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Published 2 April 2013

Overview

British consulates in Spain issue a wide range of legal documents for British nationals. An appointment must be made for each service.

If there is no specific formal requirement for a notarial service or certificate to be provided by the British consulate, local notaries or lawyers in Spain can sometimes provide these services more conveniently, quickly and cheaply than the British consulate.

Check with the relevant authority (eg town hall/registry office/tax authorities/foreigners office, etc) either in the UK, Spain or a third country, that the consular certificate or service will be accepted.Your local British consulate cannot confirm this information, only the relevant authority can provide this confirmation. You can get examples of the wording of the consular certificates to present to the relevant authority for advice. Email your request using the contact details for the British consulates.

Refunds of consular fees are not given for certificates or notarial services that are not accepted by the requesting authority. Fees for consular certificates and documents are paid at the consulate on the day of the appointment and can be paid by credit card, debit card or in cash.

If you cannot find what you are looking for in the list below please see the Our Services section at the British Embassy Madrid.

Please also see the additional information on marriage

If you still cannot find what you are looking for you can contact the consulate

The services we provide in Spain:

  • consular service: certified photocopy
  • informative note: change of name and/or surname under English law
  • informative note: explanation of the marriage banns
  • consular letter: consular registration
  • consular letter: transfer of address/Baja Consular (for vehicles or personal belongings /household goods)
  • consular certificate: foreign marriage recognition certificate
  • consular certificate: Marital Status for Pareja /Union de hecho including instructions for your lawyer regarding unsigned declarations.
  • consular certificate: change of British passport number on renewal
  • consular certificate: Home Office registration/naturalisation - no British birth certificate provided
  • consular certificate: adoption by British nationals resident in Spain

Book an appointment

Before your appointment for a notarial act or certificate can be arranged, the consulate team need to check that you have supplied all the correct supporting documents. For each service there are details of the copies of documents which you must email or fax with your application.

When you request a service please send us:

  • copies of all of the documents we’ve asked for
  • proof of address and identity
  • a completed appointment request form for the service you need

Please see the notarial contact details for your nearest consulate.

Please take care to send copies of all of the documents required. Incomplete applications are not kept at the consulate, so if anything is missing you will need to resend everything.

Please be aware: 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.

Once your documents have been checked you will be sent details of how to book an appointment at the nearest British consulate. Please note that you must bring all of your original documents with you to the appointment at the consulate or you will not be served.

Where to send your request

Please find below details of where you should send your supporting documents for notarial and documentary services. An appointment can only be made once you have sent copies of all the supporting documents needed for that service or document. When your papers are received it will be checked by the team at the consulate. If you have not sent everything needed, you will be contacted to tell you what is missing. Remember, incomplete applications are not kept at the consulate, so if anything is missing you will need to resend everything.

If you have sent all of the papers required, the consulate team will contact you to book an appointment. Please note that you must bring all of your original documents with you to your appointment at the consulate or you will not be served.

The telephone number for all British consulates in Spain is 902 109 356 or (+34) 913 342 194.

British Consulate Alicante

British Consulate-General Barcelona

British Consulate Bilbao

British Consulate Palma de Mallorca, British Consulate Ibiza, British Honorary Consulate Menorca

British Consulate Las Palmas, British Consulate Tenerife

British Consulate-General Madrid

British Consulate Málaga

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.

Proof of address and identity

In addition to proof of identity which is usually a British passport, please note that proof of current address is always required for the issue of all consular certificates, informative notes, letters and notarial acts including certified photocopies.

If you live in Spain proof of address would usually be your original, valid Spanish Police Residence Certificate ( the green-coloured Número de Identificación de Extranjero (NIE) certificate which includes your address) or a certificate of registration at the local town hall (Certificado de Empadronamiento or the “Padrón”).

In the absence of either of these documents, you will be expected to provide recent original copies of one of the following documents or Spanish equivalent listed below.

These documents can also be used to prove an address outside of Spain:

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

Town Hall Registration Certificate

Certificado de Empadronamiento (or “ Padrón certificate”)

The Spanish Civil Registry may ask you to provide proof of your current and/or previous address in Spain (or elsewhere) for the last two years. If you have not been ‘empadronado’ (registered at an address with the local Spanish town hall) and cannot provide this document, or if you have not been resident in Spain for some/all of the time they require you to prove, (normally the last two years) see our information on how to apply for our Consular letter: Proof of previous address in the UK/elsewhere.

