One of the main reasons foreigners move to Italy is to obtain citizenship. Italy is one of the most appealing European countries to move to thanks to good employment possibilities. Therefore, many come to Italy for this purpose, but also because of the numerous investment opportunities this country offers.
|Ways to acquire citizenship in Italy||
– by marriage/civil partnership,
– by residency (naturalization process),
– by descent, through Italian parents (maternal or paternal);
– other pathways can apply as pe the Italian law (such as adoption).
Citizenship rules for EU citizens
The rules on how to get citizenship in Italy can vary based on the citizenship pathway. For EU nationals applying for citizenship by naturalization, the residency requirements are less strict (they can start the citizenship procedure after 4 years of residency in Italy).
Citizenship rules for non-EU citizens
They can become Italian citizens after 10 years of residency in Italy (if they apply for citizenship through naturalization).
|Minimum requirements for citizenship by naturalization||
– be an Italian resident for minimum 4 years (or even 3 in specific cases) /10 years, depeding on the nationality of the applicant,
– have evidence on the legal residency in Italy,
– have fluency in Italian of a minimum B1 level,
– provide evidence of having a minimum yearly income that is regulated by the law (the threshold can vary whether the applicant is single or married),
– complete the citizenship application,
– pay the application fee,
– submit personal identity documents, such as the birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc., and the clean criminal record.
|Requirements for citizenship by descent||
– evidence on having a blood tie with an Italian national (by direct line of descent)
– birth, marriage, death, divorce certificates or naturalization certificates of the relative can be used for this purpose.
|Requirements for citizenship by marriage||
– evidence on the marriage with an Italian citizen.
For applicants who live in Italy with their spouses, the procedure can be started after 2 years of residency.
For those living outside Italy, it is possible after 3 years.
If the couple has children, the required time can be reduced by 50% for both situations.
The applicant must also have Italian language skills (B1 level minimum).
The application should contain the following:
– the marriage certificate,
– the birth certificate,
– the criminal record,
– documents attesting the spouse’s Italian citizenship,
– the Italian language certificate.
|The law regulating citizenship procedures||
– the Law 91/1992,
– the Law December 1, 2018 n.32 (regulating legal matters on citizenship by marriage)
|Dual citizenship available (yes/no)||Yes|
|Institution in charge with the issuance of citizenship||
The rules on how to get citizenship in Italy are imposed by the Ministry of the Interior.
|Documents necessary for the citizenship application||
They can vary based on the citizenship pathway applied to a person. The documents can include the following:
– birth certificates,
– marriage certificates,
– death certificates,
– naturalization certificates,
– personal identity documents and other papers,
– the identity documents of the spouse,
– documents attesting the residence in Italy,
– documents attesting the financial situation of the applicant,
– documents of minor children,
– adoption papers,
– language certificates, etc.
|Rights obtained through citizenship||
Persons who obtain Italian citizenship have the same rights as all persons who were born in Italy:
– the right to an Italian passport,
– the right to vote and all the rights and privileges that are granted by the law, without any distinction.
|Citizenship by adoption available (yes/no)||
|The average time of stay in Italy for acquiring citizenship||
The rules on how to get citizenship in Italy for third party nationals stipulate that it is necessary to live in Italy for 10 years before applying for citizenship. EU citizens benefit from a shorter residency requirment – only 4 years.
|The duration of the citizenship processing||
Approximately 6 months since the submission of papers.
|Legal services offered by our lawyers for citizenship applicants||
– presenting the types of citizenships available,
– explaining the steps and the documents necessary for a particular citizenship pathway,
– helping clients in acquiring documents that are issued by the Italian institutions,
– preparing the application file,
– offering legal representation in front of the court in matters related to citizenship, etc.
|Citizenship ceremony||Persons who were officially granted the Italian citizenship are required to participate in a citizenship ceremony, where they will pledge allegiance to the Italian state and during which the citizenship certificate will be handled.|
Fees for the issuance of the citizenship certificate
|EUR 10 to EUR 16|
Where to apply for an Italian passport
Persons who live in Italy can apply for a passport at a local police office (Questura).
Those living abroad can conclude the procedure through Italian embassies and consulates.
EUR 42.50 (passport booklet) and EUR 73.50 (administrative fee).
