How to become an Italian Citizen
Becoming an Italian citizen
The number of requests from foreigners to become Italian citizens is increasing but the procedure for their being accepted is long and complex.
For a foreigner, becoming an Italian citizen in itself means a series of obligations but allows, at the same time, for the acquisition of political and civil rights which would otherwise be denied.
Law no. 94 of the 15 July 2009 introduced innovations on the requirements that are indispensable for obtaining Italian citizenship.
The possibility to resort to self-certification has been practically eliminated, except in the case of stateless people and political refugees.
The consequence has been a drastic fall in the percentage of applications accepted, due to the increased demand for Italian citizenship.
The right to achieve Italian citizenship differs according to the status of the applicant and is available:
- For those born or adopted in Italy
- For descendants of Italians
- For spouses of Italian citizens
- For those who live in Italy
- For those dependent on the Italian state.
For those born or adopted in Italy
Those born in Italy are not automatically Italian citizens, unless one of the parents is Italian, but may become one once they are 18 years old. Similarly, a child adopted by a couple living in Italy, may be recognized as Italian if one of the parents is, or they may become an Italian citizen upon coming of age.
If a parent living with the child acquires Italian citizenship, the child will automatically have the right to it, according to the “iure sanguinis” principle.
The descendants of Italian citizens can obtain citizenship as long as the bloodline does not exceed four generations, and the blood relation, who must have been born and have lived in Italy, never renounces the nationality of origin.
For the spouses of Italian citizens
Another option for a foreigner or stateless person to become Italian in the eyes of the law, would be to to marry an Italian citizen.
The request may be made after at least 24 months of residency after the marriage, all without a criminal record. Twelve months are enough if the citizen in question has children, including adoptive ones, with the spouse.
If the couple lives abroad, at least 36 months must have passed after the marriage date (and in any case the marital bond must remain). The required terms are halved if the couple has children.
For those who live in Italy
It can be considered a requirement for obtaining Italian citizenship, it is required that you live there uninterruptedly for a number of years and it must be demonstrable that you have permanent employment in this period. With the first step of obtaining a residence permit achieved, you can automatically acquire the automatic right to become an Italian citizen after 10 years.
For the descendants of Italian citizens and for foreign citizens born in Italy, the terms decrease to three years.
For EU citizens it takes four years, while stateless persons, refugees or adopted people need five.
For those dependent on the Italian state
The privilege of Italian citizenship is also available to employees of the Italian state after at least 5 years of service, even if this is done abroad.
You can get assistance in any of these cases on the part of lawyers of Boccadutri International Law Firm.
They will help you fill in your questions and find the necessary documentation even in difficult or unforeseen situations.
The documents needed to become an Italian citizen
To become an Italian citizen, the documentation to be submitted must be absolutely accurate, under penalty of rejection of the application.
You will need a birth certificate, police certificate from the country of origin and other countries of residence, copies of permits/identity cards (for non-EU citizens), or proofs of residence issued by the municipality of residence (for citizens), tax receipts received in the past three years, if it is information that can be verified.
For the categories of political refugees and stateless persons, a certificate of recognition is needed. Being unable to produce the same required certificates for others, for obvious reasons, may submit an affidavit in lieu of that of birth and a statement in lieu of the certificate of good conduct.
If over the years documents have changed this should also be documented and justified. As an example, when foreign women change their surname after marriage, this requires the marriage certificate to be presented.
All documents must be translated into Italian.
Foreigners of Italian origin, who wish to move to Italy, must apply to the Italian Consulate in their country of residence. In case you are in Italy, you must apply at the municipal authorities of the city in which they are resident and prove they are resident and certify their Italian heritage.
You can speed up the process by using the online service, managed by the Department for Immigration, but even then, the support of a qualified legal expert is recommended and as in the case of our attorneys, can help even while abroad.
You can also contact our lawyers using the application form here.