Foreigners can apply for Italian citizenship after legally residing in Italy for a few years. Getting Italian citizenship has several benefits, including holding the fourth most powerful passport in the world; it grants visa-free access to 193 countries and allows you to live and work anywhere within the EU. Find out how to apply and what the benefits of dual citizenship are.
In 2020, 131,803 foreigners fell in love with Italy and its culture and acquired Italian citizenship.”
There’re 4 different ways to obtain Italian citizenship:
You can also get Italian citizenship if you're a refugee or a foreigner working for the Italian government. In either case, you’ve to legally reside in Italy for 5 consecutive years before you can apply.
Getting Italian citizenship is easy as the steps are quite straightforward. However, some ways of applying for citizenship are more time consuming than others.
The easiest and quickest way to get citizenship is through descendancy as you only need to prove your ancestors were Italian citizens or had the right to Italian citizenship when you were born.
Applying for citizenship via marriage or civil union is a slightly longer process. You'll need to legally reside in Italy for anywhere between 2-3 years before you can apply. The time is reduced to 1-1.5 years if you’re applying for citizenship based on having (adopted) children with your Italian partner.
The most time-consuming but easy option is to apply via naturalization. If you're a non-EU citizen, this means living in Italy for 10 continuous years before your application. If you're an EU citizen, you need to spend 4 years in Italy (or 3 if you've got an Italian ancestor).
The most difficult way of obtaining citizenship is probably via investment as it's time-consuming and costly. Not only do you need to spend 10 years residing in Italy but also have thousands of euros to invest.
To apply for Italian citizenship, you need to spend at least a few years living in Italy. How many years you need to wait depends on the route you take to apply for citizenship.
|Ways to apply for citizenship||When can you apply for citizenship?|
|By naturalization||After 10 years (Non-EU) or 4 years (EU)|
|By descent||After 3 years|
|By marriage - spouse lives in Italy||After 2 years|
|By marriage - spouse lives abroad||After 3 years|
|By marriage - spouse lives in Italy and you’ve got a child||After 1 year|
|By marriage - spouse lives abroad and you’ve got a child||After 1.5 years|
|By investment||After 10 years|
The documents needed to apply for Italian citizenship largely depend on which basis you want to apply for citizenship – via naturalization, descent, marriage, or investing.
Requirements to apply for Italian citizenship by naturalization:
Citizenship can only be passed down if your ancestors were Italian citizens or had the right to Italian citizenship when you were born. Requirements to apply for Italian citizenship by descent (jus sanguinis or by bloodline):
If your ancestor is an Italian woman, you can only claim citizenship via her if her child was born on or after January 1, 1948. If you were born before this date, you need to claim citizenship via your paternal line.
Since there’s no generational limit, you can even claim citizenship based on your great grandparents’ Italian citizenship. So even if your parents or grandparents were born outside Italy, you can claim citizenship if your great grandparents were Italian when they gave birth to their children and the children never renounced their Italian citizenship.
You’re eligible to apply for citizenship by marriage after waiting the minimum years required from the date of marriage. The application can only be filed online.
Getting citizenship by investment is very similar to obtaining citizenship via naturalization. But instead of having to find a job in Italy and spend 10 years working for someone else, you can choose to invest a significant amount to get residency in Italy. The 4 types of investments include:
Your golden visa residence permit is valid for 2 years and can be extended to 3 if the investment is maintained. You can then apply for a permanent resident permit (valid for 5 years) if you don’t wish to maintain the investment level. After these 10 years, you can apply for citizenship.
The documents needed to get this residence permit are detailed in the Italy Golden Visa guide.”
Here’s how much it can cost to get Italian citizenship:
The overall cost is approximately €350.
The processing time for getting Italian citizenship is a maximum of 2 years. It can be extended to 3 years if there’re additional documents required or if an appeal is made.
For example, if you want to obtain citizenship through naturalization, you'll have to wait for a total of 12 years to gain Italian citizenship as you can only apply after 10 years and it can take up to 2 years to get your new citizenship and passport.
To speed up the process, make sure that you’ve already collected all the necessary (translated and legalized) documents and passed your Italian language test before you can apply for citizenship.
If you live in Italy, all citizenship applications can be submitted online on the official Italian website. After creating an account, you can find the online application for citizenship. Later, you’ll be physically invited for identification and submission of all the original documents. If you want to check the status of your application, there’s a specific email where you can get in touch.
If you’re applying for citizenship based on marriage and are currently residing abroad, collect all the necessary documents listed under the ‘Italian citizenship by marriage’ section above and submit them at the nearest Italian consulate or embassy.
Dual citizenship can be useful if you want to live and work in a different country, either temporarily or permanently, without giving up your existing national legal rights.
The good news is that dual citizenship is recognized in Italy. So as long as your country recognises dual citizenship, Italy will not ask you to renounce your original citizenship.
Countries that allow dual citizenship in Italy include the USA, UK, Australia, Israel, Philippines, Switzerland, and more.
However, several countries don’t recognize dual citizenship. This means you’ll need to drop your original nationality to become an Italian citizen. Some countries where dual citizenship is prohibited include Bhutan, China, India, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Qatar, and Zimbabwe.
There’re several different benefits of obtaining Italian citizenship, whether you chose to have only an Italian one or dual citizenship.
Now that you know everything you need to become an Italian citizen, it’s time to apply.
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