Category: general

The 1948 Case: what it is and how to win yours

We’ve discussed in a previous post how to qualify for Italian citizenship, so by now you are familiar with the rules. But as you apply for Italian dual citizenship, you may find yourself in a pickle.

What if you meet all requirements but have female Italian ancestors with children born before January 1, 1948? This would normally render you ineligible.

In fact, most online resources and even Italian consulates will tell you outright that you cannot apply. But don’t listen to them! You absolutely can apply… you just need to do so in a different way than everyone else.

When you have a female ancestor whose child was born before the cut-off, it means you may fall prey to the so-called 1948 rule. To gain recognition of Italian citizenship, you’ll need to file what we call a 1948 case.

We’ll explain how, where, and when to do it in this post.

 

What the 1948 rule is

Before Italy became a modern country, lots of its laws were discriminatory towards women (sorry, Italy! It’s true). But on January 1, 1948 Italy adopted its first modern constitution, hoping to remedy this. Before then, women faced an uphill battle in terms of equal rights before the law.

Until this date, Italian women could not pass on citizenship to their children. There were only few exceptions:

  • If the father was unknown or deceased at the time of the child’s birth.
  • If the father’s own foreign citizenship didn’t automatically pass down to the child at birth.

 

A practical example of a 1948 case

These cases can be confusing, so look at this example for how a 1948 case might play out in the real world.

Italian dual citizenship via maternal ancestry
Joanne was born in the US in 1950. Her mom Rose was born in the
US in 1925. Rose’s mom Ninetta was born in Italy in 1901. Even though Ninetta never became an American citizen, she didn’t pass down Italian citizenship to Rose (because Rose was born before January 1, 1948). And even though Joanne was born after January 1, 1948, she still didn’t receive Italian citizenship from Rose because Rose, in turn, didn’t receive Italian citizenship from Ninetta.

1948 case monkeys in a barrelRemember that in order for someone to qualify, each subsequent generation before them must qualify for Italian dual citizenship. Because Ninetta didn’t pass on citizenship to Rose, Rose couldn’t pass it on to Joanne. In this way, think of Italian citizenship as one big game of Monkeys in a Barrel. If one monkey slips, the whole chain breaks.

 

But what happens to a 1948 case when a male ancestor is thrown into the mix?

Well, it’s really the same thing.

Let’s use another hypothetical case:

Joanne has a brother Billy. Billy was born in the US in 1954 to Rose, born in 1925. Rose’s mom Ninetta was born in Italy in 1901. Even though Billy is male, he still did not receive citizenship at birth from Rose.

As long as there is a woman in your line, her child must have been born after January 1, 1948 in order for you to seek Italian citizenship through the normal channels such as the consulate or directly in Italy.

Fortunately for Billy and Joanne, their dad was born in Italy and he never became an American citizen. Remember that there are no restrictions on men passing down citizenship, so Billy and Joanne easily obtained citizenship from him.

 

Enter the 1948 case

In 2009, people got fed up. They were tired of seeing others apply for Italian dual citizenship and being left out in the cold due to mere happenstance of birthdates.

So, a pioneering attorney decided to take on a case of people of Italian descent seeking citizenship through their maternal ancestry. The attorney successfully argued in the Court of Rome that Italian citizenship laws were discriminatory towards women.

And he won. Judgement no. 4466/2009 was on the books. His clients were given Italian citizenship and today thousands of people follow every year.

These 1948 cases have a high degree of success. In fact, the Italian government no longer even defends itself against them.

But this doesn’t mean that they are yet enshrined into law. Unfortunately, the Ministry of the Interior has not yet changed the laws even though the Italian Supreme Court has ruled against the 1948 rule. That’s why Italian consulates still won’t allow applicants falling under the 1948 rule to apply.

Therefore, anyone who falls under the above category can hire an Italian attorney to represent them in court. If, with all other things considered, you are eligible you may obtain Italian citizenship this way.

 

What goes on behind the scenes of a 1948 case?

 

First, determine your eligibility

Before doing anything else, you have to be eligible in the first place. If you meet all other requirements except for the 1948 cutoff date, you can move on to the next step.

Then, you gather your documents

Once you determine eligibility, you have to gather your documents. This will also include Italian translations and legalizations (apostilles) on your vital records.

Finally, get ready for court

Then, your Italian attorney will file your case in the Civil Court of Rome against the Italian Ministry of the Interior. Now, the case is in Italy’s hands!

 

This is what happens after your 1948 case is filed

  1. File the claim in court;
  2. The court appoints a judge who will oversee the case. This usually takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months;
  3. Based on his or her schedule, the appointed judge will schedule the hearing usually 6-8 months from the time your claim is submitted. However, sometimes a hearing can be scheduled for 10 or even 12 months from initial filing;
  4. During the first hearing, a number of different things may occur, such as:
    1. When the judge requires additional documents and/or corrections and amendments of records and then schedules a second hearing,
    2. Where a judge may challenge the claim, giving the parties enough time to write a final defense,
    3. When the judge determines that no further documents/corrections/amendments are needed and will keep the file in order to issue the judgement.
  5. The final judgement declaring the applicant an Italian citizen is issued 5 to 10 months after the last hearing.

Timelines between the filing of the claim and the final judgment may vary. This can be anywhere from 12 to 24 months, and does not include the time it takes applicants to put together their documents which can vary from 6 to 18 months.

Therefore, the entire process from start to finish can be between 18 to 42 months.

 

Are 1948 cases successful?

No attorney can guarantee a positive outcome, but the success rate of 1948 cases is very high. Thousands of individuals have obtained Italian citizenship this way.

 

Can I use a 1948 case even if I qualify through another ancestor?

No. You can only go through the courts for a 1948 case if you have exhausted all other possibilities and do not qualify through a male ancestor or a female ancestor whose child was born after January 1, 1948.

If you qualify through the “normal” channels, you must apply through the consulate or directly in Italy.

 

How much do 1948 cases cost?

Fees vary according to the level of service you desire. A full package containing all documentation, translations, legalizations, plus court and legal fees can run anywhere from $7,000 to $25,000 depending on number of generations, number of family members joining your suit, amendments and/or corrections to be made to your documents, etc.

It’s an excellent value for Italian dual citizenship which has many benefits.

 

Do I have to be physically present in Italy during a 1948 case?

No. In fact, this is one of the advantages of this type of case. You do not need to be physically present at any time during your 1948 case. Your Italian attorney will work on your behalf.

 

Can other family members join me?

Absolutely, as long as they too fall under the 1948 case umbrella. Minors are included at no additional cost.

 

Does the Italian consulate have anything to do with your case?

No. Italy will grant your citizenship and transcribes your vital records in your ancestral town. For this reason, your Italian consulate at home in the US has no say in this process, except when you present your transcribed Italian birth certificate to enroll in AIRE (Registry of Italians Abroad).

 

Would you like to obtain Italian dual citizenship? Do you have a 1948 case? Tell us about it! Our company has been helping applicants successfully obtain Italian dual citizenship since 2005. We can help you obtain your Italian dual citizenship, from start to finish. Contact us today!

 

 

Do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?

If you’ve clicked on this post, you’ve probably asked yourself the question “Do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?”

The good news is that your grandparents may have passed down much more than just an awesome recipe for sauce. They may have actually passed down Italian dual citizenship to you!

But even if your Italian ancestry is more distant, you might still be eligible! As long as you can answer a few simple questions, you can determine whether or not you qualify.

In this post, I’ll walk you step by step through the process of qualifying. Since 2005, I’ve helped hundreds of people become Italian citizens –this is what I do day in and day out.

But first, I’ll explain what Italian dual citizenship actually is.

 

What is Italian dual citizenship?

It’s really as simple as it sounds. Italian dual citizenship means having your native-born citizenship (such as US) and Italian citizenship at the same time. The United States and Italy both allow dual citizenship, so you’re free to hold passports from both countries. If you’d like to know more about traveling on an Italian passport, I have a nifty page here chock full of good tidbits of information.

 

Do I have to be American to figure out if I’m eligible through this post?

Absolutely not. Our company helps people from all over the world qualify and apply for Italian dual citizenship. Australians can be Italian dual citizens. So can Canadians, Mexicans, Argentines, Brazilians, and anyone else born in a jure soli country. But don’t worry about that term just yet. I’ll explain it in the next two paragraphs.

Click here for a full list of jure soli countries

 

Italian citizenship is based on the principle of “jure sanguinis”

Jure sanguinis is a Latin term meaning “by right of the blood.” This means that Italian citizenship is passed from parent to child. In other words, any child born to an Italian parent is automatically an Italian citizen.