See the information about registering on the Padrón

Certified copies

Copias compulsadas por el consulado británico

British consulates in Spain are able to provide certified photocopies of the following documents:

  • British passports
  • Home Office registration/naturalisation certificates
  • UK educational documents (ie issued in the UK by a recognised institution and listed in the Legalisation office website)
  • British driving licences
  • British divorce decrees

British consulates are not able to provide certified photocopies of the following:

  • all foreign documents including ID documents, passports and driving licences
  • British marriage, birth and death certificates. You should apply to the General Register Office for copies of these documents.

Fees

  • Fee 6 per document (English or Spanish)
  • Fee 7 if the document to be photocopied consists of more than one page and the pages have to be united

Documents you need to provide to the British consulate

List of documents required for this service:

Change of name and/or surname

Nota informativa sobre cambio de nombre y/o apellido según la ley inglesa

This informative note is required for a variety of notary and bureaucratic procedures in Spain, eg the sale of property when the property was bought and registered in a previous surname, or for remarriage when a divorced woman took on her first husband’s surname and has not reverted back to her maiden name on her birth certificate.

It is not possible to change your name and/or surname by deed poll or declaration in Spain and married women usually retain their own surnames. Therefore even if you submit a legalised and translated version of your British name change document, or other documentary evidence to prove the change, the Spanish authorities may require confirmation from the consulate that this is a legal process in the UK.

Please note: You may like to print out the free version of the Informative note: Explanation of change of name in English [PDF, 309KB, 3 pages] and the Informative note: Explanation of change of name in Spanish [PDF, 261KB, 3 pages] and ask the Spanish authorities whether the website copy is acceptable. Otherwise please follow the instructions below as to how to apply for a stamped and signed copy at your nearest British consulate.

Fees

Fee 2[ii] Informative note: explanation of change of name or surname.

Documents you must show the British consulate

  • you must send scanned copies of all of the documents below as attachments to an email requesting an “Informative note on explanation of name or surname change under English law” stating the reason for your application (eg change of name by deed poll, following marriage, etc.)
  • you must bring the original documents to your appointment in the British consulate

List of documents required for this service:

  • a completed appt-request-form-informative-note.doc [MS Word Document, 53.5KB] . Please fill it in, save the Word document and return it with your scanned documents.
  • your current original valid British passport
  • sufficient documentary evidence of circumstances regarding the name and/or surname change, eg birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, divorce certificates, previous passports issued in previous names, deed poll, declaration, etc
  • your Certificado de Empadronamiento(Spanish Town Hall registration certifícate)
  • or your original, valid Spanish Police Registration Certificate (green document which bears your NIE number and your address).

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate

Explanation of the Marriage Banns

Nota Informativa: Explicación de la publicación de los edictos

Please note that the documents required and the process is exactly the same for same-sex marriage and heterosexual marriage.

This is an informative note that you may need to submit to the Spanish Civil Registry along with your certificate of marital status which explains the notice of marriage process. The Spanish civil registry may also request it if you have given notice of marriage (banns) in the UK or elsewhere out of Spain. It may also be required for same-sex marriage. There are two versions: the first is for those who have given notice of marriage at a British consulate in Spain or in a British consulate in another country and the second version is for those who have given notice of marriage in the UK. In all cases your certificate of no impediment will be issued/have been issued by a British consulate in Spain.

You may like to print out the Informative note: Explanation of marriage banns in Spanish [PDF, 242KB, 4 pages] and ask the Civil Registry whether the website copy is acceptable. Otherwise please follow the instructions below as to how to apply for a stamped and signed copy at your nearest British consulate.

Fees

Fee 2[ii] Informative Note: Explanation of the marriage banns.

Documents required for this service

  • you must send scanned copies of all of the documents below as attachments to an email requesting an “Informative Note Explanation of the Marriage Banns”
  • you must bring the original documents to your appointment in the British consulate

If you require a personalised version which includes your details and confirmation that you have been issued a Certificate of No Impediment, the British consulate needs to see the following unless the Informative note is issued at the same time as your Certificate of No Impediment:

  • a fully completed appt-request-form-informative-note-explanation-marriage-banns.doc [MS Word Document, 53.5KB] . Please fill it in, save the Word document and return it with your scanned documents.
  • your original valid British passport
  • proof of your address:Certificado de Empadronamiento (Town Hall Registration Certificate) or your original, valid Spanish Police Residence Certificate (the green document which bears your NIE number and your address)
  • future spouse/partner’s original foreign passport/ID.

