Understanding Legal Requirements for Getting Married or Establishing a Civil Union in Italy: A Guide for Foreign Couples
Foreign citizens can validly contract a marriage in Italy according to the Italian civil rite or with a religious rite valid for civil effects in their country of provenance, according to the cults and civil regulations admitted in Italy and in the country of origin.
In the case of a foreign citizen residing in Italy, the celebration of the marriage must be preceded by publications (notice of marriage), which must be requested to the civil-status office of residence fo the foreign or Italian applicant.
THE NULLA OSTA
As the conditions for contracting a marriage are regulated by the national law of the country of origin, the fundamental document for the celebration of a foreigner’s marriage in Italy is the Nulla-Osta, issued by the competent authority of the country of origin.
According to specific international agreements and conventions, different conditions apply to certain foreign nationals.
The Nulla-Osta must certify that there are no impediments to marriage according to the laws of the country of origin, and must clearly indicate the following data: name, surname, date and place of birth, paternity and maternity, nationality, residency and free status.
It must be issued:
- By your Consular Authority in Italy; in this case, the Consul’s signature must be legalised at the competent Italian Prefecture with a €16 revenue stamp
- In some specific cases by the competent authority in one’s own country, if the legislation of the foreign state allows it.
Following the exceptions to the Nulla Osta issued in Italy:
Norwegian citizens must apply for a certificate of no impediment directly from the Registry Office of their municipality of residence in Norway. The certificate will be issued, complete with Apostille, in either Italian or Norwegian with a translation made by a sworn translator in Norway (Circular 65/2004).
Polish citizens (Circular 33/2005) must request the certificate of no impediment from the Head of the Polish Civil Status Office or from the Consul if the Polish citizen:
- has not had residency in Poland
- is unable to trace their last place of residence in Poland
- left Poland before the age of 16 and resides permanently abroad
Brazilian citizens: present a statement for marriage purposes in Italy, issued by their consular authorities in accordance with the model agreed upon by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Brazil (Circular 1/2009).
Swedish citizens residing in SWEDEN must request the certificate of no impediment from the Registry Office of their municipality of residence in Sweden, which will issue it in Swedish with a translation made by a sworn translator who will certify its conformity to the original;
- if residing in ITALY, they must request the certificate of no impediment from the Swedish Diplomatic Authority (Circular 2/2010).
Slovak citizens: A CERTIFICATE attesting the absence of impediments to marriage issued by the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in ROME replaces the certificate of no impediment (art. 116 c.c.) (Circular 29/2011).
British citizens (Circulars 6 and 13/2014) residing in the United Kingdom, in place of the certificate of no impediment under art. 116 c.c., must present:
- a certificate of no impediment issued by the local authority of the country of origin, apostilled and duly translated,
- a bilingual sworn declaration, legalized, made by the interested parties at a British lawyer or notary;
- while BRITISH citizens residing in WALES and ENGLAND, who intend to marry in Italy an Irish citizen or BRITISH citizens residing in a THIRD COUNTRY (Circular 10/2015), can present the usual CERTIFICATE OF NO IMPEDIMENT (art. 116 c.c.) issued by the British consular authority or the certificate of no impediment and the bilingual sworn declaration made at a British lawyer or notary.
- Hungarian citizens: The substitute certification for the marriage no impediment certificate is issued to Hungarian citizens who wish to marry in Italy by the Hungarian Embassy (Circular 11/2013).
- Finnish citizens: The no impediment certificate for Finnish citizens intending to marry in Italy is issued by their local authority and conforms to the model attached to Circular 1/2014.
- Lithuanian citizens: Lithuanian citizens residing in Italy who intend to marry in Italy must request the NO IMPEDIMENT CERTIFICATE from the Municipal Offices of their country (facsimile attached to Circular 2/2014).
- Danish citizens: The No Impediment Certificate, complete with Apostille, will be issued by the Registry Office of the municipality of residence in Denmark in Danish, English, and German with an Italian translation made by a sworn translator in Denmark. The certificate is valid for 4 months (facsimile attached to Circular 18/2014).
