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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10387
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My husband (US citizen) and I (UK citizen) were married in

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My husband (US citizen) and I (UK citizen) were married in Bahrein 40 years ago. The original certificate was destroyed in a flood some years back. We have tried to get replacements from Bahrein, but have failed. We have a photocopy of the original. Is there any way to re register the marriage? The photocopy was accepted when applying -successfully - for my husband's right to remain in the UK several years ago, but a more official document has (post BREXIT) been requested by the Spanish authorities in connection with my will (I own property there), as they do not accept photocopies.

Why did your attempt to get a copy of the certificate from Bahrain fail?

I am not familiar with Spanish law but is this something to do with your change of name or the name on your passport.

If you tell me why you need it, I may be able to think of a different route for you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Both the Church were we were married and the Consulate have suffered in the numerous upheavals of the past 40 years and I assume original,documents were destroyed when buildings were sacked.I never changed my name on my passport. Partly on principle and because it was my professionally known name, partly because my work contract and residence permit in Saudi Arabia (1976) was in my maiden name and had to match my passport.My husband and I lived and worked in Seville for many years. We returned to the UK some time ago for the usual reasons: elderly parents + interesting work contracts + sons who wanted to go to university in the U.K. However, our intention was always to return to Seville, where we have our home and many friends. Most of my relatives are in Italy. BREXIT, with the threat of losing the right to live and work in the EU frankly panicked me. In old age, I do not want my husband (US citizen) or myself to be harassed and threatened with deportation, as is happening to the elderly now in the UK. I was recommended an immigration lawyer in Spain, who has suggested two ways of obtaining residence rights. The one we all prefer - I can copy you her letter, if it would help - would involve an original marriage certificate, since the Spanish system does not accept copies. Hence - at her suggestion - my question.I am sorry this is complicated! Please let me know what further details would help.With many thanks - Caroline Stone


Assuming that getting a new certificate from Bahrain is an impossibility, the only way of dealing with this would be to swear a statutory declaration as to the circumstances surrounding the marriage and the loss of the certificate.

If the document was just for the United Kingdom, it would be sufficient to have it sworn in front of a solicitor. However as it’s required by the Spanish authorities, you would need to have it sworn by a Notary Public. Whereas a solicitor would charge £5 fixed fee for the swear a Notary will charge about £70 for the same job which takes literally five minutes.

One solicitor firm prepares the document and another firm will do the swear.

A solicitor will probably charge about £200 or possibly more for preparing statutory declaration. It is a service I could offer you for about 1/3 of that. I would need a lot more details but before I submit a Premium Services Proposal for you, you might want to speak to your contact in Spain and ask whether a notarised statutory declaration be sufficient for the Spanish authorities. If it isn’t, that you are up against a brick wall.

There is literally no other way of dealing with it if the original certificate is no longer obtainable.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid. It does not cost you anything but helps us greatly.

Best wishes.


F E Smith and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much. This is a very helpful assessment of the situation. I will now contact the Spanish lawyer to find out whether a notarised statutory declaration will be sufficient. If the answer is "yes" (I fear unlikely), how do I get back to you to make arrangements to prepare the document - assuming I can provide the information you require? I would prefer not to have to explain it all again to one of your colleagues! Caroline Stone
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How do I get back to you when I have a reply - probably tomorrow?

Just email me on this thread. I will pick it up at some stage in the day. The thread remains open

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
F.E.Smith - Good morning! The Spanish immigration lawyer says that the notarised statutory declaration "should be acceptable". I think it is a worth a try. Could you let me know how we procede from here? With many thanks. Caroline Stone

I will submit a premium services proposal for you and let you have the document by email when it’s complete.

When you accept the proposal, I will let you have my email address and you then let me have your email address and we can exchange emails in privacy.

There is a separate box for you to put your contact details in.

When we exchange emails I will tell you what details I need.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You mentioned that you would need a lot more details before submitting the Premium Service Offer - but I seem to have missed the message telling me which - and, of course, there is no point proceding if I cannot supply the details you need. Also, is 119 euros the complete fee? Or do I still have to take the document to a Notary Public - presumably in the UK?

That is the complete fee for doing the document because there is an hours work in it. A local High Street solicitor would probably charge £200 plus. By all means ask a few local firms. I could do the document today foryou

You would then need to take it to a notary to have it sworn. The notary would charge whatever fee they normally charge.

As I mentioned, a solicitor would charge £5 for each of you and your husband (you both need to go on the document) + £2 for each attachment. A notary makes up his own charge and hence you might need to ring around a few. Most notaries also solicitors. However there are not many notaries around. Hence they can charge through the nose. The Spanish authorities would accept a solicitor, well and good but international documents usually require a notary.

I am waiting for your email address so that the details we exchange which are personal, remain private. I haven’t yet told you what I need therefore but you will have the information that I need, name address et cetera plus some other details.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you! I was not questioning your fee - simply trying to ensure you had what you needed before starting work. Also, as I am leaving Seville at the weekend, I was not sure whether the document you are about to prepare needed to be notarized here or in the UK - but I assume, as it is in English, in the UK. My address is***@******.***. I about to click on "Accept this offer".
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am going to be out of email contact for the next 2-3 hours. I would be very grateful if you would send me a confirmation either here, or to my email, that you are preparing to go ahead with the document and let me know what further information is required. I will reply about 16.00 UK time. With many thanks - Caroline Stone

You will have an email in 5 mins with everything I need to know from a “projects” email address. It’s my private email address.