There are 17 million people of Italian origin living in the United States alone. By sheer coincidence, the vast majority of them qualify for Italian citizenship for Americans. And without even knowing it, you may be one of them. According to Italian law, if you qualify for Italian citizenship by descent, you have actually been an Italian citizen since birth. It’s just a matter of getting Italy to formally recognize you as one.
The Legal Background
Italian Law no. 555 of 1912 states that any child born to an Italian citizen parent is he himself a citizen. It also states that there is no limit to generations and that each single generation passes it on. Therefore, once a child is born to an Italian parent, that child is not only an Italian citizen automatically, but he or she also passes down that Italian citizenship to their child. Yes, even without knowing it and even without formally requesting recognition. Rinse and repeat for each generation.
In other words, Italian citizenship by descent gets passed down from generation to generation just waiting to be recognized. Even if you never get your Italian citizenship formally recognized, Italy still considers you a citizen – just one waiting for recognition.
How to Apply
In order to apply for Italian citizenship for Americans, you must do two things:
Prove your claim to citizenship…
… By reconstructing your family tree
You do this by collecting various vital records (birth, marriage, death, naturalization, etc.), translating them, legalizing them, and handing them in to the competent Italian authority. Applicants can seek recognition at their local Italian consulate or directly in Italy.
Italian law states you must apply where you have residency. Therefore, if you are living in the United States you apply at your local consulate of jurisdiction. If you are living in Italy, you apply at the comune (town) where you live.
Where to Apply
According to Italian Circolare k. 28 del 1991, you can seek recognition of Italian dual citizenship either at your local consulate or directly in Italy. Here is a list of Italian consulates in the United States. But pay special attention to this list: you may find you have a consulate that is physically close to you, but you are under the actual jurisdiction of another one.
Our firm is knowledgeable about both types of applications (in Italy or at your consulate), so please contact us for more information.
What Are the Requirements for Italian Citizenship for Americans?
In order to be eligible for Italian citizenship for Americans, you need to meet the following requirements:
Your Italian ancestor:
Must have been alive, anywhere in the world and not yet a citizen of another country, on March 17, 1861. Before this date, there was no such thing as Italian citizenship because Italy itself wasn’t yet a country.
Must have either never naturalized as a citizen of another country or naturalized both after July 1, 1912 and after the birth of his or her child.
You and your intermediate ancestors:
Must never have renounced your right to obtain Italian dual citizenship.
There are special rules governing female Italian ancestors and Italian citizenship via maternal ancestry, which we cover here.
What Does Becoming an Italian Citizen Involve?
Before you can do anything else, you must determine eligibility for Italian dual citizenship. This involves finding your Italian-born ancestor’s naturalization and birth records. Then you work backwards all the way to you, making sure not to skip any generations.
Then, you must gather all the documents needed for Italian citizenship. Depending on where you apply – consulate vs. Italy – this list may vary. The general list of documents can be found in Italian by consulting Circolare k. 28 del 1991.
Filing the Italian citizenship application
After gathering everything, you file your application either in Italy or at your local Italian consulate, then wait for recognition.
AIRE and your passport
Once you are recognized, you must either enroll in AIRE (Registry of Italians Abroad) to obtain your passport if living outside Italy, or you can then obtain your passport from your local police precinct (questura) if living in Italy.
How Can You Help with Italian Citizenship for Americans?
All you need to know to apply for Italian citizenship
Want to apply for Italian citizenship but you’re not sure where to start? Then you’ve come to the right place.
For the past 15 years, I’ve built a reputation as the Italian dual citizenship guru and I’m here to share free advice with you.
In this post I’ll go over everything you need to apply for Italian citizenship. I’ll discuss eligibility, how to apply, where to apply, and what to do with your Italian passport once you become a citizen.
So, without further ado… Andiamo!
Before you can apply for Italian citizenship, you must prove eligibility
People can become Italian citizens in a few different ways. For example, you can gain citizenship after residing in Italy for a certain period of time, or you can marry an Italian citizen.
However, if you’re eligible for a special category of Italian citizenship known as “Italian citizenship jure sanguinis” (or Italian citizenship by descent), you’re actually already a citizen.
That’s right—if you’re eligible, Italian citizenship has been your birthright all along. However, to make it official on paper you must ask the Italian government for formal recognition.
In order to do this you must prove eligibility.
Who is eligible for Italian dual citizenship?
You must meet all the following criteria to be eligible.
Your ancestor must have been alive, anywhere in the world, on or after March 17, 1861.This is the date of Italian unification. On this date, everyone born in the territory we now know as Italy (save for a few exceptions) was automatically given Italian citizenship. Before this date, there was no such thing as Italy. Therefore, no Italy = no Italian citizenship.
Your Italian ancestor’s naturalization date is important. If s/he ever became American, it had to have been after July 1, 1912. This is an important date in Italian history. On this date, Law no. 555 of 1912 came into effect. This is the law from which all modern Italian citizenship law derives.
Or, your ancestor never became American at all. This is another possibility. If your ancestor never became American at all, that means s/he never lost Italian citizenship. This is a good sign for any application!
And if your ancestor did naturalize, it mustbe after the birth of his or her child. Any Italian gaining American citizenship before August 15, 1992 automatically lost his or her Italian citizenship. No Italian citizenship means no ability to pass it on to his or her child.
If you have women in your family, her child must have been born after January 1, 1948. Before this date, women could not pass on citizenship to their children. Therefore, if you want to apply for Italian citizenship you must show that your female Italian ancestor successfully passed on citizenship to her child.
That’s it! Those are the rules.
But what if I descend from a woman who had her child before January 1, 1948?
Not to worry. In theory, you shouldn’t be able to apply for Italian citizenship.
But in reality, you actually can. Let me explain…
On January 1, 1948, Italy got its modern constitution. Only since then are women able to pass on citizenship to their children. Before this date, an Italian woman could only pass on her citizenship if:
The father was unknown;
The father was missing, or
A father’s foreign citizenship didn’t automatically pass on to their children.
So, as you can see, Italian law has not always been fair to women when it comes to citizenship. Neither has U.S. law, but that’s for another blog post.
However, lots of people decided they weren’t going to take this laying down. In 2009, the first “1948 case” came to Italian courts, arguing the unconstitutionality of these discriminatory laws towards women. And the plaintiffs won! Since then, thousands of people have successfully sought recognition of Italian dual citizenship. Today, the Italian government no longer even defends itself in court in these matters.
