To quote Will Ferrell, “before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are”. Well, I think the same goes for doing the pareja de hecho application in Spain. It’s a long process, involves a great deal of paperwork and in a nutshell, a real test of patience. After actually pulling it off, I can now say I’ve found someone who will stand by me even after having lost my shit on many occasions.
When we decided to go through this ordeal, we didn’t know we’re going to get stuck in a recurring paperwork nightmare. However, in retrospect, it was all worth the hassle. In a month *fingers crossed*, I’m going to get my tarjeta de comunitaria – a residence card that will allow me to work and live here in Spain for at least five years. More than any benefit that come with it, the most important of all is I get to be with the boyfriend without worrying about getting kicked out of the country.
Pareja de Hecho is a civil union or a common-law partnership between a couple, both heterosexual and homosexual, who choose to live together and have a more secure and stable status without getting married. It’s worth noting that the registration process varies from region to region. In general, any couple who are of legal age, not legally incapacitated, not related to each other and have not been previously married can register. Normally, a proof of cohabitation is required in the form of an empadronamiento colectivo.
PAREJA DE HECHO IN ANDALUCÍA
We were living together in a pueblo in Málaga when we decided to register as pareja de hecho. The first step we had to do was gather all the documents required. That involved asking my mother to do the paperwork for me from the Philippines and going through one legalization after another. It can be a daunting task so I’ll try to break down the long and difficult process of getting your certificate of pareja de hecho and your tarjeta de comunitaria (in another post).
Documents to Submit
- Photocopy of IDs of the applicants (DNI, Passport or TIE)
- Recent certificado de empadronamiento
- Birth certificate of both applicants
- Spanish applicants – They can ask for this in their registro civil
- Non-EU applicants – Since it’s a foreign document, it must go through translation and the corresponding legalization steps. For Filipino applicants, the NSO birth certificate must be authenticated by DFA and legalized by Sección de Legalizaciones de la Dirección General de Españoles en el Exterior y de Asuntos Consulares y Migratorios del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación de España in Madrid
- Certification of civil status
- Spanish applicants – They can ask for this in their registro civil as well
- Non-EU applicants – Since it’s also foreign document, it must go through translation and the corresponding legalization steps. For Filipino applicants, the NSO CENOMAR certificate must be authenticated by DFA too, translated and legalized
Once you have all your documents, find out where you have to turn them in. You might need to ask for an appointment beforehand but in small pueblos, that might not be the case. Both you and your partner have to be present because you would need to sign some declarations and fill an application form. You may be scheduled for an interview and a surprise house visit by your local police, I guess that depends on the assigned person who will process your application. We were called for an interview after a month – a thorough Newlywed game-like one at that haha. This is to make sure that it isn’t another civil union fraud. After that, the ball’s in their court. All you can do is wait. It could take up to three months counting from the day you completed all their requirements.
Just to give you an idea, here’s the timeline of our pareja de hecho application. Take into account that it varies from place to place. Some work faster, some take their time.
- February – We started putting together our documents, mostly from my side since they had to go through a chain of translation and legalization process
- April 8 – We submitted our documents and signed the declarations in the city hall.
- May 20 – We had our interview.
- August 16 – We received the certificate of pareja de hecho.
Before you take your relationship to the next level, know the mess you’re getting into. It won’t just all magically fall into place, you would have to put an extra effort to get all of these done. But the good news is you’re not alone in this thing. You and your partner have each others’ back even if one of you is always freaking out i.e. ME. Remember this is just the first step into settling down with a Spanish partner. You would still need to apply for your tarjeta comunitaria, your social security number and your public health insurance. Don’t sweat it though, there’s nothing this song can’t help you get through….