Civil wedding in Italy inside the town hall

Having legal experts and wedding planners in our team consents us to assist our couples better along the whole legal procedure to get them married in Italy!

If you’re wondering how to get married in Italy as a foreigner, you’ve landed in the right place today!

When it comes to an understanding the exact procedure for getting married in Italy, you suddenly realize that the information online is not clear enough.

Considering that for each country of origin, there is a specific agreement or Convention to refer to. Often, the biggest problem concerns different types of nationality and residence of the spouses.

For example, what happens if the groom does not have a residence permit but lives in Italy illegally and wants to marry a foreign citizen who lives legally in the Italian territory?

We may talk about many examples. Thanks to our substantial experience in the legal sector, we can undoubtedly help you by guaranteeing you legal assistance for your wedding in Italy.

Firstly, consider that foreign citizens who have decided to get married in Italy will have to present the authorization to marry according to art. 116 of the Civil Code. We are talking about the so-called “Nulla Osta.” This document will state that there are no impediments to your marriage regarding the rules of your country of origin.

So… let’s examine together all the cases that can occur in regards to all the requirements to get married in Italy if you are a foreigner:

1. one of the future spouses is a foreign citizen while the other is an Italian citizen

In addition to the nulla osta, publications (banns of marriage) must be made in the Municipality of residence of the Italian citizen and in that Municipality (also in Italy) where, possibly, the foreigner has residence or domicile;

2. both spouses are foreign citizens.

In this case and the nulla osta, public banns must be made in the Italian Municipality where, possibly, at least one of the two is resident. However, if no one is resident public banns, do not need to be done but a declaration provided by the decree of the President 3 November 2000, n. 396 in which the future spouses declare the name, the surname, date, and place of birth, citizenship of the spouses; their place of residence, their freedom of state; if among the spouses there is some impediment of kinship, affinity, of adoption or affiliation, according to article 87 of the Italian civil code, if the spouses have already contracted a previous marriage; self none of the spouses is in the conditions indicated in the articles 85 and 88 of the civil code.

Who issues the Nulla Osta?

The nulla osta is issued by the “competent authority” and need to be requested from:

  1. Local Authority in the country of origin:

The nulla osta, if issued in the language of the country of origin, must be duly translated into Italian and legalized by the Italian Embassy or Consulate, except if specific Conventions eliminate this requirement.

For example:

  • Hague Convention (October 5, 1961) consents to obtain a Nulla Osta that doesn’t need to be legalized in Italy. Therefore, those who come from a country adhering to this Convention do not need to go to the Consular Representation and request legalization, but can go to the competent internal Authority designated by each State – and indicated for each country in the act of accession to the Convention itself (usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) – to obtain the affixing of the apostille on the document. This document is automatically recognized in Italy. The updated list of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention (Aja Convention) and one of the competent authorities that can affix the apostille for each State is available on the website of the Aja Conference http://www.hcch.net/
  • Munich Convention (September 5, 1980) allows you to only ask the competent authorities in your own country for a certificate of legal capacity to marry. Countries that have signed this Convention are Austria, Italy, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey.
  • London Convention (June 7, 7 1968) stated that Nulla Osta emanated by the following countries are exempted from legalization: Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Republic of Moldova, United Kingdom, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Belgium.
  • Brussels Convention of 25 May 1987 abolished any form of legalization between Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Latvia, Italy. Although adhering to the Brussels Convention, the legalization, consular, or apostille regime remains valid for the other EU states if they adhere to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961.
  • Budapest Convention of May 26, 1977 has abolished legalization for all acts issued in Hungary.
  • Finally, it must be borne in mind that bilateral agreements provide an exemption from legalization for certain types of documents that should be examined individually by consulting the ITRA database available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

2. Diplomatic or Consular Authority in Italy:

The authorization is issued by the Consulate or the foreign Embassy in Italy.

Usually, it is already drawn up in Italian. It must be legalized by the competent Italian Prefecture unless one of the Conventions, as mentioned above, is applicable.

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Scan of a nulla osta to get married in Italy

Translation of the Nulla Osta

Foreign Nulla Osta must be correctly translated into Italian.

