Due to generous rules for qualifying and large numbers of people who are eligible, Italian citizenship by descent is incredibly popular. As a result, most Italian consulates are fully booked for appointments and only release them 2 or more years in advance. A few years ago it was common to wait 6+ years for an appointment, so wait times are whittling down even though they are still long.
Even so, if you are in a hurry you may have to explore other options. The most popular choice is to “skip” the consulate and apply for Italian citizenship in Italy.
Many service providers offer fast track applications, with some purporting to be able to get your citizenship in as little as one to two weeks. However, Italy has recently cracked down on these operations. In this post, we’ll discuss how to responsible apply in Italy and go over the truth about fast track applications.
The general gist of applying in Italy is as follows.
First, if you want to get your Italian citizenship in Italy you must actually live here. This means that you must be a bonafide resident of the comune (town) in which you intend to apply.
You do this by renting an apartment or having a landlord (or relative/friend) file a dichiarazione di ospitalità (declaration of hospitality) for you. Then, you fill out paperwork requesting residency.
The comune then has two options. It must do one of them within a 45-day time frame: either it sends a vigile (officer) to your home to check that you’re actually living there, or the 45 days elapses with no visit and you are considered an automatic resident.
Once you are a resident you can officially hand in your citizenship paperwork. This would be your vital records, translations, and apostilles.
At this point, some towns will allow you to go back home to the U.S. and maintain Italian residency while waiting for recognition. Others will want you to stay in Italy the entire time, at which point you will be directed to obtain a special permit to stay.
In theory, any town could take your application in as few as three days. The first two would be set aside for requesting (and confirming) residency, with the third for you to hand in your application documents. However, in reality many towns will take as much time afforded to them per law to handle your application.
Due to the fact that Italian law allows them up to 45 days to verify your residency, you should probably prepare for a 45 day wait in the worst case scenario. As we mentioned above, residency is the first step of your application, so 45 days is the absolute bare minimum amount of time you can expect to spend in Italy, even if your comune is very on the ball.
A few years ago it was still possible to come to a comune, apply in two weeks, and go home. However, we would no longer recommend this option for a number of reasons. Here’s why:
Here are our top ten tips for applying in Italy responsibly: