How Can An American Citizen Get Married in Italy Legally?

Saying I DO to your soulmate is the most beautiful promise, especially if you get married in Italy, the most romantic country in the world! Just imagine exchanging your wedding vows surrounded by the lush rolling Tuscan hills, Rome’s historic landmarks, the gorgeous views of the Amalfi costs, the romantic Venice canal…to only name a few of the most stunning and best regions to get married in Italy!
Saying YES, however, also means that your marital status will change, and you will also need to officialize your union in a foreign country. So if you are an American citizen looking to get married in Italy in a civil ceremony, WedBoard‘s below guide on all the steps and legal requirements to get married in Italy is your ultimate reference. Worry not! It is quite easy to get your civil marriage in Italy legally recognized. You only need to follow the right steps and be organized!

Photo: Elias Kordelakos | Planner: Weddings In Tuscany | Venue: Il Palllaggio (Stings Villa) | Florals: Jardin Divers

What are the documents needed for an American citizen to get married in Italy?

Below is the list of all the required documents for a US citizen to get married in Italy legally:

– Valid U.S. passport

– Birth certificate (original or certified copy)

Evidence of the termination of any previous marriage (if applicable)

– Atto Notorio: The Atto Notorio is basically a declaration that there is no obstacle to your marriage according to US laws. You can get this document from the Italian consulate in the US state you live in or in the Italian city you are getting married in. This declaration has to be done earlier and not 24 hours before the wedding (more on this below). Keep in mind that the document needs to be sworn by two witnesses who are over 18 years old and that you are not related to.

– Affidavit or Dichiarazione Giurata or Nulla Osta: The Nulla Osta is a document that states that there is no legal impediment to your marriage according to the laws of the U.S. state in which you are a resident. The Nulla Osta is issued in Italy by the nearest US Consulate to the Italian city you are getting married in.

Before we go into the steps to legalize your civil wedding in Italy as an American citizen, there are two crucial things to note:

  • All documents from the US or any other country should be translated into Italian by a certified translator. They also need to be authenticated in your nearest Italian consulate for your documents to be valid in Italy.
  • According to Italian law, documents issued outside of Italy or the EU are valid for a duration of 6 months only. So make sure the documents you submit have not been issued more than 6 months ahead.
Venue: Borgo Stomenano | Photo: Stefano Santucci Studio | Florals: Flowers Living | Planner: Spectrum Agency

What are the steps to officialize a wedding in Italy if you are a US citizen?

Here is our easy step-by-step guide to getting married in Italy if you are an American couple. See? While it can seem daunting, you are only 3 easy steps away from legally getting married!

-Step 1: Issuing the Atto Notorio

  • The first step is where you will use your birth certificate, US passport, and divorce certificate, if any. You will need first to translate your documents and have them apostilled. This basically means having them sealed by the Notary Public, the Secretary of State’s Notary Public of the State of origin.
  • Then, you need to authenticate the translations from the Italian Consulate before issuing the Atto Notorio.
  • Once your documents are ready, you can head to the consulate to finalize your process in the presence of two witnesses.
    And now your Atto Notorio is ready!

-Step 2: Issuing the Nulla Osta

  • Book an appointment in the closest US Consulate to the Italian city you are getting married in. Make sure you book your appointment at least 4 days prior o your wedding day
  • The issuance will take approximately 1 hour only.
  • After obtaining the Nulla Osta, you need to legalize the documents at the local “prefettura”

-Step 3: Finalizing the documents at the local town hall

  • Set an appointment at the town hall in Italy at least 3 days prior to your wedding to finalize the rest of the signatures and requirements

-Step 4: You are ready to get married to the love of your life in Italy. YAY!

Your Italian wedding ceremony can now take place on your chosen date, whether at the town hall or at one of the venues of your choice (more and more venues are now authorized to perform legal civil marriages).
The mayor (or one of his colleagues) will perform the rite. And if you wish to, a translator can help you, and your guests understand the ceremony.
Another thing to note is that while you cannot change some of the bureaucracy and procedures of the Italian matrimonial law, you can still personalize your wedding ceremony and make it memorable!
Some of the things you can do are vow readings, playing your favorite wedding music, speeches to create that romantic and intimate atmosphere you always dreamed of! We are always sharing the most inspiring Italian wedding ideas and wedding decor, so stay tuned.

