In the United States, there are long-standing jokes and even movie plots about marrying someone just to get citizenship. Characters often undergo elaborate schemes to trick immigration officials into believing they are happily married. To obtain Italian citizenship by marriage, however, you shouldn’t need to be so sneaky.
No matter what path to dual Italian citizenship you are pursuing, the Get Italian Citizenship team can help. We have walked the walk and know each step of the process. Whether you simply need translations or would like a full citizenship package, we are the experts to do it. Let’s connect and get you started on your citizenship journey.
So, I Married an Italian
If you are a non-Italian who married a citizen of Italy, congratulations! You have taken the first step toward dual citizenship with the Bel Paese. Claiming your Italian citizenship by marriage, jure matrimonii, is not overly complicated. The same process applies to both marriages and civil unions.
There are several considerations when you apply for dual nationality through your spouse. Your eligibility will rely on things like where you live, how long you’ve been married, and your language proficiency.
Time Requirement for Italian Citizenship by Marriage
If you and your Italian spouse live in Italy, you can apply for citizenship by marriage two years from your wedding date. If you have biological or adopted children, the waiting period is only one year.
For couples living outside of Italy, the time frame is longer. The non-Italian spouse must wait three years from the marriage or civil union before applying. Again, if the couple has children, the wait time is cut in half to 18 months.
Language Requirement for the Non-Italian Spouse
In 2018, Italy introduced a law requiring Italian language proficiency for the non-Italian spouse to receive citizenship. They must achieve a B1 level of mastery in a CEFR test through an approved institution.
For spouses who have been residing in Italy for several years, the language test is likely to be manageable. Those without any Italian language skills will need to do some quick learning. Many online courses are available to help you reach this goal, including:
Does Italy Recognize Same-Sex Marriage?
In 2016, Italy made same-sex unions legal, extending most of the rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. Same-sex couples who marry outside of Italy may register their relationship as a civil union, not a marriage, in Italy.
By registering their civil union, the non-Italian spouse can apply for dual citizenship once they are eligible.
How to Apply for Italian Citizenship by Marriage
The application process for dual citizenship by marriage isn’t overly complicated, but it does take time. Here are the steps you can expect to take:
- Register with AIRE – For couples living abroad, the first task is to make sure the Italian spouse has registered with AIRE, the Registry of Italians Resident Abroad. Citizens who live outside of Italy for more than 12 months must register through the local Italian consulate.
- Register the Marriage or Civil Union – Verify that the marriage or civil union is on record in Italy. If you live outside of Italy, you will do that at a local consulate. Couples living in Italy will go to their prefuttura.
- Create an Account – To submit a citizenship application, you will need to create an account with the Ministero dell’Interno.
- Submit the Application and Documents – When you submit your citizenship application through the portal, you will need to include copies of specific documents:
- Marriage certificate from the municipality where the Italian partner has their AIRE registration
- Background checks from your state(s) of residence since you were 14 years old
- Background check from the FBI
- A certified copy of your birth certificate
- Certification of your language proficiency
- NOTE: You have six months from the date of your marriage certificate or background check, whichever was first, to submit your application for citizenship.
- NOTE: Documents must be in apostille-certified and in Italian. Be sure to use a professional translator.
- Prepare for Your Interview – You will make an appointment for your interview at the consulate or prefuttura. You and your spouse or partner both attend the interview and need to have the following documents with you:
- Application Form
- Italian Spouse’s Passport
- Non-Italian Spouse’s Foreign Passport
- Your Residency List
- Original Marriage Certificate
- Original Background Checks
- Money Order for Consular Fee
- Signed Declaration – In this record, both partners state that they are still married.
- Be Patient – After your interview, all documents will go to the Ministero dell’Interno for review. They have 24 months to review the application and make a decision, and the deadline can extend out to 36 months in many cases. So be prepared for a wait.
Taking Your Oath
Once the Ministry of the Interior grants your Italian citizenship by marriage, they will invite you to the citizenship ceremony. You and your spouse attend the ceremony and reaffirm that you are still married. You take an oath of allegiance and celebrate!
Congratulations! You are now a dual citizen with Italy and can enjoy all the benefits of that status.
Can You Lose Citizenship by Marriage?
If you get a divorce or annulment before citizenship is in place, you cannot continue your jure matrimonii application. You must still be married at your interview and when you take the oath. Once you have your citizenship, a divorce will not take it away.
However, a threat to Italian national security is grounds for the government to revoke your citizenship at any time.
Time to Start
Get Italian Citizenship is here to help as you seek dual Italian citizenship through marriage. We offer expert translation services for your documents so that you can enjoy a smooth process on your way to becoming a citizen.
Connect with a team member today to get started.