Learn how you can apply for an Italian birth certificate or legalize a foreign one for validity in Italy.
A birth certificate is useful to support immigration-related activities. This includes activities like Town Hall registration or dependents visa application. With this guide, you will find out how to obtain an Italian birth certificate, or even legalize a foreign one to be valid in Italy.
Table of contents
- Different types of birth certificate in Italy
- Validity of foreign birth certificates in Italy
- Validity of Italian birth certificates abroad
- Transcription of Italian citizens birth acts
- Regulatory framework
- Support from A&P
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1. Different types of birth certificate in Italy
Based on the purpose and information included, there are 3 different types of Italian Birth Certificates:
- Birth Certificate (certificato di nascita) – it certifies the applicant’s first and last name, date and place of birth. The Town Hall will issue the document free of stamp duties and it will have an unlimited validity.
- Act of Birth (atto di nascita) – this is a true copy of the original document present in the Registry of Civil Status in Italy. It contains all the data related to a person’s birth. It may include potential annotations, like marriage, change of name/surname etc. This information can be useful during immigration processes, when an applicant needs to justify a change of name and therefore a mismatch between the name reported on their passport and the name on their marriage certificate.
- Birth Extract (birth extract) – further divided into 2 types:
- Abstract of the Act of Birth (estratto per riassunto dell’atto di nascita) – a summary of the Act of Birth.
- Birth extract indicating paternity and maternity (estratto di nascita con l’indicazione della paternità e maternità) – it is identical to the previous “estratto di nascita” but also specifies first and last names of the parents. This is useful when applying for certain Visas abroad.
Unless specified otherwise, this article refers to Birth Certificate when writing about its legalization process.
2. Validity of foreign birth certificates in Italy
For legal validity in Italy, applicants must first legalize their foreign birth certificate. The legalization must be done in the country that issued the certificate. The legalization process might involve an attestation from the Italian diplomatic-consular representation abroad. This, however, does not apply if international conventions on the exemptions of legalization apply.
2.1. Italian translation of birth certificates
To be valid in Italy, a birth certificate also needs a translation into Italian. This does not apply if the institution issuing the certificate uses a multilingual format complying with international conventions.
If translated, the birth certificate in Italy must include a stamp for “traduzione conforme“, certifying the validity of the translation. If translators are recognized as an official profession in the country of origin, then they can validate the translation. The consular office will then legalize their signature.
However, in countries where translating is not an official profession, the consular office must also add a certification of conformity.
3. Validity of Italian birth certificates abroad
Similarly, Italian birth certificates to be used in foreign countries must be legalized by the relevant authorities. Where no international convention applies, the certificate must undergo a full legalization process.
This includes 2 steps:
- Attestation by the local “Prefettura” – the Prefettura will legalize only birth certificates issued for foreign use and wet signed. Electronic signatures are usually not accepted as per current law dispositions;
- Attestation by the diplomatic-consular representation of the country where the certificate must be used. Usually, the legalization process requires a fee to pay. Note that many consulates have their own list of official translators.
3.1 Apostille of birth certificates
If the birth certificate is intended for countries that have signed the Hague Convention – for the Abolition of the Legalization of Foreign Public Documents – the legalization process is no longer necessary. Instead, applicants will only need to apply for and affix the Apostille Stamp.
In this case, the applicant can avail of a simplified process that does not involve the consular attestation.
Have a look here for the full list of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention and the competent authorities that can affix the apostille.
4. Transcription of Italian citizens birth acts
According to the Italian principle of citizenship by birth (Ius Sanguinis), children of Italian nationals, even if born abroad and possibly holding another citizenship, are Italian citizens. As such, they have an obligation to transcribe their birth acts into the Italian registers.
Applicants residing abroad who wish to apply for the transcription of their or their children birth acts must do so through the competent diplomatic or consular Representation.
The application must include the following documents:
- Birth Act (Atto di Nascita) in original or true copy, issued by the Civil Status Office of the foreign country. It also needs to be legalized and translated.
- Declaration proving the Italian citizenship of at least one of the parents (if not registered in the consular register).
Alternatively, the Italian citizen may present the birth certificate in Italy, duly legalized and translated. They can do so by directly presenting it to the relevant Italian municipality.
Please note that birth acts issued by countries that have signed to the Vienna Convention – which provides for the issuance of a multilingual form – are exempt from legalization and translation.
5. Regulatory framework
- Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 on the Abolition of Legalization and the Establishment of the Apostille
- Vienna Convention of September 8th, 1976