Marriage of a U.S. Citizen
US citizens planning to marry in Italy must comply with specific requirements of Italian law and present certain documents to Italian authorities in order to obtain a marriage license.
PLEASE NOTE: Marriages cannot be performed by American Consuls, or take place on the premises of the American Consulate.
PLEASE NOTE: The following list of documents is given for information purposes only . The applicable law on marriages is one and the same all over Italy, but Town Halls may interpret it in slightly different ways. Please contact the marriage office in the Town Hall where you intend to get married to get a definitive list of documents to be submitted to that office.
1. Valid US passport (active duty members of US Armed Forces can present their military ID card instead , along with a permission to marry issued by their Commanding officer).
2. Birth certificate (original or certified copy).
3. Evidence of the termination of any previous marriage, if applicable (e.g.: final divorce decree, annulment decree, or death certificate of former spouse).
4. Affidavit, sworn to by the US citizen before an American Consul commissioned in Italy, stating that there is no legal impediment to the marriage, according to the laws of the State of which the citizen is a resident. This sworn statement is often referred to as " Nulla Osta " by Italian authorities. Your legal status must be such that you can legally marry under Italian and US law (note that a pending divorce, for example, would be an obstacle). To make this affidavit at the US Consulate General in Milan, please make an appointment here (appointments are generally available on Tuesdays and Thursdays ). Download a blank affidavit form here.
The Consulate only requires you to present your US passport and evidence of termination of any previous marriage (if applicable). It is the applicant’s responsibility to insure that all information provided is correct. Failure to properly complete the form may necessitate obtaining a new appointment and paying fees for an additional nulla osta/marriage affidavit. A $50 fee (or € equivalent) is charged for administering the oath (major credit cards are accepted).
PLEASE NOTE: Once issued, this affidavit must be stamped by the Legalization Office of any Prefettura in our Consular District. Public hours at Prefetturas are usually from 9AM to 11AM, Monday through Friday. A €14.62 revenue stamp ("marca da bollo") is required – buy it in advance from any tabaccaio (tobacconist's).
In Milan, the Prefettura is located on Corso Monforte 31, telephone 0277584332, www.prefettura.it/milano. In Venice, the Prefettura is at San Maurizio 2661, tel. 0412703411, www. prefettura.it/venezia. A list of all the Prefetturas in Italy is available at http://www.interno.it/mininterno/export/sites/default/it/sezioni/ministero/prefetture/scheda_15769.html
5. Atto Notorio: This is a declaration, in addition to the sworn statement described under point 4, stating that according to the laws to which the citizen is subject in the United States there is no obstacle to his/her marriage. This declaration is to be sworn to by two witnesses (a witness may be of any nationality, but must be over 18, with current photo ID), before an Italian Consul outside Italy or, in Italy, before a Court official in the city where the marriage is to take place. US citizens coming to Italy to be married are best advised to obtain this declaration at a Consulate of Italy before leaving the United States, as some Courts may have long waiting lists for this service. Those who decide to request the Atto Notorio in Italy should contact the Court having jurisdiction over the city where they intend to marry in a timely fashion, and make an appointment ahead of time. In Milan, the Court office to be contacted is at the Palazzo di Giustizia (Courthouse) on Via Freguglia 1, tel.: 0254333175. Hours: 9 AM to 1 PM, Monday through Friday.
6. A woman whose previous marriage was terminated within the last 300 days must obtain a waiver from the Procura della Repubblica presso il Tribunale (District Attorney's office) at the Palazzo di Giustizia (Courthouse), in the city where the new marriage will be performed. Such waiver is issued upon presentation of medical evidence that the applicant is not pregnant.
7. Declaration of Intention: Bride and groom should present all the above documents to the Ufficio Matrimoni (Marriage Office) of the Municipio (Town Hall) in the city where the marriage will be performed, and make a "Declaration of Intention to Marry" before an Ufficiale di Stato Civile (Civil Registrar).