For those applicants who do not require the personalised version, the British consulate does not need to see your future spouse/partner’s original foreign passport/national identity document.

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Registration at the consulate

You may be asked to submit a consular letter to the Spanish Civil Registry if you are getting married in Spain or to the Spanish Ministry of Justice if you are applying for Spanish nationality (known as the Carta consular que confirma la inscripción consular). Please note that it is not obligatory to register at the nearest British consulate. However, if the Spanish authorities insist on you submitting proof of registration the nearest British consulate to where you live will be able to provide you with a letter.

Fees

Fee 2[ii] Consular letter confirming registration at the British consulate.

Documents you to show to the British consulate

  • you must send scanned copies of all of the documents below as attachments to an email requesting a “Consular letter confirming registration at the Consulate” indicating whether it is required for a Spanish nationality application or for marriage
  • you must bring the original documents to your appointment in the British consulate

Documents required for this service

  • a fully completed appt-request-form-registration-at-consulate.doc [MS Word Document, 49.5KB] . Please fill it in, save the Word document and return it with your scanned documents.
  • your original valid British passport
  • your original long form British birth certificate which includes your parents details
  • your Spanish Police Residence Certificate (green document which bears your NIE number and your address)
  • your Certificado de empadronamiento (Town Hall registration certificate) if the address in your original, valid Spanish Police Residence Certificate is not up to date

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Proof of transfer of address

For importation of vehicles /change of registration plates (baja/alta consular)

This is a consular letter (known in Spain as Carta consular: Confirmación de cambio de domicilio para la importación de vehículos/cambio de matricula) you may need to submit to Spanish Customs and other Spanish authorities if you are moving to Spain to live and wish to bring in a vehicle or household goods or change your vehicle registration plates (also known in Spain as the “baja/alta consular”).

Please note that the British consulate is not able to provide advice on tax issues related to the importation of vehicles or goods. You should consult either the Spanish tax authorities directly or seek legal advice. Please see our list of English-speaking lawyers.

Fees

* Fee 4 Making a declaration. * Fee 2[ii] Consular letter: Proof of transfer of address.

Documents you need to show to the British consulate

  • you must send scanned copies of all of the documents below as attachments to an email requesting a “Proof of transfer of address consular letter”
  • you must bring the original documents to your appointment in the British consulate

List of documents required for this service:

  • a fully completed appt-request-form-proof-of-address.doc [MS Word Document, 56.5KB] . Please fill it in, save the Word document and return it with your scanned documents.
  • your original valid British passport
  • your Certificado de Empadronamiento (Spanish Town Hall registration certificate)
  • your original Spanish Police Registration Certificate (the green document which bears your NIE number and your address)
  • all pages containing information of your original V5C Vehicle registration certificate or foreign equivalent or your original certificate of permanent export
  • proof of address in the UK (or the country where you were living before taking up residence in Spain) dated 12+ months prior to the date shown on your Spanish Police Registration NIE certificate confirming when you became a resident of Spain
  • if you have lived at more than one address in the 12 months before you were issued a Spanish Police Registration NIE Certificate as a resident of Spain, you must also provide proof of each and every additional address where you lived during the 12 month period. See our separate list of documents which are acceptable forms of proof of address.

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Recognition of a foreign marriage

For marriages celebrated outside of Spain or the UK

This is a certificate (known in Spain as Certificado de reconocimiento de un matrimonio celebrado fuera de España o del Reino Unido) that your spouse may need to submit to Extranjería (Spanish Foreigners’ Office) in order to obtain a Spanish Police Residence Card, if your marriage took place in a country other than Spain or the United Kingdom and your spouse is a non EU national.

The Spanish authorities require your foreign marriage to be registered with the British authorities as part of your spouse’s residence application. It is not possible to register foreign marriages in the United Kingdom or in British consulates. It is also not possible for British Government offices to validate foreign marriages. Therefore British consulates issue a certificate, which covers this requirement.

To obtain the certificate both you and your spouse will need to make separate declarations in person at the nearest British consulate in Spain and provide certain documents.

Fees

Documents you need to show to the British consulate

  • you must send scanned copies of all of the documents below as attachments to an email requesting a “Certificate: Foreign marriage recognition celebrated outside of the UK or Spain”
  • you must bring the original documents to your appointment in the British consulate.

