Getting married in Italy can often be a bit daunting so what exactly do you need to do the deed?? As a wedding planner I have a wealth of experience in dealing with many British, Irish, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand couples and their countries rules and regulations for getting married in Italy and will help you through the minefield of bureaucracy so that the process won’t make you loose sleep or make you want to pull your hair out before the wedding!

Things that you really need to know.

Italy has a very strange law that states that women who are divorced or widowed cannot marry for 300 days which may seem a little strange but the reason apparently for this is to ensure that the woman isn’t pregnant with another man’s child which could result in a paternity suit although to be honest I’m still not quite sure how a dead man could make a claim to a child… so as long as you have been divorced or widowed for more than 300 days you’re good to go.

If you have been married before then you will have to present your previous marriage certificate(s) and Decree Absolute(s) depending on how many times you have been married before, Richard Burton & Liz Taylor would have needed a mountain of paperwork to get married here, and if you are a widow or widower then you will need to produce the death certificate and marriage certificate for your previous spouse.

Everyone getting married in Italy will need a Nulla Osta, this is a certificate of No Impediment which is issued by the Embassy  or Consulate of your country of origin here in Italy. They are only valid for 6 months but I’ll let you know when you need to start the paperwork as applying for them too early will mean that you’ll have to do the whole thing all over again. The Nulla Osta is issued in Italian and is possibly the most important document that you will need in order to get married here.

If you are under the age of 18 or 20 if you’re from New Zealand then you will need the written consent of your parent or guardian in order to get married so no eloping I’m afraid!

You will need two witnesses who must be 18 years of age or over.

The wedding ceremony is conducted in Italian so you will need an official interpreter for this, at least 2 days prior to the wedding there is Verbal Declaration at the town hall where you are going to get married, this is where your documents are checked and you confirm there are no impediments to the marriage according to the Italian Civil Code, the date of this will be confirmed on booking your wedding date and must be here in Italy for that.

Marry Me In Tuscany offers an Interpreter service, please ask for details.

So you’re getting married, you’ve booked the wedding – what do you need to do next?

In order to keep things nice and simple the following information is based on couples being the same nationality, if you come from different countries not a problem you each need to apply for your Nulla Osta from your country of origin and in some cases there are different forms for you to complete. Don’t be put off though I will confirm your individual requirements are so you can get married in Italy.

British couples

With effect from the 1st of March 2013 the requirements for British couples resident in the UK have changed, the old procedure will continue to run in parallel to the the new procedure but will be phased out by the 31st of August 2013, the British Consulate will still issue Nulla Ostas up to the 31st of May 2013.

You should start the process for your documents 6 months before your wedding date if you are resident in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and 3 months before if you are resident in Scotland.

Step 1:

You will both still need to give notice of your intent to marry at your local registry office in the UK, after 16-21 days assuming no one has objected to your marriage they will issue you both with a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). It is important that your names on your CNIs are exactly the same as those on your passports.  These documents do not need to be translated into Italian.

Step 2:

While you are waiting for your Certificate of No Impediment you should make a statutory declaration before a solicitor or public notary in the UK. You can download the bi-lingual statutory declaration here .

The declaration is required by the Italian authorities and gives additional information that isn’t detailed on your Certificate of No Impediment. The solicitor or public notary will charge a fee for this service. Fees will vary so it might be worth shopping around.

Step 3:

Legalising your documents for the Italian Authorities – When you have your Certificate of No Impediment and you have made your Statutory Declaration, you need to send them both to the FCO Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes for each to be legalised with a Hague Apostille. The Legalisation Office will charge for this – please check the current charges and procedure on the Legalisation Office website.

Step 4:

Once both these documents have been legalised, you will then need to have the legalised Certificate of No Impediment translated. As it will become an Italian legal document it must be translated by a translator based in Italy and recognised by the Italian courts. Marry Me In Tuscany will offer this service to our clients. The Statutory Declaration does not need to be translated since it is already in both languages.

For more information about British couples getting married in Italy you can also consult the Foreign Offices page UK in Italy – page – MARRIAGE IN ITALY where you’ll also find the current fees for the Nulla Ostas.

For British couples living in Australia or other commonwealth countries please see this link for helpful information on the process for the documentation required to marry in Italy.

American Couples

Things start to get a little bit more complicated for American citizens but a faint heart and lots of patience will win your maiden.

