Sumptuous fashion, exquisite architecture, incredible art, world famous cuisine… Italy has it all. Each year, millions of people visit Il Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country) hoping to live a bit of la dolce vita. But did you know that if you have just one Italian ancestor—no matter how far back—you may actually be eligible for an Italian passport?
That’s right. Your grandma may have passed down way more than the secret family sauce recipe. Thanks to your Italian heritage, you may actually be entitled to Italian citizenship. We’ve written about the numerous benefits of Italian dual citizenship before.
Without further ado, here are 7 reasons you should get an Italian passport and how you can qualify.
How It Works
Italian citizenship is based on the principle of jure sanguinis, meaning “by right of blood” in Latin. Any child born to an Italian citizen parent is also an Italian citizen. Added to that, there are no generational limits, so that same child will pass on Italian citizenship to his children.
Italian citizenship passes on in this way across multiple generations without limit. It does not need to be claimed by each single generation before you in order for you to claim yours.
If you qualify, obtaining an Italian passport by descent is your birthright. In these cases, you are simply asking the Italian government to formalize a status—that of being an Italian citizen—that you’ve had since you were born.
How to Qualify for an Italian Passport (by Descent)
In order to qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
You have at least one Italian ancestor.
Your ancestor was alive anywhere in the world after March 17, 1861.
That same ancestor either never became a citizen of another country or if they did become a citizen of another country, it was both after July 1, 1912 and after the birth of his or her child.
If you have any women in your direct line, their children were born after February 1, 1948.
There Are Multiple Benefits to Obtaining Your Italian Passport
Many people are tied to their heritage and obtaining Italian citizenship is a way of honoring that. However, an Italian passport is also a practical benefit that can increase your qualify of life in many ways. Here are my top 5 reasons I think you should obtain your Italian dual citizenship as soon as you can.
An Italian Passport Allows You to Live, Work, and Study in the European Union
As the holder of an Italian passport, you no longer have to worry about visas or permits to live in the European Union. Thus, just like any other European citizen, your Italian passport enables you to move to any country within the European Union.
Currently as of 2019, there are 28 member countries. They are:
United Kingdom (leaving the EU in October 2019)
It’s Relatively Affordable to Obtain
The costs associated with obtaining an Italian passport by descent are minimal when compared with other European citizenship programs.
For example, Cyprus runs a popular “golden visa” program wherein applicants must invest in 2 million euros’ worth of real estate and make two donations of 75,000 euros each to the Government’s Research and Development Fund and the Land Development Organization.
Italian dual citizenship costs pale in comparison. The costs involved are only those associated with obtaining various vital records (birth, marriage, death, naturalization) along with translations and legalizations to prove your eligibility. Additionally, there is a 300 euro application fee. Usually, an average DIY Italian dual citizenship applicant can expect to spend well under $3,000 from start to finish.
How’s that for value?
There Are No Language Tests
Because Italian dual citizenship is your birthright, there are absolutely no language tests. You do not need to speak, read, write, or understand Italian to file your application successfully.
Additionally, there are no Italian culture tests.
You Don’t Need to Be Full-Blooded to Qualify
As long as you have just one qualifying ancestor, you don’t need to be full-blooded to apply. You can be half, a quarter, or even less. What matters is that your ancestor successfully passed on Italian dual citizenship to his or her child. Once the first successful passwas made, the citizenship gets handed down across multiple generations all the way to you.
It Gives You Access to Affordable Education and Healthcare
The average U.S. college student has $29,800 in debt. In Italy, college is extremely affordable with tuition being on a sliding scale but usually no more than $3,000 a year. Additionally, any European citizen is entitled to EU tuition rates should they decide to study in another European Union country outside Italy. Obtaining an Italian passport is a smart way to graduate university without any student debt and broaden your horizons at the same time.
Additionally, healthcare is extremely affordable in Italy. But the price you pay is not correlated to quality—Italian healthcare may be affordable, but it’s rated the second best in the world. Having your Italian passport can be an insurance policy should you ever require affordable healthcare.
You’ll Enjoy Greater Employment Prospects
The European Union is the second largest economy in the world after the United States. With a GDP estimated at $18.8 trillion, the EU represents roughly 22% of the world’s economy.
Therefore, it is no surprise that having an Italian passport will open you up to greater and better employment opportunities. Employers in the EU will not have to sponsor you, cutting back on serious red tape. And employers in the US will remember your resume as it stands out from the crowd.
It’s a Tangible Way to Honor Your Heritage
Obtaining an Italian passport is a tangible way of honoring the sacrifices your Italian ancestors made. When you hold your passport in your hands, it’s a way of writing your Italian story and coming full circle. What’s more, it’s the gift that keeps on giving—as an Italian citizen, you can pass on citizenship to your children (and their children’s children) forever.
Need Assistance Obtaining Your Italian Passport? We can help.
Founded in 2005, Get Italian Citizenship, Inc. has put Italian passports in the hands of hundreds of clients. We can assist you whether you need Italian translations, genealogical research, or require a full start to finish Italian dual citizenship package. Contact us today for more information or to get started!