- Mexican citizens: As of 14.05.2015, the new “Constancia de inexistencia de Registro” certificate is the appropriate document for the marriage of Mexican citizens in Italy (Circular 11/2015).
- Syrian citizens: There is no Syrian diplomatic authority in Italy. The reference is the Syrian Embassy in Vienna. This will be the competent diplomatic authority for issuing the no impediment certificate for the Syrian citizen intending to marry in Italy (Circular 3/2014).
- 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 accepted in Italy.
- Should you obtain the NULLA OSTA please note that it must indicate: that there are no impediments to the marriage according to the laws of the State of origin, surname, first name, date and place of birth, nationality, residency and domicile, civil status and the particulars of the parents.
For divorced or widowed women, the date of dissolution of the marriage is also required. (If this date is not indicated in the authorisation, a copy of the divorce decree, legalised and translated, is required).
N.B. If the foreigner is registered with the registry office of an Italian Comune, it will indicate that Comune as their residency.
If, on the other hand, the foreigner is not registered with any Italian registry office, it will indicate the Comune of residence abroad.
If the nulla-osta does not indicate the particulars of the parents, the birth certificate will be required.
- For a divorced or widowed woman or a woman whose marriage has been annulled for less than 300 days, authorization from the Italian Court is required;
- For minors between the ages of 16 and 18, a decree of the Juvenile Court admitting them to the marriage is required;
- A foreigner who is a ‘Political refugee no longer needs to apply to the United Nations High Commission in Rome; they may provide a certificate or other suitable act attesting to their freedom of status, or a substitute declaration in accordance with Presidential Decree n° 445/2000.
SOME COUNTRIES DO NOT ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF NO IMPEDIMENT
A citizen of the United States must produce:
- a sworn declaration in front of the U.S. Consul in Italy, whose signature must be legalized at the Prefecture, and a €16.00 revenue stamp is required.
- an act of notoriety (which must state that the citizen is eligible to contract marriage according to the law of their state of origin) with two witnesses, drawn up in front of the competent Italian authority: Italian Consul Abroad, competent Court, or Notary.
A citizen of Australia must produce:
- a sworn declaration in front of the Australian Consul in Italy, whose signature must be legalized at the Prefecture, and a €16.00 revenue stamp is required.
- an act of notoriety (which must state that the citizen is eligible to contract marriage according to the law of their state of origin) with four witnesses, drawn up in front of the competent Italian authority (abroad by the Italian Consul, in Italy by the Civil Status Officer).
A citizen of Austria, Switzerland, and Germany nationality must produce a certificate of matrimonial capacity, issued by the Civil Status Office of the municipality of residence (affiliation) in the country of origin (exempt from legalization).
A citizen of Spain, Portugal, Turkey, and Luxembourg nationality must produce a certificate of matrimonial capacity (inquire at the respective Consulate about the authority competent to issue it).
The Nulla-Osta – which is the certificate issued by the foreign authority in Italy – cannot be replaced either by a simple certificate of free status issued by the foreign authority or by self-certification.
In order to avoid any mishaps, it is advisable to always check that the personal details on the Nulla Osta coincide exactly with those indicated on the passport.
Who will be your Counselors?
Our firm’s specialized legal consultation services are designed to assist you in successfully meeting these requirements, thereby facilitating the legal recognition of your marriage in both Italy and the U.S.
Due to our experience in law firms and the foreign offices of the Italian public administration, we gained significant expertise in Consular affairs, and we are trained to solve the most complicated procedure such as:
1) Nulla osta process, legalization procedure, Court hearings for the refusal of the town hall when there documents missing , legal translation, apostille procedure, emergency procedure for legalization.
2) Same-sex couples that want to celebrate a civil union in Italy as in their country the union is forbidden;
3) Couples that come from countries where divorce is not allowed;
4) Italians living abroad registered at AIRE that need to recover their document to start the marriage banns in the Italian Consulate;
5) Assistance with people that come from countries that do not release the nulla osta;
7) People with refugee status who have requested asylum in Italy.