In the four days since Britain voted to leave the EU, the number of Google searches along the lines of: "How do I get Spanish citizenship?" and "How do I get an Irish passport?" have shot up.
Many Brits in Spain are also considering the option of marrying their long-term partners; a sure-fire way to obtain Spanish citizenship.
But how to do it?
Firstly, it is important to consider what kind of marriage you want.
In Spain there are three kinds of marriage:
Civil marriage: This is a legal marriage without a religious aspect. A civil marriage gives rights of property, inheritance, pensions and adoption and can be between heterosexual or same sex couples.
Civil partnership: Most of Spain’s autonomous communities recognize civil unions and registered cohabitation between same-sex people. These allow for kinship, inheritance and property rights.
Religious marriage: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim marriages can be celebrated in Spain without requiring a second civil marriage. Religious marriages have the same legal status as civil unions - must must be registered with local civil authorities. Make sure your wedding officiate is licensed to perform weddings and check to see if they will register it with the town hall themselves or if they will give you the documents to do it yourself.
Contact the relevant local authorities in Spain to find out about local marriage laws, including what documents you’ll need.
Civil weddings in Spain take place at a town hall, register office or district court. You must register with the local civil authorities afterwards to get an official marriage certificate if you have a religious wedding.
What you’ll need to do:
Document requirements vary across Spain - check with the civil registry where you’re getting married to find out what you’ll need.
Your partner must also provide their own certificates.
You must apply for all certificates at least three months before you get married.
Getting a certificate of no impediment
Download and complete the CNI application pack - it contains a list of the documents you’ll need.
You must sign the notice of marriage and affirmation in front of a local notary public in Spain before you send your application to the consulate.
Send all the documents by registered post to the address in the application pack.
What happens next
The consulate will check your forms and documents. Once everything is approved, they’ll take your payment and display your notice of marriage for seven days. If nobody raises an objection, they’ll then issue your CNI and send it to you with your original documents by registered post.
It takes ten working days after payment for the consulate to process your application.
Getting a marital status certificate
Download and complete the marital status certificate application pack - it contains a list of the documents you’ll need.
You must sign the affirmation in the application pack in front of a local notary public in Spain before you send your application to the consulate.
Send the documents by registered post to the address in the application pack.
What happens next
The consulate will check your forms and documents, and contact you if they have any queries.
It takes ten working days after your payment has been approved for the consulate to process your application.
They’ll send your certificate and original documents to you by registered post.
Other requirements for Spain
If you’ve been living in Spain for less than two years, the civil registrar may also ask for confirmation of your addresses for the past two years (‘confirmación de domicilio para casarse en España’).
You’ll need to show one of the following:
- a letter confirming your address, eg electoral roll
- a bank or building society statement, credit card statement
- a mortgage statement
- a council tax letter
- utility bills
- recent proof of entitlement to local or state benefits, eg tax credits, pension, education or other benefits
If you’re asked to provide a document from the British consulate, print out a copy of the ‘communication proof of address’.
All the documents must be translated into Spanish and accompanied by the certificate of apostille, this is a stamp which authenticates documents and allows them to be used legally in another country.
(Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)