Documents required for this service

  • a fully completed appt-request-form-recognition-foreign-marriage.doc [MS Word Document, 56KB] . please fill it in, save the Word document and return it with your scanned documents
  • your original valid British passport
  • your original, valid Spanish Police Residence Certificate (green document which bears your NIE number and your address)
  • your spouse’s original valid passport
  • your original marriage certificate issued and legalised in the last three months *
  • official translation into Spanish of your marriage certificate**

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Legalisation

For information on how to legalise your marriage certificate, you should contact the consulate/embassy in Spain of the country where the marriage took place.

Hague Convention countries

If the country where you married has signed the Hague Convention on legalisation a stamp or vignette called the Hague Apostille will be placed on the back of the marriage certificate by the authorities in the country of marriage.

Non Hague Convention countries

If the country where you got married has not signed the Hague Convention, the marriage certificate will have to be signed by various authorities in the country where it was issued before being finally legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Madrid

It is important that the marriage certificate bears either the Hague Apostille or the final legalisation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation for the document to be recognised for use in Spain.

Spanish Foreigners Offices (Extranjería) usually require your marriage certificate to have been both issued and legalised in the last three months. However, you should check with your local Spanish Foreigners Office whether a certificate older than three months but legalised in the last three months, is acceptable. You should do this before applying for your consular certificate and we may check with the Foreigners Office before accepting your application.

Translations

We understand the following types of translation are usually accepted by Extranjería (Spanish Foreigners Offices):

  • by sworn translator - see list of Interprete Jurado
  • by the consulate/embassy in Spain of the country where the marriage took place
  • by 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 same country.

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Marital status certificate

You may need this certificate (known in Spain as Certificado de estado civil) to register a Pareja/Unión de Hecho (cohabitation registration) and sometimes to claim Spanish benefits.

Please note we are unable to issue this certificate for cohabitation registration in Andalucía.

If your partner is a non EU national, he/she may need to submit a second copy of your marital status certificate to the Spanish Foreigners Office in order to obtain a Spanish residence card. It is recommend that you seek advice from the Foreigners Office before making your application at the consulate so you can be issued with two copies of the consular certificate on the day of your appointment if necessary.

To obtain the certificate you will need to ask a solicitor/abogado to draw up a declaration for you to bring to the consulate printed on his/her headed paper. If the declaration is drawn up on blank paper without this information, please ask your lawyer to provide you with a separate letter which includes his contact details in which he /she confirms he/she has drawn up your declaration.

This is just in case any information needs to be confirmed with him /her prior to accepting your application.

Instructions on the content required in the declaration are provided in English and Spanish.

You will need to affirm/swear and sign the document before the consular officer at the time of your appointment, therefore please do not sign it in front of your lawyer. You will also need to supply supporting documents to the consulate (see below).

Fees

*Fee 4 Making a declaration *Fee 2[ii] Certificate confirming marital status

These fees are charged per person so if you and your partner are both British, you will each have to make two separate declarations and be issued with separate certificates in Spanish.

Documents you need to show to the British consulate

  • you must send scanned copies of all the documents below as attachments to an email, requesting a marital status certificate
  • you must bring the original documents to your appointment in the British consulate

Documents required for this service

  • a fully completed appt-request-form-marital-status.doc [MS Word Document, 51KB] . Please fill it in and save as a word document and return it with your scanned documents.
  • your original valid British passport
  • your Certificado de Empadronamiento (Town Hall registration certificate) or original, valid Spanish Police Registration Certificate (the green document which bears your NIE number and your address)
  • your birth certificate which shows your parents’ details which must be included in the consular certificate (long form birth certificate)
  • an unsigned declaration in either Spanish or English regarding your marital status drawn up by a Spanish abogado or a solicitor. This declaration will be affirmed /sworn and signed by you at the consulate. The text of the declaration should be printed out on the lawyer’s headed notepaper or be accompanied by a letter from the lawyer
  • if you have been married before, your original decree absolute (Sentencia firme)
  • if you have previously registered a civil partnership, your certificate of dissolution/annulment of your previous civil partnership or same-sex marriage
  • if you are widowed or the surviving partner of a civil partnership, the original death certificate of your late spouse or partner

Please note: If any of your documents are not issued in the UK or Spain, consular staff may need to make further enquiries and if any documents are not in English or Spanish they will have to be translated.

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Change of British passport number

Given that British nationals do not have national identity cards and are no longer provided with Spanish residence cards, paperwork in Spain is usually carried out with your British passport and/or a Spanish NIE certificate. The number of your British passport you hold at the time will usually be recorded in the paperwork. However, when you renew your British passport the number changes. Spanish public administrative offices and sometimes Spanish banks and Notaries require confirmation that you do not retain the same passport number on renewal, and that the passport number corresponds to the document and is not your personal national identity number. This document is known in Spanish as a certificado consular con confirmación de cambio de numero de pasaporte británico al renovarse.

