What is Italian dual citizenship?

All you wanted to know and more

What is Italian dual citizenship?

There are many reasons to want to be Italian. They have great food, a beautiful language, and they are known for having a zest for life that is fiery and passionate. But if you weren’t born in Italy, that doesn’t mean your chances of becoming an Italian citizen are lost. You can become a bona fide Italian with Italian dual citizenship.

Dual citizenship with the United States and Italy is possible if your relatives are Italian. It’s all in the bloodline, and if you’ve Italian running through your veins, Italy will welcome you.

Italian Law no. 555 of 1912

This is Italy’s citizenship law, and it allows people to become Italian citizens through their heritage. In many countries, citizenship is awarded to a person via jure soli, which means that they obtain citizenship by being born in that place. In the case of dual citizenship, a person can become an Italian citizen through jure sanguinis, which means that they have a direct and unbroken lineage to an eligible Italian citizen.

jure soli: law of soil

jure sanguinis: law of blood

It's that simple? Just an Italian ancestor?

Almost, but not quite.

Becoming a Italian dual citizen is not a simple process, but it is well worth it if you are willing to put in the work. Proving that you have an uninterrupted lineage in the eyes of the law is a process that is more complex than it seems.

Exceptions to Italian dual citizenship

Your ancestor, for example, may be a naturalized U.S. citizen. However, they cannot have been naturalized prior to July 1, 1912.

Additionally, if your Italian connection is a woman, she must have had her children on or after January 1st, 1948. Prior to that date, women could not pass down their Italian citizenship.

Your Italian ancestor must also not have lost their Italian citizenship before having a chance to pass it on to their child. Naturalization as a U.S. citizen constituted loss of Italian citizenship, so check that your Italian ancestor was still Italian at the time of their child’s birth.

Gathering the paperwork

It is also a challenge to get paperwork proving your bloodline is continuous. To get vital records in Italy, you will likely have to contact the Italian Municipality where the relative was born. The records may also be found in Italian State Archives or Parish Registries.

If you have a relative who has already been successful in getting a dual citizenship, this may not help you…much. The relative may be able to provide some information to you personally, but consulates are generally not allowed to streamline the process and duplicate records, though some will make exceptions. Each person has to fully submit every document, and consulates will not work with one another to make it easier.

Lastly, you may have to get a lawyer in one or both countries where you are applying for citizenship in order to get access to some records. New York State in particular has some of the toughest laws in the nation regarding vital records.

Gathering paperwork is a lengthy ordeal, and unless your family has an extensive and long-standing habit of record-keeping, you’re in for a treasure hunt.

What paperwork will you need?

In order to formally apply, you will need an application for Italian dual citizenship. This can be obtained through your consulate’s website. Then, the other documents you’ll need depend on how you are claiming to have an uninterrupted lineage. You may have to provide:

  • birth certificates of your mother and/or father
  • marriage certificates of your parents
  • birth certificates of your grandmother and/or grandfather
  • marriage certificates of your grandparents
  • certificates of naturalization
  • your birth certificate
  • your marriage certificate
  • birth certificates of any minor children you have
  • death certificate of mother or father if they are deceased
  • death certificate of grandmother or grandfather if they are deceased

The more generations you go back, the more documentation you need to add. For example, if you are going back to your great grandparents, you will need to adjust this list accordingly. You cannot skip generations when applying for Italian dual citizenship. You must provide documentation for each single generation.

This may not be everything you need, and every case is a bit different. Some dual citizenship applications can take many years, depending on your consulate’s workload.

How much does Italian dual citizenship cost?

The true price of dual citizenship varies per person. The application submission cost 300 euros, but there are multiple other costs that you will incur along the way. For example, you may need a lawyer to unseal certain records. Those fees will vary. You may also hire a consulting company such as ours to ease your way through the process. That will be an extra fee. Documents will have to be verified with an international apostille and translated into Italian. If Italian dual citizenship is granted, it will cost an additional $150 (roughly) for an Italian passport.

The clearly labelled costs of the application and passport are not that much when you consider the advantages of dual citizenship. However, a successful application will likely require many other resources that drive the cost into the thousands. That is why it is important to evaluate the benefits of Italian dual citizenship.

Benefits of Italian dual citizenship

Yes, simply holding dual citizenship is a recognition of your Italian heritage, and it shows an appreciation for your own history. This is likely the primary motivation for people getting their Italian dual citizenship, but there are many other benefits that are more functional.

Easier to Purchase Italian Property

It is cheaper and easier to purchase property in Italy if you are a citizen. There aren’t as many fees, and there are tax discounts if it is your first property purchased there.

Member of the European Union (EU)

If you are a citizen of Italy, then you are a citizen of the EU. This means you can travel, work, and study across most of Europe without a visa, and your interests will be prioritized over non-citizens.

Free public healthcare and education in Italy

In Italy, healthcare is a fundamental right. It is available to everyone. In their education system, they include arts and science. Their school systems are considered some of the best in the world, and they are sometimes replicated in other countries such as the U.S.

Tax free import of vehicles into Italy

Importing a vehicle into Italy may not be a huge draw for citizenship, but it is a perk. This is especially true if you are relocating and have a special vehicle you want to bring with you.

Vote in Italian Elections

Voting in Italian and EU elections is a possibility of every Italian citizen depending on where he or she lives.

Transfer citizenship to children

The last but not only remaining benefit to Italian dual citizenship is that it can be passed to your children. This will negate the need for this whole process when they become adults. They may never truly appreciate your efforts, but you will save them the effort.

The challenge is worth it

It will not be easy to get your Italian dual citizenship without the help of others, but it will be worth it. One thing you may do to ease this process is to hire a consultant like us. We can aid in finding your records, translation services, and getting your documents prepared for the consulate. We can also recommend courses of action if any barriers get in the way of your citizenship.

Even if you do it yourself, you have to keep your mind focused on the end goal, which is to be a citizen of Italy. Imagine being able to travel or live in Italy as an Italian with the same rights afforded to every other citizen there. You will be able to have authentic experience as an authentic Italian, and it will be a dream come true.

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