Passport fee exemptions also apply.
|Documents required for passport application||
– the identity card,
– the official form provided by the police station,
– certified copies of the birth certificate,
– certified copies of the marriage certificate (where applicable),
– 2 passport size photos,
– proof of paying the passport processing fee.
|How long does it take to issue the passport?||
|Situations when Italian citizenship is revoked||
Those who want to obtain Italian citizenship must also be aware that the citizenship can be revoked. Citizenship can be lost when:
– an individual enlists in the army of a different country, although the Italian law does not allow it,
– an Italian citizen served during the war in the army of a different sovereign state or held a governmental position,
– an adopted child acquires the citizenship of a different state.
|Situations when individuals can renounce the Italian citizenship||
Persons interested in Italian citizenship should be aware that they can also renounce it in certain cases, all of which involve the acquisition or re-acquisition of citizenship of a different nationality.
|Is re-aquisition of citizenship possible? (Yes/no)||
|When can an individual re-acquire citizenship?||The re-acquisition of citizenship is possible in accordance with the provisions of Article 13 of the Law No. 91/92.|
|Fees charged for citizenship applications||
A fee of EUR 300 is charged for the processing of Italian citizenship application.
|Law regulating the administrative fees on citizenship||
Article 43, paragraph 1, 46 and 47 of the Presidential Decree No. 445/2000.
|Procedure for renouncing citizenship||
In order to renounce citizenship, an individual is required to contact competent authorities and participate in an official meeting, where all the paperwork imposed by the Law No. 91/92 is submitted, in the presence of 2 witnesses.
|Do minors need a passport?||
Yes, in order to be able to travel internationally with a minor child (of any age) a passport is required (with the exception of EU states, where EU nationals can present only their identity cards as valid travel documents).
|Validity of an Italian passport||
– 3 years (for children aged 0-3 years),
– 5 years (for minors aged 4 – 17 years),
– 10 years (for adult persons).
No matter the reason why one decides to immigrate to Italy, citizenship can be acquired after a specific period of time. The only question most people ask remains ‘How long does it take to get Italian citizenship?’. The answer is that it depends on the chosen immigration route.
Below, our immigration lawyers in Italy explain how long it takes to obtain Italian citizenship based on the way one enters the country. We will first help you obtain a residence permit in Italy.
Table of Contents
The main ways to obtain citizenship in Italy in 2023
- by means of a residence permit which implies living for a few years in Italy before being granted citizenship;
- by means of employment which implies working in Italy in order to obtain citizenship (there are various types of work permits which can be obtained);
- by naturalization which implies a complicated procedure, however, it is quite easy to obtain;
- by marrying an Italian citizen which implies completing various formalities in order to become an Italian citizen;
- by investment which is one of the most popular ways of immigrating to Italy as a non-EU citizen;
- by obtaining various types of visas, such as family reunification permits, however, these are not that often employed.
If you are interested in immigration in Italy and need support, our lawyers can guide you. They can also answer any question related to how long it takes to obtain citizenship in Italy.
There is also the possibility to acquire citizenship through a declaration of will – this is available only for foreign nationals and stateless persons and it is applied in certain circumstances, stipulated by the Article 5 of the Law no. 91/92.
It can apply to persons who have been living in Italy throughout their entire childhood and teenage years and are now 18 years old and want to acquire citizenship. For this, they must have been born in Italy. It can also apply to foreign nationals who are related to Italian parent or grandparent who has served the Italian military.
The main ways of obtaining Italian citizenship are presented in the infographic below:
Types of visas through which Italian citizenship can be acquired
When it comes to how to get citizenship in Italy, it is important to note that most visas can be a way to this means. Foreign citizens from non-EU and non-EEA countries can apply for various types of visas and wait for the necessary period of time until they are granted permanent residency followed by citizenship.
Except for tourist visas, any other type of residence permit, for short and long residency, can be a good way to get citizenship in Italy. One of the greatest benefits of immigrating to Italy is that even student visas can be converted to employment permits which enable immigrants to increase their chances to Italian passports provided that they want to live here permanently.
If you have any questions on how to get citizenship in Italy and the best visa for it, our immigration lawyers are at your service with detailed answers. We can also advise on how to apply for a residence permit in Italy.
EU citizens applying for Italian passports
As an EU country, Italy offers various advantages to citizens of other member states seeking to obtain citizenship here. However, some of the mandatory living requirements apply to EU citizens just as in the case of those moving here from non-EU countries.
EU citizens have the right to apply for citizenship in Italy after living here for 4 years based on a permanent residence permit. If you want to immigrate to Italy as an EU citizen and need assistance in preparing the documents, you can rely on our specialists who are at your service with complete services.
How to get citizenship in Italy as a non-EU citizen
Non-EU citizens are bound to first apply for one of the temporary or long-term permanent residence permits issued by the Italian authorities prior to applying for citizenship in Italy.