Compare this system to the one that we have in the US, jure soli. In Latin, jure soli means “by right of the soil.” Therefore, anyone born in the United States is automatically an American citizen regardless of who his or her parents are. Conversely, this is not the case for Italian citizenship. Simply being born in Italy is not enough to be an Italian citizen. As we discussed above, you must have at least one Italian parent to be entitled to Italian citizenship at birth.

 

Italian citizenship is passed down across generations

If you don’t have an Italian parent (but you have an Italian grandparent, great grandparent, or great great grandparent), you’re probably wondering “well, do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship or not?”

The good news is you probably do. Let me explain.

According to Italian law, Italian citizenship is passed down from one generation to another in a never-ending chain, as long as the chain is not broken and you meet all the requirements. And the only thing that could possibly break the chain is naturalization (becoming an American citizen).

So, if you have an Italian-born ancestor who was still an Italian citizen at the time of his or her child’s birth, you more than likely qualify through that Italian ancestor. Italian dual citizenship will have passed down from one generation to another, just waiting to be recognized. This is how people two, three, or even four generations removed from Italy qualify for Italian dual citizenship.

In fact, if you qualify you’ve actually been a citizen since birth. Going through the process of obtaining your citizenship is simply asking the Italian government to legalize a status you already possess.

A practical example of someone who qualifies
John was born in New York in 1989. His dad William was also born in New York in 1954. William’s dad Francesco (John’s grandfather) was born in Italy in 1920. Francesco became an American citizen in 1960, four years after William’s birth. Because Francesco was an Italian citizen at the time of William’s birth, both William and John qualify for Italian dual citizenship.
An example of someone who doesn't qualify
Marie is John’s cousin. She was born in New York in 1987. Her father James was born in New York in 1961, seven years after his brother William was born. Francesco (Marie’s and John’s grandfather) was born in Italy in 1920, and became an American citizen in 1960. Because Francesco lost his Italian citizenship and became American one year before James’ birth, neither James nor Marie qualify for Italian dual citizenship.

 

Before you ask–no, you don’t have to speak Italian. And no, you don’t have to be a certain percentage Italian to qualify.

If you are eligible, this is your birthright! You do not need to pass any Italian language exam. In the same vein, if you qualify, you qualify… no matter how much (or how little) Italian heritage you have. The law is very clear on this.

 

But wait, there are other rules to qualifying!

Depending on your family situation, qualifying for an Italian passport can be as simple as we described above. However, there are other rules to keep in mind when answering the question “do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?”

You’ll have to keep in mind the following factors before you can truly figure out your eligibility.

 

So do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship or not?

See if you can answer the below questions to figure out your eligibility.


Your Italian ancestor was alive anywhere in the world on or after March 17, 1861

On this date, Italy became a unified country. Before this time, there was no such thing as the country of Italy as we know it today. If your ancestor was born in most parts of what we now call Italy and was alive on this date, s/he automatically gained Italian citizenship. Therefore, if your Italian-born ancestor died before this date, s/he was never actually Italian and could not have passed on Italian citizenship.


Your Italian ancestor was still an Italian citizen at the time of his/her child's birth

As long as your ancestor was still an Italian citizen when his or her child was born, you may qualify. This means that it’s okay if your ancestor became an American citizen; it just must have occurred sometime after the birth of his or her child.


If your ancestor ever did become an American citizen, it must have been after July 1, 1912

This is an important date to remember. On July 1, 1912, Italy’s modern citizenship laws came into effect. If your ancestor became an American before this date and lost Italian citizenship, s/he would not have been able to pass it down to a child, even if the child was born before the loss of Italian citizenship. This is a hard cut off date, so be sure to look carefully when checking naturalization records.


If there are any women in your direct line of ancestry, their children must have been born on or after January 1, 1948

On January 1, 1948, Italy adopted its modern Constitution. Before this date, women could not pass on citizenship to their children. There are two exceptions: 1) when the father was missing, deceased, or unknown, and 2) when the father’s own foreign citizenship did not automatically pass down to the children. Therefore, if you have any women in your direct line between you and your last Italian-born ancestor, you cannot apply for citizenship through the normal channels. More about this below.


 

What if my ancestor never became an American citizen?

If your Italian ancestor never became an American citizen, it’s almost certain that you qualify. As long as you meet the other established criteria (and can prove no naturalization occurred), you’re eligible.

 

What if my female ancestor had her child before January 1, 1948?

Not to worry. There’s hope for you if you fall into this category!

Even though you don’t technically qualify under current Italian law, you can still apply. The reason is because since 2009, Italian courts have ruled the law barring women from passing down citizenship before 1948 unconstitutional. That means it can be challenged (and won) in court. Thousands of people have done this and continue to do this every year.

To do this, you must hire an Italian attorney (or a firm like ours) to represent you. The good news is that you do not need to be present in Italy. And even better, an unlimited number of family members can join your case at the same time.

For more information about these so-called 1948 cases, click here.

 

I figured out that I qualify. How do I apply?

You’ll either have to apply at an Italian consulate in the country where you live or directly in Italy.

Essentially, Italy wants you to apply where you have your permanent residence. If that’s in the US, find the Italian consulate which services your location. If that’s in Italy, it’ll be at the comune (town) where you officially live.

Applying at an Italian consulate
If you wish to apply at your consulate, you must first obtain an appointment. Consulates use a system called “Prenota Online” where you can sign up and pick a date on a calendar right on their website. Note that Italian dual citizenship is very popular so dates go by very quickly. It is not unheard of to book an appointment 3-5 years in advance. In the meantime, you can spend your time gathering documents.
Applying in Italy
You can apply in Italy as long as you are residing in Italy. You will file your application at the “ufficio di stato civile” after the comune confirms your residency.

 

What documents will I need?

In order to apply, you have to recreate your family tree. This involves various documents such as birth, death, marriage, and naturalization records.

You must obtain certified copies of the following vital records:

  • Your Italian ancestor’s birth certificate.
  • Your Italian ancestor’s marriage certificate.
  • Birth certificates for you, your parents, and everyone in a direct line between you and your Italian ancestor.
  • Marriage certificates for you, your parents, and everyone else in a direct line between you and your Italian ancestor.
  • Death records for anyone in your direct line, if applicable (inclusive of your Italian ancestor).
  • Naturalization records for your Italian ancestor and/or proof of non-naturalization.
  • Divorce decrees, if applicable.
  • Name change documents and/or amendments if your documents show discrepancies in names, place, and dates.

Additionally, all non-Italian documents must be translated into Italian. Finally, every non-Italian document must be legalized with an apostille.

Note: if you apply in Italy, you most likely will not need divorce records and death records. When you apply at a consulate, they will most likely require these records. Italian consulates have a lot of leeway over what documents they accept, so they may require more documentation than the ones stated above. Some consulates will require both direct line and non-direct line documents, i.e. if your Italian ancestor is your dad, they may also require your mom’s birth certificate.

 

How long does it take to get Italian dual citizenship?

It depends. It may take anywhere from 3-5 years to obtain a consular appointment (sometimes longer). Once your application is handed in, it can take up to 24 months for processing. If you apply in Italy, timeframes are drastically reduced and you can expect to be done with everything in 12 months or less (assuming everything goes right, of course!).

 

I don’t qualify. What do I do if I still want Italian dual citizenship?

If you don’t qualify but still have Italian ancestry, there are other options for you.

Naturalizing as an Italian citizen
If you have an Italian parent or grandparent, you can still obtain Italian dual citizenship rather easily. After living in Italy legally for three years, you are eligible for naturalization. People without Italian ancestry normally have to wait for ten years to apply, but your wait time is cut by seven years.
Marriage to an Italian citizen
If you marry an Italian citizen, you are eligible for Italian dual citizenship. If you live in Italy, you must be married for 2 years before applying but if you live abroad, you must wait for 3 years before applying. When you have children under 18, these wait times are cut in half. It takes 48 months to process a citizenship by marriage application, and applicants must speak Italian at a B1 level according to the Common European Framework for languages.

Still confused and can’t answer the question, “do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?” Not to worry. We can help! At Get Italian Citizenship, Inc., we’ve helped hundreds of clients obtain their Italian passports and we can help you too! Simply contact us today for assistance. 

