Italy: How To Become Italian Citizens, When Immigration Becomes Hospitality

Last Updated: 21 September 2016
Article by Calogero Boccadutri

For a foreigner to become an Italian citizen it gives rise to a series of duties, contextually, to acquire political and civil rights otherwise denied.

Law No 94 of July 15, 2009 has introduced new requirements to obtain Italian citizenship. As a result of these provisions, there has been an increase in the time required for the acquisition of the right to be called Italian citizen. The possibility to resort to self-certification has been pretty much zeroed out, except in the case of stateless persons and refugees. The result has been a drastic decline in the proportion of applications accepted, due to the increased demand.

The titles to achieve citizenship differ by status of the applicant. Those born in Italy are not automatically Italian, unless one of the parents is Italian, but may become so at the age of 18 years old. Similarly, a child adopted by a couple living in Italy, may be recognized as Italian if it is one of the parents, or become an Italian citizen to coming of age. If a parent living acquires Italian citizenship, the child will automatically be entitled, in accordance with the principle of "jure sanguinis".

The descendants of Italian citizens can obtain citizenship as long as the blood bond does not exceed four generations, and that the blood relation, who was born and lived in Italy, despite having moved abroad, never renounced the nationality of origin.
Another option for anyone who is a foreigner, or a stateless person, to become an Italian for all purposes of law, is to be married to an Italian citizen. The request may be made if, after marriage, of at least 24 months of residence in our country and in the absence of a criminal record. Twelve months will suffice if there are children, also if they are adopted, with the spouse. If the couple is residing abroad there must be at least 36 months from the date of marriage (and in any case the marriage bond must remain). The terms are halved in the presence of children born or adopted by the spouses.

It can be considered a requirement to obtain Italian citizenship, to live with continuity in our country for a number of years and that it can be shown that they have permanent employment. After the first step, that is the obtaining of residence permits, after 10 years, you will acquire the automatic right to become Italian citizen. For the descendants of Italian citizens, up to the second degree, and for foreign citizens born in Italy, the terms go down to three years. For EU citizens it will take four years, while Community nationals to stateless persons, refugees or adopted adults need five. The privilege of citizenship is also for Italian State employees after at least 5 years of service, even if done abroad.

Can I get help in any of these cases by lawyers of the law firm Boccadutri? They will help you to fill in your questions and find the necessary documentation even in problematic situations or contingencies. The documentation to be submitted must be absolutely accurate, under penalty of rejection of the application. You will need a birth certificate, police certificate from the country of origin and other countries of residence, copies of permits/identity cards (for non-EU citizens), or claims of residence issued by the municipality of residence (for citizens), tax models received in the past three years, if it is declared to be able to rely on income produced by themselves or by members of their household.
For those categories of political refugee and Stateless you need a copy of certificate of recognition. Being unable to produce the same required certificates to others, for obvious reasons, may submit an affidavit in lieu of that of birth and a statement in lieu of the certificate of good conduct.
If over the years there have been changes in documents they should also be documented and justified. As an example, when foreign women change their surname after marriage, this involves the presentation of the marriage certificate.
All documents require translation in Italian.
Foreigners of Italian origin, who wish to move to Italy, must apply to the Italian Consulate in their country of residence. In case you are in Italy, you must apply at the municipal authorities of the city in which they are resident and prove they are residents and certify their Italian heritage.

You can speed up the process by using the online service, managed by the Department for immigration, but even then it is recommended the support of a legal expert and qualified personnel, who, as in the case of our attorneys, can assist even while he is abroad.

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.

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