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A Roadmap to Italian Citizenship

Updated: 11 April 2023

Italian Citizenship

Italian citizenship is a highly sought-after status that offers a range of advantages to those who obtain it. This type of citizenship grants individuals the right to live, work, and study in Italy, as well as access to its world-class healthcare system and social benefits. However, Italian citizenship is much more than just a collection of benefits – it’s a connection to a rich cultural heritage that spans centuries. 

By becoming an Italian citizen, individuals can embrace the language, traditions, and values of one of the world’s most iconic cultures. This article explores the requirements for obtaining Italian citizenship, the rights and responsibilities that come with it, and the many ways in which it can enrich your life.

What Will You Find in This Article

Routes to Italian Citizenship

How to Obtain Italian Residency by Investment

How to Get Italian Citizenship

Italian Citizenship Requirements

How to Get an Italian Passport


Routes to Italian Citizenship

There are several routes to obtaining Italian citizenship, each with its own set of requirements and eligibility criteria. The three main ways to become an Italian citizen are by descent, marriage, and naturalization.

Route #1: Italian Citizenship by Descent 

Italian citizenship by descent, also known as Jure Sanguinis, is a popular and straightforward route to obtaining Italian citizenship. This method is available to individuals having Italian ancestry through their parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents. The Italian government does not impose a generational limit on eligibility, meaning you can apply for citizenship even if your ancestors were born several generations ago.

The process of obtaining Italian citizenship through Jure Sanguinis involves gathering and verifying a series of official documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, to prove your Italian lineage. These documents must be obtained from the relevant authorities in your ancestor’s town or city of birth, which can be a challenging and time-consuming process.

Once you have gathered all the necessary documentation, you can apply for Italian citizenship through your local Italian consulate or embassy. The application process typically involves completing a series of forms and providing additional documentation to support your claim.

One of the significant advantages of obtaining Italian citizenship through Jure Sanguinis is that it grants you the same rights and privileges as any other Italian citizen, including the ability to live and work freely in Italy and the European Union. It also entitles you to an Italian passport: a valuable asset for frequent travelers or those seeking to establish a business presence in Italy.

The processing time for Jure Sanguinis applications can vary widely depending on the complexity of your case and the volume of applications being processed by the Italian authorities at the time. However, the typical timeframe is between three months and three years.

If you are of Italian descent, it’s definitely worth exploring this well-defined path to connect with your ancestral roots and claim your place among the Italian people.

Route #2: Italian Citizenship by Marriage

Obtaining Italian citizenship by marriage is a viable option for individuals who are married to an Italian citizen. This process involves a waiting period of two years from the date of marriage before the non-Italian spouse can apply for citizenship. During this time, the couple must maintain a valid marriage and reside together in Italy; or they must spend at least three years married if they live abroad. 

The application process typically involves gathering and submitting various documents to support the claim, including proof of marriage, residency, and language proficiency. 

Route #3: Italian Citizenship by Naturalization

Obtaining Italian citizenship by naturalization is a process available to non-Italian citizens who have lived in Italy for a specific period of time. The required residency period varies depending on the applicant’s circumstances, but it is typically ten years for non-EU citizens and four years for EU citizens. 

The applicant must also meet certain language and cultural proficiency requirements, which are demonstrated through passing specific exams. Upon meeting all the requirements, the foreign residents can apply for Italian citizenship by naturalization, which typically involves submitting various documents, including proof of residency and good character.

There are several ways to obtain Italian residency, including through work, study, family, and investment visas. Work visas are available for individuals who have secured employment in Italy, while study visas are for those enrolled in a recognized academic program. Family visas are available for non-EU citizens who have family members residing in Italy. Investment visas, on the other hand, are available for individuals who invest a significant amount of money in Italy. One of the most popular routes to get Italian residency by investment is the Italy Golden Visa program.

How to Obtain Italian Residency by Investment: Italy Golden Visa Program

Although Italian citizenship cannot be directly obtained through investment, the Italy Golden Visa program, which allows you to reside and work in Italy legally, can lead to Italian citizenship so long as you meet all the requirements after holding the permit for a specified period of time. 

The Italy Golden Visa Program, also known as the Investor Visa for Italy, is an investment migration program that offers non-EU/EEA/Swiss investors and their families a fast-track pathway to obtaining Italian residency permits. The program allows investors who make a qualifying investment in the Italian economy to get an Italian residency permit in exchange.

Under the program, investors can choose from several investment options. These investment alternatives are as follows: 

  • €2m in Italian government bonds
  • €500k in an Italian business
  • €250k in an innovative Italian startup
  • A donation of at least €1m to a philanthropic initiative in Italy 

The Italy Golden Visa Program offers a range of benefits, including a fast-track application process, no minimum stay requirement, the ability to bring immediate family members, and visa-free travel throughout the Schengen area.

Overall, the Italy Golden Visa Program is a popular option for high net worth individuals seeking a fast and efficient way to obtain Italian residency permits while making a significant contribution to the Italian economy at the same time.

