Official Translation of Family Documentation: Family Surnames

Published at March 11, 2024

Marriage certificate

The official translation into English of a Spanish marriage certificate will be needed for many reasons. For example, a British couple may marry in Spain, and the wife will have to submit the official translation to the British Passport Office and banks to change her surname if she is taking her husband’s surname.

In addition, the official translation of the marriage certificate may be necessary to prove that a person married in Spain, also divorced in Spain. When a person marries and then divorces in Spain, the divorce will be recorded by the Spanish Registry Office and annotated on the existing marriage certificate. If one of the ex-spouses is going to remarry in the UK, he or she could request, from the relevant Spanish Registry, an up-to-date marriage certificate with the annotation regarding the divorce. The official translation will confirm that he or she is now divorced. In this case it may not be necessary to submit the official translation of the Spanish divorce decree.

In many aspects, the Spanish marriage certificate is similar to the English marriage certificate because it provides the personal particulars for the groom and the wife. However, the Spanish marriage certificate will also include any recorded further information related to any future change in the spouses' civil status. Furthermore, it is important to note that Spaniards use two surnames, the first surname is the father’s first surname, and the second surname is the mother’s first surname. Besides, Spanish women do not take their husbands’ surnames after marriage.

If the spouses have got married in Spain, an official translation into English of the marriage certificate issued in Spain will be needed to prove to the British Authorities that the marriage has taken place.

Deed of Marriage

In Spain, people can get married before a Notary at a Notary’s office. The would-be spouses will have to attend a Notary’s Office to sign the Deed of Marriage before the Notary and two witnesses. For example, if the wife is British and wishes to take her husband’s surname she will have to submit the Spanish documents with their official translations to the Passport Office and banks.

An official translation into English of the Spanish Deed may be needed if one of the spouses or both spouses are British, living in Spain at the time, and they have to confirm the marriage to the British Authorities.

Libro de Familia

The Libro de Familia, Spanish Family Book, is a family register usually handed over to Spanish citizens when they get married. This register which is a little book contains stamped copies of the marriage, birth of children, etc. and is issued by the Spanish Ministry of Justice.

Citizens of other nationalities may also get the Family Book when they are living and get married in Spain.

An official translation of the Spanish Family Book into English may be needed when a Spanish family moved to the UK for work purposes or when the spouses got married in Spain but start divorce proceedings in the UK. It is also needed when applying for residency.

An official translation into English of the marriage certificate issued in Spain will be needed to prove to the British Authorities that the marriage has taken place.

Official translators are expert in legal terminology. They are also very familiar with the differences between the English and Spanish legal systems and will produce accurate translations to be accepted by the British authorities and Spanish authorities.

About the Author

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Dalila SegadorHead of Official Translations

T: (+34) 951 55 22 54


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