Italian dual citizenship: how long does it take to get your Italian passport?
When it comes to getting your Italian dual citizenship, the hardest part is definitely not what you’d expect.
Sure, there’s also the fact that you have to gather relevant birth, marriage, and death certificates to prove you’re descended from an eligible Italian citizen. And if you don’t know much information about your family you’ll have to do genealogical research and find naturalization records that may be 100 plus years old.
But… the hardest part about getting Italian dual citizenship is actually the wait.
People applying for Italian dual citizenship have to wait to get an appointment, have to wait to get their documents, and have to wait for their applications to be processed. And then they’ll have to wait for their own records to be transcribed, and then they have to wait to get their passports.
So, as you can see, obtaining Italian dual citizenship is a matter of jumping through hoops and then hurrying up and waiting!
The consular wait
The first of many waiting periods you’ll encounter is the consular one.
In order to apply for recognition of your Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, you’ll need to apply at your local consulate (you can also apply in Italy which necessitates its own set of waiting times).
Before you can do anything you’ll have to snag an appointment. To do this, you’ll need to use the Prenota OnLine system. It will prompt you to make an account. Have an identity document ready because it will also ask you the last 5 characters of your ID.
Consular wait times can vary. Some consulates like Detroit give appointments about 6 months to a 1 year out, while others like Los Angeles can require a 7 to 9 year wait. We’re not kidding–it’s a 7 to 9 year wait for a citizenship appointment at the Los Angeles consulate. What’s even worse, in some consulates all the appointment slots are taken within a 1 minute window.
And things don’t seem to be getting any better, either. For more than a decade, South Americans of Italian descent have been dealing with wait times of 10+ years to get an appointment at their local Italian consulate. Even worse, some consulates give out lottery numbers for people to grab a spot on a wait list.
The point is this: many people want Italian dual citizenship but the consulates are overworked and understaffed. It’s best to snag the appointment first and gather your documents while you wait. You never know because an appointment in the meanwhile may free up. You can check the system all the time to see if you can snag a last-minute appointment.
The “attestato di non rinuncia” wait
Once you’ve gone to your appointment, your application is not processed immediately.
Your consulate will check its own internal records to make sure neither you nor anyone in your direct family renounced their right to have Italian dual citizenship. These records are not public. This document is called the “attestato di non rinuncia” (attestation of no renunciation of citizenship).
The consulates will also ask all the other consulates to check on this, too.
This process may take as little or as much time as the consulate wants, needs, or can spend. A few years back, there was a large stack of files on a consular worker’s desk in Miami waiting for recognition for over two years. All other applicants who applied with another consular worker were approved in half the time, but the unlucky ones just had to deal with their applications being on the pile of the wrong person’s desk.
The consulate will also issue a formal letter recognizing you as a citizen.
That’s just how it is with Italy. Be prepared to wait.
The transcription wait
Once your attestato di non rinuncia comes back, your birth and marriage certificate will be sent to your ancestral comune in Italy for transcription. If you have minor children, their birth records will be sent too.
Your ancestral comune may also request the records of birth, marriage, divorce, and death for any people in your direct line. This is because Italy wants to know what happens to its citizens after they move abroad.
The comune then transcribes your records into their local registry.
The A.I.R.E. and passport wait
Once everything else is done and you’re a recognized citizen, then you can enroll in A.I.R.E. (Registry of Italians Abroad).
Back in the day, all consulates automatically enrolled people in A.I.R.E. but now this varies. You really need to be on top of things and make sure you are enrolled through the consulate. If not, you have to fill out a form and send it back to them and wait for confirmation. You should receive general information and other information regarding voting as an Italian citizen.
Once that’s done, you can make an appointment for your passport. It can be a six week wait. Make sure to come prepared with your payment for the passport, too!
Then, after having completed all the above steps and having waited for what seems like an eternity… you are an official Italian citizen!
How long was your wait for Italian dual citizenship? Was it painful? Painless? Sound off in the comments below!