Dual US Italian Citizenship

Dual U.S. – Italian Citizenship

European Passports for Americans of Italian Descent

If you are Italian American, you may qualify for dual US Italian citizenship. Italian citizenship law is based on the principle of jure sanguinis. This means that Italian parents pass on citizenship to their children regardless of the place of birth. This system was designed to strengthen the bond between children of the Italian diaspora abroad and their country of origin, Italy.

According to Article 7 of Law no. 555 of 1912, children born to Italians in a foreign country which follows the jure soli system can retain Italian citizenship acquired at birth, even if his or her parent subsequently loses his or her own citizenship.

Therefore, any child born in a jure soli country (such as the United States) to an Italian parent is both automatically an Italiancitizen and an American citizen at birth.

The conditions required for recognition of Italian citizenship are based on:

  1. Proof that they are descended from an Italian citizen; and
  2. Proof that the transmission of Italian citizenship from parent to child was not interrupted by naturalization as a citizen of another country (in this case, the United States) before the birth of the child.

As an Italian citizenship service provider, I assist Americans of Italian descent to obtain dual US Italian citizenship and can help you, too.

What Is Jure Sanguinis?

As I mentioned above, Italian citizenship law is based on the principle of jure sanguinis. This is a Latin term meaning “by right of blood,” to be contrasted with the American “jure soli” system (Latin for “by right of the soil”). Anyone with a qualifying Italian ancestor can seek recognition of Italian citizenship.

Under the principle of jure sanguinis, anyone of Italian descent can claim citizenship as long as they qualify. What’s more, the applicant is considered a citizen from birth. Therefore there is no language test and no pledge of allegiance. In fact, the applicant is not really “applying” at all. She or he is simply asking for legal recognition of a citizenship s/he has held since birth.

No Generational Limits to Italian Citizenship

The interesting thing about Italian citizenship is that it passes down uninterrupted across generations. As long as your last Italian-born ancestor had not yet become an American citizen by the time his/her child was born, then the citizenship gets passed down forever. This is why there are no generational limits and you can claim Italian citizenship even if you are 2, 3, or even 4 (or more) generations removed.

Also, each intermediate ancestor does not have to claim citizenship before you can. For example, if you are applying for dual US Italian citizenship based on your Italian grandfather, your parent does not have to claim Italian citizenship before you do. Any descendant can claim citizenship at any time, as long as they qualify.

Proving Your Claim to Dual US Italian Citizenship

In order to claim your citizenship you must prove you are eligible to the satisfaction of the Italian government. To do this, you must provide birth, marriage, death, and naturalization records to reconstruct your family tree.

You will also need to translate your records into Italian and get them legalized with an apostille certification.

You may do this on your own or you can hire a firm like ours to help. Our fees for document procurement range from $3,000 to $7,500. The more generations you go back, the more expensive your application.

4 Rules to Qualify for Italian Citizenship

There are four main rules to remember. You must meet all of them in order to qualify:

  1. Your last Italian-born ancestor must have been alive, anywhere in the world, after March 17, 1861—the date of Italian unification.
  2. If your ancestor ever became an American citizen it must have been both after July 1, 1912 and after the birth of his/her child. However, if your ancestor never became an American citizen, you should normally automatically qualify.
  3. If you have women in your direct line, their children must have been born after January 1, 1948.
  4. If your ancestor came from Trentino Alto Adige, s/he must have emigrated after July 16, 1920.

Paths to Claiming Italian Citizenship

The most common paths to dual US Italian citizenship are as follows:

Italian Citizenship through Parents

Case #1: Your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to claim Italian citizenship.

Case #2: Your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to claim Italian citizenship.

Italian Citizenship through Grandparents

Case #3: Your parent was born in the United States after January 1, 1948, your grandmother was an Italian citizen at the time of his or her birth, and neither you nor your parent renounced the right to claim Italian citizenship.

Case #4: Your parent was born in the United States, your grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his or her birth, and neither you nor your parent renounced the right to claim Italian citizenship.

Italian Citizenship through Great Grandparents

Case #5: Your grandfather was born in the United States, your great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, and neither you nor your father or your grandfather ever renounced the right to have Italian citizenship.

The “1948 Rule”

You will notice above that I specified the date January 1, 1948. This is a watershed moment in Italian history because it’s the date Italy’s modern constitution came into effect.

Before this date, women could not pass on Italian citizenship to their children unless the father was unknown, missing, stateless, or his own foreign citizenship did not pass on automatically to the children.

Therefore if you have women in your direct line, their children must have been born on or after January 1, 1948 for you to claim dual US Italian citizenship through the normal channels, i.e. at the consulate or directly in Italy.

If you have women in your direct line whose children were born before this date, you must file what is known as a “1948 case.” This involves an Italian attorney petitioning the government on the basis that this law is discriminatory towards women. Since 2009, thousands of people have successfully obtained Italian citizenship through 1948 cases.

Important Dates

Before August 15, 1992, all Italian citizens that naturalized as U.S. citizens automatically lost their Italian citizenship without formally renouncing it.

Gathering Documents

Once you are sure you are eligible you will need to prove it. This involves collecting a number of documents (vital records such as birth, marriage, death, and other records) to recreate your family tree. Then, you hand these documents into your local Italian consulate. After that, they have up to 24 months to process your application though timeframes for Italian citizenship vary.

Most consulates will require:

For You

Your birth, marriage, and divorce records translated into Italian and apostilled. For your children under 18 (if applicable), get their birth certificates as well (plus translations and apostille).

For Your Parents

Your parents’ birth, marriage, divorce records translated into Italian and apostilled. If your parent(s) has/have died, obtain death records plus translation and apostille as well.

For Your Grandparents

Your birth, marriage, and divorce records translated into Italian and apostilled. Fort those whose grandparent was born in Italy, you’ll also need his/her naturalization record.

If you go back more generations, you simply have to repeat the document process for each one.

Getting the Appointment

For a few years now, the Italian consulates have used an online system called “Prenota.” You can sign up on the your consulate’s website. There, you will put in all of your information and consult a calendar with open dates.

Dual US Italian citizenship is very popular, so the dates you want may not be available. Don’t worry! If you can’t find dates you can keep checking until you get the ones you want. Alternatively, if you find the wait too long you can skip the consulate altogether and apply for dual Italian citizenship in Italy. If you can’t make the trip, there are ways to speed up your Italian citizenship processing times.

Want to obtain dual US Italian citizenship but don’t know where to start? Not to worry… we can help! Get Italian Citizenship has assisted people in obtaining Italian passports since 2005. We offer comprehensive a la carte and full service packages. Don’t hesitate; contact us today!

The True Cost of Living in Italy

Italy is a large country with 60 million people. There are big cities like Rome, Milan, and Naples, but there are also tiny little hamlets desperate to attract new residents. (In some of these towns, you can even buy a home for 1 euro.) If you want to live in a city, you can—and likewise if you want to live isolated, there is plenty of space to live in the mountains or the countryside. Therefore, it’s difficult to answer the question “what’s the cost of living in Italy?” in one fell swoop.

With this in mind, you can expect that life in the historic center of Rome will be much more costly than, say, life in a small town in Liguria. Similarly, you can expect that a lavish lifestyle will cost a lot in Italy—but this is true with all other place in Europe, too. Therefore, you can also live very frugally in Italy, just like you can anywhere else.

In this post, we’ll try to provide a rundown of the general cost of living in Italy. Use this guide as a starting point from which to base your research about moving to and living in Italy.

Common Misconceptions about the Cost of Living in Italy

Suffice it to say, the cost of living isn’t the main reason people want to move to Italy (although for some people it can be quite attractive). Rather, it’s all about living la dolce vita—the sweet life. People feel an emotional pull to Italy because of its laid back lifestyle, excellent food, beautiful architecture, and the small pleasures which make every day in Italy a special one.

And you don’t need a lot of money to enjoy the simple pleasures! These little pleasures are often the most inexpensive ones. You don’t need overpriced wine or cheese to enjoy life in Italy. Believe me when I say that in Italy, even the cheap stuff is the good stuff.

Most visitors spend time in the tourist areas and assume that all of Italy is just as expensive. However, things are not always as they seem.

Calculating the Actual Cost of Living in Italy

It’s not easy to calculate the true cost of living in Italy because everyone’s lifestyle is different. However, if you can lead a life without luxuries all the time, life can be very affordable especially compared with large American cities or Northern European cities. Choose to live in a small town and the cost of living plummets even more. And the best part is that even though everything costs less, the cheese, meats, and wine still taste just as good!

Bottom line: if you step out of the tourist areas and live in the real Italy, the prices are significantly lower.

Ultimately, the cost of living in Italy will depend on your preferences which begin with where you choose to live and what type of accommodations you select.

