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Obtain Italian Dual Citizenship

Obtain Italian Dual Citizenship

The number of foreigners interested in acquiring Italian citizenship has increased constantly in the last few years, as Italy is one of the most important economies in Europe and the European Union. While some those who want to immigrate to Italy choose to give up their citizenship at the moment of the application, there are also citizens interested in acquiring dual citizenship in Italy.

It is possible to obtain Italian dual citizenship as the government here does not require foreign immigrants to give up their citizenship, as other countries do. This is also what makes Italy very appealing for foreign citizens, no matter the reason they decide to relocate here.

Below, our immigration lawyers in Italy explain who can obtain Italian dual citizenship and how to do that. We are at your service no matter if you want to apply for Italian dual citizenship or a simple residence permit.

The main ways to dual citizenship in Italy in 2024

There are several ways to obtain citizenship in Italy and all of them allow foreign nationals to retain their first passports. Those interested in how to get dual citizenship in Italy must know the following:

  • they can obtain citizenship by moving to Italy and living here the minimum period of time required for naturalization;
  • they can also obtain dual citizenship if they have Italian ancestors (this option is subject to specific criteria);
  • the purchase of a golden visa is also an option most suitable for non-EU high net worth individuals (the golden visa grants the right to permanent residency and then the foreigner can apply for citizenship by naturalization, there isn’t a direct route to citizenship by investment);
  • employment and self-employment are two of the safest ways of obtaining Italian citizenship and retain the current passport of the applicant.

Italy is one of the friendliest countries in Europe and the European Union when it comes to the possibility of obtaining dual citizenship.

Our immigration lawyers in Italy can assist foreign citizens and entrepreneurs interested in acquiring a passport in this country. Before obtaining citizenship you need to apply for a residence permit in Italy.

Here is also an infographic with the main ways of obtaining dual citizenship in Italy:

Dual citizenship Italy

Criteria for qualifying for Italian citizenship by descent

There are several criteria to be met for those interested in acquiring citizenship in Italy. Among these are:

  • the main requirement is to have at least one Italian ancestor and be able to support that with evidence;
  • foreign citizens with Italian descendants born after March 17th, 1861 can automatically become Italian citizens per Jure Sanguinis;
  • the Italian ancestor must have not obtained another citizenship which has determined them to give up their Italian citizenship;
  • when deriving from a maternal line, citizenship can be obtained from the woman’s paternal line, in case she was born before 1948;
  • foreign investors relocating to Italy through investment by citizenship can obtain Italian dual citizenship.

Italian citizenship by descent can also be obtained if the applicant’s grandparents were Italian citizens.

There are several ways to obtain Italian dual citizenship, including after having lived in Italy based on a residence permit.

Our immigration lawyers in Italy can offer more information on obtaining Italian citizenship by descent.

How to get dual citizenship in Italy by employment in 2024

Employment or self-employment is one of the best ways of getting dual citizenship in Italy. This option is available for both EU and non-EU citizens with the mention that only the latter category of applicants will need to apply for an employment visa or for a self-employed residence permit. EU citizens must register with the local police office in the city they live in within 8 days from entering the country. Even so, they too need to wait the required period of time before applying for Italian citizenship.

With respect to non-EU citizens, they can apply for several types of work permits which come with residence visas, however, only a few of them represent a direct way to permanent residence followed by citizenship.

Third-country nationals interested in how to get dual citizenship in Italy by means of employment can apply for one of the following types of visas:

  • employee work permits which are issued based on a pre-established quota on a yearly basis;
  • professional employee work permits for specialists in specific fields, such as accounting;
  • work permits for assigned employees detached to work in Italy for a foreign company;
  • ICT work permits for highly skilled employees who can act as managers in local companies.

There is also the self-employment permit under which a foreign citizen from a non-EU country can work independently but also for an Italian employer.

The main aspect to consider when applying for dual citizenship in Italy is that different criteria apply based on the nationality of the candidate. These can be influenced by specific agreements between Italy and the applicant’s country of origin, by international treaties, as well as by Italy’s immigration policies.

If you want to apply for dual citizenship, we recommend you discuss your case directly with our immigration lawyer in Italy who can provide case-to-case advice.

The self-employment permit is another option for those seeking to apply for dual citizenship in Italy. This type of residence visa is available for those who can complete activities on an independent basis, such as handcrafters, sole traders, doctors, and so on.

Apart from these, it is also possible to obtain Italian citizenship by marriage while retaining the first passport.

Steps for obtaining Italian dual citizenship for foreigners who have Italian descent

One of the simplest ways of obtaining dual citizenship in Italy is by descent, as compared to the indirect Citizenship by Investment Scheme, this procedure is not subject to any investment criteria which implies a significant amount of money.

