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Procedures for marriage in Italy

6/7/2010 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Throughout the year, approximately 60 couples get married out of Aviano, 20 of them marrying a foreign citizen. Getting married is a big step in itself, but the process can make it even more stressful.

"Plan ahead and don't wait last minute," said Linda Romanin, 31st Fighter Wing Judge Advocate administrative assistant. "It's not easy to get appointments off base especially during the August timeframe."

There are many documents to fill out for the special occasion. It is important to plan ahead and be prepared. The document requirements differ depending on the nationality of the spouse to be.

All couples will need a sworn declaration and a summarized translation of their birth certificates along with their original birth certificates and military and civilian identification cards. If one spouse is not an American citizen, the military member will also need to obtain unit commander's approval to be married. Each couple will also need two witnesses to attest to their current citizenship and relationship status and a translator for the ceremony.

"Upon request of the marriage officer, it may be necessary to file additional documents, such as copy of birth certificate and divorce decree translated into Italian," said Mrs. Romanin.

Sometimes, additional paperwork is required for special circumstances, for instance, if someone was divorced or previously married in Italy.

If one spouse is an American citizen with no affiliation to the Air Force by military member, dependent or civilian component, coming from the U.S., they will need to go to the Consulate in Milano to obtain the sworn declaration. Then it will need to be legalized by the Italian Prefettura in Pordenone.

"If the spouse is Italian, they are required to have different documents," said Mrs. Romanin. "They need to contact the marriage officer at the town hall where the marriage will be celebrated at least one month prior to the marriage to determine what documents they will need to be married."

Italian citizens are required to have additional paperwork including the request for the posting of the banns. This can add time to the marriage process.

Once all the documents are completed, the process can being.

The sworn declaration and summarized translation of the birth certificate must be legalized by the Staff Judge Advocate's signature and must be legalized by the Italian Prefettura in Pordenone. These documents are considered valid documents for the purpose of marriage only after these legalizations.

Once these documents are ready, they can be taken to the Pordenone Court House where they will be presented along with the two witness statement - Atto di Notorieta - for notarization. There is a fee of: #2 Marche per Atti Giudiziari Euro 14.62 (total Euro 29.24) and 31.86 euro for #1 Marca per Diritti di Cancelleria (madre/figlia). The one spouse, the two witnesses and the translator will need to be present with ID cards in hand for this appointment.

"After all documents are obtained, notarized and signed, they need to be taken to the town hall where the marriage will take place to set the date for the ceremony," said Mrs. Romanin.

When the date of marriage arrives, the spouses, two witnesses and the interpreter must go to the same town hall for the marriage ceremony. The ceremony is celebrated by the Mayor or his deputy. After a small ceremony, he declares them, in the name of the law, husband and wife. Signatures on official documents by the spouses, the witnesses, the interpreter and the Mayor follow. They are now married by American and Italian law.

According to an agreement between the Catholic Church and the Italian Government, a marriage celebrated by a Catholic priest is also valid as a civil marriage provided that both spouses are Catholic or, upon certain conditions, one is Catholic and the other one is not Catholic but desires the catholic wedding. The religious marriage with civil effects requires additional documentation and procedures. For practical reasons, however, it is advisable to have the civil ceremony first and then, separately, the religious one.

This can be a long drawn out process, but with preparation and patience thing should go more smoothly.