Non-EU citizens interested in how to get citizenship in Italy should know that through temporary residence permits, they must live for at least 5 years here before being granted permanent residency. Citizenship will be granted to this category of applicants after living in Italy for 10 years.
Italy is one of the most welcoming countries in Europe when it comes to the integration of foreign citizens seeking to move here permanently and then obtain citizenship. It is also one of the most sought countries among those that offer investor visas for non-EU citizens. If you have questions about Italian citizenship, we will be more than happy to answer them.
Obtaining citizenship in Italy through a residence permit
Foreign citizens from non-EU countries can relocate to Italy by applying for a temporary or permanent residence permit. EU citizens do not need to obtain such a visa in order to immigrate to Italy. Even if this is not one of the fastest routes to obtaining Italian citizenship, it is definitely one of the most secure.
In order answer the question on how long it takes to obtain Italian citizenship by means of residence, we can say that for non-EU citizens the minimum period of living in Italy is established at 10 years, while for EU citizens the minimum period is of 4 years.
The same timeframe must be complied with when coming to Italy based on an employment visa. Our immigration lawyers in Italy can help those who want to obtain residence permits with the purpose of obtaining Italian citizenship.
How long does it take to obtain Italian citizenship by naturalization in 2023?
A foreign citizen who has Italian parents or grandparents who have not lost Italian citizenship can apply themselves for an Italian passport as soon as they can prove their ties with the Italian citizens. When it comes to foreign citizens with descendants who have lost Italian citizenship, these must live in Italy based on a residence permit for at least 3 years.
Citizenship re-acquisition in Italy is possible as per the rules of the Italian legislation, but only in certain situations. For instance, Italian citizenship re-acquisition can happen in the case of persons who have lost their citizenship prior to 16 August 1992 by taking up a different citizenship.
In this case, the procedure is rather simple, as the person can simply relocate to Italy and start the citizenship process by residency. Please mind that in this case, the citizenship re-acquisition in Italy can be concluded only from within the borders of the country.
Therefore, even though a person used to have Italian citizenship, if the person does not currently live in Italy, he or she will not be able to simply initiate the citizenship procedure from overseas. Thus, relocation is mandatory. For this particular scenario, relocation to Italy has to mean at least 1 year of stay in the country.
After residing here for an uninterrupted period of 1 year, the former Italian citizen will automatically receive the citizenship without complying with other legal formalities. Also, we mention that in the case in which the former Italian citizen has now his or her own descendants (children), they will not be able to automatically acquire citizenship once the parent regains the citizenship.
The video below offers a short presentation on how to apply for Italian citizenship:
How long does it take to obtain an Italian passport by marriage?
Those who have married Italian citizens and want to know how long it takes to obtain Italian citizenship for themselves, the answer is that it depends on where the marriage was concluded. For those who have married an Italian citizen in Italy, the waiting period is 2 years. During this time, the applicant must have lived in Italy with an Italian spouse.
For those registering their marriage with an Italian citizen abroad, the waiting period to apply for Italian citizenship is 3 years. Our immigration lawyers can explain the documents you need to provide when applying for citizenship in Italy.
Can one obtain citizenship by investment in Italy?
At the moment, there isn’t a direct route to citizenship by investment – a foreigner must first become a permanent resident in order to have the right to apply for citizenship. Typically, the route to Italian citizenship will take the usual 10 years.
If you are considering Italy as your future home country, we invite you to discover the following statistics concerning citizenship granted here:
- at an EU level, Italy was the 1st country, granting the largest number of new citizenships in 2020;
- it issued 131,800 new citizenships in 2020, the 2nd jurisdiction being Spain with 126,200;
- in 2020, Moroccans represented the largest group of non-EU nationals applying for EU citizenship (68,900 people registered with Spanish, Italian and French citizenships);
- Albanians accounted for 40,500 citizenships, out of which 70% were registered in Italy;
- the next group is represented by Romanians (28,700 citizenships, out of which 40% were issued in Italy).
Special laws regarding citizenship in Italy
When inquiring about how to get citizenship in Italy, one should know that the government has passed several special laws regarding specific categories of persons who can be granted Italian passports. Among these laws are:
- Law No. 379 of December 2000;
- Law no. 124 of March 2006.
Law No. 379/2000 provides for the right to Italian citizenship of individuals living in former territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and their descendants.
In order to get citizenship based on this special law, the applicant must submit proof of birth and residence of their ancestors living in the respective territories after being annexed to Italy at the end of World War I. Law No. 124/2006 provides for recognition of Italian citizenship of the following two categories of applicants:
- Italian citizens and their descendants of Italian nationality living in Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Paris of 1947;
- Italian citizens and their descendants living in the former territory of Trieste until 1977, in accordance with the provisions of the Osimo Treaty of 1975.
