Celebrating a wedding in Italy is certainly a dream for many couples from all over the World. Marvelous landscapes, unparalleled lifestyle, and unique heritage of culture and traditions are just some of the reasons why Italy is always one of the first destination wedding choices every year.
However, in order to get married in Italy, you will need some compulsory documents that can be quite a challenge to gather, especially if you are not familiar with Italian paperwork. This applies both to civil ceremonies and to Catholic weddings with civil validity.
In order to ease your pain and help you get through all the legal requirements, we have created this handy guide with specific information for different nationalities. In addition to this, if you need further assistance, we also offer a tailor-made paperwork service to help you throughout the whole process of obtaining the necessary documents.
So let’s see the marriage requirements for foreigners who want to celebrate a legally binding wedding in Italy.
Required legal documents, regardless of your nationality
Depending on your nationality, the documents needed to celebrate a legally binding wedding in Italy may slightly vary.
Obviously, a Passport is a mandatory document and is needed for both the bride, the groom, and the witnesses in order to identify you no matter where you come from.
You will also need to provide additional documents depending on your Country of origin.
Obtaining such documents is a delicate task that should be carried out with special care, as it is essential for a legally binding ceremony in Italy and can only be done a few months prior to your Wedding ceremony, as most documents cannot be older than 6 months.
Another important piece of information is that, if the bride has been previously married, according to Italian marital law, the divorce decree has to be issued at least 300 days prior to her second wedding.
Another tip valid at all times is that all documents need to show the same name (please double and triple check spelling and middle names) you have on your passports. Please bring your passports to the appointments to be absolutely certain. Typing mistakes won’t be accepted.
Legal documents required depending on your nationality
Documents for U.S. Citizens
Can Americans get married in Italy? If you are an American citizen willing to get married in Italy, you will have to provide the following mandatory documents:
- Valid Us Passport:
- Atto Notorio: to be done in the U.S. at the Italian Consulate (an appointment should be booked ahead of time). The Atto Notorio can be done also in Italy at the Tribunale (Law Court) but in this case, there is an extra cost for the interpreter, witnesses with Italian citizenship (compulsory), and stamps;
- Original or certified copy of your Birth Certificate + translation into Italian;
- Apostille on the birth certificate only, not on the translations;
- (if applicable) A final Divorce Decree or Death Certificate of previous spouse + translation into Italian;
- (if applicable) Apostille on final divorce decree;
- The Nulla Osta (or Sworn Affidavit), done in Italy at a local US Consulate/Embassy (the appointment needs to be booked ahead of time) and legalized at the Prefettura Office.
Useful resources for U.S. Citizens
U.S. Embassy in Italy on getting married in Italy
U.S. Department of State: information on marriage abroad
Authentication of documents and Apostille
U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Italy: contact information
Documents for British Citizens:
British Citizens that intend to marry in Italy will have to provide the following list of documents:
- Valid UK Passport – Important: Italy is one of the member states of the EU. New rules will apply for travel to Europe from 1 January 2021. If your passport is burgundy or has ‘European Union’ on the cover, you can continue to use it until it expires, otherwise, you will need to renew it. Check if you need to renew your passport here: check a passport for travel to Europe from 1 January 2021. Please keep in mind that it can take up to 3 weeks to get a passport if you apply online; longer times are possible if you apply by post. You should not book travel until you have a valid passport, since the new one will have a different number.
- Certificate of No Impediment: to do this you must give notice of marriage (publish the banns) to your local Registry Office. After your notice has been posted for the required period (approx. 28 days) you will be issued with a “Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage”, signed and dated by your local registrar. Important: if both spouses are British, you will obtain 2 certificates of no impediment (one for the bride and one for the groom);
- 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 Statutory 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;
- when you have your Certificate of No Impediment and your Statutory Declaration, you need to send them both to the FCO Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes for each to be legalized with a Hague Apostille. The Legalisation Office will charge for this – please check the current charges and procedure on the Legalisation Office website www.fco.gov.uk/legalisation;
- Translation of the Certificate of No Impediment: The Certificates of No Impediment must be translated into Italian by an official translator in Italy, the translations must be then certified at the Law court in Italy. All original documents must then be shipped to Italy.
Please note that different and specific requirements are necessary in the following cases:
- BRITISH CITIZEN living in Australia;
- BRITISH CITIZEN marrying an IRISH CITIZEN resident in the UK or IRELAND;
- BRITISH CITIZEN marrying an ITALIAN CITIZEN resident in the UK;
- BRITISH CITIZEN resident abroad.
In these cases, specific requirements will apply.
Useful resources for British Citizens
Gov.uk: getting married abroad
Gov.uk: get your document legalized
Wedding in Italy: two UK nationals
Wedding in Italy: a UK and a foreign national
Documents for Canadian Citizens
- Valid Canadian Passport;
- Sworn Affidavit: The affidavit may be sworn:
- in Canada before a Notary public;
- in Italy at the Canadian Embassy in Rome;
- abroad at any Embassy or Consulate of Canada;
- Proof of Canadian Citizenship (long-form birth certificate, which includes information on the parents, or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship);
- Marriage record search issued by the Vital Statistics Office of each Canadian Province and/or Territory where he/she resided since reaching the age of 16; each search must cover the entire period during which the person has resided in that Province or Territory;
- (if applicable) A final Divorce Decree or death certificate of previous spouse + translation into Italian;
- Nulla Osta issued by the Canadian Embassy in Italy.
Useful resources for Canadian Citizens
Government of Canada on getting married in Italy
Canadian Embassy and Consulates in Italy
Government of Canada: marriage overseas
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting married abroad is of course a bit more difficult than celebrating a wedding in your hometown. After all, we are talking about a different country, with different rules, cultures, and traditions. Hence, it is completely normal to be plagued by doubts when starting to plan the ceremony.
Below, we have put together some common questions that our clients often ask us, with links to some useful resources from our website. We hope that they will help you understand more about how an Italian wedding should be planned.
How and where do we start planning our wedding in Italy?
What are Italy’s most beautiful locations for a destination wedding?
Why should we choose an Italian wedding planner?
What kind of venue should we choose for our wedding in Italy?
Do you have other questions that are not on the list? Visit our FAQ section or feel free to contact us for more information: we will be more than happy to help you!
Image Credits: Daniele Lanci ©, Gianluca & Mary Adovasio ©, John David ©, Lisa Poggi ©, Gianni Di Natale ©, Glauco Comoretto ©, David Bastianoni ©.