The Brexit talks seem to be as far away from resolution as ever, leaving British businesses in an uncertain position with regard to British employees working across Europe.  Also, individuals who want to retain the freedom of movement throughout Europe are also having to think of ways to counter the loss of EU citizenship and the benefits it brings.  There are many reasons that Britons may have for spending prolonged periods of time in European countries; some have second properties that they may consider living in when they retire.  Dual nationality is an increasingly desirable route for large numbers of people, however not every European country has provision for dual citizenship.

Italy recognises the right to hold dual citizenship under Law No. 91/1992.  There are various routes to citizenship; the three main routes are:

Decent, the principle of "jure sanguinis" – blood right, this is when your entitlement hinges on your Italian heritage.  However, as Italy's constitution, in its present form, only came into effect in January 1948, when your Italian forebears were born or were married can affect your application.  The right to Italian citizenship can now flow through the female line as the Italian Supreme Court, relatively recently, ruled that limiting the right to only the male line was contrary to the constitutional principles and, more particularly, to the principle of equality between the sexes. 

People relying on great-grandparents, unless the bloodline is unbroken, will need to have thorough information about dates of birth, marriage and whether they moved away from Italy, as many people did in the aftermath of the Second World War and frequently renounced their Italian citizenship to demonstrate commitment to their adopted country.  Even if there appear to be obstacles preventing your application, the immigration lawyers at Giambrone have been successful in overcoming significant issues in the past for our clients and have developed strategies to achieve the desired result.

Marriage, one of the most straightforward methods of obtaining Italian citizenship is marriage to an Italian citizen.  The right of citizenship for the spouse of an Italian citizen cannot be denied except in the following circumstances – to those who have a criminal record for a serious crime committed either in or outside of Italy. It can also be denied to those who are considered a threat to the national security and public order.

After marrying an Italian citizen there are further requirements which must be met under Italian law. Legal residency in Italy for a period of at least two years, or three years if living abroad.  The marriage must continue to exist throughout the process of applying for citizenship.  There is no requirement to speak Italian.

Naturalisation, a non-EU citizen having legally resided in Italy for a period of ten years may apply for Italian citizenship and an EU citizen may apply after four years. A foreigner with native-born Italian parents or grandparents who have lost their citizenship and therefore unable to pass on Italian citizenship is entitled to apply after three years of legal residency in Italy.

Giambrone's immigration lawyers are extremely experienced in assisting individuals in obtaining Italian citizenship in all circumstances. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.