It may seem like a complicated process, but it really isn’t. And in this post we will demonstrate that. You are going to discover everything you need to know about mixed marriages in Spain. We will explore, step by step, how to marry a Spanish citizen as a foreigner, and all the requirements and documents needed to constitute this procedure, including all the legal advice you really need to know!
Benefits of marrying a national
Let’s start by defining the main advantages of contracting a mixed marriage for foreigners within the Spanish territory. That is, the reasons that make navigating this legal procedure really worthwhile:
- First of all, it offers the foreigner the possibility of getting a residence and work permit easily.
- It substantially reduces the time required to get Spanish citizenship by the expat.
- After the marriage is registered, it is possible to benefit from a joint personal income tax declaration, which means certain tax advantages.
- Both members will be able to access social security with only one of them working actively.
- A part of the inheritance can be accessed in case of the death of the other member of the couple.
In many cases, it will be more interesting constituting civil partnership instead of marriage, as it offers very similar benefits but its requirements and procedures are much simpler. Just to clear your doubts and help you make the decision, here you will find an article in which we compare the advantages and disadvantages of marriage and civil unions.
Can a foreigner in an irregular situation get married in Spain?
Yes, indeed. A Spanish citizen and a foreigner can get married regardless of the situation of the second one, no matter if he or she is in an irregular situation or not. As we will see in the section on requirements, proof of residence in Spain is not necessary.
And, in fact, it is very common.
The foreigner begins to live in the Spanish territory in an irregular manner, without a residence permit.
After a few months, he meets his current partner.
It is usual that in this situation both decide to get married, as it offers huge advantages.
After completing the marriage formalization procedure (which they can do without any problem), they will obtain the marriage certificate and joint family book.
With this document, they can get the foreigner’s residence permit quite straightforwardly, allowing him to stay in Spain in a completely legal manner.
We are talking about the community card, granted to the spouses of Spanish nationals (or EU citizens), giving them the possibility to live, work and study in Spain for 5 years. You can access here a complete guide on how to apply for the community card step by step.
How to register a marriage with a foreigner in Spain
Let’s take a look at the legal step-by-step process for registering a mixed marriage.
Check the requirements at the civil registry
To register your marriage, you must go to the corresponding civil registry office, which depends on your specific address.
However, the procedures and documents to be provided, although generally common in all cases, may vary somewhat depending on the civil registry of your city.
That is why we recommend that you first take this step. You should simply consult your lawyer to verify, or directly go by yourself to the civil registry and ask for the specific requirements sheet.
Once you have that list, you can start preparing all the paperwork.
Prepare all the required documents
This is certainly the most important step.
Together with your partner, you must prepare all the required documentation.
In the event that any document is missing or does not meet the requirements, the application will be rejected.
We have dedicated a specific section in this article to talk about each and every one of these documents, so we will analyze it with greater detail later on.
Thus, seeking legal advice from a lawyer specializing in family law will help you enormously. At Balcells Group we can help you out, managing the whole process from start to finish.
Submit all the documents at the civil registry
Once you have all the documentation ready, you must go to the civil registry (which, as we have mentioned, must be the corresponding one according to your census).
Once there, a marriage file will be issued, which you will have to complete with basic information, and attaching all the prepared documents.
You will have to fill in the initial form with data from both of you: name and surname, nationality, etc.
Then, you will bring all the documents you had with you, and you will sign an accreditation confirming that your civil status is the accredited one.
That is to say, it is essential that both members of the couple are single.
On the same day that you go to the civil registry, you will be given an appointment for a reserved hearing.
That is, you will have to pass an interview to verify the veracity of the marriage.
This is undoubtedly a point feared by many. But there is no need to worry: we have created a specific section in this post in which we explain the complete functioning of marriage interviews and what exactly you will be asked there.
Wedding and obtaining the marriage certificate
Once the interview is over, the next step will be the processing of the marriage license and the celebration of the wedding.
Please note that it is not necessary to hold the wedding at that same civil registry office.
After the wedding, both of you will receive a marriage certificate and your family book.
With these documents, you will be finally married, and you can now proceed (if there is a will or need) to apply for the residence card for the foreign member of the couple.
Documents and requirements
As we have mentioned, the documents to register a marriage between a Spanish and a foreign citizen are a fundamental part of the process.
