Every year, thousands of people of Italian descent from all around the globe apply for Italian citizenship.
Italian citizenship grants numerous benefits. For instance, the ability to reside and work within the European Union, access to Italy’s leading public healthcare system and high education, as well as access to financial services reserved for EU citizens, and a smoother process when acquiring property within Italian territory.
If you weren’t born in Italy, but have Italian descent, married an Italian citizen, or have been living in Italy for several years, you may be able to become an Italian citizen. In this post, we’ll take a look at how to get Italian citizenship through Jure Sanguinis, marriage, or naturalization. And we’ll briefly explain what each application process involves.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide on Getting Dual Citizenship, click here!
How to Get Dual Citizenship through Jure Sanguinis
An individual of Italian descent can apply for Italian citizenship through Jure Sanguinis (blood right). But how far back in your family tree your Italian-born relative can be will depend on whether it’s your mom’s or your dad’s side of the family.
Prior to the 17th March of 1861, the day when Italy was unified, there were obviously no Italian citizens. Therefore, any relative that you rely on for your Italian citizenship application must have been alive on or after this date.
If you’ll rely on your paternal line, there’ll be no limit to the number of generations from the creation of a unified Italy, as long as no one in your bloodline has renounced to Italian citizenship. If your father’s great-grandfather was Italian and you can prove it, you can obtain Italian citizenship. On the other hand, Italian citizenship through the maternal line can extend back to the 1st of January of 1948.
Independently of whether you’re seeking Italian citizenship through your father’s heritage, or through your mother’s, part of the application process will involve collecting relevant documentation proving your Italian heritage. For instance, documentation confirming your Italian ancestor’s migration to your home country, your parents’ or grandparents’ birth certificate, etcetera.
These documents will have to be translated and certified. Individuals in countries that participated in the Hague Convention will need to provide an apostille (authentication) for each of these documents. This apostille doesn’t have to be translated.
Throughout this process, it’s essential to rely on the assistance of a need the assistance of a reliable Italian translation services provider who’s able to translate and properly certify your documentation. You might also need to reach out to a company that specializes in connecting Italian citizenship applicants to the Consulate and to the municipality where their ancestors lived, so they can request documentation confirming your Italian descent.
Becoming an Italian Citizen through Marriage
Anyone who marries an Italian citizen has the right to apply for Italian citizenship. This right can only be denied if the spouse has a criminal record, or if they’re considered a threat to national security. The spouse of an Italian citizen might have to live in Italy without breaking the marriage for a minimum of two years before they’re able to apply for Italian citizenship. And this union has to subsist through the application process. Foreign spouses will be also be required to speak Italian with at least a B1 (intermediate) level of fluency. A B1 Italian certificate may be requested to prove this ability.
How to Get Italian Citizenship through Naturalization
Naturalization is also an option for those aspiring to become Italian citizens. Naturalization is an option for people of Italian descent who have lived in Italy for at least 4 years, and whose relatives have renounced to Italian citizenship, as well as for Non-EU and EU residents. Non-EU residents who have lived in Italy for at least ten years are able to apply for citizenship. On the other hand, EU residents can apply after 4 years of living in Italian territory.
How Long Does It Take?
We already know how to get Italian citizenship – but, how long will it take? Well, getting an appointment at an Italian consulate might take from 6 months to two years. On the other hand, it might take an average of six months before your accepted application is registered in Italy.
Those living in Italy and applying through Marriage might have to wait up to 48 months to get their citizenship. This process is slowed down by the need to take a B1 Italian proficiency test and get the corresponding certification.
Those applying to Jure Sanguinis will also have to consider the time it might take to gather the necessary documents, get them apostilled and translated, and get an appointment at their local Italian consulate.
If you’re applying for Jure Sanguinis dual citizenship, there’s a way to “fast-track” your application process. You can do it simply by traveling to Italy and applying for citizenship in person. Of course, “fast-tracking” doesn’t shorten the process of gathering and preparing the documentation, but it can surely reduce the wait time for an appointment, as well as the application’s processing time.