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Family Members and Marriage for Expats in Spain

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: July 2013

 It is not always possible for an immigrant to bring their spouse (husband or wife) and family along with them when they migrate to a new country. As a result, many migrants spend years working abroad, often sending money to the home country to help support their family. Such migrants may choose to bring the family over to the new country once they have gained permanent residence in Spain.

European Economic Area and Swiss citizens are free to bring other EEA and Swiss family members into Spain, providing they can satisfy the authorities that they can financially support the family members. In addition, family members wanting to stay in Spain for more than three months must apply for a residence certificates.

Non-EEA or Swiss family members of an EEA or Swiss citizen will need to obtain a residence visa before leaving their home country. Within three months of arriving in Spain, they must also apply for residence cards at the nearest Immigration Office or a local police station. They will need to take their passport, application form EX19, proof of their relationship to the EEA or Swiss citizen and three passport photos. The residence card is valid for five years, after which it has to be renewed.

If you are a self-supporting student who is an EEA or Swiss citizen in Spain, family members who have the right to reside in Spain are as follows: your spouse or registered partner, your children and your children’s spouses or partners.

If you are working, or have proved to the authorities that you are financially independent, more of your family members may reside in Spain. These are: your spouse or registered partner, your and your spouse’s direct descendents who are under 21 or of any age if under your care, your and your spouse’s direct ancestors.

You can get married in Spain using a special marriage visa. This allows for an extended stay, which is necessary as it can take two months or more for the administration of a wedding to be completed. As the procedures you need to follow vary somewhat from province to province, it may be a good idea to consult with the provincial authorities beforehand. The documents that you require, which will need to have authenticated translations into Spanish, include the following:

In addition, the posting of the banns must either have been completed or proved to have been waived if it was deemed unnecessary. If both parties are Catholic, baptismal certificates are also required. A Catholic wedding will not be permitted in Spain if either party has been divorced.

The Spanish marriage certificate also records essential details about your children, and is called a libro de familia (family book).



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