Marriage between a foreigner and an Italian citizen, or between two foreigners if only one fulfils the residence qualification
Those who marry in Italy including foreigners are subject to Italian family law.
In order to marry either an Italian citizen or a non-EU citizen resident in the country, it’s not necessary to have the Permit of Stay. One is however expected to have a valid identity document such as a passport.
A non-EU citizen who wants to marry in Italy must go to his/her Embassy/Consulate in Italy and apply for the Certificate of no impediment to marriage (Nulla Osta).
This is a document declaring that in accordance with the laws of the applicant’s home country, there is nothing that can stop the person from contracting marriage.
The Certificate of no impediment to marriage must by legalized by the prefect’s office. This is done to certify that the signature on the document issued by the Embassy/Consulate is authentic.
If the foreign citizen has a valid Permit of Stay and is a resident in Italy, he/she must also apply for a Certificate of residence and Certificate of Marital Status showing that he/she is single and free to marry. This certificate can be obtained from the Ufficio Stato Civile at the Comune (City Council) of residence. A €14.62 revenue stamp is required for this certificate.
It is important to note that some Embassies or Consulates in Italy don’t issue the Certificate of no impediment to marriage to foreigners who don’t have the Permit of Stay and the passport.
In these cases, since the Certificate of no impediment to marriage is required in order to marry in Italy, the foreign citizen may be obliged to travel to his/her home country to obtain it.
If one would like to hold a religious marriage either in the Catholic Church or in any other religion recognized by the Italian State, then enquiries about religious marriages should be made direct to the minister of religion of the particular denomination concerned.
Having obtained the Certificate of no impediment to marriage and legalized it at the prefect’s office, the fiancées must go to the Civil Registrar’s Office (“Ufficio anagrafe”) of the City Council of residence and make a declaration of their intention to marry.
They must submit the following documents
1. Valid ID documents
2. Birth certificates, legalised by their Embassies/Consulates in Italy;
3. Certificates of no impediment to marriage issued by their respective Embassies/Consulates;
4. Certificates of residence and Certificates of Marital Status showing that each party is single and free to marry
5. If one of the fiancées is an Italian citizen, he/she can self-certify the Marital Status
6. Application submitted to the Parish Priest of religious minister who will celebrate the marriage.
After receiving all the necessary documents, the Civil Registrar proceeds with the publication of the banns.
Eight days (including at least 2 Sundays) after the publication of the banns, the Civil Registrar will issue a certificate showing that the banns were published.
This document must be presented within 180 days, to the Civil Registrar at the City Council where marriage is to be celebrated in order to fix the date for marriage.
On the day of marriage, the fiancées will publicly exchange vows before the Civil Registrar. Each of the fiancées must have two witnesses.
If the witnesses are foreigners, they’ll be required to have valid Permits of Stay. The fiancées can request for a translator during the marriage if neither party speaks Italian.
Cases for which different procedures apply
A foreigner who has been recognised as a refugee under the Geneva Convention
If one is recognized as a refugee, he/she must apply for the Certificate of no impediment to marriage from the UNHCR by swearing in an affidavit at the prefect. The affidavit must show the refugee’s name: surname: country of origin and Civil Status of two witnesses, together with their IDs.
- A US citizen must present an oath notarized by an American Consul in Italy which states that there are no obstacles to the American’s marriage as defined under American laws, and the birth certificate
Marriage and Property Ownership
According to Italian law, money earned by either spouse during marriage and all property bought with those earnings are considered community property, that is owned equally by husband and wife. (Community of Property regime). If the spouses prefer the Separate Property regime to Community of Property regime, they must declare it at the time of marriage.
Marriage between two foreign citizens living illegally in Italy
Two foreigners who are living in Italy illegally can only celebrate their marriage at their Embassy/Consulate in Italy. In such a case the family laws of their home countries are applied so the fiancées should check with their Embassies/Consulates to find out the required documents.
Marriage celebrated at the Embassy/Consulate between two foreigners living in Italy illegally doesn’t entitle the spouses to be issued the Italian Permit of Stay.
By Mascia Salvatore