, getting an appointment with the notary as fast as possible and filling in and getting all the necessary documentation so that you do not have to worry about anything, for just € 250.


How to the residency after constituting civil partnership


Is it possible to get your residence permit in Spain thanks to having registered a civil union? In those cases in which the partnership is between a European citizen and a non-European citizen, yes.

Many citizens from outside the EU enter into a de facto union with the sole purpose of obtaining their residence permit. Thus, the procedure for obtaining a residence card as a family member of an EU citizen (this is the name of the process) is very simple and fast.

Here is a step-by-step guide that will show you how to obtain a residence permit in Spain once you have formed your pareja de hecho.


Is it possible to register your partnership and obtain your residence permit entering as a tourist?


Yes, it is. This is one of the few immigration procedures that does not require carrying it from your country of origin. You can enter Spain with your tourist visa, register your civil union and then begin the process of obtaining a visa as a family member of the EU.

And, if the 3 months as a tourist are over, you can continue without any problem.


Can I register the partnership in one city and get my residence permit in another one?


As long as the couple is registered in a Spanish public registry (foreigner registries wouldn’t be valid here), getting the residency in any other city or region different from the one where you registered will not be a problem. 


Request personalized legal assistance


These have been the most frequently asked questions about the pareja de hecho in Spain. 

Don’t forget that if you need legal advice of any kind, either for the constitution of your civil partnership or for obtaining your residency afterwards, at Balcells Group we can help you to do it.

You just have to send us an e-mail and you will receive an answer in less than 24 hours:


I need personalized legal assistance


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