June 5, 2021 /
Legal Marriage in Italy for Foreigners
You’re searching a lot online, and you’re getting nowhere? And maybe you heard about a so-called nulla osta?
And yes, maybe you’re pretty in the ballpark!
What is the “nulla osta”?
It is a document issued by the local authority where you live or by your Consulate in Italy, that states that there are no impediments to your marriage on Italian soil regarding the law of your country of provenance.
This authorization must contain the following data:
The indication that there are no impediments to marriage according to the laws of the country of origin;
Surname and name;
Place and date of birth;
the generality of the father;
the generality of the mother;
Residence (if the citizen is registered in the Registry of an Italian Municipality, the Municipality must be indicated as a residence; if the citizen is not registered in any Italian Registry, the foreign Municipality of residence must be shown);
Regarding the marital status (single, widowed, or divorced): for the divorced woman, the date of dissolution of the marriage is required; for the widowed woman, the date of death of the previous husband is needed.
For the divorced or widowed woman less than 300 days, the authorization of the Court (art.116 and 89 of the Civil Code) is required.
The divorced woman must still contact the Municipality to determine whether or not she needs the Court’s authorization.
Please Note: if the authorization does not include the particulars of the parents, the birth certificate must be presented.
In conclusion, consider that if you are a citizen of a country that does not belong to the European Union and you are not resident in Italy, in addition to the authorization, you must also submit the remaining documentation proving the requirements of art. 51 of Presidential Decree 396/2000, since these are documents formed abroad not registered in Italy or with an Italian consular authority.
Likewise, married couples, in the cases provided for by art. 52 of Presidential Decree 396/2000, may submit a copy of the marriage authorization provision granted by the Court in the presence of an impediment at the request for publications or send it subsequently by ordinary mail.
However, consider that there could be a specific Convention signed by your country and the Italian government for each country.
Alternatively, it could be possible that your country of provenance signed a specific convention with the Italian government.
Where can I request the Nulla Osta?
The authorization is issued by the competent Authority of one’s country of origin, which can be (depending on the legislation of the country of origin):
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 this requirement is eliminated by specific Conventions.
1. 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. Then, it must be legalized by the competent Italian Prefecture.
*Please note that the procedure that concerns the request of nulla osta may change concerning Convention applicable. Therefore, you should check to which Convention your country belongs and then see the proper procedure. In some cases, you need a nulla osta. In other cases, you would need a certificate of marriage capacity. In other cases, you can present the nulla osta with no need for legalization (Hague convention, Munich Convention).
Let’ see the most essential international Conventions applicable for a marriage of foreigners in Italy.
In the countries that have adhered to the Hague convention, you have to present a request to your foreign Ministry asking for a document that states in respect of the local rules, there are no impediments to marriage abroad. On this document, the official will place an Apostille. So the paper can be used in another country that has adhered to the Convention mentioned above to get married.
Using the Apostille, you don’t need to legalize the Nulla Osta as an Italian Embassy or Italian Prefettura.
However, this document needs to be translated into Italian (at the Consulate or consular chancellery of the Embassy of Italy or with a sworn translator’s assistance if your legislation provides for it). Also, in this case, the Apostille needs to be placed on the translation.
Countries adhering to The Hague Convention signed on 5 October 196 are:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Federation Russia, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Japan, Great Britain (extended to Mann Island), Greece, Grenada, Honduras, India, Iceland, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Lithuania, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Niue, Norway, New Zealand, Panama, Principality of Monaco, Czech Republic, Republic of Korea (formerly South Korea), Dominican Republic, Romania, Saint Christopher and Nevis, San Marino, Samoa, Santa Lucia, Sant’Elena, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Swaziland, United States of America, South Africa, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Hungary, Vanuatu, Venezuela, British Virgins.
Please note that the Apostille applies only to documents issued abroad in the countries adhering to the Hague Convention. In contrast, for any documents issued in Italy by the consular authorities of the same countries, it is necessary to legalize them at the Prefettura.
Citizens of AUSTRIA, GERMANY, LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, PORTUGAL, SPAIN, SWITZERLAND, TURKEY, the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA adhering to the Munich Convention of 05/09/1980, must produce the “Certificate of marriage capacity” issued by the office of the Marital status of the Municipality of residence (belonging) in the country of origin (exempt from legalization). As specified in the Ministry of the Interior circular dated 21/01/2005 n. 4, this certificate is not subject to any legalization and translation. It is sufficient certification to proceed with the publications and subsequent marriage of a foreigner, citizen of one of the countries adhering to the Convention.
Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Great Britain (extended to the Isle of Man), Greece, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Holland (raised to Netherlands Antilles and Aruba), Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Republic of Moldova, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey.
According to the Brussels Convention of 25 May 1987, ratified by Italy with Law 106 of 24 April 1990, any form of legalization or any other equivalent or similar formality has been abolished between Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy if the documents must be exhibited at the consular representations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, and Italy operating in the territory of a State that has not ratified the Convention mentioned above.
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.
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.
