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Changes to Italian Citizenship Requirements: What You Need to Know
Maybe you’ve started the process of becoming a dual Italian-American citizen or you’re thinking about it. If so, it’s important to stay up to date on changes to the citizenship requirements.
Due to growing concern about immigration and border security, on October 4, 2018, Italy’s office of the Ministry of Interior issued a decree (law) outlining new rules for citizenship by naturalization.
There are new language proficiency requirements for prospective citizens, as well as changes to the application processing time and the application fee.
These new rules apply to individuals who want to become citizens by residency or marriage (jure matrimonii). They do not impact people pursuing Italian citizenship through jure sanguinis (by descent). Learn more about how to become an Italian citizen.
Here are more details about the changes:
Italy now requires individuals applying to become a citizen by residency or marriage to have a B1-level language qualification or higher through the Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language (CILS) program.
A B1 certificate means a person has a lower-intermediate level of Italian language proficiency. Someone at this level should be able to speak Italian proficiently enough to work, go to school, shop, etc., with no problems.
To obtain a B1 certificate, applicants must pass an exam (approximately three hours long) that tests their knowledge of basic Italian. Applications submitted without a B1 certificate after December 5, 2018 will not be accepted.
This language requirement may seem stringent but being able to speak Italian will undoubtedly make life easier in Italy. Everything from banking to shopping to signing important legal documents will feel less intimidating.
Application Processing Times
The processing time for citizenship applications by naturalization used to be up to 24 months. The new rules have extended the possible processing time to as long as 48 months. This applies to applications that were not completed by December 5, 2018, including applications that were started before that date but were delayed for some reason.
Application Processing Fee
The application processing fee has increased from €200 to €250 (roughly $250 to $290).
Get Help Understanding Italian Dual Citizenship Requirements
The rules on qualifying for Italian citizenship can change at any time. The experts at the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program can help you understand these changes and determine if you qualify for Italian citizenship, whether by descent, marriage, or residency.
Our experts can help you make sense of the often-complicated process of becoming an Italian citizen, and we can help you gather the necessary documents, acquire document translations, and more. Our program has helped hundreds of people discover whether they are eligible for Italian citizenship! Contact us today to learn more.