How to get married in ItalyLegal requirements to get married in Italy

Legal Requirements

LEGAL REQUIRMENTS FOR UK CITIZENS

IMPORTANT NOTICE: new procedures for British Nationals resident in the UK marrying in Italy have been introduced on 1 March 2013.

The new procedures for British nationals, resident in the UK, planning to marry in Italy are as follows (if you are resident in Wales, Channel Islands or Isle of Man please visit website for info, as the procedure changes:  https://www.gov.uk/marriage-in-italy ).

This procedure doesn’t apply to a British citizen who is marrying an Irish citizen or a British citizen resident in the Isles or in Wales.

STANDARD  SCENARIO

When both parties are British nationals and both are resident in the United Kingdom.

You cannot start the documentation process more than 6 months before your wedding date, or 3 months if you are resident in Scotland.

There are 4 simple steps that each British national, resident in the UK, must follow to get the right paperwork for marrying in Italy.

Step 1 – Certificate of No Impediment

You need to obtain what’s called a Certificate of No Impediment, which is issued in the UK.

To do this you must give notice of marriage to your local registry office. After your notice has been posted for the required period you will be issued with a ‘Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage’, signed and dated by your local Registrar.

It is essential that the names you give to the Registrar, which will appear on your Certificates of No Impediment, are exactly the same as written in your passports. For example, Jim Harris on the Certificate, and James Harris-Ford on your passport might mean that the Italian authorities will reject your paperwork and refuse to allow the marriage to go ahead. Please take your passport with you to the Registry Office, just to be absolutely certain.

Step 2 – The Statutory Declaration

While you are waiting for your Certificate of No Impediment you should make a statutory declaration before a solicitor or public notary in the UK.

The declaration is required by the Italian authorities and gives additional information that isn’t detailed on your Certificate of No Impediment. The solicitor or public notary will charge a fee for this service. Fees will vary so it might be worth shopping around.

Step 3 – Legalising your documents for the Italian authorities

When you have your Certificate of No Impediment and you have made your Statutory Declaration, you need to send them both to the FCO Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes for each to be legalised with a Hague Apostille.

Step 4 – Translation of your Certificate of No Impediment (CNI)

Once both these documents have been legalised, you will then need to have the legalised Certificate of No Impediment translated. As it will become an Italian legal document it must be translated by a translator based in Italy and recognised by the Italian courts.

Each British national resident in the UK should have:

  • A Certificate of No Impediment – issued in the UK, legalised in the UK and then translated officially in Italy
  • A bilingual Statutory Declaration legalised in the UK
  • Passport

Any further documents specifically requested by your Comune (town hall) of marriage.

It is always advisable for you, or your wedding agent, to check with the town hall where you intend to marry regarding extra documentation, for example photocopies of the passports of your witnesses, or how many days prior to the wedding you need to visit their offices.

Please note, under Italian law, a woman who has been divorced or widowed and wishes to re-marry in Italy cannot do so until 300 days have passed from the date of her divorce/death of husband.

It is possible, however, to apply for a dispensation to this through the Civil Law Courts (Tribunale Civile). Further information should be obtained from the town hall (Comune) of the area where the marriage is to take place and you will probably need to appoint a lawyer.

Remember to ask the Comune to issue a multilingual marriage certificate for you after the ceremony if this is available. If not, the certificate will have to be translated into English.

Finally please note that your Certificate of No Impediment will be valid for six months from the date on your English, Welsh or Northern Irish CNI or three months if presenting a Scottish CNI.

LEGAL REQUIRMENTS FOR USA CITIZENS

In fact there are only 3 documents that are necessary to marry in Italy.

Documents needed before starting:

  • US passport
  • Birth certificate
  • If previously divorced/widowed, your divorce decree or death certificate.

1. ATTO NOTORIO
It consists of a meeting in front of the Italian Consulate with witnesses in which a declaration relative to the civil status (single, divorced, etc.) of the couple is made. An official document is then drawn up to present to us for filing purposes here in Italy. You need to set an appointment yourselves with the Consulate and ask how many witnesses are required – it varies from location to location.

2. APOSTILLE of a DOCUMENT
This peculiar word means that the original documents (birth and divorce, if applicable) presented to the Italian Consulate have been:
Sent to the Secretary of State’s Notary Public of the state the document originated in for authentication (or Apostille seal).
The APOSTILLE is simply the seal of the Notary Public of the State in accordance to the Hague Convention which means that the documents can be used officially in a foreign country.

