If you are in Italy and want to marry a foreign citizen or an Italian, you do not necessarily need to have a permit of stay or residence to do so.
You can get married in Italy according to your country’s national laws before a diplomatic or consular authority of your country in Italy, or according to Italian law before a civil state officer (‘ufficiale di stato civile’ in Italian) of your Comune or with a religious ceremony with civil effects in Italy.
If you are an asylum-seeker or refugee, you cannot contact your country’s authorities, so that you can get married according to the Italian law only.
This article will focus on marriage in Italy according to Italian law before a civil state officer. However, if you are having a religious marriage, you can also use this guide to know about publication and required documents, since they are the same as the civil ceremony.
You can use this article to learn more about:
- Getting married in Italy
- Where and how to get married
- Necessary documents
- How to get the Nulla Osta for marriage
Things to know before getting married in Italy
If you choose to celebrate your marriage in Italy under Italian law, you must follow some conditions which include: the minimum age limit of 18, or 16 years with Juvenile Court authorization, and must not already be in a marriage.
In Italy, same-sex marriages are possible. They are called ‘unioni civili’ (civil unions in English), and entail similar rights and duties to a marriage.
The law does not explicitly say that you cannot get married as an asylum seeker in Italy, so you could do so in your local municipality.
If I got refugee status because of my sexual orientation and I get married to a different-sex partner, would this affect my status?
The answer really depends on the evaluation of the Territorial Commission on your individual case. Indeed, your personal story and the country of origin information will be taken into account.
If you got refugee status on the grounds of your homosexuality, and you decide to marry a different-sex partner, the Territorial Commission may not renew your permit. This is because the Commission may think that you made up your story to get the protection. This is why we strongly suggest that you seek the advice of a lawyer.
Il Grande Colibrì offers orientation to LGBTQIA migrants. Please, find a helpdesk here.
Where and how to get married
You will have to go together with the person you want to marry to the Wedding Office of your municipality (‘Ufficio Matrimoni del Comune’ in Italian), or the Office of Civil State (‘Ufficio di Stato Civile’ in Italian).
You will need some specific documents to start the process for your wedding. Once the documentation has been submitted, the municipality will proceed with the publication (‘pubblicazioni’ in Italian) of marriage. That is, making a public notice of the intention of the spouses to marry, for at least 8 days.
You have to request the publication of marriage at the municipality where you or your partner are residents. If you do not have any residence in Italy, the Office of Civil State where the marriage will take place may ask you to do a self-declaration instead of the publication.
You will have to celebrate the marriage within 180 days from the end of the publication.
If you do not speak Italian, you’ll need an interpreter to go with you when you request the publication and on the day of your marriage.
What documents are required?
In general, you do not necessarily need to have a permesso di soggiorno nor be a resident to get married in Italy. To marry at your local Comune in Italy, you will need:
- Valid identity document of you and your spouse-to-be (e.g. passport)
- Nulla Osta for marriage (unless you are a refugee: in this case you only need a self-declaration where you state you are not married)
- If you are marrying an Italian or EU citizen, he/she will present 'stato civile' and 'certificato di nascita' (civil status and birth certificate in English)
- If previously married, you need to present proof of the termination of the marriage (such as the divorce decree or ex-spouse's death certificate, if applicable)
All documents must be translated and legalized.
If your Comune refuses to proceed with the marriage because of your permit or lack of permit, you can contact the ASGI anti-discrimination service here.
The Nulla Osta for marriage
The Nulla Osta is the fundamental document you will need to get married as a foreigner in Italy.
The Nulla Osta is a sort of Affidavit certifying that there are no legal impediments to your marriage under the laws of your country of origin. It must indicate: your name and surname, date and place of birth, paternity and maternity, nationality, residence and civil status.
The Nulla Osta can be issued by:
- The competent authority of your country of origin, and it must be translated and legalized by the Italian Embassy or Consulate
- The Embassy of your country in Italy, and it must be legalized by the Prefettura
What if I am a refugee?
Since refugees cannot contact the authorities or embassy of their country, before January 2022 the UNHCR was in charge of issuing the Nulla Osta for marriage to refugees. However, it is no longer like that.
According to a communication of the Interior Ministry, if you hold asilo politico you will only need to present a written self-declaration ('dichiarazione sostitutiva ai sensi del Dpr. n. 445/2000' in Italian) where you state that you are unmarried, or any other certificate testifying your unmarried status.
What if I am an asylum seeker or holder of subsidiary protection or other kind of protection?
If you cannot have contact with the authorities of your country of origin because you are an asylum seeker, or you don’t want it because you have another protection, you can replace the Nulla Osta with an affidavit (‘atto notorio’ in Italian) issued by tribunal, setting out your unmarried status, or a self declaration (‘dichiarazione sostitutiva dell’atto di notorietà’ in Italian) certified by the local municipality, or a notarized letter (‘atto notarile’ in Italian).
This also holds true if you want to enter into a civil union with your partner and you cannot obtain the Nulla Osta from your country’s authorities, because your country does not allow same-sex civil partnerships.
In the case that the civil state officer rejects your request, you can appeal the decision with the help of a lawyer.
You can find more information here.
What Permesso can I request if I get married?
If you get married to or have a civil union with a foreign citizen who has a permit of stay that is valid for at least one year, you could request a family permit (Permesso per Motivi Familiari) or convert your permit for this motive. Your family permit will have the same validity of your spouse’s permit.
If you get married to or have a civil union with an Italian or EU citizen, you can request a family permit (Carta di Soggiorno per Familiari Comunitari) valid for 5 years.
To apply, you will have to book the appointment at the Questura through the Post Office. You will need:
- Your valid national passport
- Marriage certificate
- Copy of your residence permit (if you have one)
- Copy of the valid permit or ID document of your spouse
- € 16.00 revenue stamp (‘marca da bollo’ in Italian)
- Payment receipts
- Other documents - Questura may ask for other documents depending on the individual case.
What if I get married after an expulsion order?
If you got an expulsion order and later you get married to a foreigner with a valid permit of stay, or an Italian or EU citizen, you may risk being expelled anyways. Indeed, the marriage does not annul the expulsion order.
After the marriage, you could try requesting a family permit and filing a request to the Italian authorities for deleting your personal details from the Schengen Information System (SIS). The Questura will evaluate on a case-by-case approach if you can be granted a family permit.
We suggest that you speak with your lawyer, who is the right person who can advise you on this.
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