Share This Post
Can Husband and Wife Apply for Citizenship Together?
It is common for family members to apply for Italian citizenship together, although each must provide their own documentation to establish their valid claim. Siblings and parents with children might become citizens at roughly the same time based on a joint Italian ancestor. One can also become an Italian citizen by marriage, but can a husband and wife apply for citizenship together?
Applying for Italian Citizenship by Marriage
According to Italian law, one member of the couple must become an Italian citizen before their spouse can apply, except in cases where both spouses have their own claim to citizenship by blood or descent. So, most often, one of you will need to complete the application process and be approved as the citizen spouse before the other can apply based on marriage.
The spouse whose claim is based on marriage to the new Italian citizen must wait for two years to apply if the couple lives in Italy, or three years if their permanent residence is in the United States. These waiting periods may be cut in half if the couple has (or adopts) children under the age of 18.
Italian law recognizes same-sex couples living in maritial union, provided there is documentation of their marriage or civil union. Since 2016, these couples are eligible for all the same benefits and must meet the same requirements to achieve dual or Italian citizenship.
The Italian Citizenship by Marriage Process
Applying for citizenship through marriage is a request, not a guaranteed right. You will need to obtain specific requirements from the Italian consulate with jurisdiction in your area. Some consulates allow you to complete forms online before scheduling an appointment.
For some applicants, specifically women who married an Italian man prior to 1983, their citizenship was granted instantly on the day of their marriage. As long as their marriage was still valid as of April 26, 1983, these women will have a much shorter wait time, but they will still need to make an appointment with the consulate and provide the requested information.
Documentation That May be Required to Apply
Spouses of Italian citizens will need to provide official documentation to support their application for citizenship. Some of the documents you should gather for translation and apostille may include:
- You will need documents establishing your permanent residence in the jurisdiction of the consulate, which might include application for naturalization documents such as Form N-400, an ID issued by a government agency, and in some cases utility bills or another proof of address.
- Green card holders will need to supply documentation from immigration services that shows their current citizenship status.
- Official records of the marriage must be registered in a commune (like a township) in Italy.
- Certified copies of the spouse’s birth records must be translated into Italian and apostille certified.
- Financial information, including tax returns, may be required to prove that the couple can adequately meet their fiscal responsibilities.
- The spouse must provide documentation from an approved institution that they have at least an intermediate or B1 level grasp of the Italian language.
- An FBI and state criminal background check run within the last six months is also required to establish good moral character.
- The citizen spouse must register with AIRE (the registry of Italians Residing Abroad) before their spouse can apply if the couple does not live in Italy.
The Oath of Allegiance
If and when the spouse of an Italian citizen is granted citizenship, they will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony at the Consulate, which must happen within six months. The new citizen and their spouse must attend, and the citizen spouse will need to sign documents affirming that the marriage is still valid.
Then the consul general or their representative will read a statement and the new citizen will repeat the oath of allegiance, which is as follows:
“Giuro di essere fedele alla Repubblica Italiana e di osservare la Costituzione e le leggi dello Stato.”
This translates as: “I swear allegiance to the Italian Republic and I swear to respect the Constitution and the laws of the State.”
Does Your Family Qualify for Italian Citizenship?
While some couples engage a law firm to help them navigate this process, it is not as daunting as it sounds with the right resources available to you. At the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program, we can help you and your loved ones through the process of dual citizenship if you qualify.
Contact us today to find out if you, your spouse, and your descendents can become dual Italian citizens, with the right to travel the EU and work, live, or retire in Italy if you choose.