Get Italian Citizenship

How to apply for citizenship in Italy – Update!

Row of lounge chairs on Italian beach

It might sound unbelievable but just about ten years ago, the very same night I was doing research to compile a checklist of how to apply in Italy (see below), I came across a little-known Italian Ministerial circular letter which would be a game changer, effectively cutting application times and processes down and making things entirely easier. Since it’s 2019, this Ministerial circular has been around for a long time now, but still not many people know about it.

There is actually no need to have a visa to enter, obtain the related permesso di soggiorno, apply for residence, wait for residence, apply for citizenship and then convert the permesso di soggiorno, running around like a chicken without a head. This circolare does away with the need for visas and relative permits to stay for anyone entering Italy to start the process of jure sanguinis.

So, what does this mean? It means that things are infinitely more simple for you if you are intending to apply for dual citizenship in Italy. 

Circolare del Ministero dell’Interno del 13 giugno 2007

ITALIAN: L’art. 1 della legge prevede che per soggiorni di durata inferiore a tre mesi non è richiesto il permesso di soggiorno, ma è invece necessaria una dichiarazione di presenza: gli stranieri che non provengono da Paesi dell’area Schengen formulano la dichiarazione di presenza all’Autorità di frontiera, al momento dell’ingresso, mentre gli stranieri che provengono dall’area Schengen dichiarano la propria presenza al Questore, entro otto giorni dall’ingresso.

La ricevuta di tale dichiarazione, resa dagli interessati nei sensi sopraesposti, si ritiene che possa costituire titolo utile ai fini dell’iscrizione anagrafica di coloro che intendono avviare in Italia la procedura per il riconoscimento della cittadinanza “jure sanguinis”, in relazione a quanto disposto con la circolare n. 29 (2002).

ENGLISH: Article 1 of the Law sets forth the following: for stays shorter than three months, a permit to stay is not necessary; rather, a declaration of presence must be made. Foreigners hailing from extra-Schengen states shall make their declaration of presence at Italian border authorities upon entering the country, while foreigners hailing from Schengen states shall declare their presence to the police commissioner within eight days of arrival.

Receipt of such declaration made by the aforementioned parties shall be considered equivalent title for the inscription within local registries of those intending to start the process of recognition of Italian citizenship “jure sanguinis” within Italy, in relation to circular letter no. 29 (2002).


Necessary documents for applying for residence in Italy (you must first apply for residency before you can apply for citizenship):

  1. photocopy of passport (all pages);
  2. photocopy of previous permit to stay (in this case, your declaration of presence–the stamp on your passport–is considered your permit to stay);
  3. declaration released by your town of residence or Italian consulate abroad stating the process for citizenship has been started;
  4. Italian 14.62 euro tax stamp;
  5. residence document (property deeds, rental contract, declaration of hospitality from your hosts, etc.);
  6. bank details proving your ability to maintain yourself.

Once your residency is approved, you then go to the local anagrafe office and hand in your documents for Italian citizenship, specifying your intent to apply for dual Italian citizenship. They will issue you a receipt after they take your documents, and you must then go to the post office for your permit to stay legally in Italy while awaiting citizenship.

You will apply for your permit to stay in Italy pending citizenship by filling out a kit (form 209). You must make two payments to the post office of 27.50 and 30 euros each. You must attach the above documents to form 209. Once the form is filled out and the attachments provided, the package is sent to the Questura of your province of residence.

Once the documentation is received, the Questura contacts the applicant and sets and appointment for the registration of personal data (and the release of the permit). You will have to provide 4 passport-format photos and show your passport along with the receipt given by the post office when you handed in your kit.

Once you get your permit and after every renewal while waiting for your citizenship, you must go to the offices of the Comune in which you live to renew your residency and bring the following documents: passport and permit to stay.