Living in Italy Can Actually Be Affordable (But it Depends on Where You Live)

In terms of economics, Italy is a diverse country. There is a large disparity between the south and north and central Italy. Some places are far more affordable than the others. As you can expect, housing is generally more expensive in cities. It goes without saying that the decision of where to live will have the largest impact on your day to day expenses.

What about purchasing a house?

That, too, depends. In Italy, you can find everything from a $20,000 village home to a multi-million dollar villa outside Florence. Medium-size apartments tend to cost anywhere from $80,000-$150,000 in the average town. In larger cities, you can expect to pay upwards of $225,000.

If you decide to rent, these same apartments can be had anywhere from $500-$1,200 per month, while a village home can be as little as $350 a month.

Food, Entertainment and Other Costs

Food

Restaurant fare can be expensive, but groceries are extremely reasonable. While a lunchtime meal can set you back $15-$20 and a fancy restaurant as much as $100 for two, one liter of milk is $1.45, a loaf of bread is $1.15, and a bottle of supermarket wine just $8.

Entertainment

Entertainment is also surprisingly affordable but here again it depends on what you like to do. A night out in the big city can be costly, but movie tickets can be had in independent theaters for as little as $5. A cappuccino in a quiet neighborhood is less than $2.00 and the cost of cell phone and internet service is also quite low.

Getting Around

Here’s the bad news. Car prices are expensive in Italy, as is gas. For this reason, many Europeans forego owning a car and take the train or bus. But here’s the upside—public transportation is very affordable in Italy! It’s good for the environment and your wallet.

Utilities

Utilities in Italy can vary. I pay anywhere from $30-$40 a month for gas, and about the same for electric. With my new energy efficient induction stove, my electric bills are low. I pay under $30 a month for internet service which is important for me due to my work. Cold water is free, as it also was in New York before I moved to Italy!

Clothing

Clothing can be had at all price points in Italy. In Turin where I live, the Porta Palazzo market is the place to get affordable clothes to last you a few seasons. It’s also where I get really affordable and fresh produce. But there are also high end boutiques that will dazzle you! Ultimately, when it comes to clothing, the cost of living in Italy can vary as much as you want it to. You can buy market clothes or you can buy Gucci… it’s up to you.

Travel

Italy is an excellent springboard from which to visit other European countries! With new budget airlines, travel can be done super cheaply. Search at the right times, and you can buy a ticket to London or Paris for under $30. Can you say weekend trip?

Healthcare

It goes without saying that healthcare in Italy is extremely affordable. Put simply, you will never ever go bankrupt over healthcare costs in Italy. It just doesn’t happen.

cost of living in Italy breakdown

cost of living in Italy

Eight Facts About the Cost of Living in Italy

  1. It costs about $445 to buy a 40” flat screen TV in Italy. Depending on the brand, that’s higher than the cost of a 40” flat screen TV in the U.S.
  2. Big Macs cost about $9.40 in Italy. That’s just about $4 more than the cost in the U.S.
  3. Just like in the U.S., the cost of living in Italy greatly depends on where you live. An apartment in the center of Milan can cost double that an apartment in Naples.
  4. In U.S. dollars, on average, the monthly rent for a 900-square foot apartment in Italy is $1,079. A 480-square foot apartment in a cheaper area is about $732 per month.
  5. It’s cheaper to buy locally in Italy! This isn’t only good for your wallet, it also supports local businesses.
  6. One medicine that’s more expensive in Italy is ibuprofen (so stock up when you come from the U.S.). One pill costs around $1.18, meaning that it costs around $28.32 to get a 24-count bottle. In the U.S., name brand 24-count ibuprofen sells for as low as just $3.48.
  7. Healthcare is free to people living in Italy. Citizens can pay extra for private healthcare, but it’s not required.
  8. When it comes to traveling, remember that there are tolls to pay when traveling by vehicle. This, combined with the cost of fuel, makes for expensive automobile trips.

7 Reasons You Should Get an Italian Passport

Italian Passport

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:

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Ireland

Italy

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

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!

Qualify for Italian Citizenship by Descent in 4 Easy Steps

how to qualify for Italian citizenship by descentYou might be Italian citizen right now and not even know it. According to Italian law, any person born to an Italian parent automatically enjoys Italian citizenship by descent at birth. Even if this citizenship is never formally recognized, it’s still there. This is known as the principle of jure sanguinis (Latin for “right of the blood”).

Now, if a child is born in the US (a jure solicountry) to an Italian parent, he will automatically obtain US citizenship by birth as well. Jure soli is a Latin term meaning “right of the soil.” Therefore, in jure soli countries, citizenship is awarded based on location of birth and not the citizenship of a child’s parents.

However, the two systems—jure soli and jure sanguinis–do not cancel each other out. Thus, a child born in the US to an Italian parent has both Italian citizenship by descent (jure sanguinis) and American citizenship jure soli.

In this post, we’ll discuss how you can figure out if you qualify for Italian citizenship by descent as well as loopholes and what to do if you’re not eligible.

There Are No Generational Limits

The best thing about Italian citizenship by descent is that there are no generational limits. Italian citizenship can lie “dormant” and unclaimed but will still pass on no matter what. Therefore, even if you 3 or 4 generations removed from your last qualifying Italian born ancestor, you will still be eligible.

Italy is perhaps one of the only countries in the world that allows generation-less citizenship, so this is an excellent opportunity.

How to Qualify for Italian Citizenship by Descent: 4 Rules

There are four rules to qualifying. You must meet all of them in order to be eligible. They are, in no particular order:

1. Your ancestor must have been alive after March 17, 1861

Italian citizenship by descent

Before this date, there was no such thing as Italy. The modern country of Italy became a unified country on March 17, 1861. Therefore, before this date there was no such thing as Italian citizenship. If your ancestor was not alive at any time on or after this date, s/he never actually was an Italian citizen and thus could not pass it on.

2. Your ancestor must have either never become a citizen of another country, or only did so after July 1, 1912

Italian citizenship for Americans

If your ancestor never gained a foreign citizenship, then congratulations—you are most likely eligible!

However, if your ancestor did become a citizen of another country pay close attention to the dates. Your ancestor must have done so only after July 1, 1912, the date Italy’s modern citizenship law came into effect.

Pre-July 1, 1912 naturalizations will—in most cases—disqualify you and you must look for another qualifying ancestor.

3. If your ancestor became a citizen of another country, it must have been after his or her child’s birth

Italian citizenship for Americans

According to the principle of Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, the parent must be an Italian citizen when a child is born in order to pass his or her citizenship to that child.

Therefore, if your ancestor lost Italian citizenship (by naturalization or other means) before the birth of his/her child, citizenship never got passed down.

4. If there are women in your direct line, their child(ren) must have been born after January 1, 1948

Italian citizenship for descendants of women

January 1, 1948 was the date Italy’s modern constitution came into effect. Before this date, women could not pass on citizenship to their children. However, there were a few exceptions:

– When the father was missing, unknown or stateless.

– When the father’s own foreign citizenship did not automatically pass on to his children.

The Italian Citizenship Loophole Nobody Knows About (But Now You Do!)

If you have looked through your entire family history and don’t qualify, don’t give up yet! Here’s a loophole you may not have considered.

Women marrying Italian men before April 27, 1983 automatically obtained Italian citizenship at the moment of the marriage. Even if the husband loses Italian citizenship at a later date, the wife’s citizenship (gained by marriage) survives this loss!

Therefore, if there are any men in your family who married non-Italian (or American-born) women, check to see if:

A) He was an Italian citizen at the time of their marriage; and

B) If they got married before April 27, 1983.

If you meet those two key criteria, you may find out that you are eligible through this little-known loophole!

But What If You Don’t Qualify?

If you don’t meet any of the above categories, there is still hope for getting your passport. You may be able to obtain Italian dual citizenship in any of the three following ways.

Italian Citizenship by Marriage

If you marry an Italian citizen (or a person entitled to Italian citizenship by descent) you may be eligible.

As we stated above, women who married Italian men before April 27, 1983 automatically obtained Italian citizenship upon marriage. Men marrying Italian women or women marrying Italian men after April 27, 1983 will have to file their own application for citizenship.

You may file an application for Italian citizenship by marriage after 3 years of marriage if you live outside Italy, or 2 years if you live in Italy. Those waiting times are cut in half if you have children under the age of 18.

It takes 48 months to process an Italian citizenship by marriage application. Male spouses and women who married Italian men after April 27, 1983 must speak Italian at a B1 level in order to obtain Italian citizenship by marriage. You must also include a number of documents in your application which we explain here.

