Italian Citizenship: Ways to Become an Italian Citizen

by William Reid

Want to know how to obtain Italian Citizenship so you can settle in Italy permanently? An American passport may get you into Italy for a visit, but you will need a permanent residence in the Tuscan countryside. Is there anything that can? 

The process of obtaining Italian Citizenship, while ultimately gratifying, can be time-consuming and tedious without the assistance of IDC staff. You should first research the three different ways to become a citizen and pick the one that works best for you. Once you’ve settled on a course of action, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the Italian citizenship prerequisites for that route.

Italian Citizenship

Information in-depth on Italian Citizenship

Italy’s membership in the European Union (EU) affords its inhabitants various advantages. As a citizen of Italy, you do not need a visa to visit any of the other 26 Schengen nations, including Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Germany, and Greece. It is unnecessary to apply for permanent residency in advance to stay in any EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, for as long as you like. To do so, however, a temporary residency permit application will be required. It will allow you to go to the United States and other nations outside Europe without a visa. All of the developed countries of the Pacific, including Australia, Canada, and Japan.

Once you’ve officially become a citizen of Italy, you’ll be able to access all the perks that come with that status. Italy recognizes dual Citizenship, so you don’t have to give up your primary Citizenship to your home country. You can keep your immediate Citizenship and all the benefits of dual Citizenship. If you’re thinking about how long it will take to obtain dual Citizenship with Italy, know that it’s entirely up to you.

Criteria for Italian Citizenship in general

Let’s start with a discussion of the requirements for Citizenship. Being born to Italian parents is the most common route to Italian Citizenship (Citizenship by descent). If you were born outside of Italy to parents who are both Italian nationals, you would still be considered a citizen of Italy even if you’ve never set foot in the country. This includes children who have been adopted from other countries as well.

Application of the doctrine of Italian citizenship

However, there are exceptions where birthright citizenship is recognized. One of three things can happen when a child is born on Italian soil:

  • If both of their parents do not have Citizenship in any country
  • If they don’t know who their parents are if they were adopted,
  • If their parents are citizens of a country that does not recognize automatic Citizenship via birth, then their children will not automatically inherit that Citizenship.

Children born outside these categories are not eligible for Citizenship by descent; hence, birthright citizenship is awarded in Italy.

Different Ways to Get Italian Citizenship

Many people wonder if they meet the requirements to apply for Italian Citizenship. Until recently, the only ways to gain Italian Citizenship were to be born in the country or to have a direct blood or marriage connection to a citizen. In any case, there are additional paths to Italian Citizenship. Listed below are the five most common routes to Italian Citizenship. Try reading a few to see which one speaks to you the most.

  • Jus sanguinis, or through blood (blood right)

Most people who want to become Italian citizens do so because they were born into a family with Italian ancestry (a legal concept known as “jure sanguinis”). Citizenship can be passed down the male line indefinitely after the unification of Italy on March 17, 1861, as there was no such thing as Italian Citizenship before that date. From 1948 until a 1973 Supreme Court ruling invalidated the clause as being against the principles of equality, Citizenship could only be transferred through the female line. It is crucial to produce correct and legitimate evidence when applying for Italian Citizenship through jure sanguinis because of the stringent due diligence required for this process.

  • Jure Matrimonii (By Marriage)

Jure Matrimonii, sometimes known as the “right by marriage,” is another time-honored route to Italian Citizenship. If you marry an Italian citizen, you can apply for Italian Citizenship even if you don’t have one or are listed as a foreign national.

However, there are a few caveats:

  • Marriage to an Italian citizen for at least two years is required.
  • You must have been legally living in Italy or another European Union country for at least the past three years.

Your children from this marriage will be considered Italian citizens. Additionally, you only need to be married for one year instead of two to qualify for this benefit. Jure Matrimonii applies if the marriage has not been dissolved or annulled.

A couple more items deserve attention:

  • If you have ended your marriage legally by divorce or annulment, you cannot use Jure Matrimonii to enter the country.
  • Equal-sex marriage is legal in Italy. Hence same-sex couples can file for Citizenship together.

Naturalization as an Italian citizen

Citizenship can be obtained through naturalization in Italy after ten years of residency there. First, having a residence permit card in Italy will grant you the fundamental privilege of remaining in the nation. Those who have been living in the country for at least five years can seek permanent residency. Individuals who have held this status for more than five years are eligible to petition for Italian Citizenship. 

Naturalization eligibility requires ten years of continuous residence in the United States and a stable job and tax payments. The next step is to apply for Italian Citizenship at the Italian consulate when the non-EU national has been a permanent resident of Italy for at least ten years. Italian Citizenship grants access to all the benefits available to citizens of other EU member states. You can inquire about dual Citizenship with the Italian government and the Italian citizenship aid.

Some Other Options for Obtaining Citizenship in Italy

  • As a result of adoption, a child who an Italian citizen takes in is automatically granted Italian Citizenship. When the adoption is finalized, the kid will be granted Citizenship.
  • Veterans can become citizens: Citizenship in Italy is available to anyone who has served the Italian government for at least five years. This regulation remains in effect regardless of where the service was performed. To proceed with this procedure, you need not have lived in the country for the past ten years.

Where to submit your application for Italian Citizenship?

No matter the route you take to apply for Italian Citizenship, you must submit the required form on the ministry’s website. You must submit your application with scanned copies of all necessary papers and await approval. The applicant will be given a date to submit the original documents to the local government office after completing the initial evaluation.

It could take anything from three months to three years to obtain Citizenship approval, depending on the complexity of the applicant’s case. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require legal support with your application for Italian Citizenship.

How to Apply for Dual Citizenship?

Different immigration paperwork may be required depending on your situation and your chosen Italian citizenship path. You should check the application’s documentation requirements ahead of time. The nature of your case will determine the paperwork you need to provide.

There is a lengthy list of prerequisites for obtaining dual Citizenship in Italy. Multiple certified copies, certified document translations, legalizations, apostille certifications, and statutory modifications to papers attesting to your Italian ancestry will be necessary.

Specifically, you should submit your application to the prefecture with a cover letter addressed to the President of the Republic. Those applying for Italian Citizenship as adults must pay EUR 300. If you’re planning on becoming a citizen, you should be aware that there are costs associated with each option.


This is a fantastic way to learn about the Italian citizenship application process if you have all the necessary documentation and time.


Be patient; the application process can take a few weeks to a year. Inquiring with the relevant prefecture before applying will yield more accurate results.

Italian Citizenship

Due to the ten-year residency requirement for obtaining Citizenship by naturalization, this path may only be suitable for some. Citizenship by investment, permanent residency, and work permits is a quicker and easier process in many European Union countries. When you obtain this status, you’ll have the freedom to travel, study, and work wherever you like within the European Union. If the time it takes to obtain Italian citizenship is too long for you, look into other nations. If you want to stay for a long name in Europe for good, you may learn more about how to apply for EU citizenship by reading this article.

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