Before leaving the US you will have to go to your local Italian Consulate to get an “Atto Nottorio” this is an oath which is sworn in front of two witnesses and notarized by the Italian Consular stating that there are no legal impediments to the marriage according to the laws to which the person concerned is subject to in the United States.

The “Atto Nottorio” also states that there are no impediments for the person requesting to marry in Italy according to Article 116 comma 2 (art. 85, 86, 87 number 1, 2 & 4) of the Italian Civil Code. Basically these refer to you not being mentally insane, not related in any way and my personal favourite that you haven’t tried or been convicted for killing a partner or another person. Although it is advisable to get this in the US it can be obtained in the lower courts in the region where you are getting married but you will have to arrive earlier in order to do this.

You will need to get your documents Birth Certificates, previous Marriage Certificates and Decree Absolute, Death Certificates of a previous spouse translated and authenticated, the Italian Consular will give you the name of a registered translator for this service.

On arrival in Italy and depending on the Town Hall where you are getting married, you may be asked to prove your entry into Italy  so it is important that you get your passport stamped at the border and also confirmation that you have been registered with the police for your stay in Italy by your hotel/villa. I know which Town Halls ask for this information so will let you know if you need to insist on getting your passport stamped on arrival.

About a month before coming to Italy you should also book an appointmentat the American Consulate for Tuscan weddings this is in Florence. It’s VERY important that you both book an appointment. Appointments tend to be on a Tuesday & Thursday so it’s important that you arrive in Italy early enough to get these before the wedding. You should also download the Nulla Osta Form fill it in but don’t sign it. The fee for the Nulla Osta can be paid in US$ in cash or by credit card.

Security is very tight at the Consulate so you will only be admitted if you have an appointment. Once you have your prized Nulla Osta they should be legalized by the Prefettura of the district where you are getting married, (you will need two Marca da Bollo (administration stamp) to the value of €14.62).

If you are using a wedding planner then they should do this for you, Marry Me In Tuscany does!

So now you’re good to go to the Verbal Declaration.

After the wedding it’s important that your wedding certificate is taken back to the Prefettura to request the placement of an “Apostille” on the certificate so that your marriage is legal in the US, again Marry Me In Tuscany will do this for you and post your marriage certificates on to you at home.

Irish Couples

We’re going to assume for this that you both live in Ireland or England, if you don’t then please ask for details of where you should apply for your Nulla Osta. In Ireland these are dealt with by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin and the Irish Embassy in London and they will send the documents to the Irish Embassy in Rome who will then post the Nulla Osta to the person organizing your wedding in Italy one month before the wedding. The processing of the documents takes around 4 months so it’s important that you submit your application in time but please note that the the application forms for the Nulla Osta cannot be completed earlier than six months before the date of your intended marriage. That is, the date of the Statutory Declaration which is completed in the presence of the Commissioner for Oaths, Public Notary or Solicitor, cannot be earlier than six months before the date of your intended marriage.

Documents you will need:

• Original Long form of civil birth certificate
• Court Order if you are under 18 years
• Death Certificate of previous spouse if widowed
• Petition and Final decree of divorce: if divorced
• Copy of Passport
• Fee – the current fee is €20

Each person applying for a Nulla Osta will need to complete these forms MP1, MP2  if you are single form MP2A, forms relating to divorcees can also be found and downloaded from  this link.

Australian Couples

To get married in Italy you will need an “Atto Nottorio” this is an oath which is sworn in front of two witnesses and notarized by the Italian Consular stating that there are no legal impediments to the marriage according to the laws to which the person concerned is subject to in Australia.

The “Atto Nottorio” also states that there are no impediments for the person requesting to marry in Italy according to Article 116 comma 2 (art. 85, 86, 87 number 1, 2 & 4) of the Italian Civil Code. Basically these refer to you not being mentally insane, not related in any way and my personal favourite that you haven’t tried or been convicted for killing a partner or another person.

Although it is advisable to get this in Australia, it can be obtained in the lower courts in the region where you are getting married but you will need to be here early in order to do this as they are done by appointment only.

You may have to have your documents translated but the Italian Consulate will give you a list of translators who are qualified to do this. You should contact the Italian Consulate in the State where you live for an appointment.

