Entering into a Civil Union in Italy?

This information is for general guidance only.  The applicable law on civil unions is the same throughout Italy.  However, local town halls may interpret the law in slightly different ways and waive certain requirements.  Please contact the Vital Record’s Office (Anagrafe) of the town hall where you intend to enter into a civil union to obtain a definitive list of documents as well as to learn how many days prior to the date of the ceremony you need to submit them.  A complete list of town halls in Italy is available in this webpage.

You will need: 

  1. Valid U.S. passport (active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces can present their military ID card instead).
  2. Affidavit or “Dichiarazione Giurata” sworn to before an American consular officer commissioned in Italy, stating that there is no legal impediment to your civil union according to the laws of the U.S. state in which you are a resident. You will need to schedule an appointment for a notary service with one of the U.S. Consulates General in Italy or with the U.S. Embassy in Rome to obtain the “Dichiarazione Giurata.”  Please see our Notarial Services webpage to schedule your appointment in Milan, Florence, Rome or Naples. Please contact the Agent in Genoa, Venice or Palermo directly to schedule an appointment at one of the Consular Agencies.
    Based on the Embassy, consulate or consular agent you selected, please select from the following list to select and print your Dichiarazione Giurata. Please select the appropriate Post and complete the form before your appointment in order to save time, but do not sign it as it must be signed in front of the consular officer.

Once the “Dichiarazione Giurata” has been issued, you must bring it to the Legalization Office (Ufficio Legalizzazioni) of the local Prefettura to legalize it.  You will need to purchase a €16 revenue stamp (marca da bollo) from any tobacco shop (tabacchi) and present it to the clerk of the Legalization Office (Ufficio Legalizzazioni) at the Prefettura (an Italian government office) for each document to be authenticatedA complete list of Prefettura offices is available on this page.

  1. Atto Notorio: This is a declaration, in addition to the “Dichiarazione Giurata” described under point 2, stating that according to the laws to which you are subject in the United States, there is no obstacle to your civil union. This declaration is to be sworn to by two witnesses (who may be of any nationality, must be over 18, possess valid photo identification, and know the applicant; they cannot be family members, future family members or affines) before an Italian consul outside Italy or, in Italy, before a court official in the city where the marriage will take place.  If you are coming to Italy to enter into a civil union, you should obtain this declaration at the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate before leaving the United States, as some courts may have long waiting lists for this service.  If you decide to request the Atto Notorio in Italy, you should contact the Notary Services Office (Ufficio Atti Notori) of the court (tribunale ordinario) having jurisdiction over the city where you intend to enter into a civil union, or any other court in Italy, and make an appointment in advance. If the applicant or even only one of the witnesses does not speak Italian, the presence of an interpreter is required. You, as well as the witnesses and the interpreter, must show proof of your legal presence into Italy by presenting, for example, your plane ticket, visa or permit to stay (permesso di soggiorno).  You will need two revenue stamps of €16 each and one of €10,62 to apply for the Atto Notorio, which generally will be ready for pick up after four to 10 days.  For an urgent Atto Notorio, issued on the spot, you will need two revenue stamps of €16 each and one of €31,86.
    Contact information for the Notary Services Office in Milan, Venice, Genoa, Florence, Rome, Naples and Palermo is available at the Getting Married in Milan, Venice and Genoa, Getting Married in Florence, Getting Married in Rome, and Getting Married in Naples and Palermo links above.

ProcedureThe procedure to enter into a civil union is divided in two steps. The first one consists in requesting an appointment to the Vital Record’s Office of the town hall where you intend to enter into a civil union. Check with the Vital Record’s Office of the town hall where you intend to enter into a civil union to find the appropriate form to request the appointment and where to submit it. On the day of your appointment you and your partner shall appear before the officer to request to enter into a civil union and declare that you possess all the legal requirements. If you do not speak Italian, an interpreter should accompany you.  The officer will check the information provided, receive the documents and set the date of the civil union ceremony. You and your partner will be asked to sign the minutes that will be prepared. Between the first appointment and the civil union ceremony there will be a gap of 30 days minimum to allow the Vital Record’s Office to gather additional documentation/information, if needed.

Civil Union Ceremony: The second step is the actual ceremony itself. A civil union ceremony is performed by the mayor or one of the deputies.  Two witnesses and, if necessary, an interpreter must be present at the ceremony.  Witnesses may be of any nationality, but must be over 18 and possess valid photo identification.  A witness cannot serve as interpreter.
You will have to pay a rental fee for the ceremony hall, which varies according to the location, the season and the day of the week.  The fee ranges from a minimum of €150 to a maximum of €1,400.

Important Note on the Validity of the Italian Civil Union Certificate in the U.S.:
A civil union that is valid in Italy should be automatically valid in the U.S.  An Italian civil union certificate is sufficient to prove your civil union and it is considered valid once legalized through the Apostille procedure.  The Apostille stamp can be obtained from the Legalization Office of the Italian Prefettura having jurisdiction over the area where you entered into the civil union.  A complete list of Prefettura offices is available here.

Additional Information: U.S. consular officers are not trained in Italian law and consequently are not qualified to interpret Italian civil union requirements.  If you wish more detailed information, you should consult the appropriate Italian authorities, such as an Italian consular officer in the U.S., civil registrars at town halls, or a lawyer licensed to practice in Italy.
Please note that you may need several days to complete all of the procedures so you should plan ahead. The timing will vary depending upon the number of civil union to be performed by civil authorities. Waiting lists are not uncommon, particularly in more popular towns and at certain times of the year, such as May, June or September.