Are you considering getting Italian citizenship?
In 2018, the Italian passport was ranked third most powerful in the world. Therefore, becoming an Italian citizen as an American is a great asset. All the benefits that come with becoming an Italian citizen will be bestowed upon you, and you’ll be able to live, work, and study throughout the European Union. However, these benefits don’t come cheap: the process can be long and a bit pricey, nut it is worth it.
If you’re wondering how you can obtain your Italian citizenship without having to travel to Italy, there is good news for you! You can apply for your citizenship without stepping foot in Italy and save yourself the costs of a major international trip.
How to Get Italian Citizenship without Going to Italy – Requirements You Need to Meet
March 17, 1861 was a historic day for Italy. It’s the date on which the nation was unified, officially becoming a state. On this date, the concept of Italian citizenship was invented. Before unification, Italy was comprised of a series of nation-states each with their own flag, citizenship, and culture and only after Italian unification did Italy become… well, Italy!
With its beautiful landscape, famous food, and rich heritage, it’s one country many people only dream of calling home. However, if you meet all the requirements needed to make Italy your home, you can be one of the few that can actually live the dream.
So what requirements do you need to meet? Here are a few you need to take note of.
The Number One Path to Get Italian Citizenship? Be a Descendant of an Italian
To qualify as a legal descendant of an Italian you need to:
- Have an ancestor born in the territory we now know as Italy. This ancestor must have been alive after March 17, 1861 and not yet been a citizen of another country by that date.
This ancestor must have either:
- Never gained citizenship in another country at all, or
- Gained citizenship in another country (such as the United States) only after July 1, 1912 and after the birth of his child.
- All of your intermediate ancestors and you must not have renounced your right to have Italian dual citizenship.
But pay attention!
- Italian citizenship is passed down without generational limits on the paternal side. But Italian women could not pass down Italian citizenship to their children until January 1, 1948. Only if a father was unknown, stateless, or had foreign citizenship that didn’t automatically pass on to children, did a mom successfully pass Italian citizenship to children born before this date.
- If you have a maternal path to citizenship that makes you ineligible (a “1948 case”) you will need to file a lawsuit in the Court of Rome to effectively sue the Italian government for citizenship. Since 2009, thousands of people have obtained Italian dual citizenship this way. We partner with an extremely reputable law firm for this option and can handle your case.
If you meet any of the above criteria, you are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship.
Be Married to an Italian
Another way you can qualify to get Italian citizenship is by applying as a spouse of an Italian. Here’s how to get Italian citizenship by marriage:
- You need to have been married for at least 3 years if you live outside Italy, and 2 years if you live in Italy. However, if you have children younger than 18, these wait times are halved.
- Your civil union must be valid at the time of application and must remain valid for at least 48 months after applying. You will have to provide proof that you have not filed for divorce or separation when submitting your application.
- You will need a series of documents such as your marriage certificate, birth certificate, children’s birth certificates, criminal records (both from the FBI and from each state and country you’ve lived in since you were 14) to apply. They may request other documents.
- You must speak Italian at a B1 level as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
- Processing times currently take 48 months for Italian citizenship by marriage.
Apply Through a Consulate
So how can you get your Italian citizenship without heading over to Italy?
Fortunately for you, Italy has consulates in nearly every country in the world and most major cities in those countries. These act in the same capacity as the Town Halls in Italy at which you would have to put in your application for citizenship.
So if you’re wondering how to get Italian citizenship without going to Italy, your solution is to apply through a consulate near you. However, while this may seem as easy as walking through the consulate doors and filling in a form, it isn’t. Whether you’re applying in Italy or at a consulate, the process is still a complicated process that requires that you compile a lot of documents and prepare adequately for the interview.
Additionally, many consulates in the United States are understaffed and overworked, and are dealing with significant backlogs. It is not unheard of to get an appointment 3-10 years in advance to file your application.
The Consulate Interview
Don’t worry – the interview is not a test. It’s more of a formality to submit all the documents required and verify their authenticity. You also pay the Italian citizenship processing fee at the appointment.
Documents You Need to Submit at the Consulate
Apart from filling in an application form, here are some of the most important documents you need to present at the consulate when you go for your interview:
- Your civil records. These include your birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable) and your children’s birth certificates. If divorced, include your divorce certificate as well.
- Birth records. You’ll need the birth certificates of everyone in your family. This includes your last Italian-born ancestor and each generation.
- Naturalization certificates. These only apply if your ancestor naturalized. If not, you’ll need proof that no naturalization occurred.
- Death certificates. If your parents, grandparents, or any other ancestor you are applying through has passed away, you will need to include their death certificates in your application.
- Marriage certificates. You’ll need marriage records for each generation.
Once you submit your documents at the interview and pay your application fee you’ll have to wait for the results of your application. The waiting time varies but can be anything from 6 months to 2 years depending on several factors.
Start Your Italian Citizenship Journey
Ready to get your Italian citizenship? If you need help with the process, from document collection to help with the interview, Get Italian Citizenship is an agency that has helped thousands of other people in a similar situation as you.
If you need help in processing your Italian citizenship, contact the professionals at Get Italian Citizenship today.