The translation of the legalized Nulla Osta (if it needs to be legalized according to the applicable convention) can be done in two ways:

1) In your country of provenance:

a) at Italian diplomatic offices through an accredited interpreter, if the official translator does not exist in the country that issued the Nulla Osta. The Italian version must bear the stamp “for compliant translation.”

b) In countries where, on the other hand, the legal figure of the “official translator” exists, compliance can be certified by the translator himself, whose signature will subsequently be legalized by the Italian Consular Office.

 2) In Italy:

By “sworn translation” carried out by a sworn translator authorized by the Italian Court or by anyone who knows the language in which the certificate is drawn up in addition to the Italian one, except the person concerned.

In the latter case, the translation must be certified by producing the relative oath report received by the clerk of any judicial office, including the Office of the Justice of the Peace, without further formalities.

Sometimes it is possible to get a Nulla Osta that is already translated into Italian. For example, this happens when you request the Nulla Osta to your consulate present on the Italian soil.

Content of the Nulla Osta:

In any case, the Nulla Osta must indicate the declaration that the person can marry according to the laws to which the foreign citizen is subject. The indication that the person can marry abroad must be also be reported.

A generic statement relating to the ability of the citizen to marry in Italy or the fact that they are of free marital status or partial data of even one of the spouses cannot be considered sufficient.

What to do if you want to marry in Italy without Nulla Osta ?

It could happen that your Municipality of your country of origin does not consent to give you the Nulla Osta for many reasons. 

Even though this kind of authorization (according to art. 116 of the Italian Civil Code) represents an essential document to be able to proceed with the celebration of marriage if the town hall denies your request to publicize your public wedding banns you can appeal the Italian Court which, if it deems it appropriate, will be able to admit you to the celebration of the marriage even without the Nulla Osta, with a provision that will be presented to the Civil Status Officer at to be able to proceed with the publications. Please note that to appeal the Court, at least one must have a residence in the town hall where you requested the legally binding ceremony to be performed.

Even if the Civil Status Officer refuses your formal request for a legally binding ceremony in Italy, you can proceed this way.

As you have seen, if you are planning to get married in Italy, there are several procedures to follow, so be prepared to create a list of some legal paperwork to obtain.

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Civil Ceremony in an Italian town-hall

Also…is the Residency permit required to get married in Italy?

No.

There is no legal residence requirement for a legally binding marriage in Italy. You do not need a residency permit either.

Therefore if you do not have the so-called “permesso di soggiorno” (residency permit), you can indeed get married in Italy to an Italian citizen or a foreigner.

Indeed, the Italian Constitutional Court, with sentence no. 245 of 25 July 2011, declared that foreign citizens without a residence permit could marry in Italy.

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A Civil wedding ceremony in Italy performed before an Italian official.

And what about political refugees?

Political refugees can marry in Italy. It will be sufficient to present a certificate attesting to their refugee status issued by the Alto Commissariato of the United Nations.

Furthermore, what happens with minors and previous marriages?

There are also specific cases in which Italian law requires additional requirements, even for foreign citizens, so that a marriage is legally valid:

1) Divorced women cannot marry before three hundred days from the issue of the divorce decree;

2) In the case of a widowed person, the certificate of the first marriage and the death certificate of the deceased spouse is required;

3) Italian law requires the Juvenile Court (Tribunale dei Minori) a marriage between foreign minors. However, to get legally married -in any case- the couple must be at least 16 years old.

Additional documentation may be required if the foreign couple wishes to celebrate a Catholic wedding, such as the baptism certificate or a certificate attesting attendance at a premarital course or, sometimes, permission granted by the minister for the validity of the rite.

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A Wedding in Tuscany inside a vineyard.

What if I marry an Italian person and want to know how to get Italian citizenship after my wedding?

The process is not complex if you can wait two years with a residency in Italy or three years living abroad. Also, you will have asked to learn Italian, obtaining at least level B1. To get further detail about the legal procedure, please check out the guide on how to get Italian citizenship after the wedding.

However, what kind of wedding are you willing to celebrate in Italy? 

Most weddings are celebrated according to civil or religious rites.

Therefore Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Catholic weddings can be legally binding either.

However, foreign citizens need mandatory documents to get married in Italy regardless of nationality and religious faith.

To understand the complexity of the international convention and Italian rules to get married in Italy for foreigners we strongly suggest you read our article about marriage requirements for foreigners in Italy and the one about legal marriage in Italy  case your country of provenance were one of the following:

If you are a US citizen, please read our article about American citizens who want to marry Italy.

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prenuptial agreement in Italy

 

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