Is it mandatory to be registered (empadronado) for two years to be able to get married in Spain?

married in Spain

This article is about the requirements and the documentation that you must provide to start a marriage file, and thus be able to get married in Spain.

This file is managed in the closest Civil Registry from your address, and it is to this Office that you must go to start with the marriage file. To begin this process, you must previously gather a series of documents.

The focus of this article is on a marriage between a Spanish citizen and a foreign citizen, and both reside in Spain.

Do I have to be registered in Spain for two years to be able to start with the marriage record?

Our answer is No. Many Civil Registries that ask both the foreign citizen and the Spanish citizen to provide a registration certificate (certificado de empadronamiento) for the last two years in our country, but it is not a legal requirement established as such in the regulations.

Requesting this document from both parties is incorrect. A possible reason for this confusion might be a misinterpretation from the law made by the Civil Registry officials.

Where does this idea come from that a foreign citizen needs two years of registration to be able to get married in Spain?

The confusion comes or derives from one of the requirements established for the Spanish citizen to be able to marry in Spain.

When a Spanish citizen wants to get married, it is necessary to publish the so-called “edicts”, a kind of announcement where it is notified that that person is going to get married in case someone has any legal objection to it. And that edict must be published in those municipalities with less than 25,000 inhabitants where the Spanish citizen has resided in the last two years.

If he or she has not lived in Spain, we must provide the corresponding consular registration and its corresponding withdrawal or “baja”.

As we have to prove where we have lived for the last two years, as a Spanish citizen, the way to prove whether or not it is necessary to publish the edicts is through the “Certificado de empadronamiento histórico” (Certificate of historical registration) or the Certificate of the last two years.

This way, the Civil Registry will be able to verify if it is necessary or not to publish the above mentioned edicts.

As a foreign citizen, how do I certify if it is necessary to publish these edicts?

As a foreign citizen, the way you have to prove whether or not it is necessary to publish edicts is through a Consular Certificate, where everything established in your personal law on the celebration of marriage is collected.

Therefore, it is not necessary to provide a Historical Registration Certificate for the last two years.

If the Civil Registry of your city requires you to provide both the Consular Certificate on the need or not of the publication of edicts as well as the historical census of the last two years (certificado de empadronamiento histórico), they would be duplicating the requirements or asking you to prove the same requirement twice. Which doesn’t make sense.

If, for example, you are an American citizen, you must go to your Consulate of USA in Spain to be able to request the mentioned Certificate on the need to publish edicts.

What documentation can I ask for in the civil registry to be able to contract marriage?

The documentation that you must manage in order to start with your marriage file as a general rule is:

You must bear in mind that if any of the spouses is divorced or widow, you must provide additional documentation.

Can I get married at any time?

Yes, you can get married in Spain at any time, as long as you provide all the documentation required for this purpose. Therefore, you do not have to wait until you have been in Spain for two years to start the process of your marriage in the Civil Registry of your city.