Get Married in Italy – Legal Requirements for American Citizens

Get Married in Italy – Legal Requirements for American Citizens

In this post, I’m going to give you all the pieces to the puzzle. This information will give you all you need in order to get married in Italy, and to make it legal in the United States.

Paperwork and bureaucracy has always been a headache for me, and even more so when there are complicated terms and names used. I’m going to explain the entire process to you in the most easy language possible.

First and foremost, the most important thing is that this post is only for American couples interested in having a destination wedding in Italy. This document is assuming both individuals getting married are USA citizens.

Are you ready to jump in?

Step 1: Obtain the necessary documents for the Atto Notorio

Before leaving the States, the first Italian document you will need to obtain is called the “Atto Notorio”, also known as the“Affidavit”. This is basically a declaration stating that you and your fiancé are who you say you are, that you are free to marry each other.

Here are the documents that you will need in order to get the Atto Notorio:

a) Your and your fiancé’s birth certificates. You can order the certificates online, but you need to make sure that you are ordering the long-form birth certificates which show your parent’s full names.

b) If one of you is divorced or widowed, continue reading, if not, jump to point c).

If you are divorced or widowed, you will need your original divorce decree or the death certificate of your previous spouse. Here in Italy, there’s a law that says that women whose previous marriage was terminated within the last 300 days will need to obtain a waiver from the Italian District Attorney’s Office. I personally don’t understand this law, but it seems that this is to ensure that the bride isn’t pregnant with another man’s baby. The District Attorney will also be asking for medical evidence.

c) Once you have these documents ready, you will have to send them in for translation (to a certificated translator), and you will alsoneed to apostille them. The apostilles don’t require you to be there, you can send the documents via mail to the Secretary of State’s Notary Public of your specific state.

d) Both of your passports and one copy each.

e) Two witnesses with their ID and a copy of it (it can be their driver’s license). The number of witnesses needed will vary from state to state, but when you get your appointment at the Italian embassy/consulate in the States, double check with them as to how many witnesses you are going to need to bring in order to get the Atto Notorio.

Once you have these documents ready, translated and apostilled, you have to go on to step 2.


Step 2: Make an appointment at the nearest Italian Embassy/Consulate in the United States.

This step can be a little bit tricky at times, because there is not an Italian embassy or consulate in every state within the USA. For example, if you are in New York, you are lucky because there is an Italian consulate in New York, but if you live in Nevada, you will have to travel to Los Angeles  or another area where there is an Italian embassy or consulate to get the proper Atto notorio. Click here to find your nearest Italian embassy/consulate in the USA.

Super important! You must receive your Atto Notorio three months prior to your wedding date in Italy. For example, if you are going to get married in Italy during the month of May, you must receive your atto notorio in the month of February, and not earlier, otherwise, it will expire by the time you get married.

Once you have scheduled your appointment, take your witnesses to the embassy/consulate, present your documents, and then you will have to swear an oath. Then, you’re done! You will have received your first Italian document! Whoohoo!

Make sure that at the top of the page of the Atto Notorio the details “Repubblica Italiana” and “Consolato Generale D’Italia” are specifically written, otherwise the Atto Notorio is not valid.

Step 3: The Nulla Osta

You will get the Nulla Osta in Italy at the USA embassy or consulate (in Milan, Genoa, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples or Palermo).

Like with the Atto Notorio, to get the Nulla Osta, you will need to do a sworn statement that there are no impediments as to why that cannot get legally married in Italy. You have to make an appointment in order to get the Nulla Osta, and this document is valid for 6 months. This document costs $50 USD per person, or the equivalent in euros. You can schedule your appointment here. You have to schedule it one month before your wedding date.

Don’t forget to bring all the original of your documents,  both your passports and your $50 per person with you to the appointment.

Very important! Your full name has to be written in the same way on both your passports, atto notorio, and on the nulla osta. Otherwise, your paperwork will not be valid. *Brides, you will have to write out your maiden name!

You will receive two Nulla Osta documents, one for the bride and one for the groom.

Another important factor is that the USA embassy/consulate gives out appointments only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so make sure you arrive in Italy in order to complete the process successfully.


Step 4: Legalize the Nulla Osta at the Prefettura

Once you have completed the process of the Nulla Osta documentation, you will then have to take your documents to the local “Prefettura” of the district where you are getting married at (prefecture office) so that they can legalize them (Ufficio Legalizzazione) . You will have to bring with you two “marca da bollo”(revenue stamps) that will cost €16 each, you can purchase the stamps at any “Tabaccheria” (Tobacco shop), search for this sign

Step 5: Declaration of Intention to Marry

Okay … we’re almost done!

Set an appointment at the Town hall where you want to get married. Complete a “Declaration of Intention to Marry”. Present all the documents that you have to the Marriage office (Ufficio Matrimoni).

Important: if you do not speak Italian, you must take an interpreter with you.

You can find a complete list of town halls in Italy here.

If both individuals are residents of the USA, you will not need to post banns or do anything else.

That’s it!!! Now, you will be ready to have your civil wedding in Italy! For information as to how a civil wedding in Italy is performed, check out this post.

If you think that this process is complicated, if you want to avoid any mistakes, or if you have problems finding an interpreter or making the proper appointments, I can help you every step of the way! And, even better, I can help you complete the “Atto Notorio” here in Italy so you can enjoy the luxury of free time and not have to stress over any detail of the paperwork.

If you are ready to have your destination Italian wedding and to make it legal in the Unites States, then contact me today!