Notarial and documentary services guide for Spain
Documents, certificates, letters and notes available at British consulates in Spain.
British consulates in Spain can provide a range of notarial and documentary services for British nationals. 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.
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. For further information, please see the section on services provided elsewhere and look at the useful links for information on living in Spain here.
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.
For information on documents relating to marriage in Andorra, please contact the British Consulate General Barcelona
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 and the Living in Spain page
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.
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) / Other Reason
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:
- the Balearic Islands
- Comunidad de Madrid
- Comunidad Valenciana
- the Canary Islands
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, the Canary Islands, Comunidad Valenciana or Comunidad de Madrid.
If you are in any other region in Spain or you require this certificate for any other reason (not for marriage), you can download and complete the Marital Status for Pareja de Hecho or Other Reason (PDF, 489KB, 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.
It is not possible to register a marriage celebrated in a foreign country in the General Register Office or with any other government authority in the United Kingdom or in a British consulate/embassy abroad. Neither is it possible for a UK government authority to state whether a foreign marriage is valid, legal and subsisting. As a result British consulates issue this certificate, which usually covers this requirement.
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 Foreign Marriage Recognition Pack (PDF, 397KB, 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.
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 translators and interpreters
- 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.
The Spanish Foreigners’ Office (Extranjería) will usually require your marriage certificate to have been both issued and legalised in the last 3 months. You need to check with your local Spanish Foreigners’ Office as to whether a certificate older than 3 months, but legalised in the last 3 months, would be acceptable. You must do this before applying for your consular certificate.
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 completed application form and your supporting documents (max 4MB) by email or fax using the following contact details:
email: email@example.com fax: 91 7146403 The consulate will contact you if they have any queries about your documents. Once your application is approved, you will be contacted within 10 working days to make an appointment at your nearest consulate in Spain.
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:
- Information on Designated Countries
- Adoption: statutory guidance - 2013
- Register as a British citizen: Children born out of the UK
- UK Visas and Immigration
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.
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, 323KB, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
UK criminal records check/good conduct certificates
The consulate is not able to provide criminal records checks and good conduct certificates. Please visit Disclosure and Barring Service checks (DBS) for more information which can be found here and information on how to apply for a DBS check irrespective of whether you live or have lived in the United Kingdom which can be found here.
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.
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) .
Certificate of Consular Registration
From May 2013, British Consulates in Spain no longer issue the Certificate of Consular Registration. If your local civil registry still asks for this, print out the Nota Verbal re Consular Registration (PDF, 155KB, 1 page)
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, 139KB, 3 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.
Witnessing Signatures or administering declarations
- witnessing signatures on probate documents
- 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.
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.
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.
Published: 2 April 2013
Updated: 21 July 2014
- Adoption changes July 2014
- Changes made to 'residency' and 'notice of marriage' rules before a CNI can be issued.
- Example certificates for CNI and Marital Status certificates added.
- Application process time changed from four to five working days.
- Updates to the list of services we provide to remove 'Proof of address for marriage'
- Change to service of recognition of marriage celebrated in Spain.
- New appointment request form added for marriage celebrated outside Spain
- Additional information added on documents required for Pareja de Hecho in Andalucía and the Balearics.
- Changes made to the Baja Consular certificate service for Spanish authorities.
- Informative Note: Change of name has been removed
- updated appointment request form for marital status.
- Updated appointment request forms
- Added Informative Note on change of passport number
- Removed details of certificate confirming change of British passport number on renewal as the service is no longer provided
- Link added to the news article on changes to birth and death registration service.
- 'signing of probate documents' service removed
- Added details on the process of birth registration
- Updated text and added 'recognition of marriage celebrated in Spain' as a notarial service
- Removed details of services no longer offered.
- Appointment request form updated
- Phone number removed for notarial enquiries
- Updated appointment request form for recognition of foreign marriage certificate
- updated the Registration at the Consulate section with effect from 14th May 2013
- added to notarial services document series
- Updated with CNI and Marital Status (Marriage) certificates.
- First published.