Getting married in Italy requires some paperwork if you plan for it to be legally binding. In Italy, Catholic and weddings of some other religions can obtain legal validity during one unique ceremony. It is called “matrimonio concordatario”. Obviously, both religious and civil paperwork has to be prepared well in advance.
The most common question we are asked is:
How long do you need to be in Italy before getting married?
The answer is: usually 2-3 days are enough, there are no residency requirements, but depending on your nationality and city of your marriage, you may need to be in Italy at least 10 days before. If you can be in Italy once at least between 3 and 6 months before the wedding, you can prepare all the paperwork then and show up just on the day of the wedding!
Both civil and Catholic weddings in Italy – unlike many other countries in the world – have to be celebrated, respectively, in “commune” (town-hall) premises or authorized churches. There are very few cities that allow legally binding civil wedding ceremonies in castles or villas that have a special wedding license. You might want to plan to have a private, legally binding ceremony in the town hall and then a symbolic ceremony with your guests at the location of the wedding reception, such as a castle, villa or whichever other place you desire.
Let’s now consider different options and requirements for your wedding in Italy as a foreigner:
Wedding in Italy, the Couple
The couple will need to obtain a “NULLA OSTA” to be able to perform a legally valid wedding in Italy. Different countries require different procedures to release this “Nulla Osta” to let you get married in Italy. As a general rule, if a wedding is celebrated according to Italian regulations, it will also be valid in your native country (provided you can bring a Nulla Osta or something similar).
Paperwork is to be prepared before you come, sometime while you are here and after you have left, depending on the nationality of each spouse. In all cases, timing is critical.
GAY WEDDINGS IN ITALY – CIVIL UNIONS
A new law about Civil Union is active since May 2016 in Italy. Same sex couples can now apply for a Civil Union Ceremony in Italy. Civil Unions are similar to Marriages but have some little differences in the procedure. Town halls may require little different terms to apply. At present in most of the cases, couples shall being the exact same documentation as for a opposite sex wedding, but they must be meeting the town hall officer in person AT LEAST 15 days before the wedding. This rule may be changing soon, so please contact us to be sure of the paperwork and timing requested by the town hall of your wedding.
Otherwise, our trusted officiates can perform very personalized symbolic weddings, and we can provide legal assistance in signing a private agreement stating mutual respect and obligations.
CATHOLIC WEDDINGS IN ITALY
For Catholics, the wedding is a sacrament and needs additional paperwork (similar to the civil one), which generates another Nulla Osta. This Nulla Osta is created by the bishop of the area where the couple lives and is sent to the local bishop where the wedding will be held. Be careful of the following:
- To obtain the Nulla Osta at your place, you will need a pre-cana preparation and at least 6-10 months.
- Speak to your local priest before obtaining the Nulla Osta and ask him about the exact requirements in your parish. He will initiate the process required to obtain your Bishop’s Nulla Osta.
- Preparation is important for a Catholic wedding, so please allow due time for it. Speak a lot with your priest at your local church to start with. We are happy to help you and counsel you, but your church should be your first point of reference until you have the first Nulla Osta released.
- All the documents will have to be ready and sent to the Italian bishop of reference AT LEAST 2-3 months before the wedding. For this reason, we suggest you start collecting information about the whole process, in your country with your priest, no later than 9 months prior to the wedding.
- MOST OF THE BISHOPS in Italy are not very keen in accepting weddings for non residents, so be advised that your wedding could not to be solemnised everywhere.
GENERAL RULES FOR A LEGAL WEDDING IN ITALY
The main rules to be able to get married in Italy are:
- Both bride and groom have to be either single, legally divorced or widowed.
- By law, if the woman divorced less than 300 days before the new wedding date, a medical certificate of non pregnancy should be provided to the local court (we discourage this as the process is however long, and in the end you may have the permit from the court just 1-2 months before the 300 days have passed).
- Bride and Groom cannot be relatives of first or second degree: brother/sister, father/daughter, or mother/son. NOT EVEN IF the relationship was BY ADOPTION or BY BLOOD (without legal recognition).
- Catholic weddings, if one of the two had been married before with a Catholic or Christian celebration, cannot be performed. You can only have a civil legally binding wedding or a symbolic wedding. The only exception to this is if the Catholic part obtained a “Catholic Church Annulment” (nullification) – this procedure is so long (i.e. years) and most times, unsuccessful. If this is your case, we suggest you do not plan a catholic wedding until you have a nullification certificate with you or plan either a civil or symbolic wedding.
Wedding in Italy Documentation
If none of you are Italian or residents of Italy, banns are waived and you just need the authorization (usually called a NULLA OSTA) issued by a consular of foreign authority in Italy (for some nationalities, a consul’s signature shall be legalized by the prefecture).
The legalization is not requested for the following countries (it may apply to some others, please consider the following list as a refernce, contact us for confirmation even if your nationality is not listed): Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, UK (including the Isle of Man), Greece, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Holland (including the Netherlands, Antilles and Aruba), Portugal, the Czech Republic, the San Marino Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Hungary. Alternatively, you need the authorization of a competent foreign authority, confirmed by the Italian Embassy or Consulate.
The authorization shall attest that there are no impediments to the marriage. It also shall include the following data: name, surname, date and place of birth, residency, nationality, marital status, paternity and maternity (full names of the parents), and a birth certificate (when maternity or paternity are not provided on the authorization).
Some countries will need other documents on top of the Nulla Osta, as mentioned above, i.e. USA citizens and AUSTRALIAN Citizens (read the detailed pages about these two nationalities).
Most of the nationalities will require the couple to meet the consulate in person, so please schedule your trip accordingly, as many of the consulates are only in Rome or Milan.
Do not worry, we can help you out with all this and send all the paperwork to the correct authorities to have your marriage registered in your home country. All you have to do is plan to be in Italy a few days in advance… As we will be there releasing you from any stress, imagine that time as an advanced honeymoon!!
ISRAELI COUPLES GETTING MARRIED IN ITALY
Unfortunately the Consulate of Israel does NOT issue a Nulla Osta to the marriage to Israeli citizens, and the documentation released by the registrar in Israel is not enough to get married in Italy. The only alternative is to apply for a special permit at an Italian Court, BUT this can only be requested if the Israeli citizen is also RESIDENT in Italy, in any other case an Israeli citizen cannot get married in Italy with a legally binding ceremony.
Please select your nationality in the menu bar for specific directions and consulate addresses, or click the links below.
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To any other nationalities or special cases are offered a free 30 minutes consultation Other Nationalities/Doubts Request
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An Italian wedding coordinator will return to you asking for a non binding request for a call, which will help you and us focus on your exact request for the wedding.