How can a US Citizen marry in Italy?

How can a US Citizen marry in Italy?


Get to know the requirements for Americans getting 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 able 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.

American couple rejoice for their marriage in Italy.

So how can American citizen can get married in Italy and which are the marriage requirements to apply for a Civil Marriage as US citizen?

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

1) Sworn statement (Nulla Osta) to be signed before an American consular official commissioned in Italy in a USA Consulate.

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 must fill out a sworn statement form before applying for an appointment in a US Consulate Office in Italy. 

As your wedding planner in Italy with a legal background, we will provide you with the form to fulfill, that must be signed only once you are before the consular officer.

 There are several consular offices in Italy where you can swear the above declaration. Following is 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 legal counselors in Italy, we can advise you on the most available Consular District to speed up your civil wedding in Italy as a US citizen.

Once you will have sworn you will receive your statement from the US official also known as Nulla Osta.

You will then give us the Sworn Statement so we can proceed with the legalization at the competent Prefettura (please note that not all Prefettura can legalize the signature of the US official.

Please also note that most Prefettura offices are overbooked.

Should the competent Prefettura be fully booked we are able to start the emergency procedure to obtain the legalization with no effort.

civil marriage in Tuscany

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.  

Newlyweds together with the Major after a civil wedding

Other useful information

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 abovementioned documents.

For complete information, you should contact the parish of your area in the US or where you reside.

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

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

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.

Another religious wedding ceremony

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

In conclusion, under Italian law, all public documents originating from outside the EU are valid for only six months from the date of issue. Therefore, you should ensure that all documents submitted to Italian authorities have not been issued more than six months before the date of the marriage.

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

Please note that you may need several days to complete 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 advise you on the best time to apply for a specific town hall concerning your needs.

Who will be your Counselors and Planners?

Family attorneys talking in the law firm

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;

6) American and Australian couples who needs assistance with “atto notorio” in an Italian Court or the Italian Consulate in the USA or Australia.

7) People with refugee status who have requested asylum in Italy.

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