In order to stake your claim and apply for Italian citizenship, you need to hire an Italian attorney to represent you in court in Rome. You do not need to go to Italy for this. You may also add on as many family members to your petition as you like.
In other words, those with a potential 1948 case can’t apply through the normal channels such as the consulate and you need to hire a professional.
What documents do I need to apply for Italian citizenship?
Essentially, you need to recreate your family tree. This is done by obtaining various certified copies of vital records for each generation in your family.
These include certificates of birth, marriage, death, naturalization, and others as needed.
The goal here is to show the Italian government you descend from an unbroken chain of Italian citizenship. Typically, each applicant will need to show:
His own birth and marriage records,
Parents’ birth and marriage records,
Grandparents’ birth and marriage records,
… and so on and so forth, all the way back to the last Italian-born ancestor.
Additionally, you’ll need any relevant divorce, adoption, name change, and death records. And—most importantly—you will also need to show naturalization records proving your last Italian-born ancestor was still an Italian citizen at the time of his/her child’s birth.
If you have any serious discrepancies in your documents, you may need to get them amended as necessary. However, I recommend leaving all but the most serious ones alone and going to your appointment as-is. The consular officer will likely give you “homework” and will tell you what needs to be fixed, if anything.
Before you can hand your documents in, they must be translated into Italian. Otherwise, Italian officials won’t be able to read them! Be sure to hire a professional for this.
You don’t want to use Google Translate as a poor translation may jeopardize your application! I once had to redo a translation where the translator translated “race” (as in, ethnic origin) as “race” (as in what people do in the Olympics!).
Two things: 1) it goes without saying that you need a pro for this, and 2) I just wrote “translate” 5 times in that last sentence.
Your non-Italian documents must also be legalized. This is done by obtaining an apostille.
An apostille is a separate page containing a certification. Its purpose is to certify that the signature on the original document is authentic, and also serves to make your documents legal for use in Italy.
Each state in the United States issues its own apostilles. Therefore, documents from Maine must have a Maine apostille, documents from Kentucky must have apostilles from Kentucky, etc.
Usually, your apostilles will come from the Secretary of State’s office or the Treasury.
Where do I apply for Italian citizenship?
Italian law specifies where you must apply, and the rules are pretty clear. You can either apply directly in Italy if you are a resident, or you must apply at the Italian consulate or embassy where you live.
If you are living in Italy, you must apply at the town (comune) where you are a legal resident. (Curious about applying in Italy? Read our guide here.) This means if you live in Rome, you apply in Rome. If you live in Turin, you apply in Turin. And so on and so forth…
Appointments and wait times
In order to apply for Italian citizenship at the consulate, you must first get an appointment. Due to interest, many consulates are booking 2 or more years in advance. For a while, Los Angeles was booking 10 years in advance (not a typo!) but things have since calmed down as of October, 2019 when I am writing this. If you are applying in Italy, there is usually no such wait time for an appointment, though some busy towns will require you to get one perhaps a few weeks or a month in advance.
What if I’m not eligible to apply for Italian citizenship by descent?
If you’ve gone over the above requirements and are not eligible, it’s not over yet!
You still might be able to obtain Italian citizenship if you:
Married an Italian citizen (or a person eligible for Italian dual citizenship),
Have lived in Italy for 10 years if you’re not of Italian descent, or
If you are of Italian descent (going as far back as your grandparents) but your grandparents or your parents lost Italian citizenship at any time, you only need to live in Italy for 3 years before obtaining citizenship
Do you want to apply for Italian citizenship and want some help from the pros? Get Italian Citizenship, Inc. has helped hundreds of clients obtain their shiny, red passports! We can provide Italian translations, look over your application for completeness, or even do everything for you from start to finish. Contact us today for more info!
Glossary of the Important Italian Immigration Terms and Acronyms
If you are thinking of obtaining Italian citizenship or moving to Italy, chances are you will come across these Italian immigration terms and acronyms. Even if you don’t speak Italian, it is important that you familiarize yourself with them as you will be seeing them a lot. Some of these terms are not relevant for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis applicants, so keep that in mind while reading.
Foreigners over the age of 16 entering Italy and applying for a residence permit (valid for at least 1 year) must sign an Integration Agreement (Accordo d’integrazione) at the Immigration Office (Sportello unico per l’immigrazione) or Police Headquarters (Questura). This agreement regulates the points system for a permit of stay and by signing it, foreign nationals commit to undertake certain immigration requirements (such as Italian language proficiency, cultural awareness, etc.). Foreigners are accredited points based on their level of integration into Italian society.
This is the town Registrar where all information pertaining to individuals living in that town’s jurisdiction get registered. Once you are registered here, you are considered a resident.
A.S.L. or U.S.L.
Azienda sanitaria locale (or Unità sanitaria locale), the Local Health Department. An individual must register here to obtain the Italian health card and be assigned a general practitioner. The Italian health system is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, but each A.S.L. is administered locally by the regions of Italy and their respective local health authorities.
An identification document that you get from the Anagrafeonce you’re a resident. Issued to Italian citizens either residing in Italy or abroad and to non-EU citizens residing in Italy and registered with the anagrafe. It contains personal details, your address, and is mandatory when converting/obtaining an Italian driving license and buying or registering a car. A carta d’identità may also be used for intra-EU travel.
Carta di soggiorno
A type of residence permit which you can apply for at the post office. Similar to a permit to stay (permesso di soggiorno), it has a duration of 5 years and is given to non-EU dependents of Italian or EU citizens.
Certificato di idoneità alloggiativa/idoneità abitativa/idoneità alloggio
A certificate issued by the anagrafe and in some cases by the ASL confirming that a dwelling is compliant with Italian health and safety building regulations.
Cessione di fabbricato
Notice that a property owner must send to the police within 48 hours of an individual moving onto the property.
Similar to a Social Security Number in the US or a NIN number in the UK. An identification number given to each individual in Italy necessary to sign leases, purchase cars, mobile phones, open a bank account, request a health card, etc. It is a tax code assigned to you and issued by the Italian revenue office (Agenzia delle entrate). Note: obtaining a tax code does not mean you must pay taxes in Italy.
An administrative division corresponding to a municipality or township. The comune handles many basic civil functions such as registering births, deaths, deeds, local residency, parking permits, garbage taxes, etc.
Contratto di soggiorno
A form similar to an employment agreement that gets executed at the Sportello unico immigrazione(SUI – Immigration Office) between the foreign national entering Italy on a national visa for lavoro subordinato (employed work, either by local hire or on assignment) and the sponsoring party. It sets forth the terms and conditions of the employment contract. This is a mandatory step to be completed within 8 days of arrival in Italy, and must be followed by an application for a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) at the post office.
