Italy is quite an appealing country for foreign citizens seeking to relocate here, mainly due to the variety of routes to obtaining citizenship here. There are several ways through which an Italian passport can be acquired, and the decision should be made based on the nationality of the applicant and the reason for immigrating to Italy.
Below, our immigration lawyers in Italy present the main ways of obtaining citizenship in this country and a golden visa for Italy. No matter the selected path, our lawyers will help you apply for an Italian passport. You can also rely on us if you want to obtain a residence permit in Italy.
Table of Contents
What are the main ways to obtain an Italian passport?
Foreign nationals who want to immigrate to Italy and obtain a passport, have the following options:
- through permanent residence which is the simplest way of obtaining citizenship from a documents point of view;
- by descent, if at least one of the parents is or was an Italian citizen who left the country;
- by birth – children of foreign citizens living in Italy legally will be granted Italian citizenship;
- by marriage which is another fast route to obtaining an Italian passport;
- by investment – this last option is suitable for investors and was particularly created for non-EU citizens.
If you plan on applying for an Italian passport, our lawyers are your disposition with various immigration services.
We can offer extensive information on the Italian citizenship application procedure.
The main ways through which an Italian passport can be obtained are presented in the infographic below:
How to obtain an Italian passport through residency
Residency is one of the most common ways of obtaining an Italian passport. The procedure is nearly the same for EU and non-EU citizens, as both categories of applicants need to reside in Italy for different periods before applying for citizenship.
Obtaining a residence permit is rather simple in Italy, as the authorities here provide for various visas for non-EU citizens who can relocate to this country for several reasons. The work permit is one of the most sought when it comes to foreign citizens outside the European Union.
With respect to the timeframe in which the Italian passport can be obtained, in the case of EU citizens, these must legally live in Italy for 4 years. In the case of non-EU citizens, the living period is set at 10 years. This process is also known as naturalization.
No matter your country of residence, you can rely on our lawyers if you are interested in immigration to Italy with the purpose of obtaining citizenship.
Citizenship by descent in Italy
For foreign citizens with Italian origins, it is worth trying to obtain citizenship through their ancestors. However, these must know a few aspects before starting the procedure of acquiring Italy passports.
One can obtain an Italian passport by descent if at least one of the following are/were Italian citizens:
- the father or the mother;
- the paternal grandfather or the maternal grandfather;
- the paternal or maternal great-grandfather.
Also, the foreign citizen must understand how the Italian Immigration Law provides for citizenship by descent and make sure he or she falls into the category of persons who can apply for an Italian passport this way.
Citizenship by descent is an option for citizens born in any country of the world, as long as their bloodline has Italian origins. However, the applicant must obtain all certified copies of official documents that attest to their origin.
The main advantage of securing an Italian passport this way is that it can be obtained without waiting for the 10-year period in the case of non-EU citizens. On the other hand, the procedure is more complex and can take between 3 months and 3 years until all documents are obtained and processed by the authorities.
It should also be noted that there are cases where specific regulations apply and our immigration lawyers in Italy can provide more information on this aspect based on your particular situation.
Feel free to ask us anything about the residence permit in Italy.
Obtaining an Italian passport through marriage
Marrying an Italian citizen can lead to citizenship in this country for a foreign person. Just like in the case of obtaining an Italy passport through residency, there are various requirements to meet before citizenship is granted by the authorities of these countries. These are:
- the foreign spouse must have lived in Italy for 2 years;
- the foreign spouses must have lived together abroad for at least 3 years if the marriage was registered in a foreign country;
- the marriage must have been registered with the Italian Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country in which it took place.
These conditions can be reduced if the couple’s child or children are Italian citizens. Also, a new requirement for obtaining an Italian passport through marriage is for the foreign spouse to have a B1 level of the Italian language.
Not long ago, the application procedure for citizenship by marriage has been modified and all requests must be filed online. If you are a foreign citizen married to an Italian one and you want to obtain citizenship, you can ask for the support of our immigration lawyer.
You can watch below a short video on the benefits of holding the Italian passport:
Citizenship by investment in Italy
Italy is among the countries seeking to attract investors which is the authorities have enabled the citizenship by investment or Golden Visa Scheme through which non-EU citizens can relocate here and obtain various benefits. In return, these must make substantial investments in the local economy, as the name of the program states.
