Italy: Guide To Dual Citizenship In Italy

Last Updated: 6 July 2017
Article by Calogero Boccadutri

Dual citizenship in Italy

The status of "dual citizenship" is advised for those who, whilst they have transferred their interests abroad, do not intend to cut off the umbilical cord with their Mother Land, even in view of a potential return.

Dual citizenship is a possibility that those who wish to move abroad ought to take into consideration. In Italy, they have decided to encourage the integration of foreigners, and, in turn to agree to the integration of Italians abroad, without necessarily renouncing their judicial obligations in the country of origin.

Italian citizenship has been regulated by law 91 of the 5th of February 1992, which allows Italian citizens to gain the citizenship of their foreign country of residence without losing their Italian one and agrees to foreign citizens keeping their own nationality whilst acquiring their Italian one, in cases in which it is encouraged in their countries as well.

It has also been underlined how, those who gain citizenship of a European Union member state automatically become citizens of the EU.

The Strasbourg Convention

In Europe, in 1963, the Strasbourg Convention was ratified. It opposed plural citizenships and determined military service obligations for citizens with more than one nationality.
Italy had signed it in 1966, to then officially repudiate it in 2009, while remaining a signatory, thereby recognising the need for guaranteeing obligations on military service in countries that mandate it.
The same convention was modified on two occasions, in 1977 and 1993, when the right to hold dual citizenship was established. Beyond just Italy, all of Germany, Sweden, France, Luxembourg and Belgium officially rejected the convention. From 1963 until today, it has passed from a refusal of multiple citizenships to a general acceptance in the name of coherence given that times change.

Yet different states, not just those outside of Europe, are continuing to veto the possibility of holding citizenship from a country of origin while citizenship has been requested in the country in which the citizen resides.

It is one or the other.

The States that allow double citizenship

In the list of states in which, as of today, it is not possible to have reciprocity with Italy regarding citizenship, there are relatively unexpected names, such as Spain, Ireland, Iceland and Norway.
You may also be shocked to meet cases such as Belorussia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The others, more or less understandably, are: Andorra, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, The People's Republic of China, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, French Congo, South Korea, the Ivory Coast, Cuba, The United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, The Philippines, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Djibouti, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Venezuela and Zambia.

In some countries, reform is underway and they are not known to be leaving the list.

States such as Brazil, Ecuador, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, do not exclude the possibility of dual passports but these are exceptional cases.

For Cubans it is possible to have dual citizenship, but while they may be in the second country, the second citizenship has no legal worth.

In the absence of agreements with these countries, the citizens who gain Italian citizenship lose their own and Italian citizens stop being Italian in the same way.

An opportunity for Britons to stay in Europe after Brexit

Gaining dual British/Italian citizenship would allow citizens resident in Italy to face up to Great Britain's definitive exit from the European Union in the least traumatic way possible, not yet having a full knowledge of the evolution of the situation in their country of origin.

After Brexit, many British people, resident abroad, have chosen to request dual citizenship to avoid getting caught up in the problems of marriages between one country and the other.

Both Great Britain and Italy allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship. Gaining it is not completely straightforward, but it is not impossible, either.

It having been verified, therefore, that there is no obstacle to British citizens acquiring dual citizenship, it being agreed to by both countries, other fundamental requirements need to be borne in mind.

Those who can obtain Italian citizenship

Italian citizenship is a status that privileges the principle of "Jus sanguinis", the right of blood, according to which the child of at least one Italian parent must be an Italian citizen.
This excludes those born in Italy to foreign parents, even if the principle of "Jus soli" could be accepted as a condition for obtaining citizenship if the proposal being discussed in parliament is converted into law.
One of the most common ways to gain Italian citizenship is to be resident in Italy for at least ten years. Alternatively, you can also gain it by getting married to an Italian citizen or being adopted by Italian citizens.

How to request dual citizenship

The request is carried out online by producing a series of self-certified documents (state of family origin, date of initial entrance into Italy...), plus those proving your identity at birth (or the eventual change of second name after marriage) and the residence permit.
One important factor is demonstrating, through a particular certificate, that you do not have a criminal record.
All the documents, not presented with self-certification, will be translated and approved by the Italian diplomatic-consular in the UK.

If Italian citizenship were requested for "Jus sanguinis" the citizenship of the parent or direct descendent (up to once removed), would need to be proven. If it were requested by invoking, as a reason, service to the Italian state, even if abroad, documentation showing this would have to be presented, since being adopted by Italians would need to be proven if this were the supporting motive for the request for dual citizenship.

The Prefecture, after a debate with the Police Headquarters, presented the documents to the Ministry of the Interior, in turn supported by the opinion of the State Council.
When the practice is accepted, the Ministry of the Interior issues the measure certifying the concession of Italian citizenship and makes it known to the Prefecture.
From the Prefecture, communication comes to the residence commune of the person who made the request. The decree of concession for Italian citizenship must be notified to the person in question within ninety days of the reception of the request on the part of the Prefecture.
Once the new Italian citizen has received the admission decree, they must present themselves, within six months of the notification date, to the Residency Commune in order to be able to make the oath of fidelity to the Italian Republic.

If the person in question does not respect the peremptory term of six months, the decree of concession for citizenship loses its effect.

Boccadutri International Law Firm evaluates solutions adapted to all types of necessity, whether it is to do with second citizenship or residency permits. Our law firm's identity allows us to support you in your mother tongue. Do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation in Immigration Law.

Contact our lawyers by filling in the online application form here.

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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