If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, once you have married your Italian fiance or you have lived together for one year as common-law partners, you can sponsor him or her for permanent residence in Canada.
Requirements To Get Married in Italy
You will need to prepare all necessary paperwork required for a civil, religious or symbolic wedding in Italy. Plan to have the following documents at hand:
- A valid passport or national ID card for both parties
- Original birth certificate for both parties
- Divorce papers or death certificate if you have been previously married and divorced or widowed
- An affidavit, Nulla Osta or Dichiarazione Giurata sworn before a consular office of your home country, stating that there’s no legal impediment to your marriage in your home country
- An Atto Notorio signed by two witnesses, further confirming no legal impediment to your marriage
- A declaration of intent to marry that will go to the civil registrar
A Catholic wedding may also require some or all of the following documentation:
- Baptism certificates
- Confirmation certificates
- Letter of no impediment to marry
- Proof of attendance of a premarital course
- Local bishop’s permission to marry abroad
Italian law requires NON-ITALIANS wishing to be married in Italy to present a “Nulla Osta” (Certificate of non-Impediment) or equivalent documentation.
The Canadian Government does not issue “Nulla Osta”. However, to assist Canadians to meet the Italian requirements, the Canadian Embassy in Rome issues a declaration containing the relevant information.
Requests for the declaration can be made by appointment or by mail.
- To obtain the declaration from the Embassy, a Canadian citizen must first complete and swear an affidavit to the effect that there is no impediment to the proposed marriage.
- If the affidavit is to be made at the Canadian Embassy in Rome, an appointment is required. The applicant should fill out an Affidavit Form and present him- or herself in person with the following documents:
- 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 the future spouse (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).
The Embassy in Rome can be contacted by e-mail or fax. Fees are payable for the declaration in lieu of Nulla Osta, and for the affidavit as well, if it is to be done at the Canadian embassy. The fees are non refundable.
The Affidavit can also be sworn in front of a notary public in Canada or a consular official at Canadian Embassies or Consulates in other countries. In this case the original Affidavit and the certified true copies of the above mentioned documents are to be sent to the Embassy in Rome.
- You must then present the declaration issued by the Embassy to the competent “Prefettura – Ufficio Legalizzazioni” (provincial authority) to be formally authenticated.
- Once the declaration has been obtained and legalized, you must present it to the Marriage Office of the Municipality in Italy. Banns are waived if neither party is Italian nor residing in Italy.
- The Municipal authorities will request the couple to return (usually in 2 or 3 days) with 2 witnesses PLUS an interpreter (if one or both parties do not know the Italian language) to execute a declaration before the “Ufficiale dello Stato Civile” (Registrar of Vital Statistics) of the Municipality. Arrangements are then concluded and a date is fixed for the civil marriage ceremony. Two witnesses PLUS an interpreter (if necessary) must be present at the civil marriage ceremony also.
Although every assistance is usually extended by the Italian authorities to foreigners wishing to marry in Italy, a date for a civil marriage ceremony is generally NOT fixed unless the above mentioned declaration (see 5.) has first been executed by the couple.
PLEASE NOTE: The waiting period (from the date the required documents are presented to the marriage office to the date of the civil marriage ceremony) may vary depending on the period of the year and on the number of requests received by the municipality. Also, some municipalities levy marriage fees for non-residents.
The Canadian Embassy in Rome can issue the required declaration in lieu of Nulla Osta, but cannot assist with marriage arrangements. If you do not have someone in Italy who can handle the arrangements with the local Municipality (or you cannot stay in Italy long enough to handle them yourself), you may have to use an agency to make the necessary arrangements.
ROMAN-CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES
In the case of a religious marriage ceremony to be performed at a Roman-Catholic Church, the document issued by the Embassy, duly legalized by the competent Prefettura, should be presented to the Parish Priest in Italy, in addition to all documents required by the Church. The Parish Priest shall arrange for the registration of the religious marriage with the competent Italian Vital Statistics authorities. The marriage must be so registered in order to have civil value in Italy.
NON ROMAN-CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CEREMONY
To our knowledge, ceremonies performed at non-Roman Catholic churches require a civil ceremony as well. It is suggested that you contact the Minister, Priest or Rabbi as early as possible to obtain appropriate information.
Costs Of A Wedding in Italy
The budget for the wedding is something that is taken up with immense care, especially when you are planning your wedding in a foreign destination. If you happen to plan it in Italy, then rest assured as your guests will help in lessening the burden of a hefty budget. Italian brides carry a satin bag (la borsa) at the reception for guests to place envelopes of money in, a tradition called the “buste.” Daring brides wear it around their necks for male guests to drop in money in exchange for a dance
Steps to get married in Italy
Step 1: Complete an Affidavit
An affidavit basically states that there is no impediment for you in regards to marriage, click here to download the form. IMPORTANT: Do not sign this form yet! You will have to wait until you are at the Canadian embassy in Rome, or at the presence of a Consular officer to sign it.
Step 2: Collect all documents
The Canadian Embassy will ask you to present the following documents with the affidavit:
- Certified and true copy of your valid Canadian passport
- Proof of Canadian citizenship. If you were born in Canada, make sure to bring in a certified and original copy of both sides of your long-form birth certificate, which is very important, the long-form is the birth certificate that includes your parent’s information. If you were born outside of Canada, make sure to bring your original or certified true copy of both sides of your certificate of Canadian citizenship.
- An original, certified, and true copy of a marriage record which has been issued by the Vital Statistics office of each Canadian province and/or territory where you have resided since the age of 16.
- If applicable, bring your original and certified true copy of your final divorce certificate or decree.
- If applicable, bring your original or certified true copy of the death certificate of your deceased spouse.
- A certified copy of your fiancé’s valid passport.
They will ask you to pay a fee, and you must bring the copy of the receipt as well. But, if you prefer, you can pay in person with your Visa or MasterCard credit card.
Mailing/pick-up instructions: Mailing/pick-up is sent by registered post to a foreign or Italian address at no additional cost to you. Each party must do this entire process separately, meaning, both parties need to swear an individual affidavit, collect documents separately, obtain one declaration for each individual, and pay double.
Step 3: Submit your Application
Now that you have gathered all of your documents and filled out your affidavit, you have two choices:
- a) Send them by mail or courier to:
Embassy of Canada
Consular Affairs (LN)
Via Zara, 30
If you choose this option, in order to avoid going to Rome, sign the affidavit in front of a notary public in Canada, or at a consular office at the Canadian Embassies or the consulates in other countries.
- b) In person: You must request an appointment to the Embassy in Rome.
The Canadian embassy will deliver the documents in 5 business days from the time the complete application is received.
Step 4: Legalize the Declaration from the Canadian Embassy.
After doing all the work, it is important to get an important document that has all the necessary information included that the Italian government happens to be looking for called the “Nulla Osta”. The “Nulla Osta” is not issued through the Canadian embassy, with the declaration that the embassy will give you, you will be fine to continue the process.
Bring both declarations to the Italian “Prefettura” for legalization processes. Go to the “Ufficio legalizzazioni” . Link with the information to the “Prefettura” offices that are in Italy.
Step 5: Go to the town hall office where you desire to get married.
Now that you have your declaration legalized, bring it to the marriage office in the town hall in Italy in which you want to get married in. Assuming that neither of you are Italian residents, the town hall will wave the any bans. Please consider the fact that you must be here in Italy at least 3-4 days before your wedding date (depending on the town hall, the amount of days vary, please contact them in order to get this information confirmed) in order to get sworn in at town hall.
If you don’t speak Italian, you will need to bring an interpreter to be sworn in with you as well as a copy of a valid identification of two witnesses. Your wedding date should also be scheduled in advance at the town hall.
Step 6: Get Ready for the Big Day!
Now, you are ready for your big day! You have already completed all the necessary paperwork, and now, you just have to bring the interpreter and have your two witnesses ready. The civil ceremony will be performed in Italian and translated by the interpreter.
Step 7: Obtain several copies of the marriage license from the Town Hall
Weddings that are performed in a foreign country are usually valid in Canada, and you don’t have to register them separately in Canada.
It is important to request them in a multilingual format of the marriage certificate (i.e. “Estratto dell’atto di matrimonio in formato plurilingue”).
Step 8: Legalize your marriage Certificate.
The last step is to bring your marriage certification back again to the Prefettura for legalization purposes, and then send it to the Canadian Embassy in Rome for the authentication process.
If this all sounds like a headache, I am at your disposal at all times to help you out every step of the way, and make this process extremely easy for you! I don’t ever want you to miss anything along the way, and with my help, you will save a lot of time and energy dealing with so much tedious paperwork.
Commonly observed local marriage customs in Italy
Traditions are part of the Italian culture, days like Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Births and of course Weddings have their own traditions. All countries in the world have a variety of customs and traditions and of course, Italy is not an exception to this. Italian traditions regarding weddings are so intriguing because they vary from region to region, even if the nicest are respected everywhere. Couples wishing to get married in Italy in the tradition of their ancestors or at least introduce elements from their cultural backgrounds. Step by step here follow the most important traditions of a wedding.
Nowadays a man proposes to a woman directly giving her a ring with a diamond which is a symbol of the eternity of love, a promise to marry, the first step towards a life together and this promise is then traditionally sealed with a romantic kiss. Engagement rings date back to the medieval ages and are now one of the most common traditions all over the world. From this moment on the couple can be considered officially engaged.
This is not part of the Italian tradition like in other cultures, what happens is that the couple organizes a meeting with both their families to allow them to know each other if this has not happened before and then announce their wish to share a family life.
Hen and Bachelorette Parties
‘Hen’ or bachelorette parties are a recent innovation that started in America in the 1970s. In Italy, these parties are an opportunity to have a nice dinner and fun with friends, even the ones who are not invited to the Wedding. A night out with friends that usually happens one or two weekends before the wedding.
Superstitions Regarding Weddings
An Italian bride spends the night before the wedding at her parent’s house. Some wear green because it is said that brings good fortune. The Bride is not supposed to wear any gold on her wedding day apart from her wedding ring, it is considered bad luck. Bride has to wear something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and something she has received as a gift.
Traditional Italian Style Wedding Dress Code
It is rude for anyone other than the Bride to wear white. Black dresses are becoming more and more popular because considered really elegant especially for an afternoon wedding.
Getting to the Ceremony
The Groom must not see the Bride before the wedding ceremony, he is at the altar with his witness and waits till the Bride steps in, accompanied by her father who will then “give her away”. Bride’s father shakes the Groom’s hand, kisses her daughter and walks back to the first row of benches to take place next to the Bride’s mother. This is more common with Catholic weddings, while for a civil wedding Bride and Groom arrive together to the Wedding Hall accompanied by family and friends. In some regions Bride and Groom walk together to the Church, in other regions, the Groom brings the bouquet of flowers to the wedding or even carries a piece of iron in his pocket.
After the Ceremony
Rice is thrown at the couple coming out of the Church or wedding hall to symbolize a shower of fertility. All guests approach and congratulate the newlyweds outside the wedding venue. In some regions in Italy Bride and Groom have to cut a log in two with a double handle saw after the wedding. This symbolizes the couple’s partnership in marriage. Another nice tradition is tying a ribbon in front of the church. The ribbon represents the bride and groom ‘tying the knot’.
Wedding receptions follow the ceremony, guests keep the same dresses. Guests arrive before the wedding couple at the restaurant. The waiters offer them some aperitifs while they wait for the arrival of the spouses from their photo tour.
Many funny moments are organized at an Italian Wedding despite main activity is still eating a lot of delicious and genuine food accompanied by the best wines, limoncello, and liquors. Often during the banquet, guests bang glasses with spoons to encourage the Bride and Groom to kiss several times.
At some weddings, particularly in Northern Italy, the best man cuts the groom’s tie into little pieces. The pieces are then put onto a tray and sold to the guests. Bride and Groom go from table to table, greeting and chatting with every guest, so everyone feels welcomed.
At some point friends of the couple sneak away to play tricks in the new couple’s house (they put itching powder in the bed, fishes in the bathtub, hide shoes…), others organize practical jokes for the couple.
It is customarily that the Bride throws her bouquet to the single ladies attending the banquet. Whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to get married!
The wedding cake is white (for purity), tiered and topped by figurines representing the bride and groom.
The wedding couple remains till the end of the reception and not only, sometimes the very close friends stay with the couple even after the reception, they go all together for a drink or even accompany them to their new house.
At the end of the wedding day, just before guests leave, Bride and Groom give small gifts to their guests to say thank you. Italians call them bomboniere, made of a present, confetti (sugared almonds) and printed ribbons. Bomboniere is a symbol of family life. The number of confetti is very important: it should be an odd number – preferably 5 or 7- each a good-luck number.
Sponsoring Your Spouse From Italy To Canada
Questions commonly asked at sponsorship interviews
Communications between the two of you
- When and where did you meet your spouse for the first time?
- Who initiated contact?
- How often did you contact each other before your first meeting in person? How did you communicate? Where is your proof?
- How often did you talk on the phone?
- Do you have phone bills, e-mails, cards, etc., and can I see them?
Visiting Canada (if applicable)
- Where (which airport) did you first Land in Canada? What date?
- How many times have you been to Canada? How long did you stay each time?
- Have you been issued any kind of document that authorizes you to live in Canada since you were without status? If yes what type and when is the expiry date?
- Has your spouse been to visit you in your home country? When?
- How many times has your spouse been to visit you?
- Where did your spouse land when they visited you? (Which Airport?)
- Did your spouse ever go to your home country prior to your relationship?
- Did you go to Canada prior to your relationship with your spouse?
- What is your husband’s/wife’s/partner’s name?
- What do you call him/her?
- Does your spouse have any distinguishing features (birth marks, scars, disfigurements of the body)?
- Where was your spouse born? Which country and city?
- Does your spouse have any allergies?
- What is your religion?
- What is the religion of your spouse?
- When you and your spouse were dating what would you do together?
- Do you have any hobbies? Describe them.
- Does your spouse have any hobbies? Describe them.
- What kind of books does your spouse read?
- Have you and your spouse ever exchanged gifts? Describe them.
- Please explain the type of relationship you have had since your first meeting.
- What makes your relationship with your spouse different from that of a female/male friend?
- Does your spouse support you financially?
- If I refuse this application what will you do?
- Where did your spouse go to school? (Elementary and high school)
- How many years of school did your spouse Complete?
- What degrees or formal training does your spouse have?
- In terms of education, would you say that you and your spouse’s educational background are compatible?
- What do you intend to do when you come to Canada?
- What degrees or formal training do you have?
- What degrees or formal training does your spouse have?
- Where does your spouse work? What’s the name of the company? How does he/she travel to work?
- How long has your spouse worked there?
- What does the job entail?
- does your spouse like his or her job?
- What is the salary?
- Where does your spouse live?
- Whom does your spouse live with?
- Does anyone else live in your household other than your spouse and children?
- At what addresses have you lived at with your spouse?
- Did you own any Property with your spouse?
- What type of accommodation do you live in? House, condo or apartment?
- Is it rental or do you own it? If rented, how long is your lease? Are you both on the lease?
- How much is the rent?
- Who makes sure the bills are paid? How much do you pay for Cable/phone/hydro etc.?
Marriage (if applicable)
- When and where did the marriage proposal take place?
- Was your marriage arranged?
- When did you get married?
- Where did you get married?
- Who was at the wedding?
- How many people were at the ceremony?
- What day was the ceremony held on?
- Who performed the ceremony?
- Do you have pictures of the ceremony?
- Who was at the ceremony from your side?
- Who was at the ceremony from your spouse’s side?
- Were any friends present?
- Were your parents at the wedding? If not, why not?
- What were the reasons for the divorce?
- What was the date the marriage was dissolved?
- Why did you marry your spouse?
- Since your marriage have you seen your spouse? If not, why not?
- Tell me why this marriage or relationship is genuine.
- Why were you so rushed to be married? How do you explain that?
- Do you have any children form a previous relationship? If so what is their relationship like with your spouse?
- What are their names and date of birth?
- Who has Custody of these children?
- Do you have visitation rights/spend time with them at your home or there’s?
- How often do you see your children?
- Does your current spouse have any children from a previous relationship? If yes
- What are their names and date of birth?
- Who has Custody of these children?
- Does your spouse have visitation rights/spend time with them?
- How often does your spouse see their children?
- Do you have any children from your current marriage?
- How many children?
- What are the names and birth dates?
- Where are the children now?
- Who looks after the children?
- How many brothers and sisters does your spouse have?
- What relatives does your spouse have in Canada?
- What relatives do you have in Canada?
- What are their names and where do they live?
- What relatives does your spouse have outside of Canada?
- What relatives do you have outside of Canada?
- Has your spouse met any of your relatives or friends? Who have they met and when did they meet them?
- Have you met any of your spouse’s relatives or friends? Whom have you met and when did you meet them?
- Did you get married to get to Canada?
- Did your spouse pay you to go to Canada?
- Did anyone pay you to go to Canada?
- Did you pay your spouse to sponsor you?
- If yes, How much?
Cultural practices which may be challenging in sponsorship applications/interviews, such as:
Dating customs in Italy are similar to those in Canada. Engagements may happen earlier on in a relationship. However, couples generally wait until the man has stable employment before marrying. Hence, engagements between young couples can last for many years.
Marriage is a very respected convention in Italian society, especially among devout Christians. Ceremonies usually follow the Roman Catholic tradition and are often performed at the church of the bride’s hometown. However, civil ceremonies are becoming increasingly common. Customarily, the bride and groom are not meant to see each other the day before the wedding. Italian Australians usually do not have a problem with their children marrying people that are not Italian, but many would still prefer an Italian marriage. As of 2012, 10% of Italian marriages were between an Italian citizen and a foreign resident (National Institute of Statistics, 2012). Marrying outside of one’s faith is generally thought to be more difficult if a family is quite religious.
Under Italian law, a couple must be legally separated for six months before a divorce can be granted. The divorce rate is slowly growing, and the marriage rate is slowly declining as more couples are choosing to live together in de facto relationships (more so in Northern Italy).
What kind of documents are frequently requested?
- Document Checklist – Spouse (including dependent children of spouse) [IMM 5533] (PDF, 3.7 MB)
- Use your checklist to make sure you include all the forms and documents you need.
- Place the checklist on top, as a cover page for your application package
Sponsorship Application Forms for Italian Applicants
Forms for the sponsor to fill out
- Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking (IMM 1344) (PDF, 588.96 KB)
- Sponsorship Evaluation and Relationship Questionnaire (IMM 5532) (PDF, 2.21 MB)
- Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] (PDF, 648.31 KB)
For the person being sponsored (principal applicant):
- Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] (PDF, 652 KB)
- Additional Dependants/Declaration [IMM 0008DEP] (PDF, 433.80 KB)
- Additional Family Information [IMM 5406] (PDF, 570.00 KB)
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration [eIMM 5669] (PDF, 597.99 KB)
Processing time for sponsorship application from Italy
Both inside and outside Canada, the estimated time for spousal sponsorship is 12 months. However, it is stated in most websites that processing time outside Canada is less than inside Canada.
Arranged Marriage in Italy
Long ago, Italian marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom. Often, the brother or the father or another male relative of the groom went to the father or the uncle of the young woman to ask for her hand in marriage. In some cases, a matchmaker sent a message (ambasciata) to the prospective bride’s family of the man’s intent to marry the bride.
Once the two families were in accord, the couple’s official engagement was announced. If the groom proposed directly to the bride, he usually serenades her first, and either plays an instrument or shows up with his musically-talented friends.
Diamond engagement rings were given by medieval Italians in the belief that the diamond was created by the flames of love. Precious stones were used by the medieval Italians as part of the groom payment for his bride.
The payment, like engagement rings today, symbolized the groom intent to marry.
In preparation for the wedding , the bride assembled a bundle ( dote ), consisting of household items , linens, her clothing, and sometimes even her future husband’s clothes, to bring to the home of the groom.
Her family provided her with a dowry consisting of monetary, and possibly domestic goods.
Wearing of green by the bride the night before the wedding brings luck and abundance for the couple.
Particularly in Southern Italy, it is uncommon for either the groom or the bride to have a ” bachelor ” or ” bachelorette ” party before the wedding.
Language of official documents
Documents are generally in Italian language. Therefore, you’ll need a certified translation of your marriage certificate all documents for the sponsorship application.
Unique Sponsorship Application Requirements from Italy
Italy – Additional forms for residents
- There are no extra forms for Italy.
Is a TRV required for a person from I to enter Canada for In-Canada sponsorship?
Italian citizens are not required to get a visa to enter Canada, which makes it easy for them to enter Canada as a visitor and apply for inland sponsorship.
they must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)