How to Obtain Italian Citizenship
There are several reasons you may be considering obtaining Italian citizenship. Whether you're planning for retirement, marrying an Italian, relocating to Italy for work, or just dreaming of living in this beautiful country, you may have found that there is not much information (available in English) on the rules and regulations regarding becoming an Italian citizen.
Not only is there very little information on the subject, but much of what is available can be confusing. Because of this, I've decided to put together this guide in order to outline the processes involved.
These are just guidelines to follow and are not the absolute final word on whether or not Italian citizenship can be obtained.
Every situation is unique, and when you go ahead and apply for citizenship you may find that the process that you go through may be different than "standard procedure." If this happens, leave a comment sharing your experience.
Italian Citizenship Requirements
There are many requirements that must be met to become a citizen of Italy. Some requirements are easier to meet than others and some are things that can't be helped such as where you were born.
If you don't meet 100% of the requirements but are still interested in becoming a citizen of Italy, go ahead and give it a try. Like I said, these are just guidelines that are followed by the Italian government, but not necessarily the final word.
Italian citizenship can automatically be obtained if:
- One of your parents has Italian citizenship
- If you were born in Italy to non-Italian parents and have lived in Italy from birth to adulthood.
You will have to obtain Italian citizenship through naturalization (you'll have to go through the citizenship process) if:
- You are married to an Italian citizen and you have lived in Italy for at least two years.
- You are married to an Italian citizen and have been married at least three years (this is if you haven't been living in Italy.)
- You have legally resided in Italy for at least 10 years, have no criminal record, and have financial resources in order to support yourself (this can be income through work or money set aside.)
What You'll Need for the Naturalization Process
There are a variety of things you'll need to do in order to get the ball rolling. There are some things in this list that may not pertain to you, so if you have a question about a particular item, feel free to leave a comment.
- A completed application
- If one or more of your ancestors were Italian, you'll need to turn in a sworn affidavit saying you've never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Proof that you've resided in Italy for the required amount of time.
- A photocopy of your passport
- Your official birth certificate translated into Italian
- If you are claiming Italian citizenship and have an Italian ancestor you will need your parents' marriage certificate and each of their birth certificates translated into Italian (if your parents were married.) If either of your parents came from Italy, you can stop here. If not, you'll need your grandparents' birth certificates included (and so on until you get to the ancestor that came from Italy.)
- Death certifications, translated into Italian, will be needed for any deceased ancestors under which you are applying for citizenship.
This sounds like a hefty load of requirements, but compared to the citizenship process in other countries, these requirements are fairly lax. It's also important to note that Italy allows for dual citizenship. So don't worry about any possibility of losing your US citizenship because of becoming a citizen of Italy.
Remember, however scary and long the process may be, it's worth it! Italy is a beautiful country and there are many benefits to not only living in Italy but also being a naturalized citizen.