Documentation to Get Married in Italy
Legally binding wedding in Italy – Paperwork
Getting married in Italy requires some paperwork, if you want to plan for it to be legally binding, which has to be prepared well in advance. There is no specific rule for any spouse. The variables depend on the Nationality (Passport) of the Bride and Groom, the place of residence, the marital status and more…
Want to play it safe?
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 getting married. If you can be in Italy once at least 3 and 6 months before the wedding, you can prepare all the paperwork then and just show up on the day of the wedding!
Both civil and Catholic weddings in Italy – unlike many other countries in the world – must be celebrated in “commune” (town-hall) premises or at authorized churches respectively. There are very few cities that have a special wedding license that can allow legally binding civil wedding ceremonies in castles or private villas. 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. Alternatively, you can have a Legally binding ceremony solemnized by a Christian Pastor at your venue or a symbolic ceremony (no legal validity).
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 long and in the end you may only receive the permit from the court 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).
Wedding in Italy Documentation
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 allow you to 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, at some point while you are here and after you have left, depending on the nationality of each spouse. In all cases, timing is critical.
Let’s consider different options and requirements for your wedding in Italy as a foreigner:
CIVIL WEDDINGS IN ITALY
As mentioned above, once all the paperwork is ready, the couple will have to meet at the commune with an interpreter a few days before the wedding. On the wedding day, even if only one person among the spouses and witnesses is not fluent in Italian, an interpreter will be necessary.
GAY WEDDINGS IN ITALY – CIVIL UNIONS
A new law about Civil Unions has been 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 a few differences in the procedure. Town halls might require different terms to apply. At present in most cases, couples need to bring the exact same documentation as for an opposite-sex wedding, but at many communes they must meet the town hall officer in person AT LEAST 30 days before the wedding. This rule may change soon, so please contact us to be sure of the paperwork and timing requested by the specific town hall for your wedding.
Otherwise, our trusted officiates can perform very personalized symbolic weddings, and we can provide legal assistance by 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. Take note of the following:
- To obtain the Nulla Osta at your place of residence, 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 enough time for it. As a starting point, make sure to speak comprehensively with your priest at your local church. We are happy to help and counsel you, but your church should be your first point of contact until you have the first Nulla Osta issued.
- All the documents will have to be ready and sent to the Italian bishop concerned 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 on accepting weddings for non-residents, so be advised that it is a possibility that your wedding will not be solemnized everywhere.
- If one of the two spouses have been married before with a Catholic or Christian celebration, a Catholic wedding 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 spouse previously married through a Catholic or Christian celebration, obtained a “Catholic Church Annulment” (nullification) – this procedure is so lengthy (i.e. years) and mostly, unsuccessful. If this is your case, we suggest you don’t plan a Catholic wedding until you have a nullification certificate with you or that you rather plan either a civil or symbolic wedding.
PROTESTANT WEDDINGS IN ITALY
Like Catholic weddings, some protestant confessions can perform Legally binding weddings at any venue and virtually any church. There is no religious paperwork to prepare, you just need to talk to the Pastor that we will suggest to you. On the civil side, you must follow the same procedure as for Civil Weddings.
PLEASE NOTE: Church of England (Anglican) are not able to perform legally binding weddings here in Italy.
Please refer to the specific country link or inquire for a phone consultation to play it safe
Please read more by clicking on your nationality below:
- Wedding in Italy for American Couples
- Wedding in Italy for Australian Couples
- Wedding in Italy for Brazilian Couples
- Wedding in Italy for British Couples
- Wedding in Italy for Canadian Couples
- Wedding in Italy for Russian Couples
- For any other nationalities or special cases, please inquire here Other Nationalities/Doubts Request
ISRAELI COUPLES GETTING MARRIED IN ITALY
Unfortunately, the Consulate of Israel does NOT issue a Nulla Osta for the marriage of 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 scenario an Israeli citizen cannot get married in Italy with a legally binding ceremony.
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