Legal requirements for Australian citizens to get married in Italy

If you are an Australian citizen without a permanent residence in Italy, but wish to marry in the land of delicious food and gorgeous landscapes, here we are for you: we can’t stress enough that having an intimate wedding in Italy is the best of options. But please, take notes on all the required documents and the step-by-step process you will need to follow for your civil or religious marriage to run smoothly.

First of all, make sure you leave your country carrying 3 fundamental documents with you:

  1. a valid passport,
  2. your original birth certificate (which must show the names of both your parents and be translated into Italian),
  3. if applicable, evidence of termination of any previous marriage, for example a final divorce decree, an annulment decree or a death certificate of a former spouse.

All these documents need to be originals, photocopies are not accepted.

The “Atto Notorio”

Besides these three, two other important documents are required for Australian citizens to marry in Italy: the “Atto Notorio” and the “Nulla Osta”.

The Atto Notorio should be obtained from the Italian Embassy or nearest Italian Consulate in the state where you reside before leaving for Italy, asking two adult witnesses to assist you. It has a validity of 6 months.

If you are unable to obtain the Atto Notorio from the Italian Embassy or an Italian Consulate in Australia, or plan to be in Italy much ahead the date of the wedding, you may obtain the Atto Notorio from any Civil Court (“Tribunale Civile”) in Italy or from the Civil Registrar (“Ufficiale di Stato Civile”) of the marriage office of the city where you plan to get married.

Please note that you must call beforehand to set an appointment at the Tribunale Civile or at the marriage office.

If you are requesting the Atto Notorio from the Tribunale Civile, you must attend in person together with two adult witnesses and bring with you all your Apostilled documents. If either spouse or one of the witnesses does not speak Italian, it is necessary to provide an English/Italian interpreter, in addition to the two witnesses.

Payments at the Tribunale Civile are made in the form of revenue stamps (“marche da bollo”) which you should purchase in advance at any tobacconist. The amount required varies depending on the urgency of your certificate.

For an urgent certificate issued on the same day, you need to purchase:

  • one duty stamp for the value of 16,00 euros for the original Atto Notorio, which will be kept by the Tribunale Civile;
  • another 16,00 euros duty stamp for your copy of the Atto Notorio;
  • 3 other duty stamps for the value of 6,20 euros each.

If the certificate is not urgent, so you can collect it after 5 days, you need to purchase:

  • one duty stamp for the value of 16,00 euros for the original Atto Notorio, which will be kept by the Tribunale Civile;
  •  another 16,00 euros duty stamp for your copy of the Atto Notorio;
  • 1 other duty stamp for the value of 6,20 euro.

… and the “Nulla Osta”

After the Atto Notorio, an Australian citizen wishing to marry in Italy should take care of the Nulla Osta.

The Nulla Osta is a “Sworn Declaration” to be obtained at the Australian Embassy in Rome or at the Australian Consulate-General in Milan. It states that there is no impediment to the marriage and must be signed, whether you are single, divorced or widowed, in the presence of an Australian Consular officer.

So, you should plan to be in Rome or Milan at least 4 working days prior to the wedding to meet the Australian Consular officer and sign the Nulla Osta in his/her presence.

An appointment is required in order to obtain the Nulla Osta, so make sure you contact the Embassy in Rome or the Consulate-General in Milan in advance.

Decor for a small wedding reception in Italy

If you have been married previously, please provide evidence of the termination of your marriage. The Consular officer who witnesses your signature for the Nulla Osta will need to see, where applicable, your original divorce certificate or the death certificate of your former spouse.

Keep in mind that a divorced woman who wishes to marry again within 300 days of the date of her divorce must contact the local Italian authorities and seek special permission from an Italian magistrate to remarry. Otherwise, a divorcee must allow the required period of 300 days to elapse.

The Nulla Osta is valid for 3 months and costs the Euro equivalent of 70,00 Australian Dollars for each Australian citizen.

Once you have obtained the Nulla Osta, it will have to be legalised by the “Ufficio Legalizzazioni” of the Prefettura. You can take the document to any Prefettura office in Italy.

Before going to the Prefettura, you will need again to purchase a 16,00 euros revenue stamp. This stamp will be applied to your Nulla Osta by the Prefettura official who performs the certification.

A trip to the marriage office

For your civil ceremony, take the Atto Notorio and Nulla Osta to the marriage office in the Italian city where you plan to marry. If you do not speak Italian, you should seek the assistance of someone who speaks Italian and can provide a simple translation. If you’d like someone else to take care of this errand, please ask the town hall before if it’s possible for the couple to delegate it.

At this time, you will be given an appointment to lodge your “Declaration of Intention to Marry”, and another one for the actual marriage ceremony. The first appointment usually happens two days before the ceremony, but it can also be that they’re both scheduled the same day: this is something that needs to be discussed previously with the town hall.

Many town halls in Italy are very nice and antique buildings of the middle-ages, some also have outdoors spaces where you will be able to celebrate you wedding. It’s very likely that you will have to pay a fee being a non resident, which varies depending on the town hall, the day/time of the wedding and in some case your nationality.

So, the Declaration of Intention to Marry is followed by the civil ceremony. You may apply for a marriage certificate (“certificato di matrimonio”) shortly before the wedding ceremony and you should receive it immediately after the ceremony.

Also, ask to have an Apostille affixed to the Italian marriage certificate by the Italian authorities at the Prefettura of the city where you get married, so that it’s legally valid once you return back to Australia.

Finally, if one of the spouses is Italian or an Australian with Italian residency, the Italian authorities may require that banns (“pubblicazioni di matrimonio”) are posted for at least two weeks before the date of the marriage.

We suggest to contact the marriage office of the city where you intend to marry in order to obtain more detailed information regarding this requirement.

… and you can finally get married!

We’re pretty sure that with all these informations you’ll be ok but, of course, always contact the marriage office of the city in Italy were you intend to marry in order to obtain more detailed information on marriage requirements (including the list of documents that you need to present); or, needless to say, ask your wedding planner for support to have the greatest small wedding in Italy!

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