How can an American get married in Italy?

As destination wedding planners with a previous experience as legal consultants in the foreign offices of the Italian public administration, we are happy to assist American citizens getting married in Italy.

Today we want to focus and help the readers understand the correct steps to get legally married in Italy as a US citizen obtaining legal effects of your marriage in the US territory.

A specific bilateral agreement is in force between the USA and Italy regarding the marriage of US citizens in Italy: this is the Exchange of notes made in Rome on 8/18/1964 (from Italy, ratified with Legge: 13/10 / 1965, No. 1195).

The agreement was stipulated to “resolve” the question of the fact that in the USA, there were no competent authorities to issue the declaration required by art. 116, 1 (Italian) Civil Code (Codice Civile), the so-called Nulla Osta.

So let’s see how a US citizen can get married in Italy and the marriage requirements to apply for a Civil Marriage or Court Wedding

You will need for sure to exhibit to the town hall the following documents:

1) Sworn declaration to be done before an American consular officer commissioned in Italy.

Please note that you will need to do this step here in Italy. There’s no way you can do this in the US.

You will need to fulfill a form of the sworn declaration before you apply for the appointment in a US Consulate Office in Italy. 

As your wedding planner in Italy we will provide you the form to fulfill, and it must be signed only once you are before the consular officer.

 There are several consular office in Italy where you can swear the above mentioned declaration. Following a list of them:

  • Consular District of Milan
  • Consular District of Florence
  • Consular District of Rome
  • Consular District of Naples
  • Consular District of Palermo
  • Consular District of Venice
  • Consular District of Genoa

As your wedding planner in Italy we can advise you on the most available Consular District in order to speed up your civil wedding in Italy as a US citizen.

The sworn declaration will have to be legalized at the local competent Prefettura (please note that not all Prefettura can legalize the signature of the US consul since you will to inquire the competent one).

Please also note that the majority of Prefettura offices are overbooked therefore you should evaluate with your wedding planner in Italy which is the emergency procedure to start in order to obtain the legalization even though the Prefettura is fully booked.

a wedding in Rome in Sala rossa

2) Atto Notorio

a) Atto Notorio Issued in Italy

Please note that the speeder and more effortless procedure to obtain the Atto Notorio, is to request it in an Italian court in Italy with the presence of two witnesses.

You will simply state that there are no impediments to your wedding in Italy and no documents will be required!

The Atto Notorio is issued immediately and its validity is 90 days. If you plan to start the procedure in Italy, we can easily assist you as your wedding planner in Italy.

However, once you are in Italy we will attend with you as your witness during the “atto notorio hearing” performed before the court official in Italy since relatives are not accepted.

Please also note the we know exactly which Courts in Italy are the fastest and most efficient, therefore, we will be happy to guide you along the whole process to get your atto notorio in Italy and speed up the whole procedure.

b) Atto Notorio issued in the USA

You will need:

1) U.S. passport;

2) Obtain your birth certificate (original or certified copy);

3) Evidence of the termination of previous marriage if applicable (e.g., final divorce decree, annulment decree, or death certificate of former spouse).

Any other documents may be required depending on the Italian Embassy inquired.

In conclusion with the Atto Notorio and your Legalized Sworn declaration you are ready to get married in Italy!

In case you are NOT RESIDING IN ITALY, you will have to meet the local town hall registrar two days (or hopefully one day) before the wedding day, with an interpreter, in order to sign a Declaration of Intention to Marry stating that there are no impediments of kinship and affinity (your witnesses will not need to be present at this stage).

Instead, suppose one of the spouses is residing in Italy.

In that case, beyond the two documents mentioned above (sworn declaration legalized and atto notorio), you will have to apply for banns of Marriage (notice) at the local city hall where the foreigner spouse live, for 11 consecutive days before the Marriage take place. 

At this point, once you have the sworn declaration legalized and your Atto Notorio issued by the Italian Court (or by the Italian Consulate in the US) the civil wedding ceremony can take place since everything has been done!

Now that everything is ready a civil ceremony will be performed by the Mayor or by one of his/her deputies at the town hall selected. Two witnesses and, if necessary, an interpreter must be present at the ceremony.

Please note that a witness cannot serve as an interpreter.  

a civil wedding ceremony in Italy

Other useful informations

According to Italian law, in the case of annulment of the previous marriage or divorce, the woman cannot contract a new marriage until after 300 days from the annulment, dissolution, or cessation of civil effects of the previous marriage.

In these cases, the interested party can appeal to the Court, which, with a decree issued in the council chamber, after hearing the Public Prosecutor, can authorize the marriage when the state of pregnancy is unequivocally excluded or if it results from a final judgment that the husband does not live with his wife in the three hundred days preceding the annulment, dissolution or termination of the civil effects of the marriage.

Religious Catholic Ceremony

A religious catholic wedding is considered valid if performed by a Roman Catholic priest.

A separate civil ceremony will not be necessary, as the priest will be obliged by law to register the marriage at the civil competent town hall.

The Roman Catholic Church requires baptismal (Battesimo) and confirmation certificates (Cresima) in addition to the documents listed above.

For full information, you should contact the parish of your area in the US or where you are resident.

For Catholic weddings or if you are American who wants to get legally married in Italy you can contact us for a free first consultation.

A newlywed couple among Vineyards in Tuscany.

For English-language marriages at the Vatican, also known as the Holy See, we can contact on your behalf the parish priest of Santa Susanna Church.

Weddings 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) as the Vatican is a separate State from Italy.

The notarized “Dichiarazione Giurata” is required but does not need to be legalized by an Italian Prefettura office as for the Italian law.

Other religious wedding ceremony

In regards to religious ceremony performed by the non-Roman Catholic clergy in Italy, a civil legally binding ceremony needs to be completed before the religious one, to ensure the legality of the marriage.

In conclusion please note that 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 date of the marriage.

The same term of six month is applied to the atto notorio even though it has been issued in Italy.

Please note that you may need several days to complete all of the procedures; therefore, you should plan everything in time. The timing will vary depending on the number of marriages the town hall chosen by you have to perform.

Your wedding planner in Italy can surely advise you on the best time to apply for a specific town hall in relation to your needs,

Vineyard wedding venue in Arezzo, Tuscany.

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