Spain To Finally Say Adios To Its “Libro de Familia”

A staple part of Spanish family life is set to disappear with the replacement of the “Libro de Familia” booklet, with online digital registration, a decade after it was first proposed and a century after it was first introduced.

From May 1st all newborns are now being individually registered online, and all the information on identity and civil status will be recorded on the same online individual file over the course of their life times.

Meanwhile, existing family record booklets will no longer be updated and will remain valid for a transition period while the information is put into the new individual digital format.

The changeover which was first “introduced” a decade ago was designed to phase out the traditional system of categorising births, marriages, deaths, as well as other  family notifications in the paper booklet into an individual digital one.

The new digital file will also be able to document additional information such as guardianship, acquisition of Spanish nationality and modifications regarding the estate of people with disabilities.

The online file will have a personal code that links the document to the individual’s national identity card (DNI/NIE/TIE) and the data can be accessed online with an electronic signature or in-person at the Civil Registry.

The Libro de Familia was introduced in 1915 and designed to compile census information on a family basis.

In 2010 the then PSOE government proposed a change of emphasis from collective to individual registration. “It is a radical conceptual change,” the then Justice Minister said.

Too radical for many at the time, it has taken over a decade to be implemented after modifications had been made as well as the added issue of introducing a national platform which is accessible at local level within the administations of all 17 of Spain’s autonomous communities.

However due to many of the country’s municipal registries still years behind in terms of operating a digital platform the change-over is likely to be seen first in the major cities and towns rather than smaller municipalities.

Once fully implemented, the digital platform will allow for a simplified and easier system which can also be used for wider administrative tasks such as such as obtaining a DNI card, passports for minors, processing maternity leave, registering children for a social security health card, applying for a place at a kindergarten or state schools, amongst others.

In addition, as it removes a document pertaining to the family, not individual, thus its removal will also remove the contention of who gets to keep it in the event of divorce.


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