The Italian dual citizenship process has four steps: confirming eligibility, gathering documentation, handing the documents in at an appointment, and then obtaining the passport.
But where do potential dual citizens attend these appointments? According to Italian law, applicants can choose out of two potential locations. Each of them comes with its own pros and cons.
In this post, we’ll go over where to apply for Italian dual citizenship as well as various tips and tricks for each location.
- Where to Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship
- The Legal Background—Circular no. k28 of 1991
- Deciding where to Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship
The Legal Background—Circular no. k28 of 1991
According to Circular k.28 of 1991, applicants may stake their claim for Italian dual citizenship in one of two potential places:
- At an Italian consulate or embassy if living outside Italy, or
- At the town (comune) where the applicant resides, if living in Italy.
Where to apply for Italian dual citizenship is determined by your place of residence. If you are living outside Italy, you must apply at an Italian consulate or embassy with jurisdiction over your location—no exceptions.
However, if you live in Italy, you file your claim at the comunewhere you live. This is usually done at the ufficio di stato civile or the ufficio cittadinanza.
Applying at an Italian Consulate
Currently, there are 9 Italian consulates and 1 embassy in the United States. They are located in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C. (Embassy), New York, and Miami.
Each Italian consulate handles 2,500-3,000 citizenship applications yearly. This means that the vast majority of people apply for Italian dual citizenship at their local consulate.
In order to apply at an Italian consulate, you must first obtain an appointment.
This is done through the Prenota Online system. When you sign up to Prenota Online, you will see a calendar of available dates. Available dates will be shown in green, while fully booked dates will be in red. Unavailable dates (days in which appointments are not taken) will be show in black.
Italian dual citizenship is extremely popular. As you can imagine, dates get snatched up very quickly for Italian consular appointments. Be sure to keep refreshing and/or checking daily to snag the appointment you want.
Depending on your consulate, it is possible that your appointment will be 2-3 years out. Appointments are free, so you should get one first and then start gathering your documents.
We have a handy post about what happens at your consulate appointment.
Pros of Applying at the Italian Consulate
When it comes to where to apply for Italian dual citizenship, there are reasons why most opt to choose the consulate:
- Convenience. Consulates are located in the United States, so most people can drive to their consulate.
- Ease of access. You don’t need to speak Italian to deal with consular officers, though in my experience they do love it when you do!
- It costs 300 euros to lodge an application at the consulate, but applying in the US means you don’t need to pay for flights and lodging in Italy.
- The tried-and-true method. If you apply for Italian dual citizenship at your consulate, you’ll be in good company! Thousands of people do the same every year.
Cons of Applying at the Italian Consulate
There are a few negatives in applying at the Italian consulate. They are:
- Opaque and often misleading information. Not every consular worker “gets it right” every time. I have seen cases of misinformation being given to applicants by official sources who should know better.
- They can require more documents than necessary. Italian law is very clear on what documents are required for Italian dual citizenship. However, Italian consulates are given a lot of leeway in what they accept. For those reasons, they may require further documentation than actually necessary to process your claim.
- Appointments are hard to get and can be far in advance. The barriers to entry of Italian dual citizenship are low. As a result, thousands of people apply every year. This means that appointments get snatched up very quickly.
- It can be slow. After you apply, it may take up to 24 months for your application to be processed.
Applying Directly in Italy
If you are wondering where to apply for Italian dual citizenship and like the idea of a little adventure, you can apply in Italy! This allows you to skip the long wait times for consular appointments, and may also mean you can cut down on hard-to-find or expensive documentation.
Those who obtain residence in Italy are free to lodge their application in the town where they live. There are many reasons why someone would (or wouldn’t) apply in Italy.
Pros of Applying Directly in Italy
Applying in Italy can be a smooth process if you know what to look for and get all your ducks in a row before you arrive. Here are the reasons why many opt to skip the consulate and apply in Italy:
- It’s an experience of a lifetime. How many people can say they lived in Italy and filed for their dual citizenship? It’s an experience applicants never forget, as they get to live in Italy like a local. Can you say la dolce vita?
- It requires fewer documents. By and large, most Italian towns follow the letter of the law when it comes to documentation. This means that unlike consulates they don’t require non-direct line documents, death records, or costly court orders for amendments.
- It’s quicker. While you may have to spend 90 days or more in Italy during the process, time to recognition on the whole is much faster. This is because there is no need to obtain an appointment. As soon as you are a resident, you can apply for citizenship the next day.
Cons of Applying Directly in Italy
While there are many pros to applying for Italian dual citizenship right at the source, there are some cons. Here they are:
- It can be costly. If you have to maintain a home back in the US while being in Italy, it means you’ll be paying rent on two homes. Not to mention the cost for purchasing flights to Italy.
- You need to speak Italian. It is very difficult to navigate Italian bureaucracy without speaking Italian. For this reason, those applying in Italy would do well to hire an interpreter or a service provider to help.
- You might not be able to spend time in Italy. Applying in Italy is best for those who can uproot their lives back home for 90 days or more. And, unfortunately, not everyone can do that!
- It might be hard to find a good town. Many towns are suffering from application fatigue. This is because word has gotten out about applying in Italy, and some have flooded previously “friendly” towns.
Deciding where to Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship
The decision on where to apply for Italian dual citizenship is personal. Depending on whether you place emphasis on speed or cost, you may choose consulate over Italy.
If you have questions about where to apply for Italian dual citizenship and would like assistance putting together your completed application or applying in Italy, contact us today!