Bride & Groom getting married in Italy
Photo: Facibeni Fotografia | Venue: Villa Cimbrone | Planner: SaraFay Egan

How much does it cost to legalize your wedding in Italy?

We have already broken down the cost of a destination wedding in Italy several times, but here we will delve into the cost of a civil ceremony in Italy and the administrative procedures. Thankfully, the cost of a civil wedding in Italy for an American citizen is not very high!
However, it is hard to give a fixed estimation because the fees change drastically according to various variables like the day (weekday or weekends), date and hour, town hall fees, etc. And this even applies within the same town hall.
The same goes for translation services; sometimes, the wedding planner can also stand for the translator, affecting the fees.

Luckily you can choose the options that suit you as there is a range of prices from affordable to more expensive and the costs are all justified and depend on where you are getting married, whether it is a historic building, an exclusive hall, etc.

Here are a few average ranges to give you an idea of how drastically the fees can vary:
– Venice ranges between EUR 1,600 and EUR 6,000
– Florence fees start from EUR 2,500
– Verona from EUR 500 to EUR 1,500
– Other smaller less famous or touristic town halls will cost EUR 300 to EUR 500 on average .

American Couple getting marred in Italy - Civil Ceremony
Photo: Stefano Santucci Studio | Planner: Blooming Eventi | Venue & Catering :  Villa Mangiacane | Foras: Flowers Living

Some tips and info to help you in the process:

– Be informed and up-to-date:

Stay informed on the lastet processes and requirements for getting married in Itay when you are a US national.
Sometimes the law and processes change, and you don’t want to find yourself caught in the middle without the right documentation. So always double-check online and with the Italian embassy to be extra safe!

– Hire a destination wedding planner in Italy:

An Italian destination wedding planner will handle all the legal documentation & ceremony requirements giving you peace of mind and the opportunity to relax and enjoy your wedding weekend!
Indeed they know the language and exactly which documents to provide and how to proceed with the registration step by step, saving you the much-dreaded back and forth.
Speaking of which, if this is not enough reason for you to hire a wedding planner in Italy, then check out this article on the 9 Reasons To Hire a Destination Wedding Planner In Italy.

– Collect and prepare your documents early on:

The earlier you start planning your wedding in Italy, the better. The same goes for the administrative paperwork, especially when getting married abroad. Between consulates and embassies, stamps, translations, and authentication, you might lose some valuable time.
So starting early to collect and prepare your documents is key for you not to waste your precious time and to reduce the stress of the dreaded legal paperwork (no judgment here, no one likes this part!)

SO? Getting married in Italy as an American citizen doesn’t seem so difficult now, right?
If you are looking to also have a symbolic ceremony or a religious ceremony then we suggest you head to our informative guides on How to get married in Italy in a religious or a symbolic ceremony.

Photo: Ed Peers Photography | Planner: Rossini Weddings | Florals: Il Profumo Dei Fiori | Venue: Villa Gamberaia | Dress: Pallas Couture
Photo: Ed Peers Photography | Planner: Rossini Weddings | Florals: Il Profumo Dei Fiori | Venue: Villa Gamberaia | Dress: Pallas Couture

To make your experience even smoother and seamless, we recommend you head to WedBoard and start the fun part of planning your destination wedding in Italy! Aside from our articles that help you plan your wedding and get inspired, you will find on WedBoard a curated list of the best wedding vendors in Italy and the most professional destination wedding planners in Italy! You will also be able to scout the most stunning wedding venues in your region of choice with our Smart Venue Search feature. So what are you waiting for? Your dream Italian wedding awaits!

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Feature image credits: Photo: Stefano Santucci Studio | Florals: La Rosa Canina Firenze | Planner: Stef Cove – Event Producer | Venue: Castiglion del Bosco

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