The steps to be completed when seeking to obtain Italian dual citizenship are:

  1. establish who the closest Italian relative is (most of the times grandparents are the easiest to track);
  2. obtain the Italian ancestor’s naturalization records or birth certificates in order to establish if dual citizenship is possible;
  3. the applicant’s personal information (birth certificate, marriage certificate and even the death certificate of the Italian ancestor) is required;
  4. all the documents need to be translated into Italian and apostilled before filing them with the Italian authorities;
  5. book an appointment with the Italian Consulate or Embassy in the applicant’s home country and file the documents.

If the documents are approved, the applicant will receive the Italian passport within a few months after the procedure is completed.

If you need assistance in obtaining Italian dual citizenship, our immigration lawyers in Italy can assist you with various services, including tracking down Italian ancestors.

Documents required to apply for dual citizenship in Italy

Those seeking information on how to get dual citizenship in Italy and the documents required should know that these are not different from those when giving up the former citizenship. These depend on the way the foreign citizen immigrated to Italy and must be accompanied by a naturalization certificate that will attest to the applicant’s successful results to the tests imposed by the Italian Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs.

Our Italian immigration lawyers can assist in preparing the file when applying for dual citizenship. These must be filed with the Italian authorities if the applicant is in Italy at the time the request is made or with the Italian Embassy or Consulate if he/she is abroad at the time of the application. It is possible for Italian embassies or consulates to request various documents, which is why it best to ask on the specific requisites before starting the procedure.

If you have questions on how to apply for a residence permit in Italy, please address them to us.

This is our video on how to obtain dual citizenship in Italy:

Benefits of citizenship in Italy

Becoming an Italian citizen has many advantages, among which the equal rights to those born here (voting and employment rights), access to the national education and healthcare systems, as well as EU residency and free travel to all EU and Schengen member states. Dual citizenship holders can also buy real estate in Italy.

Italian citizenship is accessible to both EU and non-EU applicants.

Assistance in obtaining Italian dual citizenship in 2024

Obtaining Italian dual citizenship often implies a lot of research through national archives which for foreign citizens who have not come to Italy before can be quite difficult. With a vast experience in immigration to Italy, our lawyers can help with all the requirements related to obtaining citizenship, including dual citizenship in Italy.

The most important aspect of obtaining Italian dual citizenship is creating a connection between the foreign applicant and Italian ancestor, however, our lawyers can assist in such matters.

Italy is a very appealing country to immigrate to because it offers good jobs for those moving here based on employment permits, it also offers good investment opportunities and even students will find it very appealing to study here.

According to statistics:

  • in 2017, Italy occupied the 1st position among the EU countries welcoming foreign citizens (18% of the total EU immigrants);
  • in the same year, Italy was the 4th country in the EU to have 4,1 immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants;
  • between 2015 and 2017, the number of foreign citizens moving to Italy grew by 13%;
  • at an EU level, the number of immigrants in 2017 was 825,400.

Persons who want to relocate to Italy for residency or citizenship in 2024 must know that Italy is one of the European countries with the largest number of foreigners. By the end of 2022, the Italian authorities have announced that the total number of foreigners living in Italy is above 5 million, while the largest share, of more than 1 million, is represented by Romanian citizens.

For assistance in obtaining Italian dual citizenship, please contact our immigration lawyers.

The law on citizenship in Italy was modified in 1992 to allow dual citizenship in certain cases. In order to apply for it, you must make the proof of having Italian ancestry and for this, various documents must be used (this applies to the cases where the foreigners are of Italian descent and have the citizenship of another country). However, dual citizenship can be obtained following other routes, such as naturalization.

The documents are either in the possession of your family, either they must be identified in the Italian registers that gather information on the Italian population.

You can move to Italy to start this procedure or you can be in the country where you have your residence. Our immigration lawyers can provide legal assistance on the steps you must initiate.

You can contact us if you need information on how to become a permanent resident of this country, as well as for any other details that is related to immigration (relocating with family members, visa requirements, work visas, etc.)

Although the legislation for dual citizenship hasn’t had many updates in the last years, it is necessary to know that if you want to apply in 2024 for dual citizenship based on your Italian ancestry, there are some new rules to follow.

Thus, if you have Italian ancestry, you must apply in accordance with the rules of the Article 36 Law 2026/2021, which states that a person who wants to claim citizenship based on ancestry has to initiate the procedure at a court located in the region where the ancestor lived/lives.

The case has to be heard by the District Court in the town where the ancestor has his or her residency or, if the ancestor lives/lived in a village, to the district court located in a municipality that has jurisdiction over the respective village.