Translation of marriage certificates

In Spain, there are two main types of marriage: civil marriage and religious marriage.

A civil marriage is a marriage performed and recognized by a government official (the judge in charge of the civil registry, judge of the peace, mayor or councilman delegated by the mayor, diplomatic or consular officer or, most recently, a judicial secretary or notary).

religious marriage, on the other hand, is performed by the religious authority and following the rituals and requirements of that religion. Religious marriages (Roman catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim) have the same legal recognition as civil unions, as long as the person officiating the ceremony is duly accredited. Thus, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim marriages performed in Spain have full legal effects and do not need to be confirmed by a civil ceremony.

In order to get married in Spain, you need to submit some documents that will vary depending on whether the people getting married are both foreigners or a foreigner and a Spaniard. In any case, some of the documents that are usually required are the following:

  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of Registration of where you live
  • Certificate of Personal Status (an official document that certifies that a person is alive and his/her civil status)
  • National Identity Card or Passport
  • Previous Marriage Certificates – if applicable – along with the divorce or annulment decree, or the Death Certificate, as applicable.
  • Certificate of No Impediment
  • Certificate of Legal Capacity to get married

If you plan to get married in Spain, you will have to submit a copy of all these documents along with their official translation.

Lastly, once the marriage is held, you can request a Marriage Certificate issued by the Civil Register officer, certifying that the marriage took place, as well as the time, date and place where it was performed. You need to request this document when you have get married in Spain and you want to register it in another country. Similarly, it is also requested for other procedures, such as visa application or international adoption processes.

As with other Spanish documents, there are several types of official Marriage Certificates:

  • Positive certificates:
    • Extract: This is a summary of the information registered at the ‘Registro Civil’ (Civil Register) regarding the data related to the marriage. There are various kinds:
      • Ordinary: This is issued in the regions or autonomous communities (‘comunidad autónoma’) where the only official language is Spanish.
      • Bilingual: When the certificate is issued at a region or ‘comunidad autónoma’ that has its own official language, the certificate is issued in Spanish and in the official language of that region.
      • International or multilingual: This certificate is valid in the countries that have ratified the Vienna Convention of 8th September 1976. This certificate is issued in the official language of the signatory countries of that Convention (Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Poland, Montenegro, Moldova, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria).
    • Literal: This is a literal copy of the marriage registration, with all the information regarding the identity of the couple and the details of the marriage, as well as any information registered in the margins (marriage contract, annulment, divorce, etc.).
  • Negative certificates: They certify that a marriage is not registered at the Civil Register.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *