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Family Members and Marriage for Expats in Italy

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: April 2014

Family Members

Ideally, when you immigrate to another country, you are able to bring your partner and children with you at the same time. If this is not financially or otherwise possible, you may need to spend some time working in Italy, and possibly sending money to your home country to help support your family. Once you have started to familiarise yourself with Italy, and found some suitable family accommodation, and perhaps looked into schools and such things, you may find it easier to move the rest of your family into the country.

Valid family members who are permitted to join you in Italy include your spouse, your and your spouse’s children and, in certain circumstances, dependant parents. All family members going to live with a relative or spouse who is resident in Italy will need to apply for a Joining Family visa (type F).

How easy it is to bring these family members into Italy depends very strongly on where you are from. For Italian citizens bringing in a spouse from abroad, the procedure is relatively straightforward. If you are a citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, things become a little tougher, as you will need to become a fully established resident in Italy (with every procedural ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed) before your family will be able to join you. This may take up to six months. Note that becoming a citizen if your spouse is Italian is easier than is generally the case. You only need to have been resident in Italy for two years. For more on obtaining Italian citizenship, see ‘Settlement, Residence and Citizenship.’

If you are resident in Italy and are not an EEA or Swiss citizen, things become harder still. Before you can apply for your relatives and spouse to take up residence, you must be in possession of a work permit, study permit or other allowable permit type. Furthermore, this permit must be valid for at least a year. Hence, there will generally be a long wait – assuming, that is, that you are successful. As with some other countries, the government has taken steps to discourage non-Europeans from joining their families.


Italy is a country replete with beautiful vistas and famous romantic sites, such as the rolling hills of Tuscany, the balcony in Verona, the Grand Canal in Venice and ancient ruins of Rome. It is not surprising, then, that many couples choose to get married in the country – and that there are wedding planners aplenty to help them do so.

In Italy, the minimum age you can marry is 16 for both boys and girls. Consent from the court will be required if either party is under 18. As there are no residency requirements, getting married in Italy is possible for residents and non-residents alike. However, this does not mean it is especially easy.

If you are not an Italian citizen, you will be required to go your nearest Italian diplomatic mission to swear that you are fit to marry. Once in Italy, you will be required to declare your intention to marry to the local town hall, with two witnesses. The resulting banns must be posted for a period of at least two Sundays. It is recommended to present your official documents to the local registrar about a week before the event, to ensure that all the paperwork is processed in time.

Documents you will need to take include, as a minimum:

You may need to provide certified translations of all documents. If neither party is Italian, an official translator must also be present at the ceremony. In all cases, if you have been married before, you must produce documentation that proves that you are fit to marry: divorce decrees and death certificates, as appropriate. Marriage for same-sex couples is permitted.



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