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Italian dual citizenship FAQ

Benefits of obtaining Italian dual citizenship
Benefits of Italian dual citizenship
March 3, 2016
How to qualify for Italian dual citizenship
Do you qualify for Italian dual citizenship?
March 3, 2016

The European Union



Read through this section to view questions and answers regarding the European Union.
What is the European Union?
The European Union (previously known as the European Community) was founded after the Second World War to ensure peace in the region and to economically unite the nations of Europe.

Today, the EU boasts a fully integrated internal market in which citizens, goods and services can move freely across national borders. Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were the six original member states. After five rounds of enlargement (Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom in 1973; Greece in 1981; Spain and Portugal in 1986; Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995; and the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria and Romania in 2004-7), as well as the accession of Croatia in 2013, the union currently has 28 member countries. For more information, visit the EU website at http://europa.eu/.
Do Italian citizens enjoy full E.U. rights?
Italians are considered citizens of the European Union. As an Italian dual citizen, you would be allowed free movement within the E.U., as well as all benefits to which European Union citizens are entitled.
What is the euro?
The Single European Act (1986) and the Treaty on European Union (1992) introduced the idea of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and laid the foundations for a single currency known as the euro. In January of 1999, the euro was introduced though EU citizens continued to use their national currency until euro bank notes and coins were put into circulation on January 1, 2002.

​The euro (€) is the official currency of 19 out of 28 EU member countries. These countries are collectively known as the Eurozone, and are comprised of: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Countries which do not use the euro or with an opt-out are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Benefits of Italian dual citizenship



This section contains more in depth information regarding the benefits of obtaining Italian dual citizenship.
How will Italian citizenship help my employment prospects?
As an Italian and an American citizen, you will be effectively cleared for employment both within the U.S. and within the greater European Union.

Currently, single citizenship Americans cannot legally work in the E.U. without a visa or sponsorship from their employer. As an E.U. citizen, you would enjoy the full rights and benefits of your Italian passport. This means you don't need sponsorship for employment, and would be considered a part of the local European candidate pool.

​For people with unique skills or backgrounds, this is an immense plus as it allows you to compete for a job without adding an extra burden on a potential employer.
What are the healthcare benefits of having Italian dual citizenship?
Health care in Italy is extremely affordable, even by European Union standards. Though the standard of care varies from region to region (just like state to state in the U.S.), Italian citizens can all expect an affordable, high standard of care. To find out more about Italian health care services, please visit http://italy.angloinfo.com/healthcare/health-system/.
Does Italian citizenship mean I pay less for school?
By and large, the answer is yes.

Education in Italy (and the greater European Union) is far more affordable than education in the United States. There are many world class institutions in the E.U. which charge students very nominal fees. There is one catch: many of these institutions charge different fees for E.U. citizens and everyone else.

As a dual Italian citizen, you would be entitled to the discounted European student rates. For an example, if you wanted to use your Italian citizenship to study in the Netherlands, you would pay around 2,000 euros a year. Contrast that with a single citizenship American who would pay over 15,000. Beyond that, being an Italian (and therefore, European) citizen entitles you to more local financial aid not open to students from other parts of the world.
Can I earn Italian retirement benefits?
Italian and European Union governments provide generous pensions for citizens who have spent the requisite number of years in their workforce. If you have worked in the U.S. for most of your life and are considering retiring in Italy or the European Union, being an Italian citizen makes life much easier, from gaining access to health care to purchasing a home.
Can I live elsewhere in the European Union?
Yes!

This is one of the greatest benefits of being an Italian citizen. Having an Italian passport is like having a passport to any EU country, allowing you to live anywhere within its borders. Under the terms of Article 17 (ex Article 8) of the Treaty on the European Union, "any person holding the nationality of a member state is a citizen of the Union." "EU citizenship, which supplements national citizenship without replacing it, grants citizens the right to move freely and to reside on the territory of the member states" (Article 18).
How will Italian citizenship make me feel safer abroad?
Citizens of certain western countries (and in particular, America) may be targets of terrorist acts abroad. You may feel safer traveling on your Italian passport in regions of the world where citizens of your native country are unpopular. Additionally, you can use your Italian passport to travel to countries restricted to you as an American citizen which you want or need to visit.
Are there any other benefits?
Yes!

