Marriage Abroad

Marriages which take place outside of Ireland are normally registered in the country in which they occur and are NOT registered in Ireland.  The civil marriage certificate issued by the country in question would normally be accepted as the legal proof of the marriage.  For further information, please consult the website of the General Register Office.

According to the Central Civil Registry Office in Madrid, in order for two Irish citizens to get married in the province of Madrid, one of the parties should be legally resident in Spain for approximately the previous two years.  Naturally this is not the case if an Irish citizen is to marry a Spanish citizen.  This can vary across Spain and therefore, it is essential to check with the Civil Registry Office in the area where you wish to get married as to their specific requirements.   A list of Civil Registries and further information regarding civil marriage in Spain can by found by regions on the Spanish Ministry for Justice’s website.

An application to get married in Spain usually involves a lot of bureaucracy and can be time-consuming.  Applicants should allow enough time before the intended date of the marriage for the paperwork to be completed.  Individuals wishing to be married must first certify, in a file processed in accordance with the legislation for the Civil Register, that they meet the requirements established by law. 

The requirements for religious marriages vary according to the denomination and region in which an applicant lives.  Applicants will be asked for a variety of documents.  To obtain an official marriage certificate, the marriage must be registered with the local Civil Registry.    Therefore, it is important to confirm that the officiator of the marriage is licensed to marry and to establish the arrangements for civil registration.  The officiator may obtain the marriage certificate on your behalf.   

You may be asked for the following documentation:

-         A recently issued long form birth certificate authenticated by the General Register Office in Roscommon and translated into Spanish. Please note that you can now apply online for a wide range of Irish certificates (birth, death, marriage, etc.) via an official HSE website. 
-         The Hague Apostille stamp on the back of the birth cert which is obtainable from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.  Further details are available here.
-         A civil letter of freedom or “Certificate de Coutume” which you can obtain from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin or the Embassy or nearest Consulate if you are living in Spain.  You can find comprehensive information and apply online on the marriage abroad page of the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.  Only online applications will be accepted. 

This information is provided as a general guide to marrying in Spain.  It is neither exhaustive nor specific to different autonomous regions or communidades.  Again, it is essential that Irish citizens wishing to marry in Spain contact the relevant local authority to inform themselves of the specific requirements in that region. 

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