Italian Citizenship by Marriage (Jure Matrimonii)
Many people are granted Italian citizenship by marriage, or “jure matrimonii.” There are laws in place which can help you in obtaining Italian citizenship, and the process may be simple and straightforward for many people. However, there have been recent changes to the law that you should know if seeking Italian citizenship through marriage.
Who Is Eligible for Italian Citizenship Through Marriage?
The Italian government passed a new law on October 21, 2020, which amends previous legislation introduced in December 2018. It has made changes to the processing time for applications for citizenship by marriage. The processing time is now 24 months, or 2 years. However, this can be extended to up to 36 months, or 3 years.
The previous decree law set the application processing time at 48 months, or 4 years. Processing time for applications has therefore been reduced with the new Italian citizenship requirements, which applies to any application submitted on or after October 22, 2020.
If married to an Italian citizen, you can apply for Italian citizenship after residing in Italy for 2 