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How Long Does It Take to Get Citizenship in Italy?
There are many advantages to having citizenship in Italy, even if you do not intend to live there full time. Many Americans qualify for Italian dual citizenship and the ability to travel to Italy and other EU countries whenever they wish, to purchase land, to import their belongings, or to retire in the Tuscan sun. Yet how long does it take to get citizenship in Italy and how do you qualify?
Are You Eligible to Become an Italian Citizen?
It is quite possible that you are eligible to become an Italian citizen if:
- You have a direct ancestor who was born in Italy (by descent).
- You or your direct ancestor married an Italian citizen (by marriage).
- You were born in Italy, either to a citizen or without another official nationality (by birth).
Of course, there are particular criteria that must be met, and you will need to gather required documents and vital records for your application for Italian citizenship. A simple online questionnaire can help you determine if you qualify.
How Quickly Can You Become an Italian Citizen?
There are several factors that affect how long it will take to apply for Italian citizenship. It often takes 18 months or more once your application is accepted by the Italian consulate or embassy with jurisdiction in your area.The wait time can be longer if your application is incomplete or documents need to be amended.
Once you receive notification that your citizenship is confirmed, you will be able to obtain an Italian passport. Traveling under an Italian passport offers many advantages when exploring the EU, and your citizenship allows you to live and work there without time limits.
The Process of Applying for Citizenship in Italy
Starting the process as soon as you know you are eligible will help you more efficiently manage these steps, which are essential to earning your citizenship in Italy:
- Research Italian vital records to document that your ancestor was born in Italy or was married to an Italian citizen. This might take three months.
- Obtain applicable U.S. Naturalization Records or ensure and document that no naturalization records exist, which may require contacting the U.S. Census Bureau as well. Most people spend about three months in this state of the process.
- Locate other certified U.S. vital records, as required. This might involve state, county, and township records. Any errors in names or dates on these documents must be officially corrected. This step takes two months or more, on average..
- Obtain Apostilles (Italian legalization) of the U.S. vital records and naturalization records, as required by the Consulate or Embassy where you are applying. This may take two to three months on average.
- Find an official translator to translate the U.S. documents in English into Italian. Plan for at least one month for this, once you locate a reliable certified translator.
- Submit the completed application packet to the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction in your state or locality. Once submitted, you will wait for an appointment to be set. Wait times vary greatly by Consulate, from six months to a year or more in some cases.
Streamlining the Process of Applying for Italian Citizenship
The Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program was created to help Italian Americans obtain their citizenship rights, reconnect with their heritage, and pursue their educational, career, and retirement goals. We can help you determine your eligibility, and we offer translation services, Apostille services, and assistance with all steps of your application.
If you are wondering if becoming an Italian dual citizen is the right choice for you and a legacy you could leave to your children, contact us today. We can schedule a free telephone consultation to get you started and help you make this life-enhancing decision.