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5 Ways to Become an Italian Citizen

5 Ways to Become an Italian Citizen

Are you dreaming of becoming an Italian citizen? The journey to obtaining Italian citizenship opens doors to a rich cultural heritage, exciting opportunities, and the possibility of dual citizenship. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore 5 distinct pathways to help you realize your goal of becoming an Italian citizen. We’ll delve into the requirements, processes, and benefits of each approach. Whether you aspire to live in Italy or simply want to embrace your Italian heritage, this article will provide you with invaluable insights on how to make your dream of Italian citizenship a reality.

5 ways to become an Italian citizen. Explore 5 ways to obtain Italian citizenship: apply for Italian citizenship by descent and qualifications. Become an Italian citizen and access the benefits of an Italian passport.

1. Italian Citizenship by Descent (Jure Sanguinis)

Jure Sanguinis, meaning “right of blood,” refers to individuals who are Italian by descent. If you can establish a strong case with a direct line of lineage connecting you to Italian citizenship, you have the opportunity to apply and petition the Italian government for recognition. Learn more from the London Italian consulate website for Jure Sanguinis.

“Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation, on the condition that none of the ancestors has ever renounced their citizenship.”

Generally, individuals can qualify for Italian citizenship by descent if their ancestry was an Italian citizen at the time of their birth, or if their ancestor naturalized as a citizen of another country after their birth but before the birth of the next generation.

Are you qualified for Italian citizenship by descent?

  • Your great-grandfather was born in Italy on either your paternal or maternal side.

You may qualify if your paternal or maternal grandfather was born in a foreign country, but your paternal or maternal great-grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your grandfather’s birth, and neither you nor your father/mother or grandfather/grandmother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.

  • Either your paternal grandfather or grandmother was born in Italy.

You may be eligible for Italian citizenship by descent if either your paternal grandfather or grandmother was born in Italy and your father was born in a foreign country. Your paternal grandfather or grandmother must have been an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth, and neither you nor your father ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.

  • Either your maternal grandfather or grandmother was born in Italy.

If your mother was born in a foreign country but your maternal grandfather or grandmother was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth, you may be able to claim Italian citizenship by descent through your mother. You were born after *January 1, 1948, and you and your mother must have never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.

  • Your father was born in Italy

You may be eligible for Italian citizenship by descent if your father was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth. To qualify, you must have never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.

  • Your mother was born in Italy.

If your mother was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, and you were born after *January 1st, 1948, you may be eligible for Italian citizenship by descent. To be eligible, you must have never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.

*Why January 1st, 1948?

Under previous legislation, Italian women did not have the same rights as men. Before January 1st, 1948, they were unable to pass Italian citizenship to their children. Additionally, if an Italian woman married a foreign man and acquired his citizenship, she would lose her Italian citizenship.

However, it’s important to note that even if your case is affected by the 1948 court cases, you can still apply for Italian citizenship. The 1948 court cases led to significant changes in Italian citizenship laws, allowing individuals whose Italian ancestors lost their citizenship due to various circumstances to regain their eligibility. This means that if your ancestors lost their citizenship due to the 1948 case, you may still have a chance to reclaim your Italian citizenship through the application process.

To begin the process, conducting thorough research into your family history is crucial. Gathering birth, marriage, and death certificates of your Italian ancestors will serve as vital evidence to establish your lineage. By tracing your family tree back several generations, you can build a compelling case for Italian citizenship.

Navigating the intricacies of Italian citizenship by descent can be complex, and it is advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer who specializes in Italian citizenship to understand the specific requirements and procedures. They can also assist you in claiming your rights to Italian citizenship through the judicial route. Rest assured, many claimants have been successful since 2009

Obtaining Italian citizenship through descent opens up a world of advantages. Once granted, you will enjoy the same rights and privileges as other Italian citizens. This includes the ability to reside, work, and study in Italy, access to healthcare and social services, and the opportunity to apply for an Italian passport.

You may be able to apply for Italian citizenship: Contact us or book a free 10-minute discovery call with one of our experienced lawyers to check if you qualify.

2. Italian citizenship by descent in Italy

Ancestry to the second degree is a requirement to apply for Italian citizenship by descent in Italy (Italian citizenship by residency with Italian ancestry). This means that either your parents or grandparents must have Italian heritage. However, it’s important to note that if your parents or grandparents were naturalized in another country before you or your parents were born, it would break the direct lineage connection.

Italian Citizenship by descent in Italy provides an alternative pathway for individuals who don’t meet the requirements for Italian citizenship by descent (Jure Sanguinis).

This option allows those with Italian ancestry but without a direct lineage connection to still pursue Italian citizenship. By fulfilling the residency requirement and residing in Italy for a certain period, typically at least 3 years, you can apply for Italian citizenship through this process.”

During this period, it is essential to integrate into Italian society, including learning the Italian language and adapting to the local culture. Once you have fulfilled the residency requirement, you can apply for Italian citizenship through the appropriate channels, such as the Italian government or citizenship office.

Obtaining Italian citizenship through residency offers various benefits, including the ability to apply for an Italian passport, which grants you the freedom to travel within the European Union and enjoy the privileges and protections of Italian citizenship. It’s advisable to seek guidance from Italian citizenship assistance services or consult with professionals well-versed in Italian immigration and citizenship law to navigate the complexities of the application process.

3. Italian citizenship by Residency

Even without Italian ancestry, it is possible to acquire Italian citizenship through residency. To be eligible for citizenship, individuals must fulfill criteria such as the duration of residency, language proficiency, and knowledge of Italian culture and history. By becoming a resident of Italy and meeting the necessary criteria, you can apply for Italian citizenship. Learn more about Italian citizenship by residency from the London Italian consulate website.

a) 10 years for non-European Union foreigners.
b) 5 years for a foreigner who has worked for five years in Italy for the public administration, an Italian-based company, or abroad representing the Italian state.
c) 5 years for an adult foreigner adopted by an Italian citizen.
d) 5 years for a stateless foreigner.
e) 4 years for a citizen of the European Union.
f) 3 years for a foreigner who is a direct descendant (up to the second degree) of an Italian citizen and is unable to acquire citizenship through jus sanguinis or other specific cases, or for a foreigner born in Italy with continuous residence.

These residency requirements are specified by Article 9 of Law No. 91/1992.

If you meet the qualifications or are still uncertain but interested in applying for Italian citizenship by residency, we recommend visiting this page for Italian citizenship by residency to obtain more information about the process and requirements involved.

4. Marriage to an Italian citizen (Jure Matrimonii)

Marrying an Italian citizen provides a pathway to Italian citizenship. Let’s explore the legal requirements, such as the duration of the marriage, living together, and the process of applying for citizenship based on the marital relationship.

  • If you are a non-Italian married to an Italian citizen and currently residing in Italy, you can apply for Italian citizenship by marriage after being married for 2 years, including same-sex civil unions.
  • For foreign nationals residing outside of Italy, eligibility for citizenship through marriage exists, but the application can be made only 3 years after the date of marriage or civil union with an Italian citizen.

Our experienced lawyers can guide you through the necessary steps, including acquiring the marriage certificate, meeting citizenship requirements, navigating the application process, and understanding the role of the Italian consulate or embassy. With our comprehensive assistance, we can help you understand the path to acquiring Italian citizenship through marriage and provide guidance throughout the citizenship application process. Contact our lawyers today for expert support.

5. Citizenship through special cases

Italy offers various pathways to Italian citizenship, including special cases based on exceptional circumstances. While some cases may not directly grant you Italian citizenship, they do provide an opportunity to obtain Italian residency. After residing in Italy for a minimum consecutive number of years, you can then apply for Italian citizenship through naturalization. Our team can provide guidance and support throughout the process. Contact us to explore the requirements and embark on the journey to Italian citizenship through these unique avenues.

The specific legal provisions regarding Italian citizenship for special merits, known as “cittadinanza italiana per meriti particolari” in Italian, are not outlined in a standalone law. Instead, this type of citizenship is granted based on discretionary authority exercised by the President of Italy, as specified in Article 9 of the Italian Citizenship Law (Law No. 91/1992)

Notable Contributions: Individuals who have made significant contributions to arts, science, sports, or other exceptional areas may qualify for Italian citizenship based on their achievements. Recognition of notable contributions can serve as a pathway to obtaining Italian citizenship. To be eligible for this special consideration, it is important to fulfill the criteria established by the Italian authorities and demonstrate the impact of your accomplishments. 

Extraordinary Circumstances: In exceptional cases, such as acts of bravery, humanitarian efforts, or exceptional achievements, individuals may be granted Italian citizenship. These extraordinary circumstances are evaluated on an individual basis, and the Italian authorities carefully assess the merits of each case. Meeting the specific criteria established for these circumstances is crucial to qualify for Italian citizenship.

Italy Golden Visa Program: The Italy Golden Visa Program offers an opportunity to obtain Italian residency through investment. By making substantial investments in Italy, such as in the economy or job creation, individuals can be eligible for Italian citizenship in the future. Understanding the requirements and regulations of the Italy Golden Visa Program is essential for those seeking citizenship through this avenue.

If you are considering applying for Italian citizenship by residency, you may also find it useful to explore this page, which provides information on other types of visas and permits that allow individuals to live in Italy.

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If you’re considering applying for Italian citizenship and Italian residency or have encountered challenges with your current application, Contact us or book a free 10-minute discovery call with one of our experienced lawyers. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized and effective legal solutions to meet your needs, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

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