Generally speaking, in terms of the administration and paperwork required, we recommend that couples actually formally marry in England, with the following celebrations taking place abroad in Italy. If however, you want to formally wed in Italy, this is what you need to do:
- Make contact with the local commune (ie. town hall) before you make any major plans. They will be able to advise you on the marriage laws local to that area, as well as what documents will be necessary in the process. Legally, you cannot start this process more than 6 months prior to your wedding ceremony.
- It is essential to acquire a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). This is basically a form that proves that you can legally get married. These certificates are issued in the UK so you’ll have to contact your local registry office in order to get hold of one. This certificate has to be signed and dated by your local registrar and is always valid in England, Wales & Northern Ireland, but (bizarrely) only 3 months in Scotland. Similarly, it is worth checking with the local Italian authorities to find out how long a CNI is valid for under local law. The name you put on your CNI form needs to be written exactly the same as is written on your passport – or it may be rejected by the Italians.
- Whilst you wait for the CNI to come through, a statutory declaration will need to be made by you and your partner in front of a solicitor or public notary in the UK. A solicitor is generally cheaper but it is definitely worth shopping around to find the best price! This declaration form should be handed over in conjunction with your CNI form.
- Once you’ve got both the CNI form and the statutory declaration, you have to get them ‘legalised’ with a Hague Apostille at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), which is based in London. There will be a fee for this service, so be aware of the costs on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office beforehand.
- The CNI has to be professionally translated into Italian as it will become a formal Italian legal document and be sworn before the Italian courts or an Italians Justice of the Peace. Thankfully, there is no need for the Statutory Declaration to be translated as it is already in both Italian & English.
- For the wedding itself, an interpreter and two witnesses have to be present, and your marriage certificate will be issued to your after the ceremony. Phew!
- Birth certificate.
- Certificate of No Impediment (issued & legalised in the UK, but officially translated in sunny Italy).
- A bilingual Statutory Declaration that has been legalised in the UK.
- Divorce certificate (if necessary from previous marriage).
- Death certificate (if you have been widowed).