I often drop in to some of the Italy wedding forums that are out there to see if I can help out or just to say “hi”. It is great see brides interacting with each other – sharing experiences, giving advice on all manner of wedding planning items.
Recently though I have had a few heart stopping moments reading some recent posits and this is because I can see information being shared on the legal process for getting married in Italy that has not been explained very well or the person sharing has not understood and is giving a personal interpretation of what is required and this will cause problems down the line when it may be too late to do anything about it.
We do offer guidance with legal process as part of our bespoke wedding planning service – we also do not want couples to find themselves with incorrect and incomplete documents just before their wedding day.
To help all brides and grooms resident in the UK who are about to begin the legal process here are some key points which I hope will be clear and easily understood so those who wish to take on this part of wedding planning you will have the info you need.
If you live in England, Northern Ireland and Wales the legal process can begin 6 months from the date of your wedding. For example if your wedding date is to take place on 10th September, you can begin the legal process after 10th April.
If you live in Scotland the legal process cannot begin more than 3 months prior to the wedding date.
Under the current process there are two key documents:
Certificate of No Impediment: this is obtained from your local registry office. If you and your partner do not live together then you must contact the registry office that covers your county.
Statutory Declaration: this is a bilingual document which must be signed and dated in front of a notary. There is a standard template available.
The CNI will take 28 days to issue from the date of your appointment
The Statutory Declaration document can be done while you are waiting for your CNIs
The documents ( 2 x Certificates of No Impediment and 2 x Statutory Declarations) must then go to the Legalisation Department of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in Milton Keynes to obtain Apostille stamps ( one on each document). This can be organised online by the couple or you can ask the notary if they offer this service – you will be charged for the notary’s time & assistance as well as the cost of the apostilles. The Legalisation Department give a turnaround of 2 days allowing for postage/courier service, however during peak times – Easter and Summer this can be up to 10 days or more.
What needs to be done in Italy. Once you have the documents back from the Legalisation Department you then need to organise getting the Certificate of No Impediment documents translated into Italian in Italy and obtain official stamps.
The documents can then be sent to the Town Hall where you are getting married.
Remember you will require an interpreter if you do not speak Italian and two witnesses over the age of 18 years. You will need to provide details for your witnesses to the Town Hall.
Your personal circumstances are extremely important as these can affect what you will need to do, for some it could be as simple as providing additional documents, if divorced you will need to provide your Decree Absolute. If however you are marrying a citizen of another country then you will each need to follow the relevant process for your nationality which can involve presenting yourselves at your Embassy in Italy and obtaining authorising stamps from a separate government office.
Here are some situations where a different process is in place:
UK citizen or couple living in a third country ( not Italy or the UK)
Your options are:
- To give notice of marriage in Rome, or
- Return to the UK and follow the process above.
Both obviously will require you to plan enough time to meet the residency requirements. You can find out more by visiting the link below.
This is a complex issue especially for UK citizens whose parents are Italian/English. Depending on whether heritage is through the paternal or maternal line it could be you are considered an Italian citizen which may dictate how you are able to get married in Italy. More information on this can be found on the Italian Embassy website.
UK citizen marrying an Italian citizen resident abroad (A.I.R.E)
Contact the Italian Embassy in London as they will manage most of the documentation.
The UK citizen must still produce a CNI and Statutory Declaration with Apostilles.
Civil Unions in Italy
UK same-sex couples in the UK follow the process as detailed above.. However in Italy the couple who wish to have a civil union must present themselves at a Town Hall in Italy two times.
The first to make the request or civil union and the second for the civil union to take place, this will be no earlier than 15 days after the request for civil union is made.
Expedite Apostille Service
Accent Events is registered with the Foreign & Commonwealth office to provide this service for obtaining Apostilles at short notice. It is an option that may help couples who may find themselves in a sticky situation when it comes to the legal process. Expediting the legalisation of a document is mainly for urgent cases – where there is still a small margin of time for the document to be legalised with the Apostille on a same day turnaround.
This service is subject to availability and as long as:
We receive your documents by 4pm the day before traveling to London, as an appointment must be booked in advance and a time slot for the following day is allocated.
Payment for the Accent Events Premium Service is received by bank transfer at the time of booking the service together with payment for the Apostilles.
You provide clear instruction to us for onward delivery once the Apostille(s) have been obtained.
Please note that for the expedite service The Foreign & Commonwealth Office charge is £75 each Apostille (using the normal service the cost is £30 each)
If you would like to discuss your circumstances relating to getting married in Italy you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on getting married abroad visit the Gov.uk website