Italian citizenship law allows multiple routes to acquiring citizenship in Italy, all of which require an element of physical presence to satisfy a residency test ranging from 3 to 10 years of residency in Italy.
Italian Citizenship for EU Nationals
EU citizens are entitled to a fast track citizenship within 4 years of residency in Italy. EU nationals the right to acquire citizenship in Italy upon showing evidence of having lived in Italy for at least 4 years as well as proving that they have no criminal convictions.
Entitlement to Italian citizenship for EU nationals is subject to the following rules:
- legal residency in Italy for a minimum of 4 years (i.e. are registered as residents with the local Townhall);
- tax payments; and
- clean criminal record
One is not to expect adjudication of an Italian Citizenship application before a few years during which the applicant must remain resident in Italy and continue to pay taxes until adjudication. Italian citizenship is adjudicated if the conditions for eligibility are in place as at date of lodgement of the application for Italian citizenship.
Our Italian citizenship lawyers have experienced an increased demand for Italian citizenship in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, by UK citizens meeting the conditions indicated above. It is recommended that UK citizens apply for citizenship while the UK is still a member of the EU i.e. within 2 years from the Brexit vote. Provided that the applicant meets all requirements on the day the application is lodged, there should be no problems for obtaining Italian citizenship.
Italian Citizenship for 3rd Country Nationals
Non-EU nationals are required to provide evidence of 10 years of legal residency in Italy.
Italian Citizenship by Birth & Descendents of Italian Born
Persons born in Italy have the right to acquire Italian citizenship on the basis of their jus soli. The jus soli (meaning 'right of the soil') is the right of anyone born in the territory of Italy to Italian nationality or citizenship. Under Italian Citizenship law, citizenship by birth in Italy is conditional on evidencing 3 years of residency in Italy. The same residency test applies to persons born of Italian citizens up to the second degree, i.e. grandparents.
Almost all states in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania grant citizenship at birth based upon the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood), in which citizenship is inherited through parents not by birthplace, or a restricted version of jus soli in which citizenship by birthplace is automatic only for the children of certain immigrants. Countries that have acceded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness will grant nationality to otherwise stateless persons who were born on their territory, or on a ship or plane flagged by that country.
Italian Citizenship for Adult Adoptees
Adult children of Italian citizens are entitled to Italian Citizenship upon showing at least 5 years of legal residence in Italy. The same residence test applies to stateless persons and political refugees and for adult children of naturalized Italian parents;
Italian Citizenship for Persons in the service of Italian dependencies
Persons in the service of Italian dependencies have the right to Italian citizenship after 5 years of service.
* Italian Citizenship Law, art. 9(d) Law n. 92/1991]
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.