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Italian-American Dual Citizen Checklist and Step-by-Step Guide
Obtaining dual citizenship in Italy has so many advantages.
As a dual Italian-American citizen, you’ll be able to live and work in Italy and other EU countries without a visa. You’ll have access to healthcare and public education throughout the EU. If you have kids under the age of 18, they’ll automatically become Italian citizens when you become a dual citizen. If your goal is to live in Italy, becoming a citizen will make it much easier to buy property there.
The process of becoming a dual citizen isn’t easy. It takes time and commitment, but it has many rewards, including connecting with your heritage in an authentic way.
Here is a brief overview of the steps you’ll need to take to get dual citizenship. We’ve also included an Italian-American dual citizenship checklist that covers the basics. Since each state has its own requirements, you’ll need to check with your state agencies to make sure you’re on track.
Step 1: Determine if you qualify.
Before you apply for dual citizenship, you must find out if you qualify. There are three ways: through ancestry, marriage, or naturalization.
To become an Italian citizen by descent, you must meet very specific requirements. If your maternal grandfather (your mom’s dad) was born in Italy, for example, you would qualify for Italian citizenship through jure sanguinis(blood right) only if all the following are true:
- You were born after January 1, 1948.
- Your mother was born in the U.S.
- Your grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time your mom was born.
- Neither you nor your mom ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
Step 2: Make appointments immediately.
Once you’ve determined you qualify for dual citizenship, make an Italian citizenship appointment at your regional consulate office as soon as possible; it can take one to six years to get an appointment. While you’re waiting, you should have plenty of time to gather the documents you’ll need to present to the consulate.
Step 3: Gather all needed documents.
Once you’ve scheduled your appointment, you should immediately start gathering the documents needed to prove eligibility.
Step 4: Bring documents to the consulate office.
Organize all your documents and bring them to your consulate appointment. We recommend completing the application forms in advance. You can usually download them online.
Step 5: Wait for the approval letter and an Italian citizenship certificate.
It usually takes around 2-4 years to receive an approval letter and citizenship certificate. The letter will let you know you’re now a dual citizen and have been registered in AIRE (registry of Italians living abroad). The letter may also discuss requesting your Italian passport and usually encourages new citizens to learn the language and learn about Italian culture.
Step 6: Apply for an Italian passport.
Your last step is getting your Italian passport. You’ll need to get two passport pictures taken (FedEx or post office) and purchase a money order for the passport fee, made out to your consulate. You’ll also need to make a clear photocopy of your current U.S. passport. You can mail or bring these things in person with your passport application to your consulate office. You may also need to provide your fingerprints and may need to visit the consulate office to pick up your passport.
Basic Checklist of Documents You May Need to Apply for Italian Citizenship
- Your birth certificate
- Your current marriage certificate (if applicable)
- If your spouse is applying, their birth certificate
- Birth certificates for all children under age 18 (if applicable)
- Your divorce certificate and/or divorce decree (if you have been divorced)
- Your mother’s birth/marriage/divorce/death certificate
- Your father’s birth/marriage/divorce/death certificate
- Your grandparent’s birth/marriage/divorce/death certificate/naturalization papers
- Your great grandparent’s birth/marriage/divorce/death certificate/naturalization papers (if applying through a great grandparent)
All documents must be translated into Italian.
Also, ask about an apostille for each document. An apostille is a specialized certificate that is attached to the original document; it indicates that a document is legitimate and authentic for member countries of the Hague Apostille Convention (which includes Italy).
Get Help Becoming a Dual Italian-American Citizen
The fastest way to find out if you qualify for Italian citizenship is to consult an expert like the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program. We’re here to help you navigate and understand the often-complex Italian dual citizenship requirements, gather the necessary documents, and more.
Our Italian citizenship programhas helped hundreds of people discover whether they are eligible to become an Italian citizen! Contact us today to learn more.