How to Apply for Italian Citizenship by Descent vs. by Marriage

If you are an Italian who was naturalized in a foreign country before August 16th, 1992, you have probably lost your Italian citizenship automatically. However, you can reacquire Italian citizenship by completing an application process and establishing a residency in Italy. Even though the method appears simple, there are a few things you need to know before attempting it. Reacquiring your Italian citizenship involves document preparation, as well as having property in Italy that you can move to.

In this article, we will show you how to properly apply for reacquisition of Italian citizenship if you lost it before August 16th, 1992. We hope we will be able to answer some of the questions you have regarding the procedure. First, let’s start with the basics — how do you initiate the process?

How Can You Request Italian Citizenship?

The first step to reacquiring your Italian citizenship is to visit the Italian Consulate for the jurisdiction in which you legally reside. There is a set of documents that you need to provide, as well as a declaration you need to sign. The latter states that you agree to establish residency in Italy no later than one year after you have signed the declaration. We need to point out that the documents can be submitted only at your Italian Consulate branch. However, you can also sign and submit the declaration at the Italian municipality where you plan to make your future residence.

What Documents Do You Need to Apply?

You should note that different Italian Consulate locations might have different requirements when it comes to documents needed to reacquire citizenship. In order to avoid issues, make sure you have the following prepared before initiating the process:

  • US passport or another valid ID
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • Driver’s license or a utility bill (since you need to prove you belong to the relevant jurisdiction)
  • Copy of your Italian passport (if you have one available)
  • Marriage certificate and/or divorce decree, if applicable for you

We must also mention that there is a one-time fee of $250 that you need to pay for the service. The proof of payment then becomes a part of the set of documents that you need to submit at the Italian Consulate. Keep in mind that any certified copies of foreign documents need to be translated and apostilled.

Citizenship and Residency in Italy

Once all paperwork is ready, you need to plan your move to Italy. In order to establish a residency, you need to have a property that you can occupy as a permanent resident. The municipality will require you to submit a document that proves that you can legally use the property for living. For example, you will need to present a property deed or a lease agreement. Your residency then needs to be verified by the police. They will check on you for 45 days to confirm that you are in fact living in the property.

Upon completion, your Italian residency will be established and verified. Next, you have to submit the declaration mentioned above, as well as a full set of required documents, to the Italian municipality where you reside. Your documents will be processed for a period of time that can extend to a couple of months. It all depends on the municipality you are dealing with. If you wait more than 90 days, you will be given a residency permit which will last until your citizenship reacquisition process is complete.

There is another way to reacquire your Italian citizenship if you lost it prior to August 16th, 1992. If you spend an entire calendar year in Italy with no interruptions, you will automatically reacquire your Italian citizenship.