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How To Get Italian Citizenship through Marriage

Legal requirements to apply for Italian citizenship by marriage

Whether you are married or joint in civil union to an Italian citizen, you are entitled to obtain Italian citizenship. The qualification requirements vary whether you are domiciled in Italy or abroad and whether you have children.

Articles 5 ,6, 7 and 8 of Law n. 91 of February 5th, 1992 govern the Italian citizenship through marriage or civil union to an Italian citizen. A non-Italian spouse of an Italian citizen is eligible for Italian citizenship by marriage after two years from the marriage or civil union, if residing in Italy. The term is reduced to one year, if the couple has children 18 or younger, be them biological or adopted. Foreign nationals that reside outside Italy can apply for Italian citizenship by marriage three years after the date of marriage or civil union to an Italian citizen. This is reduced to 18 months when children 18 or younger are involved, be them biological or adopted.

Same-sex civil unions

In 2016, Italy recognized same-sex civil unions, and they are afforded the same protections heterosexual married couples are given. Therefore, starting on from February 11th 2017 those who entered into a civil union with an Italian citizen, can apply for Italian citizenship according to Art. 5 of Law n. 91 of February 5th, 1992.

Italian citizenship through marriage pre-1983 (only for women married to Italian men prior to 1983)

Foreign women who married an Italian man prior to April 26, 1983 obtained Italian citizenship automatically and instantly on the date of the marriage.

Italian citizenship may still be granted even if your Italian spouse has died or you are no longer married, as long as the marriage was still valid as of April 26, 1983. If you fall into this category, you are required to schedule an appointment with your local Italian consulate. And the following documents are generally required:

  • Applicant’s passport (original and photocopy)
  • Consular fee (€300).
  • Proof of residency within the consular jurisdiction
  • marriage certificate, legalised with Apostille and translated into Italian
  • applicant’s birth certificate legalised with Apostille and translated into Italian.

Applying For Italian Citizeship Through Marriage: Pre-requirements

In order to start the citizenship process, the Italian spouse must be registered with AIRE (if residing abroad) and must have already registered the foreign marriage record, or same-sex marriage/civil union record (duly legalized), through the local Italian consulate.

Some practical preliminary checks include:

  • contact the relevant Italian municipality to verify that they have your marriage on record;
  • ensure Italian spouse is properly AIRE (Anagrafe degli Italiani Residenti all’Estero) registered;
  • Consulate records reflect current resident address.

Italian citizenship by marriage language requirements

Law Decree n. 113 of October 4th, 2018 (converted in Law n. 132 of December 1st, 2018) introduced a new requirement on Italian citizenship marriage applications. Starting from December 4th, 2018 applicant for Italian citizenship by marriage must have adequate knowledge of the Italian language (B1 level of the EU Common Language Framework), which must be certified:

  • with a certificate or diploma issued by an Italian state school or recognized private school; or
  • with a certificate of Italian as a foreign language issued by an educational institution approved by the Italian Ministry of Education (“MIUR”) or Ministry of Foreign affairs (“MAECI”).

How Do You Make an Application for Italian Citizenship By Marriage?

As first step, it is necessary to fill out an application and upload a scan of the required documents. The application can only be submitted online on a dedicated web portal managed by the Italian Ministry of Interior. Applicant must create an account on the “ALI” portal.

The Documentation Required To Apply for Italian Citizenship By Marriage

Under Italian law, applicants are required to provide the following documents:

  • Non-Italian spouse’s foreign passport and State ID (original and photocopy);
  • Italian spouse’s Italian passport
  • proof of residency within the consular jurisdiction (original and photocopy);
  • “signed declaration” by which the spouses declare to be still married;
  • Application form;
  • original long form certified copy of the non-Italian spouse’s birth certificate;
  • original marriage transcript from the Italian municipality;
  • original criminal background checks from the state or country of birth and countries where the applicant has resided (including the USA) since the age of 14;
  • Italian language certification (B1 level);
  • receipt of the €250 wire transfer;
  • a money order to pay the consular fee due for the legalization of the translations.

Please note that:

  • All criminal background checks and marriage certificate documents are valid for six months. Therefore, citizenship applications must be submitted within six months after the first document has been issued.
  • All foreign language documents must be translated into Italian, and the local Italian consulate must certify the translations.
  • The legalisation is by means of an Apostille, if the Country signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961. If not so, it must be legalised by the Italian Embassy/Consulate in the country of issue. The translation into Italian, carried out by a translator, must be certified by the Italian Consulate/Embassy in the country where they are issued or legalised by means of an apostille.
  • An Apostille, which is an international legalization of documents for foreign use, is necessary for all documents issued in the USA for them to be considered legal. Any documents originating from elsewhere – not Italy or USA – must be legal based on the local regulations regarding the use of certified documents overseas.

Will I be Invited For An Interview With The Consulate/Prefettura?

Upon submission, your application will be reviewed by your local Consulate/Prefettura and, if it’s deemed appropriate, you will be invited for an interview to  submit all the documentation in original.

What next?

After the appointment at the Consulate/Prefettura, the documents will be sent by the Consulate/Prefettura to the Ministry of Interior for processing. If the Consulate grants the applicant’s request for Italian citizenship by marriage or civil union, you will be contacted through a message on the Web Portal and invited to the Consulate for the citizenship ceremony. The ceremony makes occur six months from the date citizenship was granted. The couple (the Italian spouse and the newly Italian citizen) must attend the ceremony and sign an affidavit that confirming they are still legally married and no requests for annulment, separation or divorce have been occurred.

At the ceremony the Consul General of Italy (or an acting representative) will read a statement (“verbale di giuramento”). The applicant will then be required to take an oath of allegiance by pronouncing, loud and clear, the following words “GIURO DI ESSERE FEDELE ALLA REPUBBLICA ITALIANA ED AL SUO CAPO E DI OSSERVARE LEALMENTE LA COSTITUZIONE E LE LEGGI DELLO STATO”.

PLEASE BE ADVISED, THE CONTENT OF THIS PAGE IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE A GENERAL GUIDE TO THE SUBJECT MATTER. IT DOESN’T SUBSTITUTE BESPOKE LEGAL ADVICE.

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