Don’t forget your papers! Documents and requirements for getting married in Italy

When planning a wedding, there are countless details to keep track of. When planning a destination wedding in a foreign country, the details and requirements multiply exponentially – and then it’s all in another language, with unfamiliar processes, and the whole thing can be a challenge. Apart from seeking the advice and guidance of an experienced wedding planner on the ground locally, you would be wise to study the documentation and requirements needed and gather everything you need well in advance of coming to Italy for your wedding.


First and foremost, no matter your nationality, you are going to need the following documents – and they need to be current (produced and/or validated within three months of your wedding date):

  • Your passports
  • Certificate of no impediment to marriage
  • Nulla osta (an authorization form issued by a consulate of foreign authority)

There will then be different requirements depending on your nationality. For instance, US and Australian citizens will be required to produce additional documents.

These documents might include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Evidence of termination of previous marriages
  • Atto Notorio (should be obtained from the Italian consulate before leaving the home country), which is a declaration that the individual in question is legally allowed to marry according to the laws of that country (this is common in the United States).

These documents should be gathered, translated into Italian and certified with an official Apostille for the legalization of foreign public documents.

Regardless of your ultimate plan, marriage in Italy requires this and other paperwork to be considered legally binding. All weddings are civil ceremonies first, and if you are adding a religious ceremony, all the paperwork for both kinds of ceremony must be prepared and ready well in advance.

All wedding ceremonies are required in Italy to be performed in an official “comune” or town-hall facility or authorized church. There are not many churches or castles in Italy that hold the authority to offer legally binding ceremonies, so it is easiest to plan a legal civil ceremony and then to have a symbolic or religious ceremony at the location you desire.

The primary rules, first and foremost, for marrying in Italy:

  • The bride and groom must both be legally unmarried, divorced or widowed. They also may not be related to first or second degree, even by adoption).
  • A woman divorced less than 300 days before the new wedding will need to provide a medical certificate stating that she is not pregnant.
  • Catholic weddings, if either party had been married before, cannot be performed. The only exception is if the Catholic party to the relationship obtains a nullification of the previous wedding, which is a very time consuming process. There are detailed rules governing Catholic ceremonies as well.
  • If neither party is Italian or a resident of Italy, banns are waived. The nulla osta is enough. Or the authorization of a competent authority is needed to attest that there are no impediments to the wedding taking place. This will include the name, surname, date and place of birth, residency, nationality, marital status, full names of parents and a birth certificate.
  • In most cases, couples of all nationalities will need to meet their country’s consular officer in person, meaning that the trip to Italy to get all these pieces of documentation should take this into consideration. Many consulates only exist in Rome or Milan.
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Patrizia Saraga

Patrizia Saraga

What a long list of things could summarize my passions: style, details, colours, trends... but also artworks, interior design... If not clear, I'm the stylish and creative part of the…

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