Thank you so much any advice you can give!!

I am a US citizen and residing & working in the US. My girlfriend is a Spanish citizen, currently residing with her parents in Sotillo de La Adrada, Spain. She is not currently working, as she just received her university degree.

We want to get married and then I will move so we can live together in Madrid. I would like to work for a year in Spain, and then apply to study at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

We plan to marry in the United States, as the process is much simpler here. We plan to fly her here in February, 2020. We will do the wedding, and she will stay here with me for a month. Then she will return to Spain while I stay in the US. It would be incredibly difficult to marry in Spain, as I'd have to quit my job to be there for the months necessary for the application.

However, there is very little current information online regarding the following (there's a post from 2010 on this forum, but I want to make sure the rules haven't changed)
How do we go about having our marriage recognized in Spain?
After the marriage is recognized, can I apply for residency while remaining & working in the US?

Do I need to be in Spain to apply for residency?

If I need to be in Madrid to apply for residency, can I stay in Spain until my residency is approved? Or will I need to return to the US after applying, and then return to Spain once it's approved?

Finally, there is a possible issue with this plan:

I've been to Spain 3 times. I traveled there for a month in 2013 where I met my current girlfriend and another family who I've been extremely close to all these years.

The second visit was in 2014. I traveled there to stay with the family in Sotillo de La Adrada, & visit my girlfriend. My friends and I spoke with the ayuntamiento in Sotillo de La Adrada. They told us that I could stay for up to 9 months with a "Letter of Invitation" from the family who I would be living with. So I traveled there and thought there would be no issue.

However after being in Spain for 7 months, I traveled back to the US, and returned to Spain a month later. When I arrived by flight to Madrid, I was denied entry and sent back to the US for overstaying my visa by 4 months. The Spanish customs agents told me that they understood my confusion, and would not revoke entry to the country again, and that I could return again in 6 months with the Schengen Visa arrangement.

I returned to Spain to visit my friends again in 2018, and was allowed entry with no problems.

My question is if the incident in 2014 will cause any problems with our wedding application and my residency application.

Again, thank you SO MUCH for your help. I look forward to your response!


Jonathan Doda