Get Italian citizenship by marriage

So, you married an Italian. Congratulations! Not only are you in for some seriously good food, you’re also entitled to Italian dual citizenship jure matrimonii (that’s Latin for “by right of marriage,” by the way). Sounds good so far, right? Not so fast. On paper, Italian citizenship by marriage seems like a cut and dry endeavor. But in practice, it might take you a few tries to get all of the documents you need (and in the correct order). In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to do from A to Z to get Italian citizenship by marriage so you get your application right the first time.

Who can get Italian citizenship by marriage?

Generally, anyone who is married to an Italian citizen can gain Italian citizenship by marriage. You can be a man or woman, stateless or a citizen of a foreign nation.

However, there are some requirements you must meet:

  • If you are living outside Italy, you must be married for at least 3 years before filing your application.
  • If you are living inside Italy, you must be married for at least 2 years before filing your application.
  • When you and your spouse have minor children together, these wait times are halved.

Women married to an Italian man prior to April 27, 1983

If you are a woman who married an Italian man prior to April 27, 1983 you automatically became Italian at the moment you were married. This entitles you to a streamlined citizenship process. In order to have your Italian citizenship recognized, you must seek transcription of your marriage record in Italy. This can be done either via the comune where your spouse has residency, or through your consulate of jurisdiction in the United States.

Can you become an Italian citizen through same sex marriage?

Yes! Italy has recognized civil partnerships between same sex couples since 2016. In Italy, these partnerships are called formazioni sociali specifiche and they grant most of the legal protections enjoyed by opposite sex married couples, including the right to obtain Italian citizenship.

How long does it take to become an Italian citizen by marriage?

On October 21, 2020, the Italian government passed a new law to amend previous legislation introduced in December 2018. This made changes to processing times for Italian citizenship by marriage applications. The processing time is now 24 months, or 2 years. However, this can be extended to up to 36 months, or 3 years under certain circumstances.

The previous decree law set the application processing time at 48 months, or 4 years. Therefore, processing time has been reduced for any application submitted on or after October 22, 2020.

What are the requirements for seeking Italian citizenship by marriage?

In addition to meeting the above criteria, you must also take note of the following requirements:

  • If you both live outside Italy, the Italian spouse must be registered with the Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad (AIRE) at the local Italian consulate.
  • If you were married outside Italy, your marriage must be registered in Italy. This can be done either directly through the comune or through the consulate.
  • You must reside at the same address for the entire duration of the application.
  • You must have no criminal convictions.
  • The non-Italian spouse must demonstrate knowledge of the Italian language at a B1 level or higher of the Common European Framework of Reference for the Knowledge of Languages.
  • This can be done through a registered testing center or by way of a CILS, CELI, or other certificate.

What documents will you need?

To get Italian citizenship by marriage, at a minimum you will need the following:

  1. valid identification document
  2. marriage certificate, duly registered in Italy
  3. birth certificate of the non-Italian spouse
  4. criminal certificate from the country of origin (valid for 6 months)
  5. certificate of family status (stato di famiglia)
  6. certificate of Italian citizenship of the spouse
  7. Italian language Certificate (B1 proficiency)
  8. receipt for payment of the € 250 contribution

Note: any document that is not in English must be professionally translated into Italian. All non-Italian documents must be certified with an apostille. 

What is the process of applying for Italian citizenship via marriage?

  • Create and activate your SPID credentials online.
  • Prepare the required documents mentioned above.
  • Log in with your SPID to the portal of the Ministry of the Interior.
  • Submit your application and upload the required documents to the portal. Your application will be transferred to the competent prefecture (if you reside in Italy) or consulate (if you reside abroad).
  • Attend an interview at the local police station or consulate. This doesn’t always happen. But if you’re invited, you might be asked to bring the originals of your documents as well so keep them handy.
  • Book the oath. You must take the oath within 6 months from the date citizenship was granted.
  • Take the oath. You can already start practicing: “Giuro di essere fedele alla Repubblica e di osservare la Costituzione e le leggi dello Stato.” 
  • Apply for your Italian passport! Request your passport and book an appointment at the police office via the online passport portal.