As an EU citizen, you can go into business with much greater ease. The EU is a single economic zone with a common currency and a population greater than that of the United States, presenting a unique opportunity for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Restrictions on non-EU citizens are onerous. Holding Italian citizenship allows you to avoid many bureaucratic hassles.

In addition, Italian citizenship will allow you to invest in offshore mutual funds and securities without restriction or hindrance, as very few foreign companies are registered to sell their securities in the United States. Foreign brokers will not sell unregistered securities for fear of running afoul of the SEC. If you want these securities, it is sometimes essential to have a foreign identity. ​

Another benefit of Italian citizenship is that you can pass it on to your children for an indefinite number of generations, giving them the possibility to migrate to any country in the European Union.

Italian dual citizenship jure sanguinis - general



This section contains general information regarding Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (Italian citizenship via heritage).
What is Italian dual citizenship jure sanguinis?
Latin for "right of the blood," jure sanguinis (sometimes written jus sanguinis) refers to the right to obtain citizenship based on ones bloodline or ancestry.
Does obtaining Italian dual citizenship affect my U.S. citizenship?
Not usually, no. Since the U.S. is a jus soli country (meaning that all those born on U.S. soil are automatically considered citizens), the citizenship rules of the U.S. (jus soli) and Italy (jure sanguinis) do not interfere with one another.

According to the principle of jure sanguinis, you have actually been an Italian citizen since birth (if you qualify). Obtaining dual citizenship through ancestry is not the same as obtaining it through voluntary naturalization, which in some cases can result in the loss of your native citizenship.

In The U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, being recognized as an Italian citizen jure sanguinis will not affect your current citizenship.

However, if you are a dual citizen of the United States and another country you may not be eligible for government jobs which require security clearance.

If you are a citizen of any other country or are concerned your dual citizen status may affect your job, Get Italian Citizenship strongly recommends you verify this with the nearest Italian and United States authority.
How long does the process take?
Assuming you contact us today to get started, it generally takes 4 to 8 weeks for me to obtain your ancestor's birth, marriage or death certificate from Italy (sometimes longer). The time it takes to obtain your birth, marriage and death certificates in your state varies, and some vital statistics offices allow you to expedite requests for a fee. You can request your certificates through me from Italy and from your state or province at the same time, allowing the waiting periods to coincide. Once the documents from your state have arrived, you may have to wait a few more weeks for apostilles and legalizations, though it often takes less time if you go in person.

You will then need to translate your American documents into Italian, though this may be done by scanning your originals and sending them to me while you actually send them off for apostilles.

Your actual application can be done in a day. The biggest question is how long it will take to obtain an appointment, and how long it will take the consulate to process your application once you attend your appointment and hand everything in. My experience has shown that it can take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years to obtain and application and have your citizenship approved. I recommend giving yourself a few months to obtain all your documents before you apply for an appointment.

For those seeking to obtain their Italian citizenship faster, applying directly in Italy is often much quicker. On average, my clients have waited two to three months from date of application to date of approval of citizenship if they applied in Italy, however wait times of up to 1 year are not out of the question.
Can I apply with other family members?
Yes!

When applying, you can go to your appointment with siblings and/or first cousins. This requires very little extra paperwork and only one set of certificates for each family's application. For example, if I applied for Italian citizenship with my brother, we'd use the same set of certificates, with the exception of my and my brother's birth and marriage certificates. However, you must make the appointment for every person in your party (the consulates do not like surprises and do not want you to show up with an unexpected relative).
How much does it cost?
The total price varies depending on how many certificates and translations you need, whether you are applying in the U.S. or Italy, and whether or not you want me to complete your entire application from start to finish for you. Italian birth, marriage and death certificates cost $185 to obtain, and translations are $60 per page (discounts are available). In addition, there is now a 300 euro fee for applying for Italian citizenship, payable directly to the Italian consulate.

