Help for British nationals overseas – guidance

Notarial and documentary services guide for Spain

Documents, certificates, letters and notes available at British consulates in Spain.

Overview

British consulates in Spain can provide a range of notarial and documentary services for British nationals.

Where local notaries can provide services, the British consulate will not provide them. In many cases Spanish notaries or English speaking lawyers in Spain can provide services more cheaply, quickly and conveniently. See services provided elsewhere for a list of services they provide.

Most services are available by post. The only service you’ll need to attend an appointment in person for is the certificate of foreign marriage recognition.

Services we provide in Spain

Consular staff in Spain can issue a:

  • certificate of marital status for cohabitation registration (unión/pareja de hecho)
  • certificate of foreign marriage recognition
  • certificate of no objection for adoption for British nationals resident in Spain

For information about documents relating to marriage, such as the certificate of no impediment (CNI) and the certificate of marital status for marriage, see getting married abroad.

You can’t get documents for marriage in the UK from British consulates in Spain.

If you can’t find the service you are looking for on this page, please see other services provided by British consulates in Spain

What documents you need

See the individual services below for details of supporting documents you’ll need to provide. Make sure you’re able to provide an acceptable form of proof of address and identity, and payment for any fees. See the full list of consular fees.

Payment

We accept payment by Visa, Visa Electron, or MasterCard.

For the certificate of foreign marriage recognition, you’ll be expected to pay in cash in euros or by credit card on the day of your appointment.

Proof of address and identity

For all notarial services you’ll need to provide acceptable proof of your identity and address.

We accept passports or national identity cards as proof of identity.

We accept your town hall registration certificate (certificado de empadronamiento or padrón), or your Spanish residence certificate (certificado de registro de ciudadano de la unión) as proof of address.

If you don’t have either of these, you’ll need to provide proof of your current and/or previous address(es) by submitting recent and original copies of one of the following:

  • utility bills (not printed off the internet)
  • bank/building society/credit card statement (not printed off the internet)
  • building society/savings bank passbook
  • electoral role confirmation letter
  • mortgage statement
  • council tax demand
  • credit reference agency search
  • evidence of entitlement to state or local authority-funded benefit, tax credit, pension, educational or other grant

Certificate of Marital Status for Cohabitation Registration (Pareja de Hecho)

The Certificate of Marital Status for Cohabitation Registration is used to register a cohabitation arrangement (unión/pareja de hecho) for a couple living in Spain.

You don’t currently need a consular certificate to register a Pareja de Hecho in the following regions:

  • Andalucia
  • the Balearic Islands
  • Comunidad de Madrid
  • Comunidad Valenciana

If you wish to register a Pareja de Hecho in one of the above regions, the British Consulate has been informed by the local authorities that the following documents may be required, depending on your marital status:

  • your long form birth certificate, translated and legalised
  • if you are single, a No Trace Certificate from the General Register Office in either England and Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, translated and legalised
  • if you are divorced, your decree absolute (sentencia firme), translated and legalised
  • if you are widowed, your marriage certificate and the death certificate of your late spouse or partner, translated and legalised
  • a sworn declaration confirming your current marital status (single, divorced or widowed), drawn up by a Notary Public (only necessary in Andalucia)

The British consulate cannot provide definitive information on the requirements; therefore it is essential that you check with the relevant authorities in Andalucia, the Balearic Islands, Comunidad Valenciana or Comunidad de Madrid.

If you are in any other region in Spain, you can download and complete the application pack for the marital status certificate for pareja de hecho (PDF, 411KB, 5 pages), and send the documents to the address in the application pack.

There’s a checklist of supporting documents you need in the application pack. You’ll need to get any documents that aren’t in English or Spanish translated into Spanish.

You must sign the affirmation in the application pack in front of a local notary public in Spain before you post the other documents.

You need to submit your application at least 3 months before the date you want to register your cohabitation arrangement. It takes 10 working days after payment has been made for applications to be processed excluding delivery times. The consulate will send your certificate and original documents to you by registered post.

