When it comes to Italian citizenship, patience is a virtue. Like many of life’s pleasures, good things come to those who wait! But if you are of Italian descent and contemplating heritage passport services, you might be wondering how many years it takes to get Italian citizenship. In this post, we’ll go over the general timeframe for applying for Italian dual citizenship.
A general timeline
Before going any further, we have to put this disclaimer out there. Italian dual citizenship cases vary. Each family is different and each path to qualification is different. Some have extremely easy paths; they are few generations removed from their Italian ancestor, they live in states with quick processing times, and they are able to snag appointments quickly. Take this post with a grain of salt as a general guide.
And a word of advice: if these timeframes seem long, we know! However, time will pass anyway so why not put in your application when you can?
Month 0 to 4: Determining eligibility
To determine eligibility you will need to know if/when your Italian ancestor lost Italian citizenship. This information comes from county clerks or federal courts. Depending on the source, it may take a few months to find this information.
Month 4 to 12: Gathering documents
Once you have established eligibility for Italian dual citizenship, it’s now up to you to gather the documents you need.
Depending on what state (or country) you are from, timeframes will vary. Some states work quickly and will send you the vital records you need in just a few business days. Others have long backlogs and slow processing times of up to six months just for one document.
Keep in mind that some states will not release a record to you unless you can prove you need it. This necessitates a “chain” of requesting each record one at a time, further lengthening processing times. For example, to get your grandfather’s birth certificate in New Jersey you would need your own birth certificate first. Then, using a copy of your birth certificate you would request your dad’s birth certificate. Then, using a copy of your birth certificate and your dad’s birth certificate you would then request your grandfather’s birth certificate.
Month 12 to 48: The wait for the appointment
Italian dual citizenship is understandably pretty popular. Consulates are overworked and understaffed. As a result, many only open up for appointments at certain dates. There is no centralized calendar for appointments. Each consulate runs its own schedule apart from the others.
Because of this, wait times for appointments currently vary. Some consulates book out in as little as six months, while others have a 2-4 year wait.
Month 48 and beyond:
You don’t become an Italian citizen right away. There are certain things that happen behind closed doors like verifying eligibility again, transcribing your American record into Italian, checking that nobody in your family ever gave up the right to have Italian citizenship, etc. By law, Italian consulates have up to 24 months in which to grant you recognition of citizenship.
So… how many years does it take to get Italian citizenship? We’re talking total timeframes here
The answer varies! You can expect to spend anywhere from 10 months to 4 years or more getting your Italian citizenship.
But I don’t want to wait that long! Is there any way I can speed up processing times?
Actually, yes. You can. To get citizenship faster, consider skipping the consulate altogether and applying in Italy.
When you apply in Italy, you immediately cut out appointment wait times at the consulate and severely cut down wait times for processing. In our experience, our clients who apply in Italy become citizens in 3-4 months or less (after documents are gathered and handed in).
What if I am applying by marriage and not heritage. Are Italian citizenship processing times the same?
No, they are not. The timesframes we discussed above apply only to those applying for Italian citizenship at their consulate.
- You can only apply after you’ve been married for 3 years (if you live outside Italy) or 2 if you live in Italy.
- These wait times are halved if you live in Italy and have children under 18.
- Then, the Italian government has up to 48 months to process your application.