MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS FOR AN ELOPEMENT TO ITALY
While it does take some advance preparation to marry legally in glorious Italy, the rewards of eloping to such a dazzling destination are many. Italy is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but also so rich with history and culture that your luxury elopement can easily translate to the trip of your dreams (plus, your wedding photos will be the envy of everyone you know). Most of the required paperwork is obtained conveniently stateside, and the language barrier in Italia is practically nonexistent. Take a look at the requirements for a legal* elopement below, and decide if you want your nuptials to be made in Italy.
Basic Marriage Requirements for Italy
In order for your elopement to be legally recognized worldwide, you will need to fulfill the legal requirements specific to marriage in Italy. The general requisites below are uniform across the country:
The bride and groom must be at least 18 years of age or have written parental consent
The bridal couple must have a Declaration of Intention to Marry
Civil banns must be posted at the town hall
The officiant/celebrant must be must be either a mayor, a deputy of the mayor, or a
The marriage ceremony must be performed in the presence of two witnesses over the age
A translator must be present if any of the parties (bride, groom, or either witness) does not speak Italian
Please note that the various districts may differ on the some of the specifics – for instance, many will waive or shorten the duration of banns-posting for non-citizens of Italy. Contact the Registrar's Office of the town hall in the area where you plan to elope in order to confirm all the details in advance.
Declaration of Intent to Marry
Before you can set a wedding date in Italy, you must be granted a Declaration of Intent to Marry, which requires several documents. Obtaining, legalizing, and filing the documents local to Italy will take time, so we recommend doing as much as you can ahead of time from the states.
Required U.S. Documents:
Valid U.S. passport (active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces can present their military ID card instead)
Original or certified copies of birth certificate
Decree Absolute(s)/Annulment Decree(s) in the case of dissolution of previous marriage(s)
Death certificate(s) in the case of widow- or widowerhood
Baptismal and Confirmation certificates in the case of a Roman Catholic wedding
All of the above Apostilled through Secretary of State's Notary Public of the state the documents originated in, and translated into Italian. The translations of your certificates will need to be authenticated by the Italian Consulate.
Required Documents Specific to Italy:
Atto Notorio (Declaration of Freedom to Marry). This declaration, made in front of an Italian Consulate and sworn to by witnesses, states that there is no obstacle to your marriage according to the laws to which you are subject in the United States. You can make this declaration at the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate either in the United States or Italy, so we strongly recommend that you take care of this document while still in the states. Set up an appointment with the Italian Consulate nearest you, and ask in advance how many witnesses are required (the number varies by location). NOTE: Make sure that at the top of the page of the Atto Notorio the detail "Repubblica Italiana" and "Consolato Generale D'Italia" are specifically written, otherwise the document won't be valid in Italy. Get detailed instructions on obtaining an Atto Norotio in Italy.
Dichiarazione Giurata (Affidavit of Freedom to Marry). In addition to an Atto Notorio, you are also required to obtain a Dichiarazione Giurata before an American consular officer commissioned in Italy. This affidavit states that there is no legal impediment to your marriage per the laws of the U.S. state in which you are a resident, and that according to your legal status, you are free to legally marry under both Italian and U.S. law. You can complete all but the signature on the form in advance – you'll need to sign the document at in front of the Consular General in person, together. The Dichiarazione Giurata is valid for six months. To legalize your Dichiarazione Giurata once it's been issued, bring it to the nearest Legalization Office (Ufficio Legalizzazioni) and present it to the clerk at the Prefettura (an Italian government office) with payment. You can purchase a €16 revenue stamp (marca da bollo) from any tobacco shop (tabacchi) to use for payment.
Once all of your papers are in order, you may schedule an appointment with the Marriage Office of the town hall where you will be married to present them and make the Declaration of Intention to Marry. [See sidebar for contact information.]
Certification of Marriage Certificate
After your ceremony, you will be presented with a marriage certificate that you'll need to have Apostilled before you leave Italy to ensure its legality in the United States.
If a Roman Catholic priest performs your ceremony, your marriage is automatically valid and the priest will register it with the civil authorities. However, a religious ceremony performed by non-Roman Catholic clergy is not legally recognized in Italy, so you'll need to have a civil ceremony performed in lieu of or prior to your religious one.
Marriages at the Vatican
Contrary to its physical location, the Vatican is a state that is separate from Italy. The Civil Registry of Vatican City Marriages (Ufficio di Stato Civile, Anagrafe e Notariato, Governatorato, Citta del Vaticano) issues marriage certificates, and Vatican civil authorities register marriages. Also, while you will still be required to possess a notarized Dichiarazione Giurata, you won't need it to be legalized by an Italian prefettura office. For complete information on English-language marriages at the Vatican, contact the parish priest of Santa Susanna Church.
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