Example:
Jane Smith was born in Miami, Florida. She therefore sends her Birth Certificate to the Secretary of State’s Notary Public office in Tallahassee requesting an Apostille. The certificate is returned to her with the Apostille and Seal.

TRANSLATIONS
All birth and/or divorce certificates must be translated into Italian.
The translations are then authenticated by the Italian Consulate.

3. NULLA OSTA
It is the final declaration to be made in ITALY before the US CONSULATE or EMBASSY stating you are free to marry. Then this declaration must be authenticated in any Prefect’s office. The two procedures do not usually take more than one morning, but we require that your arrival be at least 3 weekdays prior to your wedding date to be safe. The requirements may vary from town to town so ask us specifically. Basically these are the main procedures, but we always advise you to contact the Italian Consulate in the US or relative country directly, since each Consulate may vary slightly the timing and scheduling of all the above.
Listed below are the paperwork requirements. Each Italian Consulate does things just a bit differently and we always advise you to call them and check with them what to do to set up an appointment for the Atto Notorio.

TRANSLATIONS REQUIRED
Documents 2 and 3 must be translated into Italian and apostilled through the Secretary of State’s Notary Public of the state the document originated in.
The translations are authenticated by the Italian Consulate. Our company does provide translation services.

ATTO NOTORIO
You must order the form from the Italian Consulate and/or call and find out when an appointment can be set up for this to be done. Some Consulates require only 2 witnesses per couple (not relatives) to witness the Atto, while other may require up to 4 witnesses PER PERSON to appear (totally 8).

When the Atto Notorio is done and the original documents are apostilled, you must:
1. Fax us a copy so that we can verify that everything is complete.
2. After we give you our approval, you need to express mail all documents to our address in Italy.
3. Keep a copy of your divorce certificate, if applicable, to take to the US consulate in Italy.

In some cases, the Atto Notorio may be done in Italy but we prefer it be done in the US unless time does not allow you to.

The last declaration is to be done in Italy before the US Consulates in Florence or Rome, we will set up the appointment for you.
NOTE THAT PAPERWORK EXPIRES AFTER 3 MONTHS.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN DIVORCED LESS THAN 300 DAYS FROM THE PROPOSED WEDDING DATE, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROCEED WITH THE WEDDING PLANNING OF A CIVIL CEREMONY, ONLY A SYMBOLIC WEDDING.

To simplify, we give you a step by step explanation of what you must do:

  1. Send us LEGIBLE copies of your passports, in addition to the following information for you, your future husband, your best man, and your maid of honor: full name, date and place of birth, current address (legal residence), and profession.
  2. Order your birth certificates (and divorce decrees, if applicable) and request the Apostille from the state you were born in. The apostilles can not be required earlier than 6 months before the wedding.
  3. Once you have requested your birth certificates (and divorce decrees) make an appointment with the Italian Consulate for your Atto Notorio. This document can not be issued more than 3 months before the wedding otherwise it will expire.
  4. You must bring several witnesses with you to the appointment. Some Consulates require only 2 witnesses per couple (not relatives) to witness the Atto, while others can require up to 4 per person to appear (total 8), so find out how many people must come with you.
  5. Get the birth certificates (and divorce decrees) translated before you go to the Italian Consulate.
  6. Go with the correct number of witnesses to the Italian Consulate in the US for your Atto Notorio. Bring the originals (with the Apostille) and the translations of your birth certificates (and divorce decrees) to this appointment. Make sure that the Consulate stamps the translations of your documents if the Consulate did not do the translations themselves.
  7. Right after your appointment at the Italian Consulate, fax us copies of all of your documents. We will check everything and continue the paperwork at this end. Keep the originals and hand carry them when you come to Italy (don’t check them at the airport).
  8. IN ITALY: some days before your wedding (generally 3 working days prior), go with our local assistant to the US Consulate to get the Nulla Osta (also referred to as the sworn statement). Bring all of the originals of your documents and your passports with you. After the US Consulate visit, you will be accompanied with our assistant to the Prefettura, where a government official will authenticate your documents. Finally, our assistant there will take everything to the town hall where you will be married, so that they can finish the paperwork.

FOR OTHER NATIONALITIES, PLEASE CONTACT US AND WE WILL ADVISE YOU ON THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS.