If you are Italian by descent and want to get your citizenship status, you must prove your Italian ancestry with the required documents. You can then apply for and obtain Italian citizenship and become a dual citizen.
Although Italy did not allow for dual citizenship for many years, the law changed in 1992. Depending on the specifics of your case, you can now qualify for an Italian passport. Whether you have Italian ancestry or you are married to an Italian citizen, you may be eligible for Italian dual citizenship.
How to Get Dual Italian Citizenship
See how you can get dual Italian citizenship.
- You need to prove your eligibility, obtain and verify necessary documents
- You may choose the most common way by descent, by marriage, or by naturalization
Italian Dual Citizenship Application
Italian dual citizenship means that you are legally recognized of being a citizen of Italy and another country. You can obtain Italian dual citizenship if you have Italian ancestors, if you are married to an Italian citizen, or after living in Italy for a certain time, you can claim naturalization in Italy.
Some of the advantages of applying for Italian citizenship are:
- Living, working, studying, and traveling freely in Italy and the European Union, as well as in other countries with agreements with Italy.
- Accessing public health care and education systems in Italy and in the EU, as well as other social and cultural benefits.
- Voting and participating in the political life of Italy and the EU and running for office.
- Preserving and celebrating your Italian heritage and culture and pass it on to your children and grandchildren.
You can explore these steps to submit your application for Italian dual citizenship:
Step 1. Determine your Eligibility
It may be by descent, marriage, or residency. It depends on your legal situation and which one lets you apply for dual citizenship in Italy.
Step 2. Get Ready to File the Necessary Documents
Be sure that you have obtained certified copies of your birth, marriage, death, and naturalization certificates and those of your Italian ancestor(s). You will also need apostilles and translations of these documents.
Step 3. Complete Submitting Your Application
You can apply online through the Ministry of the Interior portal called ALI or in person at the Italian consulate or town hall that is competent for your place of residence. Make sure to pay a fee and wait for the processing of your application. The waiting time can be several months or years.
Step 4. Receive your Recognition
If you receive the approval for your application, you will receive a letter of recognition of your Italian citizenship. You can then request your Italian passport and enjoy the benefits of being an Italian citizen.
Requirements and Qualifications for Italian Dual Citizenship
Here are some of the most common requirements and qualifications for Italian dual citizenship. Remember that it may vary depending on the category you are applying for.
Requirements for Italian Citizenship by Descent (ius sanguinis)
It is one of the ways to legally recognize being a citizen of Italy and another country, based on the principle of jure sanguinis (right of blood). It means that if you have a direct bloodline of Italian ancestors who were born or naturalized in Italy, you may qualify for dual citizenship.
What do you need to do during this process?
- Show that you are eligible for dual citizenship by descent
- Prove your eligibility with the necessary documents
- Apply for dual citizenship by descent
You can claim Italian citizenship if you have a direct bloodline of Italian ancestors. Those can be who were born after March 17, 1861, the date of Italy’s unification. You also need to prove that none of your ancestors renounced their Italian citizenship before July 1, 1912, or before the birth of their children. You will need to get certified copies of birth, marriage, death, and naturalization certificates of yourself and your Italian ancestor(s). You need to have apostilles and translations of these documents as well.
Requirements for Italian Citizenship by Marriage (ius matrimonii)
Italian dual citizenship by marriage is another way to obtain Italian citizenship. You can apply for Italian citizenship by marriage if you have been married to an Italian citizen for at least two years of living in Italy, or it might be three years if you are living abroad. If you have children, either biological or adopted, the waiting terms to get your citizenship by marriage are reduced by half. Another must have sufficient knowledge of Italian to obtain a B1-level certification from an approved institution.
You can apply for Italian citizenship if you have been married to an Italian citizen for at least two years and reside in Italy. Or, the criteria can be three years if you reside abroad. You also need to prove that you have a basic knowledge of the Italian language and culture. Show also that you have no criminal record. You must submit your marriage certificate, your spouse’s birth certificate, your passport, and a language certificate to prove your marriage status.
Submitting your application online using the Ministry of the Interior portal is possible. Make sure the local Italian consulate or prefecture verifies all the documents.
If you are wondering about the possibility of limitation by country when applying for Italian dual citizenship by marriage, know there is no limit. No matter what your country is, you can apply if you meet the requirements. However, if you are from a country that requires you to renounce your original citizenship or obtain special permission to acquire a second one, check out that information from the official resources.
