If you have applied for Italian dual citizenship in Italy (I will be posting a detailed guide soon), you have the right to obtain a permit to stay there legally until your citizenship is awarded. This permit is known in Italian as the “permesso di soggiorno per attesa cittadinanza” (permit to stay while awaiting citizenship). According to Article 11 of President of the Republic’s Decree no. 394 of August 31st, 1999 (art. 11 D.P.R. 31 agosto 1999, n. 394), you can apply for the permit to stay while awaiting citizenship if:
1. You already possess another type of permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay):
This begs the question: Do Americans who enter Italy have the right to apply for Italian dual citizenship there? The answer is an emphatic yes. People who enter Italy with their U.S. passport are in possession of a document equivalent to a permesso di soggiorno—this is because on February 16th, 2007 with the entry into force of Law no. 68 of 2007, Italy abolished the need for Americans to obtain a tourism permit (permesso di soggiorno per motivi di turismo) and instead established by law that our U.S. passport is the equivalent of said tourism permit, as long as the American entering Italy make an official declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza).
For Americans flying directly to Italy or who have a layover first in an extra-Schengen country, the Italian stamp on your passport at the airport is sufficient for a declaration of presence. For those who are flying directly from a Schengen country or who have a layover in a Schengen country, you must file a declaration of presence at your local questura (police station) within 8 days of your arrival.
The stamp on your passport or the declaration of presence you fill will be sufficient documentation in the eyes of the Italian law to obtain residency in Italy and start your application process.
2. You must register as a resident of the comune where you intend to apply, or you must have started the process of obtaining Italian dual citizenship at an Italian consulate (with requisite declaration issued by the consulate thereof).
3. You must have a place to stay in Italy for the amount of time you intend on staying.
4. You must have sufficient means to support yourself.
The person holding the permesso di soggiorno per attesa cittadinanza is obligated to register in the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale in accordance with Article 34, Paragraph 1, Letter b) of Legislative Decree no. 268 of 1998) (articolo 34, comma 1, lettera b del Decreto Legislativo n. 286/98).
1. Photocopy of your passport (all pages);
2. Photocopy of the previous permesso di soggiorno (or your declaration of presence);
3. Declaration released by the comune where you reside or from the consular authority, in which they confirm that you have started the process of recognizing your Italian citizenship;
4. Marca da bollo for 14.62 euros;
5. Documents showing that you have a place to live (property deed, rental contract or declaration of hospitality from the landlord);
6. Documents showing you have the means to support yourself (bank records, etc.). You must show in your bank records an amount equal to or greater than the INPS amounts for the year you are applying. For 2017, this amount is 5,830. Each year, INPS establishes the annual amount that people would receive from the government if they could not work on their own—the logic here is that the Italian government wants you to show that you have the equivalent amount on your own so that you do not need to depend on the Italian government.
Once form 209 is completed, you will send it to the questura of the province in which you live. When the questura receives your information, you will be contacted to make an appointment to register your personal data into their system.
During your meeting with the questura, you must provide 4 Italian identity card-format photographs and show your passport, as well as the receipt from the postal office for your permit to stay.
Once you receive the permit to stay and after every renewal, you must go into your comune’s offices and renew your residency with your passport and permit to stay. Eventually, your citizenship will be awarded and you will no longer need the permesso di soggiorno.