How to get married in Italy for USA citizens?

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How to get married in Italy

How to get married in Italy for USA citizens?

Paperwork for USA citizens to get married in Italy:

Once you decide to get married in Italy, you will need to be informed about paperwork if you choose to have a legally-binding wedding .

For the couples who book my Full-Service Wedding Planning I take care of the paperwork procedure together with my legal advisor who is specilized in legal weddings for foreign couples in Italy.

Please consult the Italian consulate website for USA Citizens: https://it.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/marriage/

Here is a summary of the documents you must have in order to begin the process:

–          Valid U.S passport

–          Original Birth Certificate or a certified copy

–          If you had a previous marriage the evidence that it has finished (divorce or annulment decree, death certificate of the former spouse, etc.). Please be advised that if the woman has been divorced and want to get remarried in Italy, she must wait a period of 300 days since the Official Decree before remarrying.

Otherwise if she wants to get married before this period, she must obtain a waiver (upon presentation of medical evidence that she is not pregnant) from the Italian District Attorney’s Office at the court in the city where the new marriage will be performed.

Then to get married you need to obtain:

–          Atto Notorio: This is a declaration, stating that according to the laws to which you are subject to  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; please be advised that they cannot be family members, future family members or affiliatesbefore an Italian consul outside Italy or, in Italy, before a court official in the city where the marriage will take place.  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.  Otherwise if you decide to request the Atto Notorio in Italy, you should contact the Notary Services Office of the court 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. You will need to buy stamps to apply for the Atto Notorio, which generally will be ready for pick-up after 4 to 10 days.

–          “Dichiarazione Giurata” sworn to before an American consular officer commissioned 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.” To save time you can complete the form before your appointment, 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 stamps and present each document so that it can be authenticated.

–          Declaration of Intention to Marry: You should present all the above-listed documents to the Marriage Office of the Town Hall in the city where the marriage will be performed, and make a “Declaration of Intention to Marry” before a civil registrar . If you do not speak Italian, an interpreter should accompany you.  When all of this is completed, you can finally set the date of your wedding.

 After the Declaration of Intention to Marry has been filed, Civil Banns are posted at the Town Hall for two consecutive weeks, including two Sundays, before the marriage can take place.  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 depending on the town hall regulations.

Civil and religious ceremony process:

Civil Ceremony: A civil ceremony is performed by the mayor or one of his deputies. Two witnesses of any nationality (over 18 with valid photo identification) and, if necessary, an interpreter, must be present at the ceremony. Please note that a witness cannot serve as an interpreter.  You will have to pay a rental fee for the marriage hall, which varies according to the location, season and day of the week.

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.  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 the priest, minister, or rabbi far in advance of the actual ceremony.

The Apostille: to get married in Italy all foreign documets must be legalilly translate into Italian.

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 legally 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.

 How to get a marriage legally recognized in the US?

After the wedding,  the couple has to ask for an original copy of the wedding contract ( “atto di matrimonio”), and will need to have it legalized through the ‘apostille’ procedure by the Legalization office of the Italian local Prefettura (having jurisdiction where the marriage was performed).

Please be advised: consult the appropriate Italian authorities.

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 to have 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 waiting lists are not uncommon, particularly in more popular towns and at certain times of the year, such as May, June or September.


Click to read the most important FAQ’s about how a legal wedding is performed in Italy

Although I am not a lawyer, I am happy to help set up these first few appointments and help guide you through the general procedure; then I would advise speaking to a trained legal professional who can help you to complete the entire process.


To start the above process, feel free to contact me, and we can discuss everything that you will need to get married in Italy!


How to get married in Italy for USA citizens? ultima modifica: 2018-08-04T13:42:24+02:00 da Michela Lunardi
  • Vanessa Moore
    12 April 2020 at 3:19

    Well written post.

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