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MARRIAGE

Can non-residents or new arrivals get married in Spain?

Destination weddings are all the rage, but what if you have your heart set on getting married in Spain – is this possible as a non-resident? And what if you do live here but have only been here a short time or want to marry another foreigner – is this possible? Read on to find out.

wedding in Spain
Getting married in Spain. Photo: Pexels / Pixabay

Non-residents

Let’s look at the situation for non-residents. What if you and your partner live in the UK for example, but want to get married in Spain? Unfortunately, the answer is no, you can’t legally get married in Spain if you don’t live here.

Unlike, places such as Italy, Denmark and the US, a legal destination wedding is not possible in Spain for non-residents. Read on until the end for an alternative idea that will enable you to have your wedding here. 

Resident new arrivals

So, what if you and your partner are both foreigners who have recently moved to Spain – can you legally get married then?

The answer largely depends on how long you and your partner have lived in Spain. Spanish law states that at least one of the partners getting married must have residency in Spain for at least two years before the marriage.

One of the documents you must present ahead of time, along with a whole stack of other papers, is your residence card such as a TIE or green certificate or sometimes your empadronamiento certificate, which shows that you’ve been living in Spain for at least two years.

This means that if you and your partner are newly arrived, you will have to wait two years, before being able to legally marry on Spanish soil.

Can foreigners get married in Spain? Photo: adamkontor / Pixabay

Foreign residents in Spain

If you and your partner are both foreigners and at least one of you has been living in Spain for two years or more, then there’s no problem in legally marrying here.

While it’s possible, like many things in Spain, there’s a huge amount of bureaucracy and paperwork involved and it may take several months. 

The process differs slightly depending on which region you want to marry in, but you will usually be required to present the following documents:

  • Full original birth certificates
  • Passports and ID cards
  • Certificate of no impediment – meaning you’re free to marry. You will have to apply for this from your embassy or consulate.
  • Residency cards stating you have lived in Spain for at least two years.
  • Any divorce or annulment certificates if you’ve been married before.
  • Details and ID cards/passports of your witnesses

All these documents will have to be translated into Spanish by an official translator, as well as apostilled, so that they’re recognised here.

You may also need to undergo a personal interview process in order to be granted permission to marry.

If you want a religious marriage, you may also be required to produce further documentation.

Foreigner marrying a Spaniard

If you are a foreigner in Spain and want to get married to your Spanish partner, you can do so without the requirement of having lived in Spain for two years.

The process can still take several months to organise, however and you will still need the same documents as above and may be required to undergo an interview process.

If you are from a non-EU country but your partner is an EU citizen, a civil marriage will allow you to obtain residency in Spain without the need of having a job (as long as your partner can prove sufficient means of income for both of you). 

If your spouse is Spanish, you will also be able to apply for Spanish citizenship after one year of marriage.

What if we just want to have our wedding in Spain?

If you still want to get married in Spain and don’t meet the above requirements, it’s totally possible to do the legal part of the ceremony in a different country and then have your wedding celebration here. 

This doesn’t require any paperwork at all because technically you’re already married, so it’s the same as having a big party to celebrate your nuptials. It means that you can get married in that Spanish villa you’ve always dreamed of without all the hassle.

It also means that you can ask someone close to you such as a friend or family member to conduct the ceremony, as they won’t have to do any paperwork either. 

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For members

BARCELONA

How much does it really cost to live in Barcelona?

Barcelona is one of the most popular cities for foreigners to move to in Spain, but it's also among the most expensive. Long-time Barcelona resident Esme Fox explains exactly how much you'll need to live in the Catalan capital.

How much does it really cost to live in Barcelona?

Barcelona is made up of 10 different districts and each one of these has its own neighbourhoods, or barris as they’re called in Catalan.

Depending on which district or even which neighbourhood you live in, your cost of living will be very different in everything from rent to a simple cup of coffee.

Generally, the most expensive neighbourhoods are located in the centre and northwest of the city and some of the cheapest can be found in the outer-lying areas or to the east of the centre.

But wherever you live in the city it’s worth keeping in mind that the cost of living in Barcelona has risen by 31 percent in the last five years and rising rental prices are mostly to blame.

According to the annual report by the Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona (AMB), the minimum wage needed to be able to live comfortably in Barcelona is €1,435 gross per month.

But of course, it will depend on your living circumstances. According to the report, if you’re living on your own you will need around €1,553 per month, if you’re a single parent you will need €2,220 per month. A couple without children will each need to earn a minimum of €1,054.80 and a couple with two children needs two salaries of €1,547 each.

Map showing the ten districts that make up Barcelona.

Rent

Rent is your biggest expense in Barcelona and unfortunately, rental prices have been spiralling recently due to inflation, the return of tourism after Covid lockdowns and the ever-growing popularity of the city.

Cost of living website Numbeo states that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is €1,031 and a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre is €795.

Those looking for somewhere slightly larger to rent will be forking out €1,672 for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre and €1,299 for a three-bedroom apartment outside the centre.

If you’re prepared to rent a room in a shared apartment with others, this will cut your rental costs considerably. Apartment sharing website Badi states that the average price for a room in a shared apartment in Barcelona costs an average of €500.  

READ ALSO: What you should know about renting an apartment in Barcelona

Groceries

With inflation, the cost of groceries has soared in Barcelona in the past few months. Prices will depend on where you shop. Generally, chain supermarkets such as Mercadona are the cheapest, while larger supermarkets where you can also find important products such as Carrefour and El Corte Inglés are more expensive.

According to Expatistan, the average price for a litre of milk costs €0.93, 12 eggs cost €2.92 and 500g of cheese costs €5.76.

In terms and fruit and vegetables, Numbeo states that the average cost of1kg of tomatoes is €2.16, 1kg of apples costs €1.96 and 1kg of potatoes costs €1.33. While the same website gives the average price for chicken fillets as €7.09 and a bag of rice as €1.26. 

Eating out

Barcelonians love to eat out whether that’s going for tapas with friends, trying out a new international restaurant or going for brunch on a Sunday. It’s an important part of socialising in the Catalan capital, so you’ll want to budget to eat out a least a few times per month. 

Expatistan gives the price of dinner for two in a normal restaurant at €35, while Numbeo states that a combo meal at a chain or fast food place will set you back around €9.

A menú del día (menu of the day) costs an average of €17 in the centre or an expensive area of the city, while you can pay as little as €11 for 3 courses in the cheaper neighbourhoods.

Going out for a coffee will set you back around €2.08. Remember that it’s always cheaper to ask for a café con leche rather than a cappuccino. 

READ ALSO – Moving to Barcelona: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

Going out, leisure and entertainment

Barcelona has a great entertainment scene, whether you want to listen to live music in small bar, go clubbing until the early hours of the morning, go on a date to the cinema or spend the night at the theatre.

A cinema ticket costs an average of €9, while you’ll pay €42.74 for a monthly gym membership in the city. 

A normal-sized glass of draught or bottled beer at a bar will be around €3 and a cocktail will be around €8-12.

Transport

Public transport in Barcelona is good and affordable. Metros, buses, trams and trains (Rodalies and FGC) all run throughout the city. A 10-journey ticket which can be used on all modes of transport for one zone currently costs €7.65 with the government’s 30 percent reduction, but is normally €11.35.

If you commute, you can get a monthly unlimited journey ticket for one zone called the T-Usual which normally costs €40, but currently is only €20 with government aid.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Barcelona you should be aware of before moving

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