Legal requirements for US citizens getting legally married in Italy

This article contains information for US citizens who are planning to get legally married in Italy and are looking for a guidance regarding all legal requirements.

All documents originating outside Italy (birth certificate, divorce decree, etc.) must be translated into Italian and authenticated by the nearest Italian Consulate having jurisdiction over the place of issuance in the U.S. before they can be presented to the Italian authorities and recognised by them as valid.

Both the original documents and the translations must be legalized for the use in Italy, with the so-called Apostille stamp, in accordance with The Hague Convention on the legalization of foreign public documents.

American citizens who decide to get married in Italy must prepare a series of documents. The same procedure is valid for the whole territory of Italy. The only thing that changes is the right American Consulate you need to contact, as there are a few in Italy and each of them has a different part of Italy under their jurisdiction.

Below you will find the list of necessary documents and the procedures to follow to obtain them.

There are documents that you need to acquire in US before travelling to Italy. They are the following:

1.Valid U.S. passport (members of the U.S. Armed Forces can present their military ID card instead).

2.Birth certificate (original or certified copy).
The original Long Birth Certificate (showing parents names) needs an Apostille and has to be translated into Italian in order to be used in Italy. Where to get the Apostille in US: https://www.hcch.net/en/states/authorities/details3/?aid=353)

3. Evidence of the termination of any previous marriage/s if applicable (e.g., final divorce decree, annulment decree, or death certificate of former spouse). The certificate of termination of any previous marriage needs to have the Apostille and has to be translated into Italian.

If you are a female whose previous marriage was terminated within the last 300 days, you must obtain a waiver from “La  Procura della Repubblica presso il tribunale” in the city where the new marriage will be performed. The waiver is issued upon presentation of medical evidence that you are not pregnant.

4. Atto notorio

This is a declaration stating that according to the laws to which you are subject in the United States, there is no impediment 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 at the closest Italian Consulate to your current residence. If one or both spouses do not speak Italian, it is necessary to provide an interpreter, in addition to the two witnesses.
 Note: Neither spouse can act as a witness or interpreter.

Once in Italy, the procedure continues as follows.

First you need to obtain the Affidavit or “Dichiarazione  Giurata” (so called Nullaosta) sworn before an American consular officer commissioned in Italy, stating that there is no legal impediment to your marriage according to the laws of the U.S. state in which you are a resident.  

In order to obtain  the Affidavit you will need to schedule an appointment for a notary service with the U.S Consular Section closest to your wedding destination in Italy or at the U.S.Embassy in Rome.

 For more info about Consulates in  Italy click here

Before attending the appointment you can download the appropriate form in order to save time. You should fill it but do not sign as it must be signed in front of the consular officer.

Download here

Once the “Dichiarazione  Giurata” has been issued, you must bring it to the Legalization Office (Ufficio Legalizzazioni) at the local Prefettura to legalize it. 

Before going to the Prefettura, you will need to purchase a revenue stamp (marca da bollo) one for each document which costs approx. 16 euro each at a tobacconist (tabacchi) to take with you.

The Dichiarazione Giurata has a validity of six months and costs 55$ per person.

Once you have completed this procedure you have all documents ready to be presented at the Registry office of the town hall of the city where the marriage will be performed.

You will make a “Declaration of Intention to Marry” (Dichiarazione di Matrimonio) before a civil registrar (ufficiale di statocivile).  If you do not speak Italian, a translator has to accompany you.  

Usually the Declaration takes place 2 or 3 days prior the wedding and in some cases on the same day and the procedure takes approx. 20 minutes.

The civil ceremony is performed by the Mayor, one of his deputies or a Registrar. The ceremony is performed in Italian and translated into English by an official translator.  You will need two witnesses, one for each of you, who must be over 18. A witness cannot act as interpreter.

At the end of the ceremony you will receive the marriage certificate (ask for few copies as you won’t be charged any extra fee). In some town halls you will receive it immediately after the ceremony but is some cases you will need to go to the Registry office in person the day after the ceremony at the earliest to collect it in person.

The marriage certificate, in order to be valid in your country, has to be legalised through the Apostille at the Prefettura of the area where you got married.

The above procedure is valid for a US couple resident in US.  If one of the parties is Italian or is an American with Italian residency, please be aware that the procedure is completely different. Please ask for more information…

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