You will also need a Nulla Osta which is issued by the Australian Embassy in Rome, no appointment is necessary. In order to obtain the Nulla Osta you must go in person and present the following documents:

  • Full Birth Cerficates (showing your parents details)
  • Evidence of any previous marriages (marriage certificates and divorce certificates)
  • Your Australian passport
  • Fee in cash currently 50 AUS$ The Embassy does not accept credit cards.

Once you have your prized Nulla Osta they should be legalized by the Prefettura of the district where you are getting married, (you will need to get two Marca da Bollo (administration stamp) to the value of €14.62) if you are using a wedding planner then they should do this for you, Marry Me In Tuscany does!

After the wedding it’s important that your wedding certificate is taken back to the Prefettura to request the placement of an “Apostille” on the certificate so that your marriage is legal in the Australia, again Marry Me In Tuscany will do this for you and post your marriage certificates on to you at home.

Canadian Couples

For Canadians wishing to marry in Italy, you will need a Nulla Osta, the Canadian Government doesn’t issue these but don’t loose heart they do issue a declaration containing the relevant information which is accepted by the Italian authorities. Requests for the declaration can be made by appointment at the Canadian Embassy in Rome or by mail. Their delivery service standard is 3 business days from the time they receive a complete request so quite a quick turnaround.

You must first complete and swear an affidavit to the effect that there is no impediment to the proposed marriage. You may swear the affidavit in Canada, or you go go in person to the Canadian Embassy in Rome you will need to book an appointment and you can contact them by e-mail or fax to request one.

If going to the Canadian Embassy in Rome you will need to take with you the following documents.

  • Unsigned affidavit form  (you can download it from here).
  • Valid Canadian passport;
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship (Canadian birth certificate or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship). (If you were born in Québec: Only birth certificates issued on or after January 1, 1994, by “Le Directeur de l’état civil” in the province of Québec are accepted);
  • Complete details of the future spouse (full name, date and place of birth, residence, father’s name and mother’s full maiden name);
  • Final divorce decree or death certificate of previous spouse (if divorced or widowed);
  • Parents’ consent (if the person is under marriageable age).
  • Appropriate fees. (see here for how to pay and current fees payable)

If you are going to swear your Affidavit in Canada then you can do this with a Public Notary, the original Affidavit and certified copies of the above documents should then be sent to the Canadian Embassy in Rome, payment of the fee can be paid on line or by bank transfer see the link above for details of how to do this.

The Canadian Embassy will then send your Nulla Ostas to your wedding planner, who will get them legalized at the local Prefettura before you arrive the cost for the Marca da Bollo (Administration stamp) is €14.62 per Nulla Osta.

After the wedding it’s important that your wedding certificate is taken back to the Prefettura to request the placement of an “Apostille” on the certificate so that your marriage is legal in the Canada, again Marry Me In Tuscany will do this for you and post your marriage certificates on to you at home.

New Zealand Couples

New Zealanders wishing to get married in Italy will need to get a Nulla Osta which is issued by the New Zealand Embassy in Rome. Applications for the Nulla Osta  together with the documents listed below can either be sent by Courier, post or delivered in person).

  • An original Certificate of No Impediment issued by Births, Deaths & Marriages from Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand.
  • Certified copies of the biodata pages of your passports
  • A completed and signed form “Particulars for inclusion in a Nulla Osta” (you can find this by clicking on the link above for the Embassy)
  • The fee for processing the Nulla Osta is €40; payable to ‘New Zealand Embassy’ by bank draft (assegno circolare). If you want to have your documents returned by courier there is an additional fee of €30. A single bank draft of €70 is acceptable. If you go to the Embassy in person then you can pay in cash.
  • The original copy of the decree nisi or order of dissolution of previous marriage if either the bride or the groom is divorced.
  • A covering letter with your contact details, your wedding planners contact details, the date and place of our wedding, and any other information which may be useful to your application.

Once they have all the necessary documents and the fees have been paid, it usually takes about a week for the Embassy to prepare the Nulla Ostas. The documents can then either be collected in person or couriered to you or your wedding planner.

I hope that having read this and all the requirements you’ll need to fulfill that you don’t feel overwhelmed by it all, I know that it can be daunting, but I will guide you through each and every step to make sure that when you arrive in Italy all your documents are in order so that all you have to do is turn up and enjoy your day, if you have any questions please do ask, I’m here to help.