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Obtain Italian American Dual Citizenship When I Don’t Qualify
There are several different paths you can follow to obtain Italian American dual citizenship. The easiest is when you have an ancestor who is considered an Italian citizen. This is referred to as citizenship jure sanguinis. Essentially, if you have any ancestor in your lineage who was once an Italian citizen, you could qualify for dual citizenship using this path.
However, not everyone qualifies for this type of citizenship for various reasons. Your grandmother or great grandmother may have been born before January 1, 1948. Prior to that date, female Italians were not permitted for the purpose of citizenship jure sanguine. You may not have any Italian ancestors but still want to become an Italian citizen because you love the country and want to live there permanently.
Fortunately, there are other paths you can follow to obtain citizenship. Each of these paths has its own specific qualifications and requirements. They will also have specific time periods where one must reside in Italy to qualify for citizenship. It is important to review each of the criteria to verify you qualify for a specific citizenship path.
Citizenship Through Visa Sponsorship
One option is to have an Italian school or employer sponsor you for a visa. A visa allows you to study or work in Italy for a specific period of time. The visa may need to be renewed periodically. After living in Italy for a period of time, you can then apply to become a permanent resident and an Italian citizen.
Citizenship Through a Permit to Stay
A permit to stay or permesso di soggiorno is another path to citizenship. There are a number of different types of permits one could apply for when they are planning on staying in Italy for more than 90 days, including:
- Permesso di soggiorno per lavoro (Work Permit)
- Permesso di soggiorno per turismo (Tourist Permit)
- Permesso di soggiorno per dimora (Foreigner Non-Work/Non-Study Permit)
- Permesso di soggiorno per coesione familiare (Foreigner Spouse/Children Permit)
- Permesso di soggiorno per studio (Student Permit)
- Permesso di soggiorno per lavoro autonomo/independente (Freelancer/Self-Employed Work Permit)
- Permesso di soggiorno per ricongiungimento familiare (Foreigner Family Permit)
Permits are issued for a specific period of time. They may need to be renewed periodically. After living for the required time in Italy, you can then apply for a permanent resident card and eventually become a citizen.
Citizenship Through Marriage
Another path you may qualify for is if you marry an Italian citizen or someone of Italian descent who qualifies for citizenship jure sanguinis. If your spouse is already an Italian citizen, then you must wait six months before you can apply for Italian citizenship, as long as you reside within Italy.
If you and your spouse live abroad, then you will have to remain married for a period of three years before you can apply and become an Italian citizen (Half of that period if you have children). If your spouse qualifies for citizenship jure sanguinis, then you must wait for them to obtain their dual citizenship status first. Then, you can apply to become a citizen.
As seen, there are several other paths to Italian citizenship when you do not qualify for jure sanguinis. Please keep in mind there may be other options beyond those discussed here. In addition, certain paths may require you to give up your U.S. citizenship in order to become an Italian citizen.
For further information about how to apply for Italian dual citizenship in the USA or other citizenship options, please feel free to contact the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program at (305) 812-5512 today.