Stands forcertificazione unica. A certification issued by an employer confirming taxes and other mandatory charges withheld from payslips. Issued annually by the employer or sponsoring company. Required for filing taxes in Italy.
Dichiarazione di ospitalità
Official notice that any person hosting or leasing an apartment to a foreigner must send the police within 48 hours (Article 7 of Legislative Decree no. 286 of 1998). Again, another important one in the pantheon of Italian immigration terms.
Dichiarazione di presenza
Declaration of presence. If you travel from a Schengen State and don’t get an Italian stamp on your passport, you must report your presence to Italy within 8 days of your arrival. For this, you fill out a dichiarazione di presenza form at the questura. This is not required when staying in a hotel as a tourist or if you enter Italy from a non-Schengen country and do get a stamp on your passport. If you are immigrating to Italy, this is one of the Italian immigration terms you’ll hear all the time.
Stands for Direzione provinciale del lavoro. A local office of the Ministry of Labor, the DPL must give clearance for the issuance of all work permits.
Documento unico di regolarità contributiva, a certificate issued to confirm that a company is compliance with all insurance and social security obligations.
A fingerprint appointment at the questura. They will take your photograph and fingerprints so you can obtain the permit to stay.
Istituto nazionale per l’assicurazione contro gli infortuni. National Insurance Institute Against Accidents.
The application form you complete and submit at the post office to request a permit to stay and/or extensions. Not all post offices accept them—look for the ones with the sign “Sportello amico” to make sure yours does.
Marca da bollo or bollo
An official duty or tax stamp. Purchase at your local post office or tobacconist (tabaccaio ortabaccheria). In Italy, they put marche da bollo on everything! Learn this term well because this is one of those Italian immigration terms you’ll hear all the time.
A registration number attributed by INPS (Social Security Agency) to each employee.
Requested by the employer, it is necessary in order to obtain an extension for permits of stay.
A form used by an employer for paying social security for employees.
A form used for paying most taxes by the employer.
Nulla osta al lavoro
Work permit (clearance) issued by the sportello unico authorizing a foreigner to work in Italy and obtain a work visa.
Permesso di soggiorno
Permit to stay. An official document allowing a foreigner to live in Italy (Article 5 of Legislative Decree no. 286 of July 25th 1998, and Articles 9-11 of President of the Republic’s Decree no. 394 of August 31st 1999). One of the most common immigration terms for those moving to Italy.
Permesso di soggiorno CE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo
Document issued to non-EU citizens living in Italy for at least 5 years. Allows permanent residency and doesn’t have an expiry date. However, the holder must confirm every 5 years that the data included are up to date.
A map issued by the Cadastral Office (Ufficio del catasto) showing the composition of a dwelling. Required to apply for a certificato di idoneità alloggiativa.
Local government office where the sportello unico is located.
Precinct where they take fingerprints and issue permits to stay. Also one of the most common immigration terms you will hear when moving to Italy.
This is one of the most important Italian immigration terms to know. Anyone planning on living permanently in Italy must register with a local anagrafe. Registration can benefit you for formalities in Italy such as obtaining a national health card, importing goods duty free, opening a bank account, purchasing a car, etc. If you apply for dual citizenship in Italy, your first step is to obtain residenza.
Official receipt from the post office when you apply for a permit to stay or an extension. When permits expire, the receipt is the only documentthat confirms you’re legal status in Italy. The receipt is not valid outside Italy until the renewed permit has been issued so you will be subject to some travel limitations without it.
Sportello unico per l’immigrazione
The office that issues the nulla osta al lavoro (work permit). Therefore, it is a department of the prefettura.
Scheda di notifica
You sign this when arriving in a hotel to report your presence on Italian territory. Therefore, if you don’t have a stamp on your passport you must ask your hotel manager to provide you with a copy of the scheda di notificaand keep it on your person to show it to any police officer who requests it.
Health card. After registering with the anagrafe, you can obtain a health card from the local ASL (Azienda sanitaria locale). With it, you can go to a doctor, purchase medical prescriptions, and get checkups. This is one of the Italian immigration terms you will probably hear a lot!
Testo unico sull’immigrazione
Laws pertaining to immigration matters.
Ufficio del registro
Office where registry taxi s paid for some deeds such as lease agreements, usually due no later than 30 days from the date of deed.
Office within thequestura for all immigration matters.
Almost 16 million people in the United States identify as Italian American. Making up nearly 6% of the population, it’s the nation’s fourth largest European ancestry group. And—interestingly enough—many of them are already Italian citizens without knowing it. If you’re interested, you might want to get Italian citizenship. It enables you to live, work, and study in Europe for as long as you like—an excellent perk for any soon-to-be expat.
But how is this possible?
A long time ago, Italians emigrated by the tens of thousands to countries such as the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil. In order to help these citizens and their descendants maintain ties with the Old Country, Italy decided upon citizenship laws that favor those who can trace their heritage back to an Italian ancestor. Therefore, as long as you have at least one ancestor who emigrated from Italy—no matter how many generations ago—you may qualify.
Qualifying for Italian Dual Citizenship
It’s easy to qualify if you know what to look for. There are 4 general rules you must remember. In order to be eligible for Italian dual citizenship, you have to meet all these criteria:
Your ancestor must have been alive at any time after March 17, 1861. This is the date of Italian unification. Before this date, there was no such thing as the country of Italy.
Your ancestor must have either never naturalized as a citizen of another country or if s/he did, it only occurred after the birth of his/her child.
If your ancestor naturalized as a citizen of another country, it must have occurred after July 1, 1912, regardless of whether or not it was after the birth of his/her child.
If you have any women in your “direct line” of ancestry, they must have had their children on or after January 1, 1948. Therefore, if any woman in your line had a child before this date, you can still apply but cannot do so through the normal channels (more on this below).
There are no generational limits. You may go back as far as you need to qualify as long as you meet the above criteria.
Also remember that a naturalization “breaks” the chain of citizenship. Therefore, it is extremely important that you know the dates of possible naturalization to figure out eligibility. As long as your ancestor either never naturalized or naturalized but only after July 1, 1912 and the birth of his/her child, you should qualify.
Here are a few practical examples to help you figure out how these rules might play out in real life.