In general, these documents must demonstrate two main points:
- That is indeed an emotional bond between both members of the couple, and it is not a union of convenience (only to obtain papers, for example).
- Both members are single.
Documents to be provided by the foreigner
What documents must the foreign citizen provide to constitute a mixed marriage in Spain? The following:
- Copy of all the pages of your passport (not just the first one).
- Proof that the foreign citizen is single, something that can be obtained with the certificate of single status or divorce decree in the case of having been married before.
- Copy of the birth certificate, also an original document that will be obtained by the civil registry of the city or country where you were born.
- Certificate of registration for the last two years. That is to say, if you have been living with your partner in countries different than Spain, you will also need to provide a certificate of registration from all the places where you have lived during the previous 24-month period.
- Consular registration.
It is important to take into account that any document coming from abroad must be duly legalized. This is achieved through the Hague apostille in cases where the country of origin is within the convention, and in other cases with a stamp from the institution issuing the document or from the foreign ministry of the foreigner’s country.
In addition, if such documents are in a language other than Spanish, they must be translated by a sworn translator.
Documents to be provided by the Spanish national
On the other hand, the Spanish citizen must submit:
- Copy of his DNI or passport.
- Birth certificate. Although in this case it already includes your status as single, you can also present proof of life, certifying that you are single (something we recommend).
- In the case of having been married before, divorce sentence.
- For the two previous cases, and especially if the person is a widow or widower, the marriage certificate duly registered will also be useful, where a marginal note appears informing that the divorce is already in the registry.
- Certificate of registration or “empadronamiento”.
Recommended extra documents
In addition, it would also be advisable to provide any extra documents that demonstrate the truthfulness of the marriage. Remember that the main objective is to demonstrate the veracity of the affective relationship, so any document that testifies to it will be of great help.
We are talking about:
- Money transfers
- Joint ownership of a property
- Joint bank account
- Communications such as letters or emails
Finally, let’s take a closer look at one of the fundamental and most frightening parts of the whole process.
We are talking about the pre-marriage interview or reserved hearing.
But it shouldn’t be any kind of problem.
As you know, this interview has the sole purpose of verifying that you actually are a couple and that you want to get married for emotional reasons, and not for convenience.
That’s why if you are forming a real marriage, everything you are going to be asked can be answered without complications.
How does it work?
After handing in all the documentation and passing witness, you will be given a questionnaire that you will have to answer.
In the case that the foreigner does not speak Spanish very well, we recommend that you bring a translator with you. The law does not require that it hah to be a sworn one, but from Balcells Group we recommend that it is, according to our own experience.
The interview is a separate hearing. That is, they will ask both members the same questions separately, and then check that the answers match.
Let’s see exactly what you will need to answer.
What do they ask?
First of all, they will ask you about family issues and basic identifying information:
- First and last name of your partner
- Where he or she was born and date of birth
- Names of her parents and siblings if any (in the case of foreigners they will ask you to write them down)
- Marital status of both of you (obviously here you must answer that you are not married)
- If your partner has had children in a previous marriage or has children with you
Then they’ll ask you everyday questions:
- They may ask you if you know your partner’s parents, and if so, ask you something about them (like their favorite food)
- Where you both met
- Since when do you live together
- At what point did you decide to get married
- What is your home address
- The last gift your partner gave you, and what was the reason
Finally, questions about work:
- Which is your partner’s job, what company is she working for, where are the offices and how much does he earn
- If you help your partner financially and for how much
- If you have a joint bank account
As you can see, these are questions that if you really know your partner and have decided to marry her for affective reasons, you will have no difficulty in answering.
Marriage between Spanish citizens and foreigners outside Spain
Very often we find couples formed by a Spaniard and a foreigner who have formalized their marriage in the foreigner’s country of origin.
Is this marriage legally valid in Spain? The answer is no.
This marriage has been formalized with the regulations of the foreign country, but in order to have effects in Spain (and hence be able to reunite the spouse, for example), you have to register it in Spain as well.
How to do it?
There are two possibilities. Either directly at the Spanish consulate in your partner’s country of origin, or at the central civil registry office in Spain, located in Madrid.
The requirements and documents are exactly the same as we have seen throughout this article.
However, if you still have doubts or need legal help to formalize your marriage or to apply for your spouse’s residence once the union has taken place, do not hesitate to contact us. We have helped more than 1000 foreigners from all over the world to get their residency, and we want to help you too: