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MARRIAGE

Can non-residents or new arrivals get married in Spain?

Destination weddings are all the rage, but what if you have your heart set on getting married in Spain – is this possible as a non-resident? And what if you do live here but have only been here a short time or want to marry another foreigner – is this possible? Read on to find out.

wedding in Spain
Getting married in Spain. Photo: Pexels / Pixabay

Non-residents

Let’s look at the situation for non-residents. What if you and your partner live in the UK for example, but want to get married in Spain? Unfortunately, the answer is no, you can’t legally get married in Spain if you don’t live here.

Unlike, places such as Italy, Denmark and the US, a legal destination wedding is not possible in Spain for non-residents. Read on until the end for an alternative idea that will enable you to have your wedding here. 

Resident new arrivals

So, what if you and your partner are both foreigners who have recently moved to Spain – can you legally get married then?

The answer largely depends on how long you and your partner have lived in Spain. Spanish law states that at least one of the partners getting married must have residency in Spain for at least two years before the marriage.

One of the documents you must present ahead of time, along with a whole stack of other papers, is your residence card such as a TIE or green certificate or sometimes your empadronamiento certificate, which shows that you’ve been living in Spain for at least two years.

This means that if you and your partner are newly arrived, you will have to wait two years, before being able to legally marry on Spanish soil.

Can foreigners get married in Spain? Photo: adamkontor / Pixabay

Foreign residents in Spain

If you and your partner are both foreigners and at least one of you has been living in Spain for two years or more, then there’s no problem in legally marrying here.

While it’s possible, like many things in Spain, there’s a huge amount of bureaucracy and paperwork involved and it may take several months. 

The process differs slightly depending on which region you want to marry in, but you will usually be required to present the following documents:

  • Full original birth certificates
  • Passports and ID cards
  • Certificate of no impediment – meaning you’re free to marry. You will have to apply for this from your embassy or consulate.
  • Residency cards stating you have lived in Spain for at least two years.
  • Any divorce or annulment certificates if you’ve been married before.
  • Details and ID cards/passports of your witnesses

All these documents will have to be translated into Spanish by an official translator, as well as apostilled, so that they’re recognised here.

You may also need to undergo a personal interview process in order to be granted permission to marry.

If you want a religious marriage, you may also be required to produce further documentation.

Foreigner marrying a Spaniard

If you are a foreigner in Spain and want to get married to your Spanish partner, you can do so without the requirement of having lived in Spain for two years.

The process can still take several months to organise, however and you will still need the same documents as above and may be required to undergo an interview process.

If you are from a non-EU country but your partner is an EU citizen, a civil marriage will allow you to obtain residency in Spain without the need of having a job (as long as your partner can prove sufficient means of income for both of you). 

If your spouse is Spanish, you will also be able to apply for Spanish citizenship after one year of marriage.

What if we just want to have our wedding in Spain?

If you still want to get married in Spain and don’t meet the above requirements, it’s totally possible to do the legal part of the ceremony in a different country and then have your wedding celebration here. 

This doesn’t require any paperwork at all because technically you’re already married, so it’s the same as having a big party to celebrate your nuptials. It means that you can get married in that Spanish villa you’ve always dreamed of without all the hassle.

It also means that you can ask someone close to you such as a friend or family member to conduct the ceremony, as they won’t have to do any paperwork either. 

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LIFE IN SPAIN

Why you should think twice about buying a car in Spain, even if it’s second hand

A combination of supply and demand problems caused by the pandemic and a lack of microchips is making cars much harder to come by in Spain. Here's why you should perhaps consider holding off on buying that vehicle you had in mind for now.

Why you should think twice about buying a car in Spain, even if it's second hand

Getting your hands on a car – new, second hand, or even rental – is becoming much harder and more expensive in Spain.

The car industry has been hit by a perfect storm of conditions that have made new cars harder to come by and, as a result, caused prices to rapidly increase. 

According to Spain’s main consumer organisation, Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU), the microchip crisis affecting the entire globe, combined with an overall increase in the price of materials needed for car manufacturing and increased carbon emissions legislation has created a shortage of new cars in the country.

New cars

With less cars being manufactured, prices of new cars have gone up: a recent OCU report reports that new car prices have increased by 35 percent, higher even than Spain’s record breaking inflation levels in recent months. 

READ ALSO: Rate of inflation in Spain reaches highest level in 37 years

It is a shortage of microchips and semiconductors – a global problem – that has caused car production in Spain to plummet. In the first eight months of 2021, for example, production fell by 25.3 percent compared to 2019.

This is not a uniquely Spanish problem, however. The entire world is experiencing a shortage of semiconductor microchips, something essential to car manufacturing as each car needs between 200 to 400 microchips.

France’s car exports, for example, have fallen by 23.3 percent, Germany’s by 27 percent, and the UK’s by 27.5 percent.

Simply put, with less cars being produced and specialist and raw materials now more expensive, the costs are being passed onto consumers the world over.

Equally, these industry-specific problems were compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.The average wait for a car to be delivered in Spain is now around four months, double what it was before the pandemic, and depending on the make and model you buy, it can be as long as a year.

Car dealerships across Spain were forced to sell cars during the pandemic to stay afloat, and now, when consumers want to purchase new cars, they don’t have enough to sell and can’t buy enough to keep up with demand due to the materials shortages that have kneecapped production.

Second-hand cars

With the scarcity and increased prices in the new car market, the effect is also being felt in the second-hand car market too. With many in Spain emerging from the pandemic facing precarious financial situations, then compounded by spiralling inflation in recent months, one would assume many would go for a cheaper, second hand option.

Yet, even second-hand prices are out of control. In Spain, the price of used cars have risen by 17 percent on average so far in 2022.

Cars 15 years old or more are 36 percent more expensive than they were in the first half of last year. The average price of a 15 year old car is now €3,950 but in 2021 was just €2,900 – a whopping increase of 36 percent.

As production has decreased overall, purchases of used models up to three years old have declined by 38.3 percent. Purchases of cars over 15 years old, on the other hand, have surged by 10.4 percent.

If you’re looking to buy a second-hand car in Spain, keep in mind that the reduced production and scarcity of new models is causing second-hand prices to shoot up.

Rental cars

These problems in car manufacturing have even passed down to car rentals and are affecting holidaymakers in Spain.

Visitors to Spain who want to hire a car will have a hard time trying to get hold of one this summer, unless they book well in advance and are willing to fork out a lot of money.

Over the past two years, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a shortage in rental cars in Spain. However, during peak holiday times such as Easter, the issue has been brought to the forefront.

It’s now common in Spain to see car rental companies hanging up signs saying “no hay coches” or no cars, similar to the no vacancy signs seen in bed & breakfasts and hotels.

READ ALSO: Why you now need to book a rental car in advance in Spain

While all of Spain is currently experiencing car rental shortages, the problem is particularly affecting areas of Spain with high numbers of tourists such as the Costa del Sol, the Balearic Islands and the Canaries.

According to the employers’ associations of the Balearic Islands, Aevab and Baleval, there are 50,000 fewer rental cars across the islands than before the pandemic.

In the Canary Islands, there is a similar problem. Occupancy rates close to 90 percent have overwhelmed car rental companies. The Association of Canary Vehicle Rental Companies (Aecav) says that they too have a scarcity 50,000 vehicles, but to meet current demand, they estimate they would need at least 65,000.

According to Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), fewer than 20 million foreign tourists visited Spain in 2020 and revenues in the sector plummeted by more than 75 percent. While numbers did rise in 2021, the country still only welcomed 31.1 million foreign visitors last year, well below pre-pandemic levels and far short of the government’s target.

Many Spanish car rental companies have admitted that the fleet they offer is down to half after selling off vehicles in the pandemic due to the lack of demand.

End in sight?

With the microchip shortage expected to last until at least 2023, possibly even until 2024, it seems that the best course of action if you’re looking to buy a new or used car in Spain is to wait, let the market resettle, and wait for prices to start going down again.

If you’re hoping to rent a car when holidaying in Spain, be sure to book well in advance.

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