Example #1: Citizenship through paternal great grandfather
James was born in the US in 1989. His father Jack was born in the US in 1954. Jack’s father Frank was born in the US in 1921. Francesco was born in Italy in 1890 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1944. Because Francesco was an Italian citizen at the time of Frank’s birth, Frank was born with both Italian and American citizenship. Frank and all his descendants are eligible for Italian dual citizenship.
Example #2: Citizenship through father
Rebecca was born in the US in 1970. Her brother Charles was born in the US in 1974. Their father Vito was born in Italy in 1940 and became an American citizen in 1972. Because Vito lost Italian citizenship at the time of naturalization, he was not an Italian citizen when Charles was born. Therefore, Rebecca is eligible for Italian dual citizenship and so are her descendants. Charles, however, is not.
Italian Dual Citizenship via Maternal Ancestry
Remember how above I mentioned that the rules were slightly different for women?
Before January 1, 1948 Italian women could not pass on citizenship to their children except for very few exceptions, such as:
The children’s father was unknown,
The children’s father was stateless, or
The father’s own foreign citizenship did not automatically pass on to the children
Therefore, if you descend from an Italian woman who otherwise falls into the “1948 trap,” you must hire an Italian attorney to petition your case in Rome. Since 2009, thousands of people have successfully obtained citizenship this way.
How to File Your Application to Get Italian Citizenship
If you live outside Italy, you file your application at your Italian consulate or embassy. There is a 300 euro application fee regardless of the outcome of your application.
If you live in Italy, you must file your application at the comune (town hall) where you live. There is no fee to file your application in Italy.
What You’ll Need
In order to get Italian citizenship, you’ll need to reconstruct your family tree and demonstrate a valid claim. To do that, you’ll need:
For your Italian ancestor:
Birth certificate from Italy (“estratto dell’atto di nascita”)
Marriage certificate from Italy (“estratto dell’atto di matrimonio”) or from the US; if from the US, it must be translated and legalized with an apostille
Death certificate, translated into Italian and apostilled
Naturalization paperwork or proof of non-naturalization
For you and your intermediate ancestors:
Birth certificates, translated into Italian and apostilled
Marriage certificates, translated into Italian and apostilled
Death certificates, translated into Italian and apostilled
Benefits of Italian Dual Citizenship
It goes without saying that having two passports is pretty cool in general. But beyond that, there are real concrete reasons why an Italian passport might help your expat life and why there are benefits of Italian dual citizenship:
1. You can live, work, and study in the European Union without ever needing a permit or visa again. No more worrying about the 90 day time limit imposed on you as a visitor!
2. Your European employers will never have to sponsor you for a job, and you’ll have access to a wider range of jobs because of it.
3. If you want to own property in Italy there’s significantly less red tape.
4. You will enjoy access to world class yet affordable education and healthcare.
5. You can pass on your citizenship to your children.
6. It’s relatively inexpensive to obtain (just the cost of gathering documents and the application fee).
7. Unlike the United States, Italy does not tax its citizens living in a foreign country.
Would you like to get Italian citizenship and need some expert help? Contact us!
If you’ve done a bit of research on Italian citizenship, you’ve probably discovered that the process can get complicated. Italian citizenship processing time varies depending on a wide number of factors, and no two applications are alike. Because of that, timeframes can sometimes drag on.
You may have clicked this post wondering if there is a uniform wait time for all applicants. Unfortunately, due to the reasons stated above, there isn’t. Processing times can range from 2 years to as long as 6 (and even longer in some cases).
Some common reasons for delays include but are not limited to:
How busy the consulate or comune processing your application is
Missing information in your application
Hard-to-find genealogical information, delaying your determination of eligibility
Court orders or amendments that need to be made on your documents
Changing laws (recently, Italy changed wait times for Italian dual citizenship by marriage from 24 to 48 months)
So what can you do to speed up your Italian citizenship processing time?
3 Ways to Speed up Your Italian Citizenship Processing Time
No one likes waiting. That’s especially true if the rest of your life hinges on what you’re waiting for – like your Italian citizenship. Here are 5 ways to can increase the chances of father processing times.
1. Understand the Grounds of Your Application
One of the most important ways to ensure that your Italian citizenship is processed quickly is to lay the proper groundwork for your application. A big part of that is to understand the grounds of your Italian citizenship application.
What does that mean?
It simply means you need to understand the best constitutional right to use to apply for your citizenship. For example, are you going to apply “jure sanguinis,” aka through your heritage? Or are you going to apply “jure matrimonii” as the spouse of an Italian citizen? Perhaps you’ve lived in Italy for a long time and want to naturalize based on your residency. Whichever avenue you take, you have to understand your constitutional rights, the requirements to meet, and all the relevant documentation you need to present.
Of course, this will require that you learn and understand what the Italian constitution says about your particular situation and this on its own can take a bit of time. So the faster you grasp the constitutional principles that govern your application, the sooner you can leverage them to your advantage.
2. Organization is Key
Because the process of applying for Italian citizenship is rather long and complicated, one thing that can help reduce your Italian citizenship processing time is to focus on organization. Organization tips can include:
If you’re applying for Italian citizenship as a descendant of an Italian, you will have to conduct genealogical research. Not only will you have to dig up proof of your ancestry but you’ll have to know where to get it and the relevant documentation needed to back up your claims. You need to know exactly where to look, when, and how. Spend some time Googling the proper ways to conduct your genealogical research.
What I like to do for clients is to keep an organized spreadsheet with the columns “Client, Document Name/Type, Requested Date, Apostille, Translation, Current Status.” Then, I fill in the columns appropriately and as documents start coming in and I complete each stage. This brings us to our next point.
No matter which route you pursue in applying for your Italian citizenship, you will need to gather a lot of documentation to back up your claims and support your bid for Italian citizenship.
This can be overwhelming in terms of the number of documents you need, but it can also be difficult due to the processes required to get them. For example, certain states only allow the persons named on the birth certificate to get that record. So, make sure you’re familiar with what each state agency needs before incorrectly requesting a document and being rejected. Getting it right the first try saves time.
You will also need to understand the unique requirements for each. For example, some documents will have to be originals accompanied by an apostille, while for others such as naturalization records, certified copies will suffice. Note, however, that if you are applying in Italy and not at a consulate, all non-Italian documents will require apostilles.
As you can see, applying for Italian citizenship takes effort, time, and money. And for you to ensure that processing times go by quickly, you have to organize your search properly.
3. Get Professional Assistance
When in doubt, work with the pros.
One of the best ways to reduce your Italian citizenship processing time is to enlist the help of service providers like Get Italian Citizenship. Why should you opt for getting Italian citizenship assistance from an agency and not the DIY route?
Here are 4 main reasons:
Professional service providers know how to best position you for success
Due to their in-depth knowledge of the system, they know exactly what to do at each stage
Experience has given them an edge when it comes to compiling the necessary documents
They can direct you to consulates or comuni that are known for faster turnaround times
If your time is valuable to you, then getting help from professional service providers is the best route for you if you want to ensure your Italian citizenship processing time is kept to a minimum.
Partner with Get Italian Citizenship to Help You Reduce Your Italian Citizenship Processing Time
Why should you partner with Get Italian Citizenship to keep your Italian citizenship processing time from being too long?
Our staff is very good at what we do, and we’ve been doing it since 2005. Being Italian/U.S. dual citizens ourselves, not only do we understand your desire to connect to your heritage, but we are all qualified professionals. From our translators to our attorneys and genealogists to our hospitality professionals, everyone is qualified and ready to help you realize your Italian dream.
Ready to Get Your Italian Citizenship in Record Time?
If you’re ready to get the ball rolling on your Italian citizenship application and want to ensure that you get it in the best possible time, Get Italian Citizenship is here to walk you through the process.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touchand let’s work together to ensure your Italian citizenship processing time doesn’t go beyond the normal time frame.
If you are eligible for it, obtaining an Italian passport is one of the best decisions you can ever make. Once completed, there are numerous benefits of obtaining your citizenship that will make a positive difference in your life. We’ll go over just some of them in this post, and hopefully you’ll start gathering your paperwork immediately!
Benefits of Your Italian Citizenship
Apart from the great food and rich culture of your Italian heritage, here are some of the top reasons for getting Italian citizenship.
Live Freely in Italy
Probably one of the biggest advantages of getting Italian citizenship is that it allows you to live in Italy without having to be restricted by visa requirements. Also, if you want to invest in property and business anywhere in Italy and within the European Union, you’ll have less red tape to deal with as an Italian citizen.
Live Anywhere in the European Union, Too
As an Italian citizen, you’ll also be allowed to live anywhere you want in the European Union. So, if you decide that living in Italy isn’t for you or you’d like to accept a job in another country, you can do that with very little red tape.
More Employment Opportunities
Getting Italian citizenship is a great way of increasing your chances of seeking employment within Italy and the European Union. As a dual citizen, you are at a greater advantage for two reasons:
A greater pool of opportunities is open to you as you can now apply for jobs in your home country and in the EU.
Your potential employees won’t have to sponsor you. Less red tape for them means your chances of being hired are greater!
Affordable High-quality Education
Whether it’s for yourself or your children, getting Italian citizenship allows you the privilege of receiving an educating in Italy.
But what’s so great about getting educated in Italy?
Apart from having some of the oldest universities in the world (opened in 1088, the University of Bologna is said to be the oldest school in the West, if not the world), Italy also has one of the best education systems in the world. For citizens, education is often provided free of charge.
Access to State-funded Medical Services
Another advantage of citizenship is that you become entitled to accessing Italy’s world-class medical services. With Italy being ranked 2nd out of countries with the best healthcare systems in the world, you’ll be in good hands. And the best part, most medical services are free in Italy. If ever there’s a compelling reason to get Italian citizenship, this one is it.
Even if you’re not planning on settling in Italy, by getting Italian citizenship you ensure that you’re covered when you travel to Italy. This is much better than purchasing medical insurance as a traveler.
Now that you’ve seen some of the benefits that come with Italian citizenship, see how you can go about getting your Italian Citizenship.
Citizenship vs. Getting Permanent Residency
When it comes to settling in Italy long term, you have two options – obtaining citizenship or getting permanent residency. While Italian citizenship is the lengthier and more complicated process, it has the advantages of affording you the benefits we’ve just looked at above.
With a permanent residency, the benefits are limited. If you can obtain Italian citizenship, grab il toro (the bull) by the horns and go for it. You’ll appreciate the doors an Italian passport opens.
Before you run off to fill in an application for Italian citizenship, make sure you meet the requirements that make you eligible. Here are the main 3:
1. Applying as a Descendent
If you come from a line of bona fide Italians, then you are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship. But what makes for a bona fide Italian citizen?
You can trace your ancestry to an Italian who was resident or born in the territory we now call Italy.
This Italian-born ancestor was still live on or after March 17, 1861, anywhere in the world, and not yet a citizen of another country by that date. That was the year in which Italy was formally recognized as a state and hence the time Italians “came into existence”.
Your Italian ancestor did not naturalize as a citizen of another nation before July 1, 1912.
If your Italian ancestor did naturalize, it must have been after the birth of his or her child.
If you have women in your direct line of citizenship, their children must have been born after January 1, 1948.
2. Applying as a Spouse
To qualify for Italian citizenship as a spouse you must:
Be married for at least 2 years if you are living in living in Italy. If your civil union was solemnized outside of Italy, you are eligible after 3 years. Having children under the age of 18 cuts that time in half in both instances.
Be married to your spouse at the time of the application. You marriage must continue in good standing for at least 48 months after the application.
3. Applying as a Resident
If you’ve been a resident of Italy for a certain period, you can request citizenship. How many years, you ask?
As a citizen of a European Union country, you qualify after 4 years.
If you’re not from the European Union, you’re eligible after 10 years.
If you are of Italian heritage (up to your grandparents) but don’t otherwise qualify because a naturalization “cut off” the chain, you qualify after 3 years.
Investing in Italy also increases your chances of succeeding in your bid to naturalize as an Italian.
Italian Citizenship – Choose Between Two Paths
Now that you know what it takes to get Italian citizenship, let’s look at the how.
You’ll have to gather a number of documents to prove your claim for citizenship. If you are applying via ancestry, you’ll effectively have to recreate your family tree using birth, marriage, death, and naturalization records to prove your eligibility. If applying via marriage or residency, there are other documents to gather. You must translate all your documents and legalize them for use in Italy.
Depending on your application method, there may be an appointment and an interview.
When it comes to processing your application, there are 2 routes you can take:
While you may save some money by going the DIY route, you likely will encounter some hurdles along the way. No, that’s not being negative – it’s pure truth. Submitting an application that has high chances of being successful requires you to know how to deal with Italian bureaucracy, particularly regarding citizenship laws. You can wing it and succeed, but chances are it will take you longer.
Using an Agent
Using an agent has the advantages of:
Saving you the hassle of gathering documents and working out if you qualify or not
Speeds up the process as your agent knows exactly what is needed and when it is needed
Peace of mind knowing that your case is being handled by professionals
Your Citizenship Journey: Don’t Struggle Alone
If you’re serious about getting Italian citizenship, Get Italian citizenship is ready to help you. You don’t have to struggle alone to realize your dream. The road to getting Italian citizenship should be sweet and memorable. It is certainly not an easy process, but it is worth it.
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.
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
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
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
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
Ideal for: Snorkeling enthusiasts, young people, and couples
18. San Vito Lo Capo – Sicily
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.
Entrance: Free, but with some concessions
Ideal for: Gently rolling sand makes it perfect for families with children
17. Scala dei Turchi, Realmonte – Sicily
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.
Ideal for: Couples and groups. The water is deep, so not best for families with children.
16. Su Giudeu, Domus de Maria – Sardinia
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.
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
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!
Ideal for: Young people, couples
14. Cala Feola (Isola di Ponza), Latina – Lazio
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.=
Ideal for: Families, young people, couples
13. Protected Marine Area of Plemmirio, Syracuse – Sicily
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!
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.
Ideal for:Young people, couples
12. Cala Luna (Golfo di Orosei), Nuoro – Sardinia
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
Ideal for:Young people, couples
10. Is Aruttas (Cabras), Oristano – Sardinia
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.
Ideal for:Young people, couples, families
9. Tropea, Vibo Valentia – Calabria
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.
Entrance: Free, with concessions
8. Marina di Camerota, Salerno – Campania
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.
Entrance: Free, with concessions
Ideal for:Young people, couples, groups
7. Baia del Silenzio (Sestri Levante), Genoa – Liguria
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.
Entrance: Free, with concessions
6. Porto Giunco (Villasimius), Cagliari – Sardinia
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.
Entrance: Free, with concessions
5. La Pelosa (Stintino), Sassari – Sardinia
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.
Entrance: Free, with concessions
4. Cala Rossa, Favignana (Egadi Islands) – Sicily
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!
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.
If you’re anything like me, you love taking a short cut if it means you get the same results. And while there is no immediate way to get Italian dual citizenship, applying in Italy does count as a shortcut—and a fully legal one, at that. Skipping the consulate and flying straight to Italy means that you get to shave off (possibly) years of wait time for recognition.
But with almost 8,000 comuni (towns) in Italy, it’s hard to figure out where to apply. The choices are staggering: city vs. countryside, South vs. North, in your ancestor’s comune or elsewhere, etc. That’s where this post comes in.
With 10+ years of industry experience, hundreds of clients helped in Italy, andhaving applied in Italy myself, I am uniquely qualified to give you advice on this topic.
Before you can do anything you need to clear your calendar. It used to be that people could hire service providers and apply in Italy during a two week vacation, but now the secret has gotten out. Many towns are understaffed, overworked, and fielding others’ applications before you arrive.
For that reason, I recommend carving out as much time as possible because two weeks just don’t cut it anymore. In my professional opinion, prepare to spend 90 days at the very least in Italy. Not only does your town have up to 45 days to carry out the first step of the process (verifying your residency), you might find yourself in the unenviable position of needing more documents, dealing with a sick comune worker who is out of office, or any number of other issues that may pop up at a moment’s notice. Giving yourself enough time is the best insurance against any possible roadblock.
Therefore, applying in Italy is best if you work online, have enough savings to cover you for a few months, know you want to live in Italy anyway, or are already living in Italy for some other reason.
Things work slowly in Italy, so be sure to give yourself enough time. When it comes to applying for Italian dual citizenship in Italy, my motto is always “the longer the stay, the better.”
If You Can, Find a Place to Stay Before You Arrive
Only people who reside in Italy can apply for Italian dual citizenship here. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you find a place to stay—and fast, given the limited time you have before you’ll need to legalize your status with a permesso di soggiorno in attesa di cittadinanza, or, permit to stay while awaiting citizenship (more on that below).
Because there are so many variables in this process, the name of the game is getting as many of your ducks in a row as possible. One way to save time is to find a place to stay even before you arrive in Italy. My favorite websites to use are:
idealista.it (what I used to find my own apartment throughout my 5+ moves in Italy)
Be sure when contacting potential landlords and realtors that you specify you need residency in your apartment.
Contact Your Comune, Too
If you can, it helps to contact your comune. Some are very responsive and will look at your documents before you arrive. Others will refuse to do so. I personally would not be comfortable going to a comune that refused to help me at first glance, but the choice is up to you.
You may find you have a better result if you can contact them in Italian. For that reason, see if you can enlist an Italian-speaking friend to call on your behalf.
Pro tip #1: I always call before e-mailing. Italians still like the human touch, so a nice phone call will go a long way in making a good impression.
Pro tip #2: See if you can google your potential comune’s stance on Italian dual citizenship. Simply plug in name of comune + cittadinanza jure sanguinis in your search engine. If a dedicated page pops up with clear instructions, it’s safe to say they’ve helped people apply for Italian dual citizenship in Italy before.
Know the Laws
When it comes to applying in Italy, there are two laws you need to know very well. They are:
These are directives released by the Italian government which instruct the towns on how to take Italian dual citizenship applications.
Circolare K. 28 del 1991 explains all the documents you will need to file your application. According to this law, you will need:
Birth records for you, your intermediate ancestors, and your last Italian-born ancestor
Marriage records for you, your intermediate ancestors, and your last Italian-born ancestor
Your last Italian-born ancestor’s naturalization certificate or proof of no naturalization
Legalized translations of the above records
The law does not specify the need for death or divorce records, nor does it require non-direct line ancestors’ documents. However, in my experience some towns do require death and divorce records, so either obtain them anyway or inquire just to be sure.
Circolare 32 del 13 giugno 2007 explains how to obtain residency in Italy for the purposes of an Italian dual citizenship application.
If you are finding that your comune is not knowledgable about the process or is denying your residency, show them this circolare. It explains all you will need to know about obtaining residency to apply in Italy for Italian dual citizenship.
North vs South
The age old question: Northern Italy or Southern Italy?
The choice is really up to you, and there are pros and cons for each. Let’s examine them.
May have more experience filing these types of applications
Tends to rely more on pre-established and clear-cut rules
If you’re staying a while, it has better transit links to other European countries
Can tend to be crowded with requests, as many South Americans of Italian descent apply in the north
Relying on clear-cut rules means they may be less likely to help
If your ancestry comes from the south, uninformed comune workers might insist you go to the south to apply
Relies less on pre-established and clear-cut rules
May be more willing to help due to the fewer applications they see
Since they see fewer applications, they may not know how to process them
Some applicants don’t like the less formal atmosphere and the lack of a sense of urgency
Things move very slowly in southern Italy and it can be more disorganized
Ultimately, the choice of where to apply in Italy is yours. You must remember that you will be spending at the very least 90 days where you apply, so try and choose a place you’d be happiest.
Staying Legal While Waiting for Citizenship
As an American, you can only stay in Italy legally for 90 days before you need some sort of visa or permit to lengthen your stay—and remain legal.
However, Italy has made things relatively easy for applicants of Italian dual citizenship.
After you file your application, you should immediately file for a permesso di soggiorno in attesa di cittadinanza. This is a special permit Italy gives to those filing jure sanguinis applications. Simply go to your local post office and obtain the permesso di soggiorno kit. You will fill out the form (Modulo 1) and enclose your receipt of application, a copy of your passport, and pay the 16 euro marca da bollo fee.
Then, you will pay 30.46 euros for the permesso itself + a 40 fee for its yearly validity, 30 euros for the administrative fee, and mail everything out together. The post office will give you a receipt. With this receipt, you can sign up for healthcare.
After sending everything off, you’ll receive an appointment date at the questura (precinct). There, you will take fingerprints and hand in 4 photo ID-format pictures. Then, you’ll receive your permesso di soggiorno.
The Best Place to Apply in Italy for Italian Dual Citizenship
Now that you’ve learned what to do before you arrive, what to do after you apply, and some general tips on figuring out where to go, I’ll talk about what I consider to be the best place to apply.
In my professional opinion, Rome is one of the best places in Italy to apply for Italian dual citizenship. Not only do they not require death or divorce certificates (unlike Turin, for example, which does require death certificates), they can be lenient on discrepancies to a fault.
Additionally, Rome has its own citizenship office staffed with 8 or 9 workers just processing applications. They are extremely knowledgable and willing to help.
One tip, however, is to go with someone who speaks Italian, as Rome officers can be frustrated if you don’t. I have had clients come to me for help after going to Rome and not being able to speak Italian. Also, for Rome be sure that none of your documents are more than a year old by the time you apply.
Other towns which I have heard good things about or have had personal experience with:
Turin: a large city in Northwestern Italy. Requires divorce records, but is otherwise reasonable. Lots of apartments available for residency and rent is surprisingly cheap for a large city. One tip is to get your residency appointment in advance (via e-mail) before arriving, as there is a wait of a few months and you don’t want to waste time.
Reggio Emilia: Where I applied ten years ago (I was the first person from the US ever to apply there, and one of my clients was the second!). I loved applying in Reggio Emilia as it is a beautiful mid-sized town in Emilia Romagna, a region almost everyone loves. Like Turin they have gotten busy so try and obtain a residency appointment before you arrive.
Towns I don’t recommend include:
Como, unless you can rectify all discrepancies on your documents beforehand
Florence, as they too are very unreasonable about discrepancies
Milan, the same as above unless you can rectify all of your discrepancies or have none
Would you like to apply in Italy for Italian dual citizenship? If so, contact us to get started. Alternatively, have you already applied in Italy? Post your story in the comments section below!
When it comes to obtaining Italian citizenship, one of the most common ways to get it is by jure sanguinis – if you are eligible.
But what exactly is Italian citizenship jure sanguinis? How can you tell if you’re eligible? And most importantly, how do you go about obtaining your Italian dual citizenship in this way?
All those are great questions. So let’s get to understanding Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, shall we?
Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis – What Does It Even Mean?
First things first – what does jure sanguinis even mean? Hint – it’s not a tasty sandwich.
Jure sanguinis is a Latin phrase that means “by right of blood.” So in essence, Italian citizenship jure sanguinis means obtaining citizenship by blood or by virtue of being a descendant of an Italian national.
Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. There are some rules you need to keep in mind when figuring out Italian citizenship jure sanguinis.
Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty aspects involved in obtaining Italian dual citizenship by descent.
Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis – 4 Important Dates that Shaped Italy’s Citizenship Laws
So, you’ve got Italian ancestry and your grandma passed down a mean recipe for Sunday sauce. This means that getting Italian citizenship will be a breeze, right? Not quite. It’s not as straightforward as it seems (but it’s also not terribly difficult, either).
1861 is one of the most important dates in Italian history – it’s the year in which Italy became a nation; on March 17, 1861, to be precise! But what does that have to do with your getting Italian citizenship by descent?
Prior to 1861, there was no such thing as an Italian citizen. The implication of this on your bid to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis is that as long as your ancestry can be traced back to Italy any time after 1861, then you are eligible to get citizenship. However, if your ancestors left Italy before that date and became nationals of another country, they forfeited their Italian citizenship. Technically, they were not Italian and therefore can’t pass on Italian citizenship to you.
Put simply: your ancestor must have been both alive (no matter where in the world) and not yet a citizen of another country by March 17, 1861 in order to have been an Italian citizen. If your ancestor never was an Italian citizen himself, he couldn’t pass that citizenship on down to his children.
Note, however, that this mainly applies if you are tracing your Italian ancestry through the paternal side of your family.
So what happens if your Italian blood flows from the maternal side of your family?
This is one of the most important dates in Italian citizenship history. In 1912, Italy enacted its modern citizenship laws that we use to obtain Italian dual citizenship jure sanguinis today. This law, called Law no. 555 of 1912, went into effect on July 1, 1912 and sets forth the instructions governing Italian citizenship by descent.
The law is not applied retroactively. Therefore, if your Italian ancestor naturalized as a U.S. citizen it is important that he did so after this date. If a naturalization occurred before this date, it cuts off your line and renders you ineligible for Italian dual citizenship.
Another year in the history of Italy that has a great bearing on your eligibility to attain Italian dual citizenship by way of ancestry is the year 1948.
1948 is a special year in the annals of Italian immigration laws as it signifies the year from which you can trace your Italian ancestry on your maternal side. In simple terms, this means that if you were born to an Italian mother and non-Italian father on or after the 1st of January 1948, then you are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis.
What of those born prior to this date?
If you were born prior to the 1st of January 1948 to an Italian mother and non-Italian father, getting Italian citizenship jure sanguinis becomes tricky. Don’t worry, it’s not impossible, just a bit harder than normal.
In these cases you cannot apply through the normal routes such as the consulate or directly in Italy. Instead, you will have to hire an Italian attorney to fight your case in court given the unconstitutionality of this law. Since 2009, thousands of people have successfully obtained their Italian citizenship in this way.
The last date we will focus on as we look at the important dates that affect your Italian citizenship bid by birthright is the year 1992.
Until August 15, 1992, any Italian naturalizing as a citizen of the United States immediately lost Italian citizenship. After this date, Italians naturalizing as U.S. citizens could still keep their original Italian citizenship.
According to Italian law, if you were born before August 15, 1992, your Italian parent must not have taken another citizenship by naturalization before your birth (because loss of Italian citizenship by your parent before your birth cuts off your eligibility).
While this is not a comprehensive timeline of all the dates that affect your Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, it’s a great start to understanding the options you have for applying for Italian dual citizenship.
Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis – The Next Steps
Now that you know how to bark up your family tree in order to get Italian citizenship, the next step is to gather all the necessary documentation you will need. Here’s a brief outline of the documentation you will need:
If One or Both of Your Parents was Italian
Your father’s/mother’s birth certificate. This must be obtained from the “Comune” from which your parent was born and registered. If one of your parents was born in another country other than Italy, you will need a certified copy of their birth certificate from their country of birth.
Your parents’ marriage certificate. Again this must be contained from the place they got married. If they got married in the U.S.A, you must get a certified copy of the license and certificate. You will also need to obtain an apostille from the Secretary of State of the State in which it was issued.
Certificate of naturalization. If your parent(s) naturalized, you will need to include the certificate of naturalization. Alternatively, you can use their Italian passport and permanent resident card.
Your own civil records. These include your birth certificate, marriage certificate, your children’s birth certificates, and any other applicable record. Make sure to have them certified, translated into Italian, and authenticated by an apostille.
Death certificates of parents if they are deceased.
If Applying Through a Grandparent or Great Grandparent
When applying for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis through your grandparents, you will have to obtain the same documents as you would if applying through your parents. Only this time, you are using your grandparent’s documents as well as your parent’s documents. When you apply, you cannot skip generations and must provide documents for each generation.
Where Should You Submit Your Application for Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis?
Depending on where you are located, you can either submit your application for Italian citizenship at a consulate near you (if outside Italy) or at a town hall (if applying in Italy).
If you are applying at a consulate, you must apply at the one which has jurisdiction over where you live. If applying in Italy, you must be a resident of Italy first.
Get Your Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis
Now that you know what Italian citizenship jure sanguinis is and have determined that you are eligible, it’s time to get the ball rolling. If it seems like a daunting task doing all the research and document collection, don’t let that deter you. We will help you get your Italian citizenship – hassle-free.
These are just some of the Italian highlights that make many people dream about a life in Italy. But life in Italy need not just be a dream. It can be a reality.
You’re probably asking yourself one question – does Italy allow dual citizenship?
Let’s backtrack a bit so as to be able to fully answer this question.
What is Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship or nationality refers to a person’s citizenship status being concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state. It’s usually determined by the laws of those states as there are no international conventions that govern dual citizenship laws.
While in some instances one has to apply for dual citizenship, in other cases it is automatic. For example, a child born in the United States from foreign nationals whose country allows dual citizenship automatically has dual citizenship.
Are there Advantages of Having Dual Citizenship?
The question “Does Italy allow dual citizenship?” usually has a follow-up question of “What are the advantages of having dual nationality?” Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of having dual citizenship before we hone in on our main question of the day.
As a dual citizenship holder, you are privy to receive all the benefits offered by the countries in which you have citizenship. These include medical and employment benefits amongst others.
Another advantage of having dual nationality is that you can travel on the passports of both countries. Having this makes traveling easier for you as you won’t have to apply for visas or spend time in long queues at immigration explaining your purpose of visit.
Everywhere in the world, property ownership is an important aspect of economic freedom. Dual citizenship makes it easier and more affordable to own property in either, or both countries. Not only is easier to invest in property in the 2 countries of your citizenship, but dual citizenship also makes it easier for you to invest in those countries.
However, since each state’s laws concerning dual citizenship are different, you will have to find out the fine print of what it means to be a citizen of Italy and your current state.
Does Italy Allow Dual Citizenship? Some Legal Points to Consider
While the question itself is simple, the answer (and the process) is far from it. So does Italy allow dual citizenship?
The short answer is yes. However, let’s take a closer look at the technicalities and legalities involved.
Dual Citizenship Jure Sanguinis
The Italian constitution allows anyone who can prove their Italian ancestry. As long as you can identify that your ancestors were Italian citizens from 1861 upwards, you are eligible for Italian citizenship.
Italy, as a state, came into being in 1861. Therefore, before this year, there were no Italians. Meaning that if your Italian ancestors became citizens of another country prior to March 17, 1861, they forfeited their Italian citizenship. The same goes for ancestor who died before this date.
What if your Italian relative is from the maternal side of the family?
There have been various adjustments to the laws pertaining to obtaining citizenship through your maternal side of the family. However, to keep things simple, Italian citizenship through the maternal line extends from 1 January 1948. It means if you were born to an Italian mother and non-Italian father before 1948, it can be tricky for you to obtain Italian citizenship “jure sanguinis”
With enough research into your ancestry and by producing the relevant documentation, Italian law does allow for you to be an Italian citizen.
Dual Italian Citizenship by Marriage
Does Italy allow dual citizenship by marriage?
Yes – if your spouse is Italian. Anyone married to an Italian is permitted by Italian law to obtain dual citizenship if they meet all the requirements.
Basically, if you have been married to an Italian and have been residing in Italy for a minimum of 2 years, you are eligible for Italian dual citizenship. If, however, you and your Italian spouse reside outside Italy, you will have to have been in a civil marriage for a period no less than 3 years for you to be eligible for citizenship.
Italian Dual Citizenship by Naturalization
Another way in which Italian law allows for dual citizenship is by naturalization. If you’re a non-EU citizen and have legally resided in Italy for a period of 10 years or more, you are eligible to apply for Italian dual citizenship by naturalization. European Union citizens are eligible after 4 years.
Italian law also allows you to obtain Italian dual citizenship by naturalization if your Italian parents or grandparents lost their Italian citizenship. Losing their citizenship prevents them from passing it on to you by jure sanguinis. In this case, you are entitled to apply for Italian citizenship after three years of legal residency in Italy.
Does Italy Allow Dual Citizenship?
Italian law allows eligible candidates to obtain Italian dual citizenship. With it, you get to enjoy all the benefits that come with being an Italian national. If you fall in any of the 3 categories permitted by the Italian constitution to apply for Italian dual citizenship, go ahead and start processing your application.
While the process may be long and the procedure complicated it definitely is worth it.
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