Overview of Italian Passport in detail with benefits of Italian citizenship

The 5 Ways to Become An Italian Citizen


There are a lot of people curious about whether or not they are eligible to become a citizen of Italy. Traditionally, the only way to become a citizen was to either be born in Italy or to be related or married to an Italian citizen. However, there are several more ways that one can pursue Italian citizenship.

Although two traditional ways to become an Italian citizen (Jure Sanguinis and Jure Matrimonii) are still valid, they are not the only ways to do so. There are other processes through which you will be allowed to reside in Italy permanently or even get an Italian passport.

Below, we’ll talk about the top 5 ways to become an Italian citizen. Read them and find out which one best suits you!

1. Jure Sanguinis (By Descent/Ancestry/Blood)

Jure Sanguinis means right of blood, and this describes someone who is Italian by descent. If you can make a strong case for a direct line of lineage that links you to Italian citizenship, you can apply to petition the Italian government.

You may already be a citizen of Italy, and you don’t even know it! Visit our site to find out more about whether or not you qualify for citizenship under Jure Sanguinis.

2. Jure Matrimonii (By Marriage)

Another traditional way to become an Italian citizen is through Jure Matrimonii, or right by marriage. Even if you are stateless or registered as a foreign national, if you are married to an Italian citizen you have a chance to become one yourself.

There are a few contingencies, however:

  • You must be legally married to an Italian citizen for more than 2 years.
  • You must be legally residing in Italy or residing abroad for more than 3 years.

If you have children with this spouse, your children are automatically deemed Italian citizens. And they also reduce your time required to have been married to this person by 1 year instead of 2 years. As long as the marriage has not been annulled or ended in any way, you can quality under Jure Matrimonii.

There are a couple of other things of note:

  • Legal separation or ending the civil effects of marriage will disqualify you from obtaining citizenship through Jure Matrimonii.
  • Italy recognizes same-sex unions and therefore, same-sex married couples can apply for citizenship in this way.

3. 1948 Court Cases

Before 1948, Italian women who gave birth were not able to pass their Italian citizenship on to their children. An amendment to the Italian Constitution adopted in 1948 granted women equal rights with men, thereby allowing them to pass on their Italian citizenship in this way.

You may qualify for citizenship under Jure Sanguinis because your ancestral line goes through a woman who gave birth before the year 1948. But you will have to submit a petition to the Civil Court of Rome and appear before the judge to review your documents and lineage files.

It might seem intimidating, but the process is not very daunting, and in fact, your chances of having a judge rule in your favor are incredibly high and this process has became very popular.

4. Citizenship through Residency with Italian Ancestry

Ancestry to the second degree is required to apply for citizenship through residency. This means that your parents or grandparents must be from Italy. Your parents or grandparents must also have been naturalized in another country before you or your parents were born, thus breaking that tree of direct lineage.

To apply for citizenship and become a valid Italian citizen, you must reside in Italy for at least 3 years and then you can apply using this process.

5. Citizenship through Residency without Italian Ancestry

Did you know that you might still be able to apply for Italian citizenship even if you have no Italian ancestry, or if none of the above methods apply to your case? There’s a specific law known as article 9 of Law no. 91/1992 that states a person might be eligible to apply for citizenship depending on specific criteria.

That criteria are that you must legally reside in Italy for a certain amount of time:

  • 10 years for: a foreigner from outside of the EU
  • 5 years for: a foreigner who worked for the Italian government for 5 years (whether in Italy or another country), a foreigner over 18 years old who was adopted by an Italian citizen, or a stateless foreigner
  • 4 years for: an EU citizen
  • 3 years for: a person of Italian descent who is not able to make a case under Jure Sanguinis or a 1948 court case, or someone born in Italian territory with legal residence

What about minors who were naturalized? There’s a law for that, too. Article 14 of Law 91/1992 states that underage children who live with parents that gained Italian citizenship will also gain Italian citizenship as long as these children and adults are living together in the same home.

Final Notes

There are a few more things to consider when finding out which of these top 5 methods would work best for your journey to Italian citizenship. First, it’s essential to understand that if you are not applying for Italian citizenship through Jure Sanguinis or the 1948 method, you will need a B1 Level Italian language certificate along with all of your other documents.

You should also keep in mind that there are various fees and costs associated with the documentation process. Paying for apostille stamps, certifications, and translations is part of the path to citizenship. If you need help determining your budget and your exact fees based on your local consulate, reach out to our IDC team for help. Our citizenship experts can help you understand your current situation and guide you towards the best solution that would earn you legal Italian citizenship that you can automatically pass down from generation to generation.

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