How to Get Italian Citizenship

  1. Determine Eligibility: There are different requirements for obtaining Italian citizenship depending on whether you are eligible through ancestry, marriage, or naturalization/residency.
  2. Collect All Required Documents: Once you’ve determined your eligibility, you’ll need to collect and obtain certified copies of the required official documents. Required documents may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other documents that prove your eligibility, depending on the route you choose to follow.
  3. Complete Application: The next step is to complete the application process through your local Italian consulate or embassy. This step involves filling out an application form, providing the required documents, and paying the application fee.
  4. Attend the Appointment: After submitting your application, you’ll schedule an appointment at the consulate or embassy and attend it by bringing along any additional documents or information that may be required.
  5. Wait for the Approval: Once you have submitted your application, you’ll need to wait for it to be processed and approved. It can take several months or longer for the processing to be completed depending on the complexity of your case and the workload of the consulate or embassy.
  6. Take the Language and Culture Tests: In some cases, you may be required to take a language and/or culture test as part of the citizenship application process, depending on your individual circumstances and the requirements of the consulate or embassy.
  7. Attend Oath Ceremony: If your application gets approved, you’ll be required to attend an oath ceremony to officially become an Italian citizen. The ceremony typically involves reciting a pledge of allegiance to Italy and receiving a citizenship certificate.
  8. Apply for an Italian Passport: Finally, if you wish to obtain an Italian passport, you’ll need to apply for one separately after becoming an Italian citizen. This last step will involve submitting an application, providing the required documents, and paying the passport fee.

Italian Citizenship Requirements

Although the criteria and necessary documents may vary depending on the specific citizenship route and circumstances of the applicant, below are the typical requirements for an applicant to be eligible for Italian citizenship: 


  • Be at least 18/legally emancipated
  • Have legal residency in Italy (for naturalization)
  • Meet the eligibility criteria for the chosen citizenship route (by descent, marriage, or naturalization)

Necessary Documents:

  • A valid passport or identity card
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Divorce certificate (if applicable)
  • Criminal record certificate from the applicant’s home country 
  • Proof of language proficiency in Italian (for naturalization)
  • Proof of legal residency in Italy (for naturalization)
  • Documentation proving that you have at least one ancestor who was an Italian citizen (for citizenship by descent)
  • Proof of financial stability (for some citizenship routes, such as the Golden Visa program)

All non-Italian documents need to be officially translated and apostilled. 

Note that it’s crucial to consult with the Italian consulate or embassy in your home country for the most up-to-date information and guidance.

How to Get an Italian Passport

To get an Italian passport, you must first become an Italian citizen. As discussed earlier, this can be achieved by various means, including being born in Italy, having Italian ancestry, or marrying an Italian citizen. Once you have Italian citizenship, you can apply for an Italian passport at the Italian embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

Italian Passport Requirements

Once you’ve obtained Italian citizenship, you will need to gather the following documents to apply for an Italian passport:

  • A valid Italian identity card 
  • Birth certificate 
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Italian tax code
  • Two recent passport-size photographs
  • Previous passport (if you have one)
  • Payment receipt of the passport fee

It’s important to note that the process for obtaining an Italian passport may vary depending on the country in which you apply. Additionally, you may be required to provide additional documents, such as a certificate of good conduct or a certificate of residency. 

It’s recommended to contact your local Italian consulate or embassy for more information on the specific requirements and application process.


What is Italy citizenship?

Italy citizenship is the legal status of being a citizen of Italy, which gives individuals certain rights and responsibilities, such as the right to vote and the obligation to pay taxes.

How powerful is the Italian passport?

According to the Henley Passport Index, which ranks passports based on their visa-free access to countries, the Italian passport is considered one of the most powerful passports in the world. As of 2021, the Italian passport is ranked 4th, allowing visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 191 destinations. This means that Italian passport holders can travel to a large number of countries without needing to obtain a visa or can obtain a visa upon arrival. This level of visa-free access is a strong indicator of the power and influence of the Italian passport.

What is Italian citizenship by descent?

Italian citizenship by descent is a process by which individuals can obtain Italian Citizenship if they have at least one Italian parent or grandparent.

What is Italy dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship refers to holding the status of being a citizen of two countries at once. Italy allows dual citizenship; meaning you don’t have to renounce your original citizenship. So, in this case, Italy dual citizenship means being a citizen of both Italy and another country.

How to become an Italian citizen?

There are several ways to become an Italian citizen, such as through birth in Italy, marriage to an Italian citizen, or through Italian citizenship by descent.

How to get an Italian passport?

To get an Italian Passport, you must be an Italian citizen and submit an application to the Italian embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

What are the Italian passport requirements?

To obtain an Italian passport, you must provide proof of Italian citizenship, a valid ID, and a passport photo. You may also be required to provide additional documentation depending on your circumstances.

What are the Italian citizenship requirements?

The requirements for Italian citizenship vary depending on the method of acquisition, but generally, you must meet certain residency, language proficiency, and other criteria. For example, to obtain Italian citizenship by descent, you must be able to trace your ancestry to an Italian citizen and meet other specific requirements.

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