Requirements for Italian Citizenship by Residency (ius soli)
You can apply for Italian citizenship if you have legally resided in Italy for at least ten years if you are a non-EU citizen or four years if you are an EU citizen. You must also prove you have sufficient income, accommodation, and no criminal record. You must submit your residence permit, tax return, passport, and a certificate of good conduct.
Italian Dual Citizenship Application Cost
It is €300, but the cost of applying for Italian dual citizenship depends on several factors, such as follows:
- The number of generations between you and your Italian ancestor,
- The type of documents you need to obtain,
- The fees you need to pay to the authorities,
- The services like translators you may need to hire
The dual Italian citizenship process can cost between $500 and $13,000. Some of the main expenses are:
- The application fee of €300 (about $340) that you have to pay to the Italian consulate or the Ministry of the Interior.
- The certified copies of birth, marriage, death, and naturalization certificates of yourself and your Italian ancestor(s), as well as the apostilles and translations of these documents. The prices vary depending on the source and the country of origin, but they can range from $10 to $100 per document.
- The Italian passport fee is about $145 for five years, which you can request after your citizenship is recognized.
Renouncing Italian Citizenship
Renouncing Italian citizenship means giving up the rights and benefits of becoming an Italian citizen. Remember that this formal process is irreversible. According to law, you can renounce your Italian citizenship if you live or establish residence abroad and hold, acquire, or reacquire another citizenship.
As an adult who obtained Italian citizenship as a minor, following the acquisition or reacquisition of citizenship by one of your parents provided that they hold another citizenship, you can apply for renunciation of your Italian citizenship.
How is the process of renouncing your Italian citizenship?
- File a declaration with the competent consular office, accompanied by the following documents: birth certificate, certificate of Italian citizenship, documents proving possession of foreign citizenship, and documents proving residence abroad, where required.
- Sign the declaration in front of a consular officer, who will verify the validity and completeness of the documents. The renunciation will take effect from the date of the declaration.
- Pay the cost of renouncing Italian citizenship at the time of your declaration, which is €300, which must be paid at the time of the declaration.
What else do you need to know?
- This fee is non-refundable and does not include the cost of obtaining the required documents.
- The renunciation of Italian citizenship does not affect the citizenship status of the spouse or children of the renouncer.
Italian American Dual Citizenship
You are eligible for dual citizenship in both the USA and Italy if you can demonstrate Italian ancestry through a continuous line of citizenship. Since 1992, Italy has permitted dual citizenship with the United States, allowing you to retain your American citizenship while applying.
If you can establish valid Italian lineage, you are entitled to seek dual citizenship in Italy. Italy has recognized dual citizenship with the U.S. since 1992, and you won’t have to give up your existing citizenship throughout this application procedure.
In this article, we shared an overview of the benefits, requirements, and procedures of obtaining Italian dual citizenship. You can apply whether you are eligible by descent, marriage, residency, or naturalization and be able to take advantage of many opportunities.
However, it is a complex process and can take time, depending on your situation and country of origin. For instance, you may spend a lot of time collecting the required documents from your family members. So it will make your process easier to follow the steps and make sure you have documentation ready for application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Italy allow dual citizenship?
Yes, Italy allows dual citizenship, be it accessible for both naturalized and native-born citizens. Italy does not require you to renounce your original citizenship when you acquire Italian citizenship. And, you can also apply for foreign citizenship without losing your Italian citizenship.
Who is eligible for Italian citizenship?
You may be eligible for Italian citizenship if you meet one of the following criteria:
- You were born in Italy, and at least one of your parents was an Italian citizen or a foreigner legally residing in Italy.
- You have an Italian ancestor (parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc.) who was an Italian citizen and did not renounce or lose their Italian citizenship before birth.
- You are married to an Italian citizen and have resided in Italy for at least two years, or abroad for at least three years.
- You have legally resided in Italy for at least ten years (or four years for refugees or stateless persons).
Is it possible to get Italian citizenship if my great-grandparents were Italian?
Yes, you can get Italian citizenship if your great-grandparents were Italian, as long as you can prove that they did not naturalize or renounce their Italian citizenship before your grandparent’s birth and that the Italian citizenship was transmitted through the generations without interruption. You must provide all the relevant documents (birth, marriage, death, naturalization, etc.) for your Italian ancestor and their descendants and apply through the Italian consulate or municipality that is competent for your residence.
Can I have dual British and Italian citizenship?
The United Kingdom permits dual citizenship, also as known as dual nationality. You are allowed to hold British citizenship while also being a citizen of other nations. There is no need to specifically apply for dual citizenship. You can acquire citizenship in a foreign country while retaining your British citizenship.