Fees

Fee 2[ii] Consular certificate confirming change of British passport number on renewal

Documents you need to show to the British consulate

  • you must send scanned copies of all of the documents below as attachments to an email requesting a “Consular certificate confirming change of British passport on renewal”
  • you must bring the original documents to your appointment in the British consulate

Documents required for this service

  • a fully completed appt-request-form-change-passport-number.doc [MS Word Document, 47KB] . Please fill it in and save as a word document and return it with your scanned documents.
  • your current original valid British passport
  • your previous original passport or photocopy of your previous passport
  • your Certificado de Empadronamiento (Spanish Town Hall registration certifícate)
  • or your original, valid Spanish Police Registration Certificate (the green document which bears your NIE number and your address)
  • a photocopy of the page of the property deeds in which your name and previous passport number(s) appear (if applicable ((if applicable)

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Confirmation that British birth certificate is not available

Certificado consular que confirmaque al obtener la nacionalidad británica por naturalización o registro, no se obtiene una partida de nacimiento británico

This consular certificate is sometimes required for presentation to the Spanish Civil Registry on applying to get married when you have obtained British nationality by Home Office registration/naturalisation. The Spanish Civil Registry requires confirmation that your birth is not registered in the UK and neither are you issued with a British birth certificate at the time of obtaining British nationality.

Fees

Fee 2[ii] Consular certificate regarding Home Office registration/naturalisation

Documents you need to show to the British consulate

  • you must send scanned copies of all of the documents below as attachments to an email requesting a “Consular certificate Home Office registration/naturalisation”
  • you must bring the original documents to your appointment at the British consulate

Documents required for this service

  • a fully completed appt-request-form-confirmation-no-birth-certificate.doc [MS Word Document, 41KB] . Please fill it in, save it as a word document and send it to us with your scanned documents.
  • your original valid British passport
  • your original Certificado de Empadronamiento (Spanish Town Hall registration certifícate)
  • or your original, valid Spanish Police Registration Certificate (the green document which bears your NIE number and your address)
  • original Home Office Certificate of Registration/Naturalisation.

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Adoption by British nationals

Certificados consulares sobre la adopción para nacionales británicos residentes en España

British nationals resident in Spain who wish to adopt a child from another country may be required by the Spanish adoption authorities to obtain a certificate from the UK authorities regarding recognition of the adoption in the UK and confirmation as to whether the adopted child will be granted British nationality. There are two versions of this letter depending on whether the adoption is being processed under Spanish law (Spain is a “designated country”) or the law of the country where the child is being adopted and whether that country is a “designated country”.

Before applying for one of the two certificates, it is important that you visit these websites:

Fees

Fee 2[ii] Consular certificate regarding adoption.

Documents you need to show to the British consulate

Documents required for this service:

  • a fully completed appt-request-form-adoption.doc [MS Word Document, 50KB] . Please fill it in, save it as a word document and send it to us with your scanned documents.
  • your original valid British passport
  • your original, valid Spanish Police Residence Certificate (green document which bears your NIE number and your address)
  • or your Certificado de empadronamiento (Town Hall registration certificate)
  • an original declaration sworn before a Spanish notary or a lawyer empowered to administer oaths that you have sought independent legal advice on your status under UK law and which confirms that you are no longer habitually resident in the UK. Please refer to the list of English-speaking lawyers in your consular area for advice.

The declaration needs to include the following text:

“I confirm that I have received independent legal advice and, with reference to all the circumstances of my particular case and in the light of existing United Kingdom law, I can confirm that I am no longer habitually resident in the British Isles/United Kingdom.”

How to apply

Follow the instructions on how to book an appointment for a notarial act or certificate.

Services provided by other authorities

The British Embassy no longer handles applications for renunciation and naturalisation or registration as a British citizen. All applications are now handled by the UK Border Agency.

The following may be provided by a Spanish notary or an English speaking lawyer in Spain:

  • witnessing signatures/administering declarations on powers of attorney
  • witnessing signatures /administering declarations on wills (unless it is a court probate document)
  • witnessing signatures/administering declarations on company documents
  • witnessing signatures/administering declarations on name change deed polls and similar documents
  • certificates or statements of law in the UK
  • certified photocopies of foreign documents including passports, educational documents and ID documents
  • certifying your identity for British banks, building societies and other institutions