Rules that concern the marriage of US citizens in Italy require a sworn declaration made before the Consul of the United States of America in Italy, showing that, according to the laws to which he is subject in the United States, there is no impediment to the marriage he intends to contract in Italy. The Consul’s signature must be legalized at the Prefecture;
deed of notoriety (which must also indicate that the citizen can marry according to the law of the country of origin) drawn up before the competent Italian Authority: Italian Consul abroad, Court of Florence, Notary.
Rules that concern the marriage of Australian citizens in Italy require a sworn declaration made in front of the Consul of Australia in Italy, showing that, following the laws he is subject to in Australia, there is no impediment to the marriage he intends to contract in Italy. The Consul’s signature must be legalized at the Prefecture;
deed of notoriety (which must also indicate that the citizen can marry according to the law of the country of origin) drawn up before the competent Italian Authority (Italian Consul abroad), with four witnesses.
Citizens of Austrian, Swiss, and German nationality must produce the certificate of marriage capacity issued by the Civil Status Office of the Municipality of residence (belonging) in the State of origin (exempt from legalization).
Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, and Luxembourg citizens must produce the certificate of marriage capacity (inquire at the respective Consulate about the competent Authority for issuing it).
Norwegian citizens must apply for clearance directly to the Registry of the Municipality of residence in Norway. The CLEARANCE will be issued, complete with Apostille, in Italian or Norwegian with translation carried out by a sworn translator in Norway (Circ. 65/2004).
Polish citizens: (Circ. 33/2005) must request clearance from the Head of the Polish Civil Status Office or the Consul if the Polish citizen:
– did not have a residence in Poland
– is unable to trace his place of the last residence in Poland
– left Poland before the age of 16 and permanently resides abroad
Brazilian citizens: submit a declaration for the purposes of marriage in Italy, issued by their consular authorities under the model agreed by our Ministry AA.EE. and by the Embassy of Brazil (Circ. 1/2009)
Swedish citizens: residents of SWEDEN must apply for the permit from the Registry of the Municipality of residence in Sweden, which issues it in Swedish with translation carried out by a sworn translator who will certify the conformity to the original;
if resident in ITALY, they must request clearance from the Swedish Diplomatic Authority (Circ. 2/2010)
Slovak citizens: a CERTIFICATE certifying the absence of impediments to marriage issued by the Embassy of the Slovak Republic of ROME replaces the nulla osta (Article 116 of the Civil Code) (Circ. 29/2011).
BRITISH RESIDENTS in WALES and ENGLAND, who intend to marry an Irish citizen in Italy or BRITISH RESIDENTS in a THIRD COUNTRY (circ. 10/2015), can present the usual NULLA OSTA (art.116 cc) issued by the consular Authority or the certificate of non-impediment and the bilingual affidavit made by a British lawyer or notary.
The UK citizen has the right to choose:
Publish in the United Kingdom according to the procedure provided for by the ministerial circular 6/2013 (attached) and obtain a “Certificate of non-impediment,” issued by the local Authority of the country of origin, and a “Bilingual sworn declaration” issued by (s) concerned with a British lawyer or notary. This certificate of non-impediment, apostilled and duly translated, will be presented, together with the bilingual sworn declaration, legalized, to the competent civil status office to celebrate the marriage.
contact the UK Consulate in Italy to obtain consular clearance
Hungarian citizens: the replacement certification of the authorization to marry is issued to Hungarian citizens wishing to marry in Italy by the Embassy of Hungary (Circ. 11/2013)
Filandesi citizens: the Nulla osta for Finnish citizens who intend to marry in Italy is issued by their local Authority and complies with the model attached to Circular 1/2014;
Lithuanian citizens: Lithuanian citizens residing in Italy who intend to marry in Italy must apply for the CLEARANCE from the Municipal Offices of their country (facsimile attached to Circ. 2/2014)
Danish citizens: The Nulla Osta, equipped with an Apostille, will be issued by the Registry of the Municipality of residence in Denmark in Danish, English, and German with translation into Italian by a sworn translator in Denmark. The certificate is valid for 4 months. (facsimile attached to Circ. 18/2014);
Mexican citizens: from 14.05.2015, the new certificate of “Constancia de inexistencia de Registro” is a relevant document for celebrating the marriage of Mexican citizens in Italy (Circ. 11/2015).
In Italy, there is no Syrian diplomatic authority. The reference is the Syrian Embassy in Vienna. This will be the diplomatic Authority responsible for issuing the authorization to marry the Syrian citizen who intends to marry in Italy (Circ. 3/2014)
Pay attention to the legalization of the document! The signature of the Syrian Embassy official must be legalized by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and this signature will, in turn, be legalized by the Italian Consulate in Vienna.
Only in this way can the document be implemented in Italy.
Please note that if one of the foreigner future spouses is resident or domiciled in Italy, marriage banns are required.
Suppose the spouses are both foreigners, neither resident nor domiciled in Italy, instead of requesting the marriage banns. In that case, they must sign a report that declares no impediments to kinship, affinity, adoption or affiliation, or other impediments between them according to art. 85, 86, 87, and 88 of the Civil Code.
The sworn declaration is signed after making an appointment with the Civil Status Office, usually not more than three days before the wedding day by presenting the necessary documents.
In case the foreign citizen does not know the Italian language perfectly, he/she must be assisted by a consecutive interpreter, both at the request for publications (or during the sworn declaration) and during the celebration of the wedding.