Marrying an Italian citizen as a foreigner

Marrying an Italian citizen as a foreigner

Newlyweds exchange their rings during a civil wedding in Italy.

How marry an Italian citizen as a foreigner and which are the marriage requirements?

During our experience as legal counselors for foreign couples, we have treated many cases that concerned the intention of a foreign citizen willing to marry an Italian one regardless the latter was living abroad or in Italy. In the scenarios, every detail is relevant.
Let’s analyze the possible scenarios as follows.

Italians residing in Italy want to marry a foreigner residing abroad.

In this case, we must proceed with notice of marriage in the town hall (Comune) where the Italian citizen resides in Italy. Please note that the meaning of domicile and residency do not coincide in Italy.
The residency is what formally counts for the wedding procedure.
The notice of marriage (the so-called pubblicazioni di matrimonio) is a way to publicize that the Italian citizen is getting married. If there is no counter-interested opponent, after 11 days, the banns notice it expires, and the Italian citizen can match with the foreigner.
Of course, during the day of the appointment of the “pubblicazioni di matrimonio” the foreign citizen shall produce the Nulla Osta and/or any other documents required by law or international convention ratified by the Italian regulations. After that we have to verify if the foreign citizen desire that Italian marriage certificate shall be recognized in their country of provenance.
Depending on the convention signed we must then see whether the legalization must be done by the foreign consulate in Italy or through the apostille.
The translation of the document by the so-called “asseverazione” could be necessary.
In other cases there are convention that exempt by legalization and translation.

Italians residing in Italy who want to marry in Italy with foreign nationals residing in Italy.

This procedure is almost identical to the one above with a slight difference applicable to some countries.
There are some countries that allow the issuance of the Nulla Osta only to their citizen living in Italy but not to those who live in the homeland.
A list of this countries is the following:

Norwegian citizens: must apply for the nulla-osta directly to the Registry Office of the municipality of residence in Norway. The NULLA-OSTA will be issued, complete with Apostille, in Italian or in Norwegia, with a translation made by a sworn translator in Norway (Circolare 65/2004).

Polish Citizens: (Circolare 33/2005) must apply for the nihil-osta to the Head of the Polish Civil Status Office or the Consul if the Polish citizen:

  • has not had a residence in Poland
  • is unable to trace their 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 purpose of marriage in Italy, issued by their consular authorities following the model agreed upon by our Ministry AA.EE. and the Embassy of Brazil (Circ. 1/2009)

Swedish Citizens: resident in SWEDEN must apply for the nulla-osta at the Registry Office of the Municipality of residence in Sweden, which will issue it in Swedish with a translation made by a sworn translator who will certify conformity with the original;

If resident in ITALY, they must apply for the nulla-osta to 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 in ROME replaces the nulla osta (art. 116 c.c.) (Circ. 29/2011).

British Citizens: (Circ. 6 and 13/2014) residing in the United Kingdom instead of the clearance under Art. 116 c.c. must submit:

a certificate of no impediment issued by the local authority of the country of origin, postilled and duly translated,
a bilingual, legalized affidavit made by those concerned at a British lawyer or notary public;
While BRITISH citizens residing in WALES and ENGLAND, who intend to marry an Irish citizen in Italy or BRITISH citizens living in a THIRD COUNTRY (Circ. 10/2015), may submit either the usual NULLA OSTA (Art. 116 c.c.) issued by the British Consular Authority or the certificate of no impediment and the bilingual affidavit made at a British lawyer or notary

Hungarian citizens: certification in place of marriage nihil obstat is issued to Hungarian citizens who wish to contract marriage in Italy by the Embassy of Hungary (Circ. 11/2013)

Italians residing abroad who want to marry in Italy

In this case, we have to verify if the Italian citizen is registered at “AIRE” which is “Anagram italiani residenti all’estero”. If the research is positive, we have to find out in which town hall in Italy the Italian abroad is associated. Then, in that town hall, we can recover the birth certificate that must be produced at the Italian consulate abroad for the notice of marriage (the so-called pubblicazioni).
As you can see, this time, the notice of marriage starts abroad and not in Italy since the competent registrar for a wedding of an Italian abroad is the Italian consulate abroad.
As your counselor, along with the procedure, we will locate the competent consulate and book the appointment you need to start the notice with them. Afterward, according to article 109 of the Italian civil code once the 11 days are expired, the Italian consulate abroad will communicate to the town hall in Italy where you intend to marry that the wedding in Italy is authorized.

Italians resident or non-resident abroad who want to get married abroad at the Italian Consulate abroad.

If you wish to get married at an Italian Diplomatic or Consular Representation, you must file a Consular Marriage Celebration Application. This is a document that you must both sign and present in person at the consular office or send by mail, fax or e-mail with a photocopy of your identity documents attached. For more information contact the Italian diplomatic or consular representation of interest.

There are some cases in which your application may be denied (Art. 12 D. Lgs. 71/2011 – “The head of the consular office shall celebrate the marriage between citizens or between a citizen and a non-citizen. The celebration of the marriage may be refused when local laws oppose it or when the parties do not reside in the district.”). If, on the contrary, the consular office accepts your application (insofar as the requirements of the regulations are met) you can proceed to apply for the publications.

The “Pubblicazioni di matrimonio”

In Italy, the celebration of marriage must be preceded by publications carried out by a civil registrar. The publications remain posted on the consular notice board for at least 8 days. You may marry after 3 days following the completed publication and within the next 180 days.

If you are unable to appear in person to request the banns, you may appoint a third person using a special power of attorney drawn up on plain paper and accompanied by copies of your valid identity documents. If you are not a citizen of the European Union and not a resident of Italy, your signature must be notarized.


If one one Italian spouse has residence in Italy while the other Italian citizen has residence abroad

You must request the notice of marriage from the diplomatic or consular representative where the consular marriage will be celebrated, which will ask for their execution from the municipality of residence in Italy. The publications will therefore be carried out in both places of residence of the bride and groom-to-be.

If you are both residents of Italy but in two different municipalities

You must request marriage banns from the in your municipality of residence. If you reside in two different municipalities, the publications will be made in both municipalities. The Municipality will issue the Diplomatic or Consular Representation with a proxy for the celebration of the marriage in accordance with Article 109 of the Civil Code.

Who will be your Counselors and Planners?

Law firm during a meeting

Who will be your Counselors and Planners?

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.

Civil Wedding in Rome at Vignola Mattei.

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