The applications can be filed with an Italian consulate or embassy in case of foreign citizens living abroad or with the local municipality in the case of those living in Italy. No matter, the applications will be analyzed case-by-case and a special committee will decide if the citizenship requirements are met.
If you need more information on how to get citizenship in Italy, our immigration lawyers are at your service with detailed information. Obtaining Italian citizenship is not easier or harder compared to other countries in Europe, however, Italy has specific integration policies that help migrants adapt to the national regulations easier.
The government has even introduced special regulation meant to help asylum-seekers. In their case, special support can also be provided by our immigration lawyers in Italy. We can assist during the document processing period and can offer advice on how to proceed further. Italian citizenship is available under specific laws which can be explained by our lawyers.
How to become an Italian national?
There are various ways through which an individual can become an Italian national and these are the main ones:
- by blood right (descent): a child born to an Italian parent, mother or father, is also an Italian national – before 1948, it was not possible for an Italian mother to transfer citizenship to her child and furthermore, a child born in Italy of stateless or unknown parents is also automatically Italian;
- by adoption: the right to nationality is extended to any child who was adopted by an Italian citizen (even for those adopted abroad, if rendered valid in Italy by means of an order from the Juvenile Court);
- by marriage to an Italian national: it can only be denied to those having a serious criminal record (either outside of Italy or on its territory) or to those considered to be a threat to the public safety and national security – a language test is required for the future spouse to pass, and it is necessary that the marriage lasts through the process of application for Italian nationality;
- by residency: Italian nationality can be granted to non-EU citizens who have been legally residing in Italy for ten years – for EU citizens it can be awarded (under certain conditions) after only four years.
What is more important to know is that it is no longer required to choose between your parents’ nationality and Italian, because the Italian state now accepts dual nationality (“doppi doppia cittadinanza”). Our lawyers in Italy can be of help in providing you with further details on how to obtain Italian nationality and on other legal issues that you may face.
The process of applying for Italian nationality in 2023
If you wish to acquire Italian nationality, you have to apply to the Minister of the Interior (“Ministro degli Interni”) by means of the commune’s mayor from the area you live or abroad, through the local Italian consulate.
A tax must be paid and you must also swear loyalty to the Italian state and future observance of the Italian constitution and laws. Depending on the type of application, you will have to submit some documents such as:
- birth certificate;
- certificate of residence (if it is the case);
- certificate of Italian citizenship of mother or father (where requested);
- certificate of criminal record (or certified lack of one);
- marriage certificate.
The rules of obtaining Italian citizenship have been maintained throughout 2023 as well, so those who are familiarized with the applicable law in the field do not have to consider new rules.
However, for those who want to apply for Italian citizenship in 2023, our immigration lawyers in Italy are ready provide legal advice and assistance on any procedure that can be of interest, as well as on the extensive set of documents that has to be prepared in this sense and any update of the law.
Although the general rules for citizenship are the same, starting with 22 June 2022, cases held in the court where the citizenship is disputed on maternal lineage will be held in regional courts, as opposed to the current rule, where such cases where held in the Rome court.
Some of the highlights for applying for citizenship in 2023 are the following: as a person who will become a citizen by naturalization, you will have to wait 10 years until you have the right to start the application. If you will obtain it, you will have the right to retain your first citizenship.
You are also required to have a minimum income of EUR 8,264 per year. Please mind that you have to respect a minimum threshold with regards to your residency in the country.
Thus, you have to stay in Italy for at least 183 days per year and if you will apply in 2023, you must have less than 10 months of absence in the 5 years prior to the application. Of course, you must be a taxpayer in Italy.
The main benefits of Italian citizenship in 2023
Here are the 7 most important benefits of obtaining Italian citizenship:
- the possibility of working in Italy and the other 27 member states of the European Union;
- the possibility of studying in Italy, but also in other EU member states of the EU;
- the access to buying real estate in Italy based on the golden visa program or simple acquisition of citizenship;
- dual citizenship is also possible for those who want to retain their initial citizenship;
- the possibility of starting a business as an Italian citizen and obtaining various tax benefits;
- access to moving freely across Europe (the European Union and Schengen area);
- access to educational services and to the national healthcare system in Italy.
If you need information on the main ways in which you can access Italian citizenship, our immigration lawyers are at your disposal with complete information and assistance.
1. Work and live in Italy
The most important benefit of obtaining Italian citizenship is the possibility of living and working in Italy without any type of restrictions. Once you become an Italian citizen, you will no longer need to think about visa renewal periods. Also, Italian citizenship grants access to all other EU member states.