Italian Citizenship by Naturalization

If you are not of Italian descent and live in Italy legally, you may be able to naturalize as an Italian citizen. After ten years of living in Italy you are eligible to file for Italian citizenship.

Italian Citizenship for Descendants of Former Italian Citizens

If you are of Italian descent and otherwise don’t meet the four rules above, you may still qualify for Italian citizenship by descent.

In these cases, wait times for naturalization are cut down to just 3 years. You must live in Italy legally for this time and then file for citizenship. Note that this option is only available to those going back 2 generations (i.e. to their grandparents).

Further Resources

Italian Circular k.28 of 1991 (in Italian)

Italian Law no. 555 of 1912 (in Italian)

Italian Circular no. 32 of June 13, 2007 (in Italian)

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

National Archives and Records Administration

Do you need help figuring out if you’re eligible for Italian citizenship by descent? We’re here to help.

Get Italian Citizenship is leading industry expert. Since 2005, we’ve put Italian passports in the hands of hundreds of clients. Whether you need Italian translation or genealogical services, want to figure out if you’re eligible for Italian citizenship by descent, or you’d like a full service application at your consulate or in Italy, you can trust us to treat your case with discretion and a knowing eye. Contact us today to get started!

Dual U.S.-Italian Citizenship: All You Need to Know

European Passports for Americans of Italian Descent

dual U.S.-Italian citizenshipIf you are Italian American, you may qualify for dual U.S.-Italian citizenship and not even know it.

Italian citizenship law is based on the principle of jure sanguinis. This means that Italian parents pass on citizenship to their children regardless of where said children are born. This system was designed to strengthen the bond between children of the Italian diaspora abroad and their country of origin, Italy.

According to Article 7 of Law no. 555 of 1912, children born to Italians in a foreign country which follows the jure soli system can retain the Italian citizenship acquired at birth from their parents, even if his or her parent subsequently loses his or her own citizenship.

Therefore, any child born in a jure soli country (such as the United States) to an Italian parent is both automatically an Italian citizen and an American citizen at birth without even realizing it.

The conditions required for recognition of Italian citizenship are based on the following assumptions:

One: Proof that they are descended from an Italian citizen; and

Two: Proof that the transmission of Italian citizenship from parent to child was not interrupted by naturalization as a citizen of another country (in this case, the United States) before the birth of the child.

As an Italian citizenship service provider, I assist Americans of Italian descent to obtain dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

What Is Jure Sanguinis?

As I mentioned above, Italian citizenship law is based on the principle of jure sanguinis. This is a Latin term meaning “by right of blood,” to be contrasted with the American “jure soli” system (Latin for “by right of the soil”). Anyone with a qualifying Italian ancestor can seek recognition of Italian citizenship.

Under the principle of jure sanguinis, anyone of Italian descent can claim citizenship as long as they qualify. What’s more, the applicant is considered a citizen from birth. Therefore there is no language test and no pledge of allegiance. In fact, the applicant is not really “applying” at all. She or he is simply asking for legal recognition of a citizenship s/he has held since birth.

No Generational Limits to Dual U.S.-Italian Citizenship

The interesting thing about Italian citizenship is that it passes down uninterrupted across generations.

As long as your last Italian-born ancestor had not yet become an American citizen by the time his/her child was born, then the citizenship gets passed down forever. This is why there are no generational limits and you can claim Italian citizenship even if you are 2, 3, or even 4 (or more) generations removed.

Italian Ancestors

Also, each intermediate ancestor does not have to claim citizenship before you can. For example, if you are applying based on your Italian grandfather, your parent does not have to claim Italian citizenship before you do. Any descendant can claim citizenship at any time, as long as they qualify.

Proving Your Claim to Italian Citizenship

In order to claim your citizenship you must prove you are eligible to the satisfaction of the Italian government. To do this, you must provide birth, marriage, death, and naturalization records to reconstruct your family tree.

You will also need to translate your records into Italian and get them legalized with an apostille certification.

You may do this on your own or you can hire a firm like ours to help. Our fees for document procurement range from $3,000 to $7,500. The more generations you go back, the more expensive your application. For more about the costs of Italian dual citizenship, click here.

4 Rules to Qualify for Dual U.S.-Italian Citizenship

There are four main rules to remember. You must meet all of them in order to qualify:

qualifying for dual U.S. Italian citizenship

One: Your last Italian-born ancestor must have been alive, anywhere in the world, after March 17, 1861—the date of Italian unification.

Two: If your ancestor ever became an American citizen it must have been both after July 1, 1912 and after the birth of his/her child. If your ancestor never became an American citizen, you should normally automatically qualify.

Three: Where you have women in your direct line, their children must have been born after January 1, 1948.

Four: If your ancestor came from Trentino Alto Adige, s/he must have emigrated after July 16, 1920.

Paths to Claiming Dual U.S.-Italian Citizenship

The most common paths to citizenship people use are as follows:

Italian Citizenship through Parents

Case #1: Your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to claim dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

Case #2: Your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to claim dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

Italian Citizenship through Grandparents

Case #3: Your parent was born in the United States after January 1, 1948, your grandmother was an Italian citizen at the time of his or her birth, and neither you nor your parent renounced the right to claim dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

Case #4: Your parent was born in the United States, your grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his or her birth, and neither you nor your parent renounced the right to claim dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

Italian Citizenship through Great Grandparents

Case #5: Your grandfather was born in the United States, your great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, and neither you nor your father or your grandfather ever renounced the right to claim dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

The “1948 Rule”

Italian citizenship via maternal descentYou will notice above that I specified the date January 1, 1948. This is a watershed moment in Italian history because it’s the date Italy’s modern constitution came into effect.

Before this date, women could not pass on Italian citizenship to their children unless the father was unknown, missing, stateless, or his own foreign citizenship did not pass on automatically to the children.

Therefore if you have women in your direct line, their children must have been born on or after January 1, 1948 for you to claim dual U.S.-Italian citizenship through the normal channels, i.e. at the consulate or directly in Italy.

If you have women in your direct line whose children were born before this date, you must file what is known as a “1948 case.” This involves an Italian attorney petitioning the government on the basis that this law is discriminatory towards women. Since 2009, thousands of people have successfully obtained Italian citizenship through 1948 cases.

Can I Skip Generations?

Unfortunately, no. You can only qualify as long as each single generation qualifies in succession. If for example your grandfather lost Italian citizenship, you can’t go back to your great grandfather to claim it. There are no exceptions to this rule.

People that qualify for dual U.S.-Italian citizenship are at an incredible advantage. Those who are not of Italian descent must live in Italy for 10 years and meet many requirements to become an Italian citizen. Americans of Italian descent just have to make an appointment, hand in documents, pay a 300 euro fee and wait for processing.

Do I Need to Speak Italian?

No. Italian citizenship is your birthright; therefore you have already been a citizen since birth. There is no language requirement. There is, however, a language requirement for those seeking Italian citizenship by marriage.

Must I Be 100% Italian to Qualify?

Absolutely not. You need to have just one single qualifying Italian ancestor. You don’t have to be 1/2, 1/4 or even 1/8th Italian, nor do you need to have an Italian last name.

Does the U.S. Allow Dual Citizenship?

United States law neither formally allows nor prohibits dual citizenship. Federal law doesn’t mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship over another. Remember that when you leave the United States and enter Italy, you should show your Italian passport.

Does Italy Allow Dual Citizenship?

Since August 15, 1992, Italy allows dual citizenship with the United States. When you leave Italy and return to the United States, you should show your American passport.

What Are the Benefits of Dual Italian Citizenship?

I’ve talked about the benefits of Italian dual citizenship before. Put simply, here are some of the reasons you might want to have your birthright citizenship recognized:

European Union

Travel: Visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 175 countries, making the Italian passport an exceptional one in terms of travel freedom.

Circulation: The right to live, work, and study anywhere in the European Union.

Education and healthcare: Access to affordable education and world class healthcare. In Europe, college costs are on average far more affordable than those in the United States. The same goes for healthcare services, even though the Italian healthcare system was ranked second best in the world.

Jobs: Business and employment opportunities within the EU and abroad.

The gift that keeps on giving: You can pass it on to your children. They, in turn can pass it on to theirs and so on.

Having Italian citizenship is like an insurance plan. If anything ever goes wrong in the United States, you can relocate anywhere in the European Union. Additionally, if you are traveling abroad and find yourself in trouble you may seek assistance from two countries rather than one.

Taxation and Other Practical Matters

taxation and financial matters

One of the questions I get most regards taxation. Even though I am not a tax expert, I can say that simply obtaining Italian dual citizenship should not have tax implications. Unlike the United States, Italy does not tax its citizens based on worldwide income. If you don’t reside in Italy or earn money in Italy, you will not pay taxes to the Italian government. Italy and the United States enjoy a treaty to avoid double taxation, but if you work in Italy and earn over a certain threshold set by the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, you may be subject to Italian taxes.

Another question I receive often regards the draft in Italy. Italy has not had the draft since 2001 and is highly unlikely to reinstate it.

Other Helpful Links

How to Move to Italy – the Complete Relocation Guide

3 Ways to Get Italian Citizenship (Including when You’re not of Italian Descent)

How to Pick a Service Provider That’s Right for You

The Best Place to Apply in Italy for Italian Dual Citizenship

The Consular Appointment: What Happens If You Can’t Get One?

How Long Does It Take to Get Italian Dual Citizenship?

Ready to Get Italian Citizenship?

Get Italian Citizenship is an Italian dual citizenship service provider. Since 2005, we’ve put passports into hundreds of clients’ hands. Our firm can help you determine eligibility for Italian citizenship, complete a full service application, and even help you apply in Italy. Need assistance getting your passport? Contact us to get started.

Pros and Cons of Living in Italy

Guys, I had to do it. I’ve been writing on this blog about Italian citizenship for quite some time. But what about the actual act of living in Italy? Or even the pros and cons of living in Italy, for starters? Surely many of my readers (and clients) would like to one day leave the U.S. and pack up for Il Bel Paese, the beautiful country.

If you’ve vacationed in Italy you’ve seen the country at its best: extensive public transportation, food that’s to die for, the most UNESCO sites in the world, fashionable people and–hello?–did I mention the food!? But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that actually living in Italy is nothing like visiting as a tourist. Italy is a modern country facing modern issues and if you want to move here, you should probably be aware of that.

I can’t really say which country is better. They are too different to make a fair comparison and, honestly, both countries could learn a lot from each other. I have days in Italy where I throw my hands up and say, “Why can’t they do things like in New York?” and other days when I’m in New York and I wish for some Italian things. If I had to make up my own country it would have Swiss banks, German cars, Malaysian and Korean chefs, Italian architects, Scandinavian environmentalists, American entrepreneurs, Caribbean beaches, South American rainforests, Dutch bike lanes, and the tourists would always be Canadian… hah.

So without further ado, here’s my very personal (and very subjective!) list of the pros and cons of living in Italy as someone who’s been here on and off since 2008.

The Food

Pros and cons of living in Italy - food

Let’s start with the big one. Italian food is famous throughout the world for its freshness and simplicity. You rarely ever feel guilty after eating a huge meal here because Italian food is healthy and because it’s just so damn good that it’s worth it even if your pant buttons feel tight.

Italians believe their food is the best in the wrold and won’t accept any arguments to the contrary. And while I agree that Italian food is absolutely divine, I have to say that it’s not my favorite cuisine. Not even by a mile! My favorite cuisine is Malaysian, but that’s a whole different blog post.

Without a doubt, Italians have some of the finest ingredients in the world with which to cook their food. You haven’t really tried a tomato or a blood orange until you’ve eaten one here. That said, Italy is lacking in variety. You just won’t find excellent Indian, Chinese, or Peruvian food in Italy, for example. Italians like their cuisine so much that they tend to be skeptical of others. And when “ethnic” restaurants do pop up, they overwhelmingly cater to the Italian palate to the detriment of their own. For example, it’s not uncommon to find spicy tuna on a sushi restaurant menu in Italy… only the tuna is cooked!

Another interesting note about variety is that regional cooking tends to stay in its own region. Italy is comprised of 20 very different regions, all unified into the country we now call Italy just 150 years ago. Each cuisine is different from the next, but they tend to stay in their “home court.” So if you’re in Turin you’ll most likely find Piedmontese food, Neapolitan in Naples, etc. While Italy’s cuisine is regionally diverse, it’s also kind of segregated. And that makes me sad!

What Italy lacks in variety it certainly makes up for in qualify. But while it’s difficult to find quality ingredients in the U.S., it’s not impossible. If you want to eat like an Italian in the United States, you absolutely can. But if you want a little more variety in Italy, it’s exceedingly difficult.

Point awarded to: Don’t hate me for this but… it’s a tie.

Pros and Cons of living in Italy - pace of lifePace of Life

When people talk about living in Italy, this is one of the pros and cons always mentioned. There’s even a saying regarding pace of life in Italy: la dolce vita (the sweet life) or dolce far niente (the beauty of doing nothing). Like in most of Southern Europe, the pace of life in Italy is on the slower side.

As a New Yorker, I was always rushing. Catch this bus, get this job before someone else, sign on this apartment before it’s gone. It’s exhausting! And while it’s nice to get things done quickly, it really does affect our lives in ways we don’t realize (like for example how fast we eat). In Italy, a 2 or 3 hour dinner is perfectly acceptable. The food is prepared with care and the waiter isn’t trying to make you leave so he can turn over tables for tips (tipping isn’t a thing in Italy, but we’ll get to that on another post). In America, the waiter would bring you the check while you’re halfway through dessert!

Point awarded to: Italy. Slow down, America!

Practical Matters

While I do appreciate a slower pace, there is one aspect of life where I don’t: bureaucracy. Out of the pros and cons of living in Italy, this one is definitely a con.

Pros and Cons of Living in Italy - BureaucracyYou guys, bureaucracy in Italy is awful. I can’t even put into words in English or Italian just how soul-sucking dealing with Italian bureaucracy is. Going into a government office, no matter how small your task, will absolutely raise your blood pressure. You will leave questioning everything you have ever known in your life and all the choices you’ve taken to bring you this far. And it’s not even just the government. It’s everything.

Things that would be so simple in the U.S. like opening a bank account, getting internet service, or even returning an item to a store are sources of stress here. It’s a nightmare. In the U.S. if you want to start your own business, you can go to the chamber of commerce, fill out some forms, pay for some permits, get a bank loan and then it’s time to open! Or, if you’re a freelancer you can literally start doing business under your own name at any moment without any of that stuff.

In Italy, nope. Want to start a business? First go to this office where they tell you you’re in the wrong place. Then, go to the second place where they send you back to the first office. There, you talk to someone who is having a bad day and refuses to help. You come back on another day and this time, they’re in a good mood so they stamp your paperwork, take your money, and send you to another office only to be rejected by a bank. Then there are courses you have to take and maybe–JUST MAYBE–you can open your business within the year. Then once you’re open, the government will take 60% in taxes to pay for all those useless offices.

Point awarded to: The U.S. by a long shot!

Health

Italians walk or bike everywhere, eat healthier food, and take public transportation. On the other hand, Italians smoke. A lot. It’s hard to walk anywhere without smelling smoke. Buuuut, Italy’s healthcare system is ranked second best in the world. It’s affordable, efficient, and probably one of the best things about living in Italy.

Point awarded to: Italy.

Crime and Safety

I’m not going to really go there on this topic except to say that I never feel unsafe in Italy, ever. There’s a lot of petty crime in Italy but overall Italy is far safer than the US. Even though New York is very safe, I would never walk alone at night. In Italy, I do it without thinking twice.

Point awarded to: Italy.

Fashion

Italian fashion

Without a doubt, Italians are way more fashionable than Americans. In Italy, I would never dream of wearing athleisure to go to the grocery store. In New York, I do it all the time. Italians care about the bella figura, which means making a good impression. However, the bella figura can be stifling. Italy is very much about the status quo–people follow rigid rules for dressing here that just don’t apply in the U.S. In New York if you want to wear the wackiest outfit, you can do it and nobody bats an eye (there is a lot of freedom in personal expression). In Italy, if you pay attention to the trends you’ll notice that people can be slaves to them.

There is one thing that really cracks me up that Italians do, though! Italians dress for the season and not the weather. So if it happens to be a very sunny, mild day in November, you’ll still find Italians all bundled up in huge coats, scarves, and boots.

Point awarded to: Tie. Italians dress better and are way more well-kept, but nothing beats the American ability to wear whatever the heck you want.

Public Transportation

I happen to come from an American city with a very extensive public transportation system which runs 24/7, 365 days a week. But New York is one of the exceptions. In Italy, even small to mid-sized cities have an affordable option for public transportation. Many people here take buses, trains, and bicycles and overall Italy is not as dependent on cars as the United States is. I find it so refreshing.

