HOW TO BECOME AN ITALIAN CITIZEN
YOUR 3 PATHS TO APPLY FOR ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP WITH PROS & CONS
Wondering how to become an Italian citizen to make your dream of living in Italy finally come true? While your American passport can secure you a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Italy, it can’t give you a lifetime of living in the Italian countryside. What can? Becoming an Italian citizen and obtaining dual citizenship.
The rewarding journey of becoming an Italian citizen can be lengthy and detailed, but with the help of our IDC team you can become an Italian citizen as quickly as possible. The first step is to understand the 3 paths of obtaining citizenship and chose the one that is right for you. Once you identify the path you must take, the next step is to understand the Italian citizenship requirements for that path.
How to Become an Italian Citizen?
There are 3 possible paths for becoming an Italian citizen: Italian citizenship by descent (Jure Sanguinis), Italian citizenship by marriage, and naturalization. Each of these methods are discussed here in detail along with the pros and cons associated with each method of applying for Italian citizenship. Obtaining Italian citizenship by descent or marriage are typically much faster where as the naturalization method normally takes over 10 years.
Let’s examine the immigration process and how to become an Italian citizen by applying for Italian citizenship through these methods along with the pros and cons of each.
METHOD 1: Securing Italian Citizenship by Descent (Jure Sanguinis Italy)
Jure Sanguinis, also known as citizenship by descent (by blood), is one of the fastest and easiest ways to obtain Italian citizenship. There is no limit to the number of descendants who can claim Italian heritage under their paternal or maternal line. Furthermore, Italy does not have a generational limit when applying. Meaning you can apply for Italian citizenship through parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents.
When understanding how to become an Italian citizen through ancestry (jus sanguinis), you must first determine if you are eligible based on your ancestry as there are clear laws you must fall within in order to qualify. Individuals born in any country where citizenship is granted by birth, can apply for recognition of their Italian bloodline if at the time of their birth, their mother or father was an Italian citizen, if their paternal or maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen, or if their paternal or maternal great-grand father was a citizen at the time of their birth.
To obtain Italian citizenship jure sanguinis through your bloodline, you’ll have to locate and obtain certified copies of the required official documents in your family member’s home town or city and complete the proper application process through your local Italian consulate or embassy to claim citizenship. If you're looking for how to become an Italian citizen by blood then this is your path. The length of time to complete this process can range from about three months to three years depending on the complexities of your case and the wait time at your local Italian consulate.
Pros: If you're seeking how to claim Italian citizenship through descent, it is a one-time process that will automatically pass down from generation to generation.
Cons: If your Italian relative was a woman born before 1/1/1948 citizenship can only be transferred to children born after that date. Also, your relative cannot have become a naturalized citizen in any other country before the birth of their child next in your bloodline.
METHOD 2: Securing Italian Citizenship by Marriage
Fall in love with an Italian? Then you’re in luck! You can also secure Italian citizenship through marriage to your spouse.
If this is your situation, you can gain citizenship after two years of marriage while living in Italy, or you can wait three years if you’re living outside of the country. You’ll have to apply for citizenship either way, however.
Pros: A bit of time and an application are all you need to secure your place among the Italians. You also don’t have to speak Italian to be accepted.
Cons: This only works if you can meet and fall in love with a natural Italian.
METHOD 3: Securing Italian Citizenship by Residency / Naturalization
Perhaps the most complex way to gain Italian citizenship is through residency / naturalization. You are required to establish a legal residence in Italy and live in Italy over 6 months of the year. with a visa to go to the next step.
You are also required to meet the mandatory time requirement based on your specific circumstances. In some cases this will require you to live in Italy for at least 10 years to apply. It can be a long road with several requirements you must meet, but if it’s what you want it is worth it. For more information on applying through residency click here.
If you have some Italian heritage, you can wait less than the full 10 years for non-descendant residents, possibly only four years.
Pros: All you need is time and an understanding of visa laws to gain naturalization status.
Cons: It takes at least a decade of legally working and living in Italy under a visa to gain citizenship. The Italian government can also reject your application if they deem you a security risk of any kind.
Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship and How to Get Italian Citizenship
Depending on your circumstance and the method you choose for how to get Italian citizenship, different immigration documents may be necessary. Be sure to do your research and see what type of documentation is required for you to apply. The required documents will be dependent on your specific type of case.
The list of Italian dual citizenship requirements is very long. There will be several copies of documents required going back to your Italian born ancestors, along with certifications, translations, legalization, apostilles, and legal amendments.
Your application must be addressed to the President of the Republic and be made to the prefecture. For adults, Italian citizenship applications are EUR 300. No matter what route you take to citizenship, certain fees will apply, so keep that in mind.
Pros: As long as you have the correct paperwork and some patience, this is a great method when seeking for information on how to apply for Italian citizenship.
Cons: It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year to complete your application process, so be prepared to be patient. Asking your local prefecture will give you a better estimate once you submit your application.
Consider Dual Citizenship
Italian American dual citizenship will not affect your current USA / American citizenship. You can simultaneously hold both passports and have dual citizenship. Depending on where you are moving from, dual citizenship may or may not be an option for you. Some countries only allow you to hold one citizenship.
Italian law will not require you to renounce your former country of origin citizenship, but your country might not allow you to be an Italian citizen as well. Do a bit of research to see if your country requires this.
Contact our Italian Immigration specialists to learn how to apply for Italian citizenship by descent, if you are eligible, and how to obtain dual citizenship US and Italy with a passport.
Pros: Dual citizenship allows you to get an Italian passport and you won’t have to pay taxes on any income you earn outside of the country.
Cons: If your parents became US citizens before 1992, they lost their rights to dual citizenship and you would have lost yours in the process as well. Paperwork is needed to prove you have a right to be considered a dual citizen.
Enjoy Your Italian Citizenship!
Whatever path to citizenship you choose, becoming a citizen of Italy has numerous benefits. However, like any government process, time and patience are often required when getting Italian citizenship. Keep in mind, the Italian citizenship requirements for each path will vary depending your specific circumstances.
If you stick with it, you may qualify for Italian citizenship and have access to all the benefits of being an Italian citizen.
If you have further questions, please reach out to our Italian citizenship assistance team to discuss our citizenship services that can help you obtain Italian citizenship.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What does Italian citizenship mean?
Italian citizenship is used to describe the status or position of an individual in Italy. As an Italian citizen, you are entitled to work and live in Italy. Aside from various benefits associated with health and education, Italian dual citizenship also enables an individual to travel without restriction within other countries in the European Union.
Can an American become an Italian citizen?
Yes. You can become an Italian citizen if you can prove that you have legitimate ties to Italian ancestry. On the other hand, you may be entitled to apply for dual citizenship through marriage and this process does not require that you renounce your right to citizenship in the United States.
How can I get Italian citizenship?
If you have known ancestral ties to Italy, you can complete a form and gather documents to support your application for Italian citizenship. At this point, you will need to make an appointment at your local Italian consulate and after submitting the application in this meeting, you will need to wait for the consulate to check this application and make a final decision on your right to Italian citizenship.
How do I get dual citizenship in Italy?
You can submit an application for dual citizenship at your local Italian Consulate. After attending your appointment at the consulate, you will need to wait several months for this application to be checked and approved. However, this approval is dependent on your supporting documents and the legitimacy of your claims to Italian ancestry.
How long does it take to get dual citizenship in Italy?
If your application is accepted, it can sometimes take more than six months for the consulate to check and register your application. At this point, you can apply for an Italian passport and the entire process can take between two and three years to complete.
How long does it take to get Italian dual citizenship?
When an application is accepted by the consulate, it can take as much as six months for a decision to be made regarding your right to Italian citizenship. Once approved, you can apply for an Italian passport but the overall process can take up to two or three years in total.
How long does it take to get Italian citizenship?
Upon submitting your application for Italian citizenship, the consulate will need up to six months in order to check and approve your claim to citizenship. However, you will still need to apply for an Italian passport at this point and the time frame for the entire process is closer to two or three years.
Can US citizens have dual citizenship with Italy?
Yes. Although dual citizenship is not legally recognized in the US, there is also no law against having dual citizenship with another country. For this reason, you can apply for dual citizenship in Italy without renouncing any right to your citizenship in the United States.
This page was last updated with help by Marco Permunian
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