We are often asked if there are any drawbacks to having Italian dual citizenship, so if you are considering applying for an Italian passport, you should be aware of the pros and cons of having Italian dual citizenship. The good news is that there are far more advantages than disadvantages, but it helps to understand both sides for peace of mind.
Coming from someone who is a dual citizen, you will find there are a few downsides of Italian dual citizenship to match up with the extensive list of benefits. You may have Jure Sanguinis or right of blood to Italian citizenship, marry into the family, or obtain Italian citizenship through naturalization, but no matter how you obtain it, the few drawbacks to Italian dual citizenship will apply equally regardless of your method of acquiring it.
There are pros and cons of getting Italian dual citizenship. Although the cons are very few, here are the potential drawbacks you may face when holding Italian/US dual citizenship and living in the US.
The most common question we receive is related to Italian dual citizenship taxes and if you will be double taxed (in the USA and Italy) as a dual citizen. Generally speaking, if you spend less than 183 days a year living in Italy within a 12 month time-frame or you do not earn income in Italy or own properties, you will NOT be required to pay taxes in Italy.
If you live in Italy for less than 183 days in a 12 month time-frame, you will be required to pay taxes in Italy on income earned in Italy from a business or property you own which is based in Italy or from income you earned as an employee from an Italian based business.
Unlike the USA, Italy does NOT have laws in place to tax its citizens living abroad. Therefore, if you have both a US and an Italian passport, you can continue to fulfill your normal tax obligations in the US without any additional requirements from the Italian government.
Another bit of good news is that there are income tax treaties in place that could help you. As they often change yearly, speaking with a qualified tax professional is the best way to ensure you doing everything properly. This is general knowledge so please seek the advice of an international tax attorney for more information on your specific circumstances.
When it comes to the military, Italy will NOT draft you. Italy stopped the draft with a ruling in August 2004 which took effect beginning January 2005. As such, the armed forces of Italy are formed solely from professional volunteer troops.
Another one of the disadvantages of Italian dual citizenship may only apply to you if your chosen career path involves a position with the USA government. Generally, you may be denied a position that allows you access to classified information if you have dual citizenship, not just with Italy but with other countries as well. This may make it challenging for you to be approved for a high level security clearance to work in your desired field. If by some wave of good fortune you were born into your dual citizenship, you will likely encounter fewer problems though it will still be more challenging than only having one country of citizenship. Of course, if you’re not interested in those kind of jobs then it really won’t apply to you.
It may seem very obvious to take your passport along with you when you’re traveling in the European Union and want the convenience of the EU line. But when you have dual citizenship with the USA and Italy, it’s important to remember bringing your Italian passport. Even more important, you need to pay attention to which one you’re using. Practically speaking, this will probably be the biggest inconvenience when it comes to being a dual citizen.
For example, if you’re in the USA and you’re heading back to Italy, you’ll want to present your US passport as you exit the United States and your Italian passport when you land in Italy.
Simple enough, yet it’s a mistake that many make. While you won’t be locked out, it could complicate matters when traveling, so keep both handy when traveling internationally and remember which country you’re in when you’re departing and arriving.
While there are disadvantages to having dual Italian citizenship, the benefits far outweigh them. The Italian passport is one of the strongest in the world, allowing you the freedom to roam throughout the EU not just for play but for work as well. You’ll have access to better healthcare, have the right to vote, affordable education for your children, and be able to invest in property, plus so much more.
It’s no wonder so many people are choosing to obtain their dual Italian citizenship. If you have Italian lineage, are married to an Italian, or you want to become naturalized, get your paperwork filed and begin enjoying all the advantages of a dual Italian citizenship right away. If you need help, contact our IDC (Italian Dual Citizenship) team and we can simplify the process and lead the way!
This page was last updated by Jason LoPresti