Marriage bureocracy Life & Style

10/24/2010 by Anna Turenko Ukraine

It is very difficult to get an Italian man into a serious relationship and it's even more difficult to make it official. Italian bureaucracy in general seems to be made to make our lives more complicated, and Italian marriage bureaucracy seems to be made to... change our decisions about actually getting married!
Talking seriously, there are a few steps you have to take before the wedding.
If you are a foreigner and come from a non-Catholic country and you want to have a religious wedding – you'll need to get a bunch of certificates from your native country and your native church about your religion. Of course you'll need to translate and legalize them in Prefettura ( Then you'll have to attend a religious school in a local church.
If a wedding in a simple municipality is enough for you, you can skip this part and start with getting a Nulla Osta - a document which declares that there is nothing which keeps you from getting married in Italy (you are not married already and you haven't broken the law in your country). You can get this document at the Embassy of your country. The fee varies - in Embassies of non-EU countries it may cost up to 150 euros.
A small piece of advice: in Rome you can find a sort of "two in one": a municipality (so you won't have to deal with religious bureaucracy), which looks like a church (actually it used to be one many years ago). Plus, it is located in a beautiful ancient place: Terme di Caracalla (Baths of Caracalla). These public baths were built between AD 212 and 216 and now they give visitors this unique feeling of walking through the time - ancient buildings, with parks around… only a big road situated nearby spoils the picture.
But about the bureaucracy again. When you get the Nulla Osta - go to your local comune to make Giuramento (kind of an oath, after which you are officially engaged). In spring and summer they are full of course, so you should make an appointment at least couple of weeks in advance.
If your Italian is not very good - you'll have to invite a translator to the Giuramento (and to the wedding itself as well - there have been cases when weddings weren't considered official because one of the spouses didn't speak Italian). During the Giuramento (15-20 minutes) an officer will tell you about your rights and everything like this - not a very stately occasion I must say, but the important thing is - you are engaged! And now you can pick a date (no less than 3 weeks after).
To apply for a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) you should go to the Immigration office at via Teofilo Patini. Here you must have more patience than ever - it will take ages to get the document. When you first come to this office, head to the long line on the left: here people are getting information and tickets with numbers. Then, after 3-4 hours waiting, you can finally give your documents to an officer (bring everything you have and even more - just in case - and make copies). You should come with your husband - he will declare that he has a place to live and a job. Your passport, copy of your visa (if you need one), photos, marriage certificate - these are the most important documents. Of course, you may be asked to bring more official papers. After this you will be given a small peace of paper, ricevuta, which will prove that you have asked for permesso di soggiorno (although it doesn't permit you to work in Italy nor to travel - it can be quite frustrating, knowing how long it takes to get the residence permit). You will have 2 dates written on this piece of paper: in 2-3 months you'll have to come to the Questura to make a fingerprint, and then, in 3-4-5-6-who-knows-how-many months you'll be asked to come back to receive your residence permit.
And last, but not least -a very important note: according to the new law only a foreigner with a valid visa or residence permit can get married in Italy.
Good luck and… congratulations!

Anna Turenko Ukraine

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