Getting Married in Italy?

This information is for general guidance only.  The applicable law on marriages is the same throughout Italy.  However, local town halls may interpret the law in slightly different ways and waive certain requirements.  Please contact the Registrar’s Office of the town hall where you intend to get married 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 on this webpage.

You may need: 

  1. Valid U.S. passport (active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces can present their military ID card instead).
  2. Birth certificate (original or certified copy).
  3. Evidence of the termination of any previous marriage/s if applicable (e.g., final divorce decree, annulment decree, death certificate of former spouse).  If you are a female whose previous marriage was terminated within the last 300 days, you must obtain a waiver from the Italian District Attorney’s Office (Procura della Repubblica presso il tribunale) at the court in the city where the new marriage will be performed.  The waiver is issued upon presentation of medical evidence that you are not pregnant.

You will need:

  1. Affidavit or “Dichiarazione Giurata” sworn to before a U.S. consular officer accredited in Italy, stating that there is no legal impediment to your marriage 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 Consular 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.  The marriage affidavit “Dichiarazione Giurata” generally must be authenticated at a Prefettura within the same consular district where the affidavit was executed.  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 authenticated. A 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 4, stating that according to the laws to which you are subject in the United States, there is no obstacle to your marriage. 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 be married, 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 marry, 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.

Declaration of Intention to Marry: You should present all the above-listed documents to the Marriage Office (Ufficio Matrimoni) of the town hall (municipio) in the city where the marriage will be performed, and make a “Declaration of Intention to Marry” (Dichiarazione di Matrimonio) before a civil registrar (ufficiale di stato civile).  If you do not speak Italian, an interpreter should accompany you.  When all this is completed, you can finally set the date of the wedding.

Civil banns or public announcements must be posted at the town hall for two consecutive weeks, including two Sundays, before the marriage can take place.  Please note that banns are posted only after the Declaration of Intention to Marry has been filed.  However, if neither party to the marriage is an Italian citizen or a resident of Italy, banns are automatically waived or posted for a shorter period of time which may vary from one day to a week depending on the town hall regulations.

Civil Ceremony: A civil ceremony is performed by the mayor or one of his 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 marriage hall, which varies according to the location, the season and the day of the week.  The fee ranges from a minimum of €500 to a maximum of €9,200.

Religious Ceremony: A religious ceremony is considered valid if performed by a Roman Catholic priest.  A separate civil ceremony will not be necessary, as the priest will register the marriage with the civil authorities.

The Roman Catholic Church requires baptismal and confirmation certificates in addition to the documents listed above.  For complete information, you should check with your parish.

For English-language marriages at the Vatican, also known as the Holy See, contact the parish priest of Saint Patrick’s Church by visiting their website at Marriages at the Vatican will be registered with the Vatican civil authorities, and marriage certificates are issued by the Civil Registry of Vatican City (Ufficio di Stato Civile, Anagrafe e Notariato, Governatorato, Citta del Vaticano).  Because the Vatican is a separate State and not part of Italy, the notarized “Dichiarazione Giuratais required but does not need to be legalized by an Italian Prefettura office.

A religious ceremony performed by non-Roman Catholic clergy requires that a civil ceremony be performed prior to the religious one to ensure the legality of the marriage.  If you are planning such a religious ceremony, you should consult with your religious leader far in advance of the actual ceremony.

Important Note on the Validity of Foreign Documents in Italy: All documents originating outside of Italy (birth certificate, divorce decree, etc.) must be legalized for use in Italy and must be translated into Italian.

To legalize a U.S. 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.  Therefore, you should make sure that all documents to be submitted to Italian authorities have not been issued more than six months ahead of the marriage.

Important Note on the Validity of the Italian Marriage Certificate in the United States: A foreign marriage that is valid in the country where it is performed is automatically valid in the U.S.  An Italian marriage certificate is sufficient to prove your marriage 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 were married.  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 marriage requirements.  If you wish more detailed information, you should consult the appropriate Italian authorities, such as an Italian consular officer in the United States, 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 marriages 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.

If you are an active duty service member, we suggest you check with your Command’s legal office for any documents they require you complete at an U.S. consulate or Embassy in addition to the execution of the marriage affidavit “Dichiarazione Giurata”.