Share This Post
Italian-American Dual Citizen Checklist and Step-by-Step Guide
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 regional Italian consulate has its own requirements, you’ll need to check with your own consulate to make sure you’re on track.
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, obtaining your Italian citizenship by descent or marriage will make the process much easier.
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 qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, or 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 dual citizenship only if all the following are true:
- You were born after January 1, 1948.
- Your mother was born in the United States.
- Your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time your mom was born.
- Neither you nor your mom ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
There are many other scenarios where you might qualify for Italian citizenship based on your great grandparents or other Italian ancestors who were born in Italy. Our experts can help you find out if you qualify. Read our Italian Dual Citizenship ebook to learn more about the different paths 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 Italian 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. Use the Italian dual citizenship checklist below to make sure you have everything you need and your application packet is complete. You might find it very helpful to work with an Italian American dual citizenship assistance program to track down documents in Italy or through federal and state offices in the United States.
Step 4: Bring documents to the consulate office.
Organize all your documents and bring them to your consulate appointment when it is time for your appointment. You can download the application forms online from the Italian consulate that has jurisdiction in your area. Some consulates allow family members to apply together, but usually each applicant for Italian citizenship will need their own appointment. Assuming you qualify and your application is complete with all appropriate documents translated into Italian and certified by apostille, you should be approved.
Step 5: Wait for the approval letter and an Italian citizenship certificate.
It usually takes around two to four 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 (at FedEx or a 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, marriage, or divorce certificates
- 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)
You will need certified copies of official paperwork, and all documents must be translated into Italian. You may need to work with local communes in Italy to track down your ancestors’ Italian vital records or work with the Secretary of State to find the pertinent documents that prove you are directly descended from an Italian citizen who has not surrendered their right to citizenship.
You will also need an apostille for most documents. 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 work with expert consultants like the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program. We are here to help you navigate and understand the often-complex Italian dual citizenship requirements, gather the necessary documents, and successfully overcome any obstacles.
Our Italian citizenship assistance program has helped hundreds of people discover whether they are eligible to become an Italian citizen! Contact us today to learn more.