2. Study in Italy
Non-EU citizens who move to Italy based on a study visa can remain here after finishing their studies. We mention this as a benefit of obtaining Italian citizenship because Italy is the only EU state which offers the right to convert a student visa into an employment residence permit. If you plan on immigrating to Italy based on a student visa, our lawyers can help you.
3. Access to real estate ownership
The possibility of buying and owning a property in Italy is one of the major benefits of Italian citizenship and even if this is possible through the residence by investment scheme for non-EU citizens, it implies the obligation of purchasing a property of a specific value, however, being an Italian citizen when starting the acquisition procedure will no longer imply such a requirement.
4. Dual citizenship
For the citizens of certain countries, dual citizenship is possible even after obtaining an Italian passport. This will bring them rights in both countries. If you need information on dual citizenship matters, our immigration lawyers in Italy can guide you. We offer various expat services to our clients, so you can reach out if you have any questions or unclarities related to Italy immigration.
5. Start a business and obtain tax benefits
Entrepreneurship is one of the most important advantages of obtaining citizenship in Italy, as it is easier to start a company as a citizen of this country. Apart from this, you will be able to access various tax benefits.
6. Freedom of movement
As an Italian citizen, you will be allowed to travel freely to all European and Schengen area countries. This a great benefit from non-EU citizens choosing to apply for citizenship in Italy. Our lawyers can explain all the requirements for non-EU citizens who want to immigrate to Italy and obtain citizenship.
7. Access to good education and healthcare
Italy has some of the best education and healthcare systems in Europe and all its citizens have access to them. This is also a right automatically acquired once a foreigner becomes an Italian citizen. Also, you will obtain voting rights once you are a citizen of Italy.
According to a report published by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, in Italy, naturalization in 2021 had the following characteristics:
- a total of 109,594 persons received citizenship;
- acquisition of citizenship by marriage accounted for 11.9% of the total citizenships (includes all types of situations, not limited to refugees or asylum seekers married in Italy);
- Albanians accounted for the largest group of citizenship grants (22,493);
- the top regions for new citizenship grants (49% of them) were Emilia-Romana, Veneto and Lombardy.
What happens if the citizenship application is denied?
In some cases, the Italian authorities can deny the issuance of the Italian citizenship. The procedure is done following the applicable legislation and all applicants must be given a reason for which the application was denied.
When faced with this situation, all applicants have the right to make an appeal, and our immigration lawyers in Italy can offer legal advice on what legal grounds the applicant can use for the appeal.
In practice, the refusal of the citizenship can happen due to the following reasons:
- incomplete application form (lack of proper documentation);
- issues concerning the minimum residency in Italy of the applicant;
- the applicant does not prove sufficient knowledge of the Italian system (culture, language, history, legal system, etc.);
- the applicant is not integrated into the Italian society, etc.
When deciding that the applicant does not meet the minimum legal requirements for the issuance of the Italian citizenship, the competent institution must issue a notification of refusal, in which the reason (reasons) is clearly stated as to why the denial of citizenship occurred.
In this case, the applicant has the right to make an appeal to the Regional Administrative Court, once the official document was sent by the institution. Based on the reason for the rejection of the application, the applicant can offer supplementary documents that can clarify the situation in the favor of the applicant.
Provided that the applicant does not answer to the notification, it is understood that he/she accepted the decision of the court, therefore the Italian citizenship will not be granted.
Immigration services offered by our lawyers in Italy in 2023
Those who want to immigrate to Italy should know that the procedure is not complicated, however, the requirements depend on the country of origin of the applicant. Also, the documents required to be presented with the Italian authorities depend on the case. This is why asking for legal help from our immigration lawyers in Italy can significantly ease your situation.
Our Italian immigration lawyers will offer specialized assistance tailored to your case, so you can benefit from a fast and secure application procedure. We can also help with the preparation of all the documents related to applying for Italian citizenship. For complete information on how long it takes to obtain Italian citizenship, please contact our immigration lawyers.
The 1st class refers to applicants that had a father who was an Italian national at the moment of the birth of the applicant (the father had, at that moment, only Italian nationality). The 2nd class refers to an applicant who had a mother who had Italian citizenship.
When you will move to Italy, you will need to present documents that you may have in your family, or to use the country’s National Archive and other similar resources, where documents are kept.
Citizenship is available through other pathways. For instance, you can relocate here through the Golden Visa in Italy, a program which grants permanent residence, which can open the pathway to citizenship (after 10 years). Please mind that in Italy, there aren’t any immigration programs for foreigners who do not have Italian roots that can grant direct access to citizenship.