How to apply for Italian dual citizenship… part 3

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December 6, 2017

How to apply for Italian dual citizenship… part 3

Benefits of obtaining Italian dual citizenship

How to apply for Italian dual citizenship, Part 3: in which we discuss applying through a consulate or applying directly in Italy

As a service provider of various Italian dual citizenship products, I am consistently amazed (and grateful!) at how much homework my clients do before contacting me. In the early days of obtaining Italian dual citizenship after Circolare k.28 del 1991 came into effect, there was little if any information online or elsewhere.

Over time, the intervening years have shown not only an increase in demand, but also an increase of information about the Italian dual citizenship process, how to obtain the coveted red passport, what documents to get and how to request them, etc. The internet truly has become a godsend for many seeking Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, but there still is one area where information may be lacking: the difference between applying at an Italian consulate in the U.S. and applying directly in Italy.

It’s only recently that Americans (that is, people from the United States; Brazilians and South Americans of Italian origin have been applying in Italy for years now) have begun to learn about skipping the consulate and applying directly in Italy.

And it’s no wonder, as applying at various Italian consulates dotted across the United States often means:

  • Long wait times for an appointment (some consulates are giving appointments out 2 years in advance, though we in the United States are still spoiled in this regard—in Argentina and Brazil, applicants have to wait for their numbers on lists to be called just to be put on a waiting list that can be up to ten years long!);
  • Unpredictable requirements—there is no one set protocol that all consulates follow, despite Italian law being crystal clear on what is and isn’t required of you to present at your appointment;
  • A total lack of transparency. Try e-mailing a consulate for an update on your application sometime and see what happens, we dare you!
  • You may be put through the ringer and made to jump ridiculous hoops to obtain court orders and name changes on documents that could be 100+ years old;
  • You’re at the mercy of one consular worker who could be having a bad day, doesn’t want to help, and basically can’t be fired;
  • There really is no accountability (while in theory there actually is and you do have recourses to complain, though it might not get anywhere), and consulates can take their time processing your application because they did everything in-house.



    If you can swing it, it's extremely worthwhile to apply in Italy and cut the consulate.

    This is not to disparage Italian consular workers, many of whom are excellent, competent and completely reliable. However, this is a realistic portrait of the situation: with millions of potential applicants in the United States alone and with overworked and understaffed offices, the Italian consulates are operating under a heavy burden in an environment rife with bureaucratic hassles and a lack of recognition for timely work.

    In other words: you’re dealing with the bureaucratic arm of the country that quite literally invented bureaucracy.

    Though it may seem counter-intuitive, cutting the consulate out completely and going straight to Italy actually ends up working better for the vast majority of applicants. With over 5,000 comuni, all of whom should in theory follow Italian law regarding citizenship jure sanguinis and accept applications from anyone who has a valid claim and is a lawful resident, Italy is the ideal route for more enterprising and adventurous applicants (or those who simply don’t want to deal with the consulates).

    When applying in Italy, there are two paths to take: you can either hire a service provider who will take you on an expedited citizenship “vacation” where you will establish residency quickly and then apply, or you can spend a few months (at least) in Italy and apply in a town of your choice.


    While not everyone can apply for Italian dual citizenship in Italy, those that do hardly ever regret their choice

    Those who apply in Italy report:

  • Almost immediate appointments for citizenship, often with no wait time at all;
  • A more informal, less rushed process;
  • Not needing costly court orders or amendments as discrepancies are less closely scrutinized;
  • A shorter wait time for recognition;
  • A feeling of pride in having returned to Italy to claim their birthright.
  • So, while it seems like applying in Italy may be the better option, it is not without its own pitfalls. Those who apply in Italy have two choices: they can either DIY it and find a comune on their own, or they can hire a service provider who has an established network of Italian comuni that are willing to process expedited applications. It should be noted that these Italian comuni are not being paid for the expedited services; they are simply doing their job in a quicker fashion than usual (usually in exchange for the sustainable tourism that citizenship applicants bring to smaller towns). If any service provider is paying kickbacks to the comune’s workers, that’s not a good sign. There is also a third way to apply in Italy which is a hybrid of the two: you can find a comune with the help of a service provider, and have them come to you—even though you will not have an expedited option, you get the benefit of picking where you want to go, and the expertise of a service provider in facilitating your application there and interpreting for you.

    In our next installment, we will discuss the first option: DIYing and applying in Italy by yourself. Stay tuned!

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