STEP 1: Before Arriving in Italy
Before leaving the United States to get married in Italy, it is advisable to:
- Obtain your Birth certificate (long version including your parent’s names – original or certified copy)
- Obtain an Atto Notorio* from the Italian Consulate closest to your current residence.
- Make sure you travel with Valid U.S. passport (active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces can present their military ID card instead).
- If you will be married in the Roman Catholic Church, bring baptismal and confirmation certificates
- If you were married before, bring evidence of termination of any previous marriage/s if applicable (e.g., final divorce decree, annulment decree, or death certificate of former spouse). If you are a female whose previous marriage was terminated within the last 300 days, you must obtain a waiver from the Italian District Attorney’s Office (Procura della Repubblica presso il tribunale) at the court in the city where the new marriage will be performed. The waiver is issued upon presentation of medical evidence that you are not pregnant.
- if you are under age 18, a sworn statement by parents or legal guardian(s).
* Atto Notorio: This is a declaration stating that according to the laws to which you are subject in the United States, there is no obstacle to your marriage. This declaration is to be sworn to by two witnesses (who may be of any nationality, must be over 18, possess valid photo identification, and know the applicant; they cannot be family members, future family members or affines) before an Italian consul outside Italy. If you are coming to Italy to be married, you should obtain this declaration at the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate before leaving the United States, as some courts may have long waiting lists for this service.
Important Note on the Validity of Foreign Documents in Italy
All documents originating outside of Italy (birth certificate, divorce decree, etc.) must be legalized for use in Italy and must be translated into Italian. To legalize a U.S. document for use in Italy, you need to have it stamped with a so-called Apostille stamp by the secretary of state in the state where the document was issued, in accordance with The Hague Convention on the legalization of foreign public documents. We may send you where to get an Apostille stamp in the US by email.
Under Italian law, all public documents originating from outside the EU are considered valid for only six months from the date of issue. Therefore, you should make sure that all documents to be submitted to Italian authorities have not been issued more than six months ahead of the marriage.
STEP 2: Once in Italy
- Obtain a declaration (Nulla Osta) as required by Italian law. A Nulla Osta, Affidavit or “Dichiarazione Giurata” sworn to before an American consular officer commissioned in Italy, literally states that there is no legal impediment to your marriage according to the laws of the U.S. state in which you are a resident. You will need to schedule an appointment for a notary service with one of the U.S. Consulates General in Italy or with the U.S. Embassy in Rome to obtain the “Dichiarazione Giurata.” We may help you in the local process and snd you a copy of the bilingual sworn statement form by email. You may complete the form before your appointment in order to save time, but do not sign it as it must be signed in front of the consular officer.
- The Nulla Osta is valid for six months and costs about $50.00 or the equivalent in Euro
- Legalize The Nulla Osta by the Ufficio Legalizzazioni of the Local Prefettura. The legalization requires a €16 revenue stamp (marca da bollo) for each document to be authenticated.
- If you will be married at a Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican, you do not need this legalization.
- If an Atto Notorio was not obtained previously, or you currently reside in Italy or you decide to request it in Italy, you should contact the Notary Services Office (Ufficio Atti Notori) of the court (tribunale ordinario) having jurisdiction over the city where you intend to marry, or any other court in Italy, and make an appointment in advance. If the applicant or even only one of the witnesses does not speak Italian, the presence of an interpreter is required. You, as well as the witnesses and the interpreter, must show proof of your legal presence into Italy by presenting, for example, your plane ticket, visa or permit to stay (permesso di soggiorno). You will need two revenue stamps of €16 each and one of €10,62 to apply for the Atto Notorio, which generally will be ready for pick up after four to 10 days. For an urgent Atto Notorio, issued on the spot, you will need two revenue stamps of €16 each and one of €31,86. We may make an appointment on your behalf and we may provide an intrepreter, if necessary.
- Make an appointment for a Declaration of Intention to Marry: You should present all the above-listed documents to the Marriage Office (Ufficio Matrimoni) of the town hall (municipio) in the city where the marriage will be performed, and make a “Declaration of Intention to Marry” (Dichiarazione di Matrimonio) before a civil registrar (ufficiale di stato civile). If you do not speak Italian, an interpreter should accompany you. When all this is completed, you can finally set the date of the wedding. We may make the appointment on your behalf
- Civil banns must be posted at the town hall for two consecutive weeks, including two Sundays, before the marriage can take place. Please note that banns are posted only after the Declaration of Intention to Marry has been filed. However, if neither party to the marriage is an Italian citizen or a resident of Italy, banns are automatically waived or posted for a shorter period of time which may vary from one day to a week depending on the town hall regulations. We may assist you in the process.
A civil ceremony is performed by the mayor or one of his deputies. Two witnesses and, if necessary, an interpreter must be present at the ceremony. Witnesses may be of any nationality, but must be over 18 and possess valid photo identification. A witness cannot serve as interpreter. You will have to pay a rental fee for the marriage hall, which varies according to the location, the season and the day of the week.
A religious ceremony is considered valid if performed by a Roman Catholic priest. A separate civil ceremony will not be necessary, as the priest will register the marriage with the civil authorities. The Roman Catholic Church requires baptismal and confirmation certificates in addition to the documents listed above. For complete information, you should check with your priest.
Marriages at the Vatican will be registered with the Vatican civil authorities, and marriage certificates are issued by the Civil Registry of Vatican City (Ufficio di Stato Civile, Anagrafe e Notariato, Governatorato, Citta del Vaticano). Because the Vatican is a separate State and not part of Italy, the notarized “Dichiarazione Giurata” is required but does not need to be legalized by an Italian Prefettura office.
A religious ceremony performed by non-Roman Catholic clergy requires that a civil ceremony be performed prior to the religious one to ensure the legality of the marriage. If you are planning such a religious ceremony, you should consult with the priest, minister, or rabbi far in advance of the actual ceremony.
We may assit you in the process