Point awarded to: Italy, for sure.

 

How Long Does It Take to Get Italian Citizenship?

One of the things that client asks me most is: how long does it take to get Italian citizenship? The truth is—like with many things Italian—that answer is not as easy as it seems!

Therefore it’s no surprise that when it comes to Italian citizenship, there are a ton of variables. Many of these variables are not under your control, either. You may have done everything right and still find yourself waiting for a decision that’s out of your hands. But while it is frustrating, there are certain things you can do to speed up the process.

In this post, I’ll explain everything that goes into becoming an Italian citizen by descent and finally answer the question, how long does it take to get Italian citizenship?

Figuring Out Eligibility

The first thing you need to do is figure out if you’re eligible! You can’t apply for recognition of Italian citizenship unless you’re actually entitled to it. So, this is the first step for everyone, no matter how many generations removed you are from your Italian ancestor.

Some people get lucky and know if they qualify right away. Others might have an idea they qualify and know the information they need to find out. Finally, others will have very little idea of their Italian ancestors’ names, dates of birth, and places of birth… and will need to do some digging.

This step may take some time because you’ll have to dig up old records and/or locate new copies if you don’t have them. You’ll be spending most of your time obtaining naturalization records from USCIS, NARA, and your local county clerks’ offices.

About a year ago, USCIS had a backlog of 12+ months! But things have gotten much better. Now, these timeframes can vary but it usually only takes a few months to get the naturalization records you need and determine eligibility.

Total time: A few months.

Gathering the Rest of Your Documents

This is the meat and potatoes of your application. During this phase, you’ll gather all the birth, marriage, death, and other records you’ll need for your Italian dual citizenship application. This is when the question “how long does it take to get Italian citizenship?” starts to become clearer.

Timeframes will vary depending on the states which hold your records. Some states are very quick and have turnaround times of mere days.

Others like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania can have you waiting months. Right now (August 2019) New York is facing a huge backlog of requests from New Yorkers around the country for their vital records in order to comply with new Real ID laws. These are things that you have to anticipate and are unfortunately out of your control.

Total time: Days to months.

Getting Translations and Apostilles

Translations shouldn’t take too long. If you hire a professional, you could potentially have yours done within two weeks or sooner.

Apostilles as well shouldn’t take too long. Most states will issue them and return them to you within weeks.

Total time: A few weeks.

Waiting for the Appointment

Italian dual citizenship appointment
Here’s what the application screen looks like for New York. As you can see it’s a 2 year wait just for an appointment. That is.. if you can snag one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is likely going to be the longest wait. Currently, each Italian consulate processes roughly 2,500 applications yearly. If you do the math, that’s 25,000 applications a year (there are 10 Italian consulates in the United States).

Now, consider that on top of all these applications consulates must help Italian citizens in trouble, issue visas, repatriate remains, etc. Consular workers are overworked, and Italian consulates are chronically understaffed.

Therefore, each consulate puts out a certain number of applications at any time to limit the flow of applicants. Depending on your consulate, it may take you up to 10 years just for your application to be seen. However, there are some consulates which will see you in one year or less.

In Argentina and Brazil, people routinely wait 15 or even 20 years for an appointment. So, the motto here is: sit back, relax, and keep refreshing the calendar to see if new appointments open up!

Total time: Up to 10 years.

Wait Times for Processing

certificate of citizenship
This is a certificate of citizenship. You receive this from the comune if you apply there. Otherwise, it will come from the consulate.

Once you go to your Italian dual citizenship appointment and hand everything in, you’ll have to wait for processing. A whole bunch of things happen here, such as:

The consulate starts a file for you, and double checks to make sure you’re eligible.

Once they check your eligibility again, the consular officer prepares an official statement explaining your path to eligibility.

The consulate will check to make sure neither you, nor your family members have renounced their right to Italian citizenship.

The consul general will sign your citizenship into effect.

This portion of the process can take anywhere from 1-2 years. Remember that consulates are busy and have to juggle many things on a daily basis! Just be patient and they’ll get to you.

Total time: Up to 2 years.

Issuance of the Passport

Once you’re a citizen, your consulate may request you wait a little while before obtaining a passport appointment. Usually, however, you can obtain your passport within 6-8 weeks after you are recognized.

Total time: 6 to 8 weeks.

Conclusion: How Long Does It Take to Get Italian Citizenship?

Now that you know all the variables that go into your application for Italian dual citizenship, you have a better idea of how long the process takes.

While many of these steps rely on factors outside of your control, there are ways to speed up the process, such as:

  • Hiring a professional firm to figure out if you’re eligible. An Italian dual citizenship service provider will know what to look for right away to save you time and money.
  • Going with a professional translator for your documents. Hiring a friend or amateur translator may cost you time and money, as the translations may need to be redone.
  • Potentially applying in Italy. By applying in Italy and skipping the consulate, you can cut out the wait time for the initial appointment. For those in a rush, this is a huge time saver!

Total Time for Italian Dual Citizenship

All in all, you may be looking at a few years to obtain Italian dual citizenship at a minimum. Remember that this process is a multi-stepped on, where you must figure out eligibility, obtain required documents, attend your citizenship appointment, and wait for recognition. Therefore, obtaining Italian dual citizenship is not an automatic process and there is always a wait involved.

Would You Like to Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship?

Want to apply for recognition of your birthright as an Italian citizen? Or perhaps you have some questions and want to speak to the experts? Reach out to us anytime for more information. We’re glad to help!

 

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Italy

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Italy in 2019

Right now parts of Europe are scorching as a heatwave brings record-breaking temperatures. With a red alert issued in France and German, Dutch, and Belgian temperatures reaching all-time highs, it’s been one of the hottest summers on record and I’m dreaming of the most beautiful beaches in Italy.

Frankly, I’d rather be anywhere but Turin right now (I love you Turin, but you don’t have any beaches!). As the mercury continues to rise, I’m dreaming of some white sand and crystalline water.

So without further ado, here’s the Travel365’s official classification of Italy’s 21 most beautiful beaches in 2019. Why not visit one when applying for Italian dual citizenship in Italy?

Let’s get on to the list.

21. Baia dei Saraceni, Finale Ligure – Liguria

Baia dei Saraceni

Baia dei Saraceni is one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy, not just Liguria. Follow the road flanking the coastline between Finale Ligure and the hamlet of Vaigotti to reach this gorgeous bay. Awash in colors and boasting clear waters and a rocky coastline, this bay merits a stop.

Ideal for those looking to sunbathe or swim surrounded by beautiful vegetation, it’s one of the most picturesque locations in Liguria and—even better—it’s completely free.

Type: Rocky beach

Entrance: Free, but there are concessions

Ideal for: Young people, couples, groups, and those who love jumping off rocks

 

20. Cala Violina, Scarlino – Tuscany

Cala Violina

When you arrive at Cala Violina, you immediately notice it’s a special place. Boasting fine, white sand and clear water, this paradise on earth is one of the Tuscany’s most beloved locations, making it a place of great pride for the region.

Type: Sandy beach

Entrance: Free

Ideal for: Young people and groups. It gets crowded and there are no services here, making it an unideal place for older folks and children. Dogs are allowed to be on the beach but must be leashed.

 

19. Caletta Rovaglioso, Palmi – Calabria

Caletta Rovaglioso

A highly suggestive location that people seem to love. Until a few years ago it was difficult to get here as the path was hard to traverse. Today, however, it’s a different story: the region has fixed the problem, making it easy for you to get lost in the crystalline waters as they splash against the rocks.

Type: Rocky beach

Entrance: Free

Ideal for: Snorkeling enthusiasts, young people, and couples

 

18. San Vito Lo Capo – Sicily

San Vito lo Capo

Pretty as a Sicilian postcard and without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. This beach is much loved by families and couples and isn’t too far from Trapani airport. Centuries of Arab influence have left its mark on the local cuisine with the area celebrating an annual couscous fest.

This year, San Vito claimed its spot among the best for families with children, receiving two of Italy’s most prestigious beach awards: the 5 sails from Legambiente (Italy’s Environmental League) and the “Bandiera Verde” (Green Flag) from Italian pediatricians, denoting a beach recommended for children.

Type: Sand

Entrance: Free, but with some concessions

Ideal for: Gently rolling sand makes it perfect for families with children

 

17. Scala dei Turchi, Realmonte – Sicily

Scala dei Turchi

Just 15 minutes from the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, the brilliant white rock face of the Scala dei Turchi (the Turkish Steps) protrudes out to sea, creating a scenic panorama. The rock face is a natural springboard to dive into the water.

In 2007, the town of Realmonte requested UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site.

Type: Mixed

Entrance: Free

Ideal for: Couples and groups. The water is deep, so not best for families with children.

 

16. Su Giudeu, Domus de Maria – Sardinia

Su giudeu

This spectacular location, recognized as one of Italy’s finest, winning 5 sails from Legambiente (Italy’s Environmental League), offers many reasons why you should choose it as a vacation spot. The rocks just above the water’s surface here make it an ideal place for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

It’s also a resting place for flocks of flamingos, making it an interesting location for bird watchers.

Type: Sand

Entrance: Free, with some concessions

Ideal for: Everyone; families with children, young people, and sport lovers

 

15. Tonnarella dell’Uzzo (Riserva dello Zingaro), Trapani – Sicily

Tonnarella dell'Uzzo

In the heart of the Riserve dello Zingaro sits Tonnarella dell’Uzzo, the most beautiful of the nature preserve’s 8 beaches. Though you must pay to enter the beach (5 euros for full fare, 3 euros for reduced), the sheer beauty of the place is worth it.

You can also reach the beach by water, the best solution for families with children or diving enthusiasts. It’s no wonder Tonnarella dell’Uzzo made it on the list of the most beautiful beaches in Italy!

Type: Mixed

Entrance: Paid

Ideal for: Young people, couples

 

14. Cala Feola (Isola di Ponza), Latina – Lazio

Cala Feola

A little slice of sand that buzzes with activity in summer! Sure, it’s busy as heck but it’s downright beautiful.

Located on Ponza Island, Cala Feola can be reached either by water or by a footpath that takes about 15 minutes. The area is a natural work of art, recognized by Legambiente (Italy’s Environmental League) with 4 sails, offering natural pools, grottoes, and native flora.=

Type: Mixed

Entrance: Free

Ideal for: Families, young people, couples

 

13. Protected Marine Area of Plemmirio, Syracuse – Sicily

Plemmirio

Just a few kilometers from the city center of Syracuse lies an uncontaminated ecosystem. A paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, this beach can be reached by car—ideally, a quad—as the descent to the beach is not for the faint of heart! However, it’s more than worth it.

Pay attention when walking, though, as the beach is home to many sea urchins!

Type: Rocky

Entrance: Free

Ideal for:Young people, couples

 

12. Torre Sant’Andrea (Melendugno), Lecce – Puglia

Torre Sant'Andrea

Between the well-known Baia dei Turchi and Torre dell’Orso lies this rocky stretch of coastline that is shaped like a natural platform overlooking the water. A real live masterpiece of nature featuring grottoes and creeks, this is an area both uncontaminated by pollution and by mass tourism.

Type: Rocky

Entrance: Free

Ideal for:Young people, couples

 

12. Cala Luna (Golfo di Orosei), Nuoro – Sardinia

Cala Luna

One of Sardinia’s most well-loved beaches, it is surrounded by wild nature. While it’s somewhat difficult to reach and there aren’t any concessions, the area itself is uncontaminated and features sand and pebbles. There is a steep rock face and many paths for trekking enthusiasts.

Type: Sand, rocks, and pebbles

Entrance: Free

Ideal for:Young people, couples

 

10. Is Aruttas (Cabras), Oristano – Sardinia

Most beautiful beaches in Italy - Is Aruttas

In the Sardinian language, “aruttas” means “grottoes.” This should clue you in on what awaits you at Cabras, in the province of Oristano. This beach is a long stretch of fine sand and Mediterranean scrub. The ocean—it goes without saying—is so beautiful that it looks like a painting and in 2019, the beach won the Bandiera Verde (Green Flag) for being the beach most accessible to children according to Italian pediatricians.

Type: Sand

Entrance: Free

Ideal for:Young people, couples, families

 

9. Tropea, Vibo Valentia – Calabria

Tropea

Located on the Costa degli Dei in Calabria, this beach is considered the pearl of the Tyrrhenian sea. The stretch in question is called the “rotonda,” and is known for its white sand gently sloping out into the water.

Type: Sand

Entrance: Free, with concessions

Ideal for:Everyone

 

8. Marina di Camerota, Salerno – Campania

Marina di Camerota

Cala Bianca beach, located in the Parco Nazionale del Cilento, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Considered a prime example of the stunning natural beauty of the Tyrrhenian coast, the beach is an ideal choice for families with children. In 2019 it received the Bandiera Verde (Green Flag) for being one of Italy’s most child-friendly beaches.

Type: Rocky

Entrance: Free, with concessions

Ideal for:Young people, couples, groups

 

7. Baia del Silenzio (Sestri Levante), Genoa – Liguria

Baia del Silenzio - One of the most beautiful beaches in Italy

The typical symbol of the Ligurian coast, Baia del Silenzio is home to beautiful pastel-colored houses overlooking the golden sand. Here you can find quintessential Liguria.

Type: Sand

Entrance: Free, with concessions

Ideal for:Families

 

6. Porto Giunco (Villasimius), Cagliari – Sardinia

Porto Giunco

This beach is known for its unusual pink-tinged white sand, the result of erosion of local pink granite rocks. It features a Spanish watch tower, framing a picture so beautiful it could only have been painted by nature.

Type: Sand

Entrance: Free, with concessions

Ideal for:Everyone

 

5. La Pelosa (Stintino), Sassari – Sardinia

One of the most beautiful beaches in Italy - La Pelosa

Turquoise water so clear it doesn’t look real and the whitest of sand. This isn’t the Caribbean—it’s the Golfo dell’Asinara, located in a bay protected by the sea stacks of Capo Falcone which keep the water nice and calm. There is a tower here as well by the beach, and is reachable on foot.

Type: Sand

Entrance: Free, with concessions

Ideal for:Everyone

 

4. Cala Rossa, Favignana (Egadi Islands) – Sicily

Cala Rossa - most beautiful beaches in Italy

What is a list of the best beaches in Italy if it doesn’t include Cala Rossa? Recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Italy for 2019 by the Legambiente (Italy’s Environmental League), it received the perfect and prestigious score of 5 sails. This Sicilian jewel is one of the most famous locations on Favignana, the largest island in the Egadi Archipelago. If you visit the island, make sure to stop to visit and see where the dazzling blue water meets the bright white sand.

Type: Rocky

Entrance: Free

Ideal for:Young people, couples. The path to reach the beach may be difficult for some, so we don’t recommend it for young children or the elderly.

 

3. Cala Goloritzè (Baunei), Ogliastra – Sardinia

most beautiful beaches in Italy - Sardinia

Cala Goloritzè raises the Sardinia flag high in third place. The beach is located at the bottom of a gorge just 9 kilometers from Baunei. It can be reached by boat or on foot, with the foot path taking approximately one hour. Cala Goloritzè is particularly famous for its rocky peak 143 meters above sea level that attracts climbing enthusiasts from all over the world.

Type: Rocky

Entrance: Payment (6 euro for adults, 1 euro for children under 10)

Ideal for:Young people and climbing enthusiasts. The path to reach the beach may be difficult for some, so we don’t recommend it for young children or the elderly.

 

2. Cala Mariolu (Baunei), Ogliastra – Sardinia

Cala Mariolu

This is paradise on earth. In 2016, TripAdvisor named this beach the most beautiful in Italy thanks to its beautiful white sand and rocky coastline dotted with perfect pink pebbles. And in 2019, it’s still among the most beautiful beaches in Italy. Reaching the water is a bit difficult, but we think that’s why it’s stayed so beautiful and uncontaminated. There is a small kiosk for drinks and an umbrella and snorkeling gear rental shop.

Type: Rocks, sand, and pebbles

Entrance: 1 euro for adults, free for children. Has kiosks/bar.

Ideal for:Young people

 

1. Spiaggia dei Conigli (Lampedusa), Agrigento – Sicily

Spiaggia dei Conigli

In first place we have the island of Lampedusa with its Spiaggia dei Conigli—Rabbit Beach. It’s hard to come up with the right words to describe the sensations you feel when visiting this beach. No wonder it was chosen the most beautiful beach in the world by TripAdvisor, beating out others such as Platja d’Illetes and Playa Flamenco. From the pictures it looks like a Caribbean beach but it’s actually in Italy!

Type: Sand

Entrance: Free

Ideal for:Young people, couples. The lack of services and the path to reach the beach may be difficult for some, so we don’t recommend it for young children or the elderly.