Canadians who wish to get legally married in Italy with a civil wedding need to go through several steps both in Canada and in Italy before the wedding day.
If you are Canadian and you are looking to get married in Tuscany, you should remember that:
- legally binding civil weddings can only be performed in a Town or City Hall (Municipio) or on dedicated public properties (gardens and villas that belong to the City and have been designated as a possible ceremony venue by the Mayor). It is not possible to have a legally-binding civil wedding at a private villa or in a park, etc;
- only designated public officials can perform the wedding ceremony (the Mayor or one of the city councilors), so you may not have a friend or relative perform your wedding;
- you can get married in a town hall and then have a symbolic ceremony with your guests at a nicer venue. Please be aware that the legally binding ceremony is the actual signing of the registers at the town hall, and that the symbolic ceremony has no legal value. Anybody may act as a symbolic celebrant even one of your guests;
- the documents required for a legally binding civil wedding are only valid for 6 months, so there is no point in starting the procedure more than 6 months prior to your wedding date;
- you will need to be in Italy at least 5 days prior to the date of your wedding, preferably a week;
- you will need to be assisted by a translator in case your mastery of Italian is not perfect and you will need at least two witnesses for the wedding ceremony.
If your heart is set on getting legally married in Tuscany, the first thing to do is to choose the town or city hall where you want to get married and your wedding date.
Before committing to a specific date and time, you might want to check the availability of the ceremony venue you have chosen. Some town halls only allow people to get married on certain days and at certain times, and the most popular ones book up even 12 months in advance. So, before printing invitations or save the date cards, make sure to book your ceremony venue.
Getting married in a town hall has a cost which varies from the minimum tax required by law for civil weddings to a maximum of 1000 euros for the rental of the venue for the time required by the ceremony + taxes for civil weddings, depending on how popular the venue is.
In order to get married in Tuscany, you will need a nulla osta (Certificate of non-Impediment).
Most of the documents necessary to get a nulla osta can be obtained in Canada. The Canadian Government does however not issue the “Nulla Osta“: the Embassy in Rome does.
In order to get the nulla osta from the Canadian Embassy in Rome, each of the spouses must first complete and swear an affidavit to the effect that there is no impediment to the marriage. You can get an affidavit in Canada, which must be sworn in front of a notary public.
The original affidavit and certified true copies of the following documents must then be sent to the Embassy in Rome by registered mail:
- valid Canadian passport;
- proof of Canadian citizenship (Canadian birth certificate or Certificate of Canadian Citizenship). (If you were born in Québec, only birth certificates issued on or after January 1, 1994, by “Le Directeur de l’état civil” in the province of Québec are accepted);
- complete details of each of the spouses (full name, date and place of birth, residence, father’s name and mother’s full maiden name);
- final divorce decree or death certificate of previous spouse (if divorced or widowed);
- parents’ consent (if the person is under marriageable age);
- proof of payment of appropriate fees (usually 50 CAD / 35 euros)
The Canadian Embassy in Rome will verify the validity of the documents and if everything is in order, they will issue the nulla osta and mail it to you.
The affidavit can also be obtained directly at the Embassy in Rome upon appointment, but most couples find it more convenient to take care of the whole procedure from home, as they will not be in Italy long before their wedding day.
The nulla osta must be authenticated by the dedicated local police office. If we assist you with the paperwork, we will make an appointment with the Ufficio Legalizzazioni of the Prefettura of the province where your wedding will be celebrated so that we can accompany you to get the documents issued by the Canadian Embassy in Rome authenticated.
We will also make an appointment with the Marriage Office of the town hall where you have decided to get married to execute a declaration before the “Ufficiale dello Stato Civile” (the local Registrar of Vital Statistics) of the Municipality. This procedure is called “processo verbale” and consists in signing a document where you state that you intend to marry at that town hall on the date you have chosen, that you are aware of the legal and civil effects of the ceremony, and that there are no impediments. If you are not proficient in Italian, you will have to be accompanied by a translator. You will also need to bring a copy of your passports.
A date is fixed (or rather, confirmed) for the civil marriage ceremony. Two witnesses and an interpreter (if necessary) must be present at the civil marriage ceremony, which usually lasts 15 minutes and consists in the reading of the civil codes regulating marriage in Italy. The spouses and their witnesses are then asked to sign the registers and are declaired legally married.
You can request an international certificate of marriage that you can use to register your wedding in Canada. The certificate is usually issued a few days after the wedding, so you can ask to receive it via mail, by leaving a pre-stamped envelope with the exact address where you want to receive it.
If we are in charge of the paperwork, we can get the certificate for you and forward it to your home address as soon as it’s issued. Please note that if you get married in the summer, it might take up to a month to get the certificate.
Catholic weddings in Italy can have a civil value too. In case you want a legally binding church wedding, in addition to all the procedures described above (except for the actual wedding ceremony, which will happen in the church), you will also have to take care of the church paperwork (see “Requirements for a Church Wedding in Tuscany“).
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us! Further information is also available on the website of the Canadian Embassy in Rome.