If your partner is a non-EU national, he or she may need to submit a second copy of your marital status certificate to the Spanish Foreigners Office (Extranjería) to apply for a Spanish residence card. Check if you need a second copy with the Foreigners Office before sending your application.

You’ll need to pay fee 2(ii) to get the certificate of marital status for cohabitation registration. If both you and your partner are British, you’ll need to make 2 separate applications.

Certificate of Foreign Marriage Recognition

If your marriage took place in a country other than Spain or the UK and your spouse is a non EU national, you may need to apply for the certificate of foreign marriage recognition.

Your spouse will need this to get a Spanish residence card from the Spanish Foreigners’ Office (Extranjería). Both you and your spouse will need to attend an appointment at your nearest British Consulate in Spain to get the certificate, and will need to make separate declarations.

If neither of you speak English or Spanish, you should take a sworn interpreter with you.

Download and complete the Application Pack for the Foreign Marriage Recognition Certificate (PDF, 398KB, 4 pages) .

There’s a checklist of supporting documents that you’ll need on the form.You’ll need to get any documents that aren’t in English or Spanish translated into Spanish.

Translation

Translations in Spanish are usually accepted by the Spanish Foreigners’ Office if they’re by one of the following:

  • a sworn translator - see the list of Intérpretes Jurados
  • the consulate or embassy in Spain of the country where the marriage took place
  • a translator in the country where the marriage took place as long as the translation has been certified by the consulate/embassy in Spain of that country

British Consulates in Spain cannot translate documents.

Legalisation

The Spanish Foreigners’ Office will usually require your marriage certificate to have been issued and legalised (certified as genuine) in the last 3 months.

If the country where you married is part of the Hague Convention, the legalisation office in that country will place a stamp or vignette called “The Hague Apostille” (Apostilla de la Haya) on the back of the document.

Check the list of countries that are part of the Hague Convention

If not, you’ll need to do both of the following:

  • contact the authority where your marriage was registered and get a stamp or signature to validate your marriage certificate
  • take your marriage certificate to the Spanish embassy in the country you got married in so they can recognise the stamp/signature of the issuing authority

Book an appointment for the Certificate of Foreign Marriage Recognition

Send your application completed application form and your supporting documents (max 4MB) by email or fax to your nearest consulate using the following contact details:

British Consulate Alicante

British Consulate-General Barcelona

British Consulate Palma de Mallorca and British Consulate Ibiza

British Consulate Las Palmas, British Consulate Tenerife

British Consulate-General Madrid

British Consulate Málaga

The consulate will contact you if they have any queries about your documents. Once your application is approved, they’ll contact you within 10 working days to make an appointment.

You’ll need to pay fee 2ii, fee 4 (twice) and fee 7 to get the Certificate of Foreign Marriage Recognition. See the full list of consular fees.

Certificate for Adoption by British nationals resident in Spain

British nationals resident in Spain who wish to adopt a child from a country other than the UK may be required to get a certificate of no objection from the British consulate.

You must first get independent legal advice about where your residency is and then swear a statement witnessed by a lawyer.

You should also visit the following websites before applying for a certificate:

There are 3 versions of the certificate depending on where the adoption took place and the legislation under which the child was (or is being) adopted. They are:

Adoption automatically recognised in the UK

The adoption took place before 3 January 2014 from a country named in The Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973 known as “the designated list” and The Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) (Variation) Order 1993.

Adoption automatically recognised in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland

The adoption took place or will take place on or after 3 January 2014 from a country named in The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013 or in The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 and its amendment.

Non-recognised adoptions

The adoption is taking place in a country not named in The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013 or in The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 and its amendment.

For all 3 certificates, you’ll need to confirm to the embassy or consulate whether the adoption is being processed under Spanish law or under the law of the country that the child is adopted from.

Download and complete an Adoption Pack (PDF, 322KB, 3 pages) . There’s a checklist of supporting documents that you’ll need on the form. You’ll need to get any documents that aren’t in English or Spanish translated into Spanish.

Send your application form and supporting documents by email notarialservicesmadrid@fco.gov.uk or by fax 91 714 6403.

