Civil marriage in Italy: documents needed for Italians and foreigners

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Civil marriage in Italy for Italians and foreigners: let’s get clear

There are not many documents required for civil marriage in Italy. However, things get confused when one of the spouses is a foreigner or a resident abroad. Shall analyze the most common cases to understand which documents are essential for civil marriage in Italy.

Documents for civil marriage in Italy for Italians living in Italy

The easiest case story. In this situation, the system establishes that the couple needs to appear in front of the municipality’s Civil Status Officer to request the necessary documents.


Which municipality? The cities of residence of one of the future spouses. This process can be completed from 6 months to a few weeks before the wedding. However, it is reasonable to anticipate at least two months before the event to avoid delays if some problems occur.

The couple will therefore go to the municipality with identity cards. The Civil Status Office will then release the following documents essential for the celebration of the marriage:

  • birth certificate;
  • a contextual certificate including residence, free status, and citizenship.

If one of the future spouses is divorced, a divorce declaration will also be required. While if he is a widower, the death certificate of the previous spouse will be asked.

Except for these two particular cases – not rare – the documents will be primarily delivered by the office in charge.


The promise of marriage

Once the civil marriage documents are ready, the Civil Status Office will contact the future spouses to set the date of the oath, the much loved “promise.”

In fact, the law established that the so-called publications must be displayed at the Town Hall’s door for eight days. Nothing less than the couple’s clear intention to contract marriage, with the couple’s details and the place where the rite will be celebrated.

If the residence’s municipality is different for the couple, the publications are posted in both cities for 8 days. If the spouses decide to get married in a third town other than their residence, the documentation will be sent to the city chosen.

Publications are free of charge, except for the cost of revenue stamps. If the spouses are residents in the same municipality, a single revenue stamp of 16 euros is enough. If they are resident in different cities, two are required. An additional revenue stamp of 16 euros is required if you decide to get married in another municipality.


Why this apparent invasion of privacy?

Because the law must protect everyone’s interests! The aim is to make public the intention of the engaged couples to marry so that anyone who has a reason can reject it. Objection grounds clearly must fall under some severe legal reasons.

After four days from the end of the publications, the Civil Status Office proceeds to release the permission if no objections have been received. From here, you have 180 days to celebrate the wedding before the validity of the documents expires.

We remember that during the promises, no witnesses are needed. Instead, they are crucial for the marriage and must be equal in number for both spouses.

In short, a relatively simple process! However, let’s see the case of Italians residing abroad and the documents required in this case for civil marriage.


Marriage documents for Italians residing abroad

The process of requesting the documents needed for the marriages of Italians living abroad could be slightly more complicated. A lot depends on the intentions of the spouses. There are, in fact, three different circumstances and three separate procedures. Let’s see them together.

1.Italians residing abroad who wish to celebrate their marriage at an Italian diplomatic or consular representation

In this case, the request to celebrate consular marriage must be completed and submitted (by post, fax, email, or in-person), attached to the identity documents.

Once the application has been accepted, the publications are requested either in person or by proxy. After 3 days from the end of the publications, you have 180 days to get married.

But be careful: the publications must be demanded from the Representation where the consular marriage is to be celebrated. If you stay in two different consular districts, publications must be placed in both.

2.A marriage celebrated abroad with the residence of one of the spouses in a state other than Italy

Suppose the couple has an Italian citizen residing abroad and a citizen (Italian or foreign) living in Italy. In that case, it is necessary to request publications from the diplomatic Representation where the wedding will be celebrated.

This, in turn, will ask the execution to the municipality of residence of the other future spouse. The publications will be for that realized both in Italy and abroad.


If, on the other hand, the marriage is to be celebrated between an Italian citizen residing in Italy and a foreign citizen living abroad – which is the most common event – there are two options:

  • request publications to the diplomatic or consular Representation;
  • request publications to the Italian municipality of residence.

In all cases, the publications will take place in both places.

3.Italians residing abroad who wish to get married in Italy

In case of marriage in Italy for Italians living abroad, the publications must be requested from the Italian diplomatic or consular Representation where they are registered.

This, once the publications have been completed, delegates the Italian Municipality indicated – in the application phase – to celebrate the wedding.

In this case, to ask for publications, it is necessary to go to the consular office with the respective identity documents. If this is not possible, you can delegate a third person with a copy of your documents.

Now let’s see how you can get married in Italy if you are a foreigner residing abroad.

Marriage in Italy for foreigners residing abroad

Which documents are needed to get married in Italy if you have foreign citizenship and are resident abroad? Italy is a gorgeous country. Its fairytale territories welcome hundreds of couples every year who decide to get married here with a dreamy wedding.

Suppose you are not an Italian citizen but want to celebrate your marriage in Italy. In that case, you must submit, according to Italian law, the “Nulla osta to the wedding” released by the authorities of your country or by the foreign embassy in Italy, legalized and translated into Italian. Regarding the legalization and translation of documents, you can find all the information on this page

The nulla osta must contain name, surname, place, date of birth, details of the father and mother (or birth certificate), citizenship, residence, and marital status. If you have previously been married or are a widow, you must indicate your spouse’s date of divorce or death.

If you are a citizen of one of the states that have ratified the 1980 Munich Convention, you can simply present the certificate of marriage capacity emitted by your country, without any legalization. The adhering countries are Austria, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Moldova, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey.


Two states are exceptions: the USA and Australia.

Since there are no authorities in these countries in charge of issuing the permit, the couples wishing to get married in Italy is required:

  • a sworn declaration by a consular officer confirming no impediment to marriage;
  • documents emitted by authorities of the foreign country that give proof of the authorization to marry and the absence of obstacles (including legal ones).

Once the nulla osta has been received, it will be possible to proceed with the consular publications. And finally, you can live your Italian dream!

In short, the documents essential for civil marriage can change, but the procedures remain more or less the same. And there is nothing that can get in the way of you and your love! Or not?

Tania Costantino – Full Service Wedding Planner in Sicily