If you are wondering how to register a wedding celebrated abroad you need to know that the transcription of civil status acts such as marriage certificates issued and formed abroad is accepted in Italy if the wedding was celebrated according to the rules established by the foreign Country where it took place.
You must submit it to the Italian town hall where you want to register your marriage in Italy.
You will need to provide a copy of the document legalized and translated by the Italian Consulate abroad.
The legalization does not only concern the act formed abroad by the foreign Authority but also the signature of the translator.
This is an indispensable fulfillment that must appear at the bottom of the translation itself.
According to the procedures described below, documents in a foreign language to be enforced in Italy for the Public Administration must be legalized and translated into Italian.
What is the legalization, and what is its function for a marriage certificate?
Legalization is an essential requirement for a foreign citizen to enforce a document from the foreign Country for its use in Italy.
The legalization of documents has the function of attributing validity to the composition according to Italian law to verify that the act has been formalized in compliance with the foreign Country’s legislation in which it was issued and that the competent office has issued it.
Therefore, the act of legalization serves to prove the existence of the foreign document when it becomes relevant to Italian law.
However, legalization does not consist of checking the act’s content and its legitimacy.
Legalization consists practically in the affixing of a stamp on the original of the act to be legalized, which officially certifies:
- the legal qualification of the public official who signed the act;
- the authenticity of his signature.
The legalization must indicate the first and last name of the person whose signature is to be legalized.
The legalizing public official must indicate the date and place of legalization, their first and last name, title held, and affix their signature in full and the office stamp.
Documents to be legalized, if written in a foreign language, must be accompanied by their translation into Italian, certified as conforming to the foreign text, by the competent Italian diplomatic or consular authority, or by an official translator accredited by the Italian Consulate in the Country of origin, or of permanent residence of the foreign citizen.
Which Authorities are competent to legalize marriage certificates for Italian use?
Signatures on these deeds and documents formed in a foreign country must be legalized by the Italian Diplomatic or Consular Representations of that Country to be enforced in Italy unless The Hague convention has been signed by your country of origin. In this case the legalization must been done by the competent administration office of your country of origin.
Particularly significant in this regard is the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, ratified by Italy by Law No. 1253 of December 20, 1966, on the abolition of legalization of foreign public documents.
States adhering to the Hague Convention replace the legalization of acts falling within its scope and to be produced on its territory with the affixing of the so-called apostille.
The latter consists of an annotation, strictly under the model annexed to the Convention, which is to be affixed to the original of the foreign certificate by the foreign Authority indicated as competent by the law ratifying the Convention.
Accordingly, if a foreign national of a country that has acceded to the Hague Convention needs to enforce a certificate in Italy, they may go to the competent Authority in their own state, designated by the act of accession to the Convention to obtain an apostille.
The apostilled document is recognized in Italy because Italy has also ratified the Hague Convention, and therefore, under Italian law, that document must be considered valid.
The apostille, like legalization, has the function of certifying the truthfulness of the signature and legal qualification of the foreign public official who issued the document, as well as the authenticity of the seal or stamp placed on the paper.
The Hague Convention applies to foreign public acts, which include, for example, documents issued by an authority or official employed by an Administration of the foreign Country, administrative records, notarial deeds, and official declarations indicating registration, endorsement of a particular date, and authentication of a signature affixed to private actions.
However, it can be affixed only to documents prepared abroad by states party to the Hague Convention. In contrast, any documents issued in Italy by the Consular Authority of the same countries are subject to the legalization procedure at the competent Prefecture.
Countries exempt from legalization
If, on the other hand, an Italian marriage certificate is to be used in a foreign country, legalization if necessary by that legal system of the country you have to go, it will be do by the competent Prefettura with territorial jurisdiction.
What are the cases of exemption from legalization?
The requirement for legalization is waived in certain cases established by laws or international agreements.
According to the London Convention of June 7, 1968, documents drawn up by the diplomatic and consular representatives of the following countries are exempt from legalization: Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain (and the Isle of Man), Greece, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey.
Since March 28, 2003, Poland’s acts have been exempt from legalization, mainly acts concerning the civil status, capacity, or family situation of natural persons, nationality, domicile, or residence. (Article 2 of the Athens Convention of September 15, 1977). The other states parties to the Convention are Luxembourg, France, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and Austria.
According to the Brussels Convention of May 25, 1987, ratified by Italy by Law No. 106 of April 24, 1990, any form of legalization or any other equivalent formality has been abolished between Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, and Italy, even when the documents must be shown to the Consular Representations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, and Italy operating in the territory of a state that has ratified the Convention.
Multilingual civil status extracts.
According to the Vienna Convention of September 8, 1976, ratified by Italy by Law No. 870 of December 21, 1978, multilingual civil status extracts may be issued to prove the date and place of birth, marriage, and death without translation. The quotes must be accepted in the territory of each of the states party to the Convention itself without legalization or equivalent formalities.
The states currently party to the Vienna Convention are Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey.
The translation of documents
To be enforceable in Italy, acts and documents issued by foreign authorities must be legalized by Italian diplomatic-consular representations abroad. Furthermore, these acts and records, except those drawn up on multilingual models provided for by International Conventions, must also be translated into Italian.
Translations must be stamped “per traduzione conforme.”
In countries where the official translator is provided by the legal system, the conformity can be attested by the translators themselves, whose signature is then legalized by the Italian consular office.
However, in countries where this freelancer is not provided for by the local legal system, it will necessarily be necessary to use to the certification of conformity provided by the Italian consular office.
To proceed with legalization, the applicant will have to present himself, by appointment, at the italian consular office with the document (in original) to be legalized.
Furthermore, to obtain the certificate of conformity of the translation, the applicant will have to appear, by appointment, at the Italian Consular Office equipped with the original document in a foreign language and the translation.
The above acts are subject to the payment of fees following the Consular Tariff currently in force.
Translation of the foreign documents made in Italy
This is the so-called “Asseverazione” of documents needed for marriage purposes.
The translator goes to the Court with a valid ID and the paper appraisal or translation to be sworn.
The expert or translator doesn’t need to be registered in a particular professional bar (which, moreover, does not exist for translators in Italy).
The translator, to ensure the impartiality and truthfulness of the translation, must be a third party unrelated to the act they translated.
There is no territorial jurisdiction, and the oath can be administered in any Italian Court throughout the Country.
If the expert report or translation is to be transmitted abroad, it is necessary to legalize the clerk’s signature of the Court at the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court.
It is not permissible to swear translations from a foreign language to another foreign language without operating at least one translation into Italian.