What paperwork needs changing after getting married in Spain?


Posted and filed under Case Study, Legal Issues in Spain, Legal Paperwork (NIE, Residencia, Padron).

The first proviso here is that is is not necessary to change anything if you do not wish to in Spain.  The practice in Spain is not for women to change their names to a married name, so by doing so, you are going against the usual protocol in the country, trying to impose another country´s usual practice, thus almost always leading to more complications and costs. It is perfectly fine for you to still legally keep your maiden name. However, if you really want to do it, this is how:-

1. The first step is to inform the authorities in the UK in order to get a new passport with your new name on it. This is very important.

2. If you got married in Spain, you need to take the paperwork you were given after the ceremony to the Civil Registry office in your area within 5 days of marriage, they will give you an official marriage certificate and a “libro de familia”. (Family book).

3. If you were married in the UK, you need to have the marriage certificate translated into Spanish.

4. Your bank needs to be informed of the change of name. If you have a Spanish bank account, all you need is to show them your new passport and possibly the marriage certificate.

5. If you have private health insurance, you need to inform them of the change of name and get a new certificate of cover.

6. Once you have your passport you need to re-apply for your NIE certificate. This is your Spanish national identification number. When doing this, you need to supply your marriage certificate (in Spanish), your new passport, a passport photograph and a copy of the old NIE certificate.

7. Once you have your new NIE certificate, you need to apply for a new residencia. When applying for this, you will need to supply all of the same paperwork as before. Health insurance, bank details etc, NIE etc.

8. At this stage, you are now ready to go to the town hall with your new documents, to get a joint padron with your new information on it.

9. If you have a driving licence you will need to go to Trafico and apply for a new driving licence with your new name and address if you are moving house.

10. If changing address as well you should go to the local medical centre and apply for a change of doctor’s surgery.

11. If either of you receive any type of financial help here in Spain such as child benefit or job seekers allowance, you need to take your marriage certificate and all of your new documents to the Social Security office so that they can update their system also.

12. You should speak to your Spanish accountant about whether it would be best to change your returns to a joint one rather than individual ones. It depends on different circumstances.

13. It may be necessary to change your Wills (not essential) but it is worth seeking advice on this.

Please, if we can help, contact us on enquiries@spanishsolutions.net

Post written by Jo Garcia Philips. 


  • Sharon Langtry

    I have remarried in the UK and all my paperwork and bank account is still in my previous name. I still have a passport valid until 2022. Do I need to change my name in Spain?

  • Angella

    What if someone’s married and living in the U. K for around 50+ years??

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening Angella,

      We will contact you directly, via email, to get some further information which will allow us to answer your enquiry correctly. In the meantime should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

      Kind regards

  • Cati

    I would add that they will not accept an old marriage certificate. I had to apply to the USA to get a new, apostilled copy proving I am still married. It was terrible.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Thank you for the addition, what a nightmare.

  • Yolande

    Is it legal to still use my maiden name with banks, passport and other documents in Spain and use my married name in the UK for the same?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Yolande, Its quite a wide question but I don’t see any illegality, only that at times you may be asked to show your marriage certificate but it will work on a case by case basis and depending on the entity you are dealing with. Kind regards

  • Stefania

    I was born in Brazil in 1988 to a spanish father. Since I was 2 yo I have held both citizenship. But I have never lived in Spain. In 2011 I got married and chose to have my husband name added to mine. The spanish consulate never let me add his name to my documents even if I presented marriage certificate. They say it’s impossible to do so. I now live in the UK and would like to apply to British Citizenship too. But I read I can’t have my married name if I use the spanish passport to apply to confirm my ID because they don’t take my married name. I need to use to spanish instead of Brazilian because brazilians didn’t have the right to live in UK without Visa. So I have always used the spanish. It’s very complicated. All I wanted was 5o add my husband’s name to my spanish documents. I never knew to be possible until coming across this article.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Stefania, You need specialist advice, I would advise you to consult the Citizens Advice Bureau for Spain, they can point you in the right direction. Kind regards

  • Anne

    Hi, my family have been granted residencia in Spain but the original application was applied for without middle names. We went for the finger print appointment and they said it had to be changed and it could not be processed. The company that helped us said it was simple and agreed to do it but have since stopped communicating with us. Hiw can this be amended? Any thoughts?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Anne,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Can we ask if you ever received a resolution letter from the Foreign Office to confirm your residencia was approved, please. We feel the Foreign Office have noticed the mistake upon receiving the application and have therefore not approved the residencia. The person dealing with the file should have been notified of this.

      The passports are submitted as part of the residencia application and would show the middle names, the full name should have been put on the application to reflect this. We will contact you to discuss this matter further and see where we can help.

      Kind regards

  • Maria Villa Alonso


    I am Spanish and my partner is from the UK, we live in the UK and we’re getting married next year.
    I am unsure of what to do with my surname, I understand that I can’t change my name in Spain (and that m is fine with me), but if I would like to get my partner’s surname in the UK how would I be able to ID myself if my passport is Spainish has my old surname? I only have my indefinite state to remain but haven’t got UK actual ID.
    I’m not sure if it’s possible to have one name in Spain and a different name in the UK.
    Not sure if I’m explaining myself, it’s complicated! Haha

    Thank you!

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Maria, I think you need to refer to a UK lawyer for advice on this, but no you cannot have two different names and as you know you cannot change your surname in Spain as a Spanish national, so it seems unlikely you can change your name officially (only maybe unofficially) with kind regards. Congratulations on your forthcoming wedding also.

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