The minimum amount to invest in order to obtain residence and then the citizenship by investment is 500,000 euros. One can buy a property or invest the money in a business set up in Italy. If you want to obtain a golden visa for Italy, our lawyers can guide you.
Not long ago, the Italian government created the StartUp Visa Program under which foreign investors can obtain residency and then Italian passports under very advantageous conditions which enable them to run their own businesses here.
Italian citizenship in achievable for citizens all over the world, as this country is welcoming to foreigners and has created policies that help with their integration in society. If you need assistance in applying for an Italian passport, our lawyers can help you with the paperwork.
How to choose the best way to secure an Italian passport
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the reason for which a foreign citizen decides to move to Italy is very important. The main reasons often invoked when discussing with our immigration lawyers in Italy are business and employment, however, retirement has also become quite sought in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries.
With the help of our expat services, you will benefit from tailored guidance in obtaining an Italian passport.
Documents required to obtain citizenship in Italy
In a matter of documentation related to applying for an Italian passport, the requirements will depend on the way the foreign citizen has decided to complete the relocation procedure. As mentioned above, it is simpler to prepare the paperwork associated with immigration to Italy based on permanent residence, as most of the documents will be easy to obtain with the Italian authorities. Among these, proof of employment or even having a business in Italy is among the documents to attest to the living requirements to move to Italy permanently.
When it comes to applying for an Italian passport by descent, the application file must include proof of former or actual citizenship of ancestors. These could imply filing various requests with the Italian authorities.
Non-EU citizens seeking to obtain Italian citizenship by investment will need to prepare various documents, among which proof of the minimum amount to invest. In their case, the investment ranges between 500,000 and 2 million euros depending on the project they are interested in.
No matter the route you decide to follow in order to obtain an Italian passport, our immigration lawyers can offer their support. We can help with the preparation of the necessary paperwork, guidance in relation to the interview with the immigration authorities, and registration with the main institutions in Italy.
Foreign citizens must know that in order to become Italian citizens they must legally live in this country which required registration with the Tax Agency and the social security institutions in order to obtain tax identification numbers.
How quickly can an Italian passport be obtained?
The following timeframes need to be considered when applying for an Italian passport:
- after 4 years of living in Italy based on a permanent residence permit for EU citizens, and after 10 years for non-EU citizens;
- after 2 years of marriage if it was registered in Italy, or 3 years if it was registered in another country;
- after 3 years if the applicant has lost Italian citizenship and wants to reapply;
- after 3 years in case of requesting Italian citizenship by descent (during these years, the applicant must have lived in Italy).
Our immigration lawyers in Italy can offer more information on the timeframe related to obtaining Italian citizenship.
FAQ on how to obtain an Italian passport
- Is it possible to obtain Italian citizenship automatically?
Yes, the two options for obtaining an Italian passport automatically are by descent and by birth, if the parents are deemed stateless persons.
- Is dual citizenship possible in Italy?
Yes, under the Italian Immigration Law, a foreign citizen can keep his/her current citizenship after applying for an Italian passport.
- Is it possible to obtain Italian citizenship through one of my grandparents?
Yes, it is possible, as long as your parent, the son or daughter of the respective grandparent, did not renounce Italian citizenship.
- How soon can I obtain citizenship by investment in Italy?
According to the law, you will be granted an Italian passport after 10 years of living here, however, the status of a resident can be obtained after 6 months.
For assistance in obtaining an Italian passport, please contact our immigration lawyers.
Please mind that a foreigner can be entitled to an Italian passport only after he or she has obtained citizenship in Italy.
It doesn’t matter which citizenship pathway the person followed as, as long as the Italian authorities approve the citizenship application and the foreigner is declared an Italian citizen, then the person will have the right to apply for a passport.
For most of the foreigners, this can happen after 10 years of stay in this country. This is the usual route persons who move to Italy can take, as this is the single option they have for citizenship – citizenship by naturalization.
This applies when a foreigner is not related to Italy in any way, but wants to permanently stay here and become an Italian national.