Once the embassy or consulate has approved your application, they’ll send you the certificate by registered post.

You need to pay Fee 2ii for each certificate plus 4 Euros postage fees. If you and your partner are both British, the consulate can issue one certificate but you have to submit separate application forms and copies of your documents.

Services provided elsewhere

The consulate no longer provides life certificates for British nationals claiming a British pension abroad. Please refer to the list of professionals who can witness a life certificate.

Legalise a document

This service is for customers who require confirmation that the signature, seal or stamp on a document is genuine. It does not certify the authenticity or a document or give approval of its content. UK public documents can be legalised by the Legalisation Office.

Translations

For official translators in Spain visit the Sworn Translators-Interpreters page on the website of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAEC). British Consulates in Spain can’t translate documents.

Convert a civil partnership to marriage

You can’t convert a civil partnership into marriage in Spain. You need to contact a UK registrar and make an appointment to convert your civil partnership into marriage.

Explanation of the Marriage Banns

From 1 April 2015, British Consulates in Spain no longer issue the “Informative Note: Explanation of the Marriage Banns”. If your local civil registry still asks for information on the marriage banns, print out the Nota Verbal re Marriage Banns (PDF, 84.5KB, 3 pages) .

Transfer of Address

British Consulates in Spain no longer issue the Consular Letter: Transfer of address for importation of vehicles/household goods/change of registration plates (also known as the Baja Consular).

You can provide the following documents in place of the Baja Consular:

  • work contract or proof of self-employment
  • a residence permit or work permit for the country you have been residing in - if you’re coming from outside the UK

If you don’t have either of these, contact the Spanish state tax administration agency (Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria/AEAT).

If the tax authorities insist on a letter from the consulate, you can print out the Communication Baja Consular and show it to them.

Change of name and/or surname

British Consulates in Spain no longer issue the “Informative Note: Change of name and/or surname in the UK”. If you are having problems changing your name in Spain, you can print out the Nota Verbal re Name Change (PDF, 134KB, 4 pages) and show it to the authorities.

Proof of address for marriage

British Consulates in Spain no longer issue the “Consular Letter: Proof of Address for Marriage” (Confirmación de domicilio para casarse en España). Use one of the following documents instead:

  • a letter confirming your address, e.g. electoral roll
  • bank or building society statement, credit card statement
  • mortgage statement
  • 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 still asked to provide documentation from the British consulate, you can print out the Communication Proof of Address and show it to the authorities.

Change of British passport number

British Consulates in Spain no longer issue the “Consular Certificate: Change of British passport number on renewal”. You can use instead the Informative Note: Change of British passport number

Alternatively, you can submit a Freedom of Information Request to HM Passport Office, asking for confirmation that you were the holder of your previous passport(s). You’ll need to visit HM Passport Office for further information.

The services below may be provided by Spanish notaries or English speaking lawyers in Spain:

  • witnessing signatures or administering declarations on powers of attorney
  • witnessing signatures or administering declarations on wills
  • witnessing signatures or administering declarations on company documents
  • witnessing signatures or administering declarations on name change deed polls and similar documents
  • certificates or statements of law in the UK
  • certified photocopies of British passports, Home Office registration/naturalisation certificates, UK educational documents (including those issued in the UK by a recognised institution and listed in the Legalisation Office website), British driving licences, British divorce decrees, and foreign documents including passports, educational documents and ID documents
  • certifying your identity for British banks, building societies and other institutions

Perjury Act (1911)

Under the Perjury Act (1911) it is a criminal offence to knowingly make a false declaration. Offenders face the possibility of a fine and/or a jail sentence.

Data Protection

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office holds and uses data for purposes notified to the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998. Such personal data may be disclosed to other UK government departments and public authorities.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the consulate by the relevant authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. Accordingly the FCO and the British consulate will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. For all Notarial and legalisation services it is the responsibility of the customer to ascertain the precise requirements of the person requesting the Notarial or legalisation service and to satisfy themselves that the service provided by the consulate will be accepted.