Getting Italian citizenship comes with plenty of benefits — we have explored many of the benefits in our other articles. Furthermore, Italy is a founding member of the European Union, which by itself offers even more advantages. While there is no such thing as European citizenship, having an Italian one makes you a citizen of the EU. As a foreigner, you might not know the full extent of what the EU actually is and what perks it grants to its 27 member states.
In this article, we will provide you with a detailed explanation of the European Union and the various benefits it can offer you as a legal Italian citizen. We will also give you a few tips on how to take advantage of those benefits to their fullest.
What eventually became the European Union was established in 1950 as the European Coal and Steel Community. Six countries (France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) signed an economic agreement that would help them recover after the devastation of World War II. The plan worked, as the founding member states experienced spectacular economic growth during the next two decades. As a result, more and more European countries wanted to join in. The union grew larger and larger, with the member states forming even stronger economic and political ties.
In the 1990s, the EU introduced a single market based on the free movement of goods, services, people, and money. Eventually, the EU introduced its own currency (the euro) and grew into an organization that works towards the financial prosperity, safety, and stability of all its member states. Today, the EU implements strong policies on climate change, public health, external relations, justice, migration, and more.
The EU achieved tremendous success in ensuring the well-being of its member states, especially in the fields of development, security, and peace. In fact, the Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. If you need a clearer definition of what the EU stands for, Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union states the following:
“[...] the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society where pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity, and equality between women and men prevail.”
As we already mentioned, the current European Union is composed of 27 member states — Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
Becoming an Italian citizen makes you a member of the European community. As such, you can take full advantage of the various perks and benefits offered to the citizens of each member state. Let’s take a look at some specific examples of the benefits of being a European citizen.
As an Italian citizen, you can live, study, work, and retire in any EU member state. Also, you can vote in elections for the European Parliament and even become a candidate for it, as well. Free movement means that you are not required to have a visa for traveling to any EU member state. Thus, trade and tourism in the EU are quite convenient and cheaper than you might expect.
Also, plane tickets in Europe are considerably less expensive than in the US, for example. That is because Europe has quite a lot of neighboring cities and smaller airports, resulting in fewer landing fees and generally cheaper plane tickets. There are also many low-cost carriers to choose from.
If you want to move to the EU with your foreign spouse, you will be happy to learn that most EU member states protect the right of a couple to be together. For example, your non-Italian spouse can stay with you in Italy for three months just with a tourist visa. If you wish to extend this period, then your spouse has to file for a residency permit.
If you are an Italian citizen who lives in another EU member state, healthcare services are generally free of charge. The only exceptions would involve cost contribution schemes that are organized and enforced by the country in question. However, in order to enjoy those benefits, you need to have a European Health Insurance Card. You can get this document from your local Italian healthcare authority.
The EU is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world. What is even better, education is much cheaper than what you will find in the USA, Australia, or Canada. A lot of universities offer courses held entirely in English, so many US students choose to go there because of the low tuition and housing costs. To top it off, the education system in the entire EU is unified. A bachelor’s or master’s degree from one member state is recognized by all the others.
The EU is one of the best places in the world when it comes to career development and growth opportunities. Some of the most prominent and most influential global companies have their headquarters in Europe. Also, the social security systems and unemployment benefits in the EU are considerably better than the rest of the world. Generally, people in Europe enjoy a better work-life balance, with more paid leave, holidays, and other benefits.
When it comes to personal safety and security, the EU goes above and beyond. The GDPR laws ensure that your personal information is safe, while various other regulations take care of food quality, the environment, and safe working conditions. If you want to run a business in the EU, there are perks for you, as well. The EU provides training, support, and networking programs that can benefit companies and individuals alike.
As you can see, there are many benefits to being a citizen of an EU member state, like Italy. From free movement across the Union to better working and living conditions, there are a lot of perks to enjoy. If you want to learn the specifics of obtaining Italian citizenship, please browse the rest of our blog. You will find many helpful articles on the topic.