I recommend budgeting anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for the entire process depending on whether or not you are obtaining all your documentation for yourself vs. having a service provider compile everything for you, applying at a consulate, or applying in Italy, etc.
I am in a hurry to move to Italy. Can I speed up the process somehow?
Yes! You can actually move to Italy and apply while there. In addition, after you apply, you can obtain a permesso di soggiorno in attesa di cittadinanza (permit to stay while awaiting citizenship). Get Italian Citizenship is able to assist with this permit. Once you obtain it, you will be able to live in Italy legally for however long it takes for your citizenship to process. Once your citizenship is processed, you become an Italian citizen and the permit to stay lapses since you no longer need it.
Can I vote in Italy?
Yes. Voting is one of your rights as an Italian citizen.
Once I obtain my Italian citizenship, how soon can I move to Italy?
In theory, right away! However, we strongly recommend applying for a passport or an Italian identity card before you decide to move to Italy or elsewhere in the EU.
When I travel, which passport should I use?
When you travel, be sure to bring both your native passport and your Italian one with you. When leaving your native country, show your native passport. While on the plane, put away your native passport and take out the Italian passport, which you should use when entering the EU or Italy.

It's not illegal for you two carry two passports, but it's usually best not to mention it. You won't get into trouble as you are acting in full accordance with U.S. law and the U.S. allows dual citizenship, but lower level customs officials may not be aware of this fact. As a result, you might be delayed while s/he checks with a supervisor.

You can also use your Italian passport when traveling to parts of the world where U.S. citizens are unpopular or prohibited from entering. And, as always, carry photocopies of your passport with you while traveling.
Will I be obligated to carry out Italian military service?
No. On May 8, 2001, the Italian government passed a law (Art. 7 del D. Lgs. 8 maggio 2001 n. 215) making military service completely voluntary as of January 1, 2007.
What will happen once I receive my Italian citizenship?
If you apply via the consulate, you will receive notification directly from them. Though this may vary from country to country, you will probably receive a package at your home address including a cover letter stating that you have been recognized as an Italian citizen, an application for an Italian passport and an application for A.I.R.E.

If you apply in Italy, you will receive a letter stating you are an Italian citizen or notification from us. We will then let the comune know that they must transcribe your records so that you may obtain your Italian passport and identify card.
How long will it take for me to obtain my Italian passport?
It all depends on the authority releasing the passport, and may take anywhere from one to six weeks. Check with your local Italian authority for more information.
Has it always been possible to hold Italian citizenship in addition to another citizenship?
​Only since 1992. On February 5, 1992, the Italian government passed a law (no. 91, art. 11) stating that any Italian citizen who acquired or reacquired a foreign citizenship after August 15, 1992 would not lose his or her Italian citizenship.
If I am an Italian citizen, do I have to pay Italian taxes?
If you are an Italian citizen and you live in the United States, you DO NOT have to pay taxes to the Italian government. On the other hand, the United States is one of the only countries in the world that taxes its citizens no matter where in the world they live so this means that if you are a dual citizen living in Italy and you don't have U.S. income, the U.S. government still wants you to file a tax return just to have it on record. However, Italy and the U.S. have stipulated a special tax treaty which qualifies you for a tax exclusion for all income earned in Italy or elsewhere in the European Union up to $101,800 (at the time of this writing). This is known as the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. In order to qualify for it you must establish a tax home outside of the US and pass either the physical-presence test or the foreign-residence test. The physical-presence test is the more objective and straightforward of the two. To pass, you must be outside the US for at least 330 days over a consecutive twelve month period. The foreign-residence test is more subjective and probably easier for most Americans to pass. You must convince the IRS that you have been a bona fide resident of Italy or another EU country for an entire taxable year and that you plan to live there indefinitely. The IRS considers a number of factors to determine whether or not you pass this test. Being an Italian citizen and living in Europe will certainly work in your favor. Remember that you need to pass only one of these two tests to qualify for the exclusion. You must file IRS forms 1040 and 2555 or 2555-EZ to claim it. If you are an American who doesn't qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, or you earn more than $101,800 per year, don't worry! Italy and the United States have other tax treaties to protect their citizens from double taxation. This is the general rule: you don't pay U.S. tax on foreign earned income if the foreign income tax rate is higher than the U.S. tax rate. If the foreign tax rate is lower, you will have to pay U.S. taxes on the difference between these rates. Be sure to file your tax returns every year even if all of your income is earned outside of the U.S. And remember, if you are not a U.S. citizen, it is unlikely that you will be taxed for income earned abroad. Check with the nearest Italian authority or tax preparer/attorney for more information.
What A.I.R.E.?
In every city in Italy, there is a general registry office called an anagrafe. This office keeps track of the changes in citizenship status, address, marriage, birth and death of Italian citizens. ​Italians living abroad are registered in a special anagrafe called A.I.R.E. By law, all Italian citizens, whether living in Italy or abroad, must notify their anagrafe concerning any change in their status. Italians abroad do so through the consular office in whose jurisdiction they reside.