The Milan City Hall's marriage office is on Via Larga 12, tel. 0288462132, fax 0288460180, www.comune.milano.it (hours: 8:30AM/12PM and 2:30/3:30PM, Monday through Friday). The Venice City Hall is at Cà Farsetti, San Marco 4136, tel. 0412748833, http://www.comune.venezia.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/EN/IDPagina/954.
To find the websites of all Town Halls in Italy, go to http://www.ancitel.it/link/siti/index.cfm. Enter the name of the town in the box where it says “ Scegliere direttamente il Comune, digitandone il nome” and click on “invio” (enter).
Banns are posted only after the Declaration of Intention to Marry has been filed. Finally, the day of the wedding can be established.
BANNS AND MARRIAGE CEREMONY
Civil Banns must be posted at the Town Hall for two consecutive weeks including two Sundays before the marriage can take place. However, banns are automatically waived if neither party to the marriage is an Italian citizen or a resident of Italy. A civil ceremony is performed by the Mayor or one of his deputies. At this time you will need two witnesses. If necessary, one of the two can also serve as interpreter.
If a religious ceremony is to be performed by a Roman Catholic priest, a separate civil ceremony will not be needed, as the priest will register the marriage with the civil authorities. The Roman Catholic Church requires documentation besides the documents listed above (such as baptismal and confirmation certificates and letters of freedom). For complete information you should check with your priest. Because of the special Italian requirements applicable to marriages performed by non-Roman Catholic ministers, the latter usually insist on a prior civil ceremony before performing a religious ceremony to ensure the legality of the marriage. Persons planning a religious ceremony should consult the priest, minister or rabbi as far before the ceremony as possible.
• All documents originating out of Italy (birth certificate, divorce decree, etc.) MUST be legalized for use in Italy and MUST be translated into Italian.
To legalize a US document for use in Italy, you need to have it stamped with a so-called "APOSTILLE" stamp by the Secretary of State in the State where the document was issued, in accordance with The Hague Convention on the legalization of foreign public documents.
• Under Italian law, all public documents originating from outside the EU are considered valid for only six months from the date of issue. Americans are therefore advised to make sure that all documents to be submitted to Italian authorities have not been issued more than six months ahead of the marriage.
TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES
A US citizen does not automatically acquire the Italian citizenship through marriage to an Italian. Likewise, an Italian does not become a US citizen through marriage to a US citizen, therefore he/she must have a visa to be able to stay in the United States for more than 90 days. An American citizen who desires to live in the US with a foreign spouse must file a "Petition for an Alien Relative" with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service ( www.uscis.gov ). Once the petition has been approved, the paperwork is forwarded to the American Consulate General in Naples, which will issue an immigrant visa to the foreign spouse. The approval of the petition and the processing of the immigrant visa often take months. For further information , contact the US Visa Information Service at the following numbers: from e ither outside or inside Italy: (+39) 0230329656 (a credit card charge of €15 will apply); from i nside Italy only: 899343432 (cost from a landline: €1.5 per minute, plus VAT; cell phone charges may be higher).
A foreign marriage that is valid in the country where it is performed is automatically valid in the US. An Italian marriage certificate is sufficient to prove your marriage, once legalized through the 'apostille' procedure by the Legalization office of the Italian Prefettura having jurisdiction over the area where the marriage was performed . A complete list of all the Prefetturas in Italy is available at http://www.interno.it/mininterno/export/sites/default/it/sezioni/ministero/prefetture/scheda_15769.html
The foregoing is provided for general information only. US Consular Officers are not trained in Italian law and consequently are not qualified to interpret Italian marriage requirements. Anyone wishing more detailed information should consult the appropriate Italian authorities, such as an Italian Consular Officer in the US, Civil Registrars at Town Halls, or a lawyer licensed to practice in Italy.
It is emphasized that several days may be needed to complete all the procedures. The time will vary depending upon the number of marriages to be performed by civil authorities. Waiting lists are not uncommon, particularly in more popular towns, or in certain times of year, such as May, June or September.