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Italian Dual Citizenship—Things You Wish You Knew Beforehand
Becoming a dual Italian-American citizen can be a long, arduous process. It takes patience and determination, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
There are so many Italian citizenship benefits. With dual citizenship, you’ll be able to live and work in Italy and other countries in the EU without a visa, and you’ll have access to health care and public education across the EU. Your children under age 18 will automatically become Italian citizens, and you’ll have easier access to buying property in Italy.
Here are some things people who didn’t get help from a dual citizenship consultantsay they wish they had known when they started their citizenship journey:
- Before you apply for dual citizenship you need to find out as many details about your Italian ancestors as possible, going back to your last known Italian-born ancestor, whether it’s a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent. If you’re applying for citizenship through jure sanguinis (blood right), you must be able to prove that 1) the ancestor you are applying through did not become a U.S. citizen before the next person in your line of descendants was born or 2) that they never became a U.S. citizen at all. Note that if you’re obtaining Italian citizenship through marriage the requirements are different.
- You should make an appointment with your local Italian consulate office before you even start gathering documents. Why? The wait time for an appointment at your regional consulate office can be from one to six years; this means you’ll have plenty of time to start gathering the necessary documents to prove your eligibility for dual citizenship. Check with your local consulate website to find out which documents you’ll need; at a minimum, you’ll need birth, marriage, naturalization and death certificates for everyone in your line and their spouses (usually); you’ll also need divorce records, if applicable.
- Always order more than one copy of a document in case one is lost or damaged; it can take a long time to get a replacement, which will only delay the process. Also, if other family members decide to follow your lead and pursue dual citizenship, you’ll have extra copies to give them.
- Always ask for the “long form” version of any document you’re requesting; also make sure to specify that your documents are for dual citizenship use.
- Save the envelopes your documents arrive in. You might need them later to prove where the documents came from.
- Scan every document as it arrives and keep track of hard copies in a filing system.
- Keep a spreadsheet of which documents you’ve ordered and when, and which documents you’ve received and when. Update it regularly.
Other Things to Know
- The process of getting dual citizenship can test your patience. Consider joining an online dual citizenship group where you can interact with others going through the same process and share tips and information.
- Italian law changes frequently, so check your local consulate’s website for updates.
- If you’re an American citizen living in Italy, know that you can also apply for citizenship there—you don’t have to come back to the States to apply.
Get Expert Help
The process of obtaining dual citizenship is time-consuming and can be frustrating. This is where professional assistance can be invaluable.
The Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program is staffed by experts who will help you through the process from beginning to end, including guiding you through the steps for obtaining necessary Italian citizenship documents, finding out where and how to make an Italian consulate appointment, and providing translations when needed.
Our Italian citizenship programhas helped hundreds of people discover their Italian heritage and become a dual Italian-American citizen! Contact us today to learn more.