Italian dual citizenship jure sanguinis - qualifying



This section contains general information regarding how to qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (Italian citizenship via heritage).
Is there a residency requirement for Italian dual citizenship?
Not at all. Italian citizenship jure sanguinis is your birthright. You need only prove your lineage to a qualifying Italian citizen.

However, residency (even temporary) is required when wishing to apply directly in Italy as opposed to applying at your local consulate.
Is there an Italian language proficiency requirement for Italian dual citizenship?
No. You do not need to speak Italian to become an Italian dual citizen.
Is there a generational limit as to how far back I can go to apply?
Not at all. You may go back as many generations as possible, as long as your ancestor is a qualifying Italian citizen.
If I acquire Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, are my children also dual citizens?
If your children are under eighteen (18) they automatically receive citizenship upon your successful application (and you must provide their birth certificates when you apply). If they are over the age of 18 and qualify, they must apply on their own.
If I apply for Italian dual citizenship, if my spouse also able to apply?
Yes. If you are eligible for Italian dual citizenship, this means that you have actually been an Italian citizen by birth and the obtaining of a passport is a way to make it recognized by law.

​This means that in theory, your spouse has been married to an Italian citizen the entire time. Italian law states that spouses of Italian citizens can apply for citizenship after six months of marriage if a couple is living in Italy and after three years of marriage if they are living abroad. Consider a person living outside of Italy who has already been married for over three years. Once he or she is recognized as an Italian citizen jure sanguinis, the spouse may apply for Italian citizenship immediately! Why? Because the Italian has been a citizen since birth and the couple has been married for over three years.
If I was born in Italy, can I have Italian dual citizenship?
It depends. Unlike the United States, Italy does not automatically confer citizenship to people born in its territory. You may or may not be entitled to Italian dual citizenship if you were born in Italy.

1. Italian citizens by birth who never became naturalized citizens of their adopted country are eligible for an Italian passport. Contact the nearest Italian embassy or consulate for details.

2. Italian citizens who were naturalized in their adopted country prior to August 15, 1992, implicitly renouncing their right to Italian citizenship, can reinstate it by returning to Italy and residing there legally for at least one year.

3. Italian citizens who became naturalized citizens of their adopted country after August 15, 1992, retained their Italian citizenship unless they expressly renounced it. They are required to personally inform the Italian consulate of becoming citizens within ninety days, or when they reach their 18th birthday, otherwise they risk a fine.
What if my ancestor was born before March 17, 1861?
All residents of the territory we now know as Italy officially and automatically became Italian citizens when the country united on March 17, 1861. If your ancestor was born in Italy before 1861, you may qualify as long as your ancestor was alive anywhere in the world and not yet a citizen of another country after that date (as well as meeting other qualification requirements).
What does it mean to renounce one's right to Italian citizenship?
Before Italians were allowed to hold dual citizenship as of August 15, 1992, native-born Italian citizens renounced their right to Italian citizenship when they became naturalized citizens of a foreign country. People born outside Italy who qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis renounce their right to Italian citizenship ONLY by doing so explicitly and formally in an Italian embassy or consulate.
What if my ancestor never naturalized?
This is not a negative for your application, but you must prove that your ancestor did not naturalize.

If you ancestor immigrated to the United States, some consulates will accept a "Certificate of No Record" from the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as proof that your ancestor did not naturalize. Some other consulates require two certificates in addition to the aforementioned USCIS "No Record" certificate:

1. A statement of "NO RECORDS" from the National Archives. Request a full research under your ancestor's name and nicknames, and possible dates of birth which may have been declared.

2. A survey report from a census dated after the date of birth of your ancestor's child.

Before applying, be sure to check with your consulate of jurisdiction re: which certificates will be necessary in your Italian citizenship jure sanguinis application. If applying in Italy using our services, you may use the NARA documentation or the USCIS combination, or any combination thereof.
How can I find out when my ancestor naturalized?
You can do this in a number of ways.

First, www.ancestry.com is an invaluable source of information. Try searching for your ancestor's name and other pertinent information and see if you can come up with documentation regarding his or her naturalization. Failing that, you can:

1. Run a search of NARA's records by visitng their website or calling the nearest NARA location.

2. Run a search at USCIS. You will first have to search for an index number and then once you obtain the index number, you can search for the actual record.

3. Contact the county clerk of the county in which your ancestor may have naturalized for further information.


Your ancestor's actual naturalization certificate
Only USCIS will usually have a copy of the actual naturalization certificate. However, NARA will maintain all other records such as your ancestor's oath, petition, and declaration, etc. Consulates' requirements vary but they usually want to see either the actual naturalization certificate, or the naturalization certificate and the NARA packet.

Supporting records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
NARA has records for naturalizations issued by federal courts, such as the U.S. District court, and has a few records for naturalizations issued by county and state courts. As stated above, NARA does not have copies of the certificates themselves, but does have supporting records such as the petition for naturalization and the oath. You can request that NARA send you certified copies.

​If you are able to get certified records from the NARA and there are no major discrepancies between this and your ascendants other records, this and the certificate above should be enough proof, otherwise you’ll need to go to the county or state courthouse where the naturalization took place (or where your ancestor lived). Note: a certified copy differs from a regular copy in that all the records are affixed by a red ribbon with a gold seal. When the consulate requests records "with the red ribbon" this is what they are referring to.

IF YOU CAN'T OBTAIN ANY OF THE ABOVE, YOU'LL NEED TO LOOK FOR THE FOLLOWING:

Supporting records from state or county courts. For naturalizations that were issued by a state or county court, you’ll need to go to the courthouse that issued it to get a certified copy. If your relative did not naturalize, you may need to get a statement of no record from the county courts where your relative lived. If you are able to get a certified copy from a courthouse, this, along with the certificate, should be sufficient but again, always double check with your consulate for their exact requirements.

Supporting records from state or county historical societies or archive offices. Some counties and states have released all of their naturalization records to local historical societies or archives offices. If this happened to your relatives records, in most cases, you should be able to get certified copies. Also request they send you a certified custodial agreement/letter (signed by a registrar of records, with appropriate letterhead and notarization) stating that the county or state released the naturalization documents to them.

Certified census and other records: If there are discrepancies you are concerned about or you are unable to track down records from the above organizations, you’ll likely need to get a certified copy of the census record issued immediately after your first U.S. born ascendant was born from NARA. For example, if you are requesting citizenship through your great grandfather -> grandfather where your great grandfather was born in Italy and your grandfather was born in the U.S. in, say 1915, you’ll want to get a copy of the 1920 census which lists both of them. There may be other records you can provide as additional proof, such as World War I and World War II registration records, ship passenger lists, etc. Basically, any record that still shows your Italian born ascendant as an Italian citizen after your U.S. born ascendant was born will help in this situation.

Statement of ‘No Record’ from the above organizations: If the above organizations cannot find the naturalization record for your ascendant, request they send you a statement of no record that lists the search criteria they used. The statement of no record should be certified, with the appropriate letter head, signed by a custodian of records (ask them to include their title) and notarized. If there are are possible spelling variations for your relative’s name, be sure to let the organization know for their search.

If any of the organizations cannot find the record, you will want to request a statement of no record, signed by a custodian of records (ask them to include their title or include a statement that they have access to the register of naturalizations), with appropriate letterhead and notarization to include in the packet you give to the consulate. ​
Does the Italian consulate charge any fees for applying for dual citizenship?
As of July 8th, 2014 all applications for the recognition of the Italian citizenship Jure Sanguinis (by descent) and Jure Matrimonii (in case of foreign national whose husband is an Italian citizen married prior to April 27, 1983) are subject to the PAYMENT OF A € 300 FEE (Law n. 66 April 24th, 2014 and modifications Law n. 89 June 23rd, 2014 art. 5-bis, comma 1). The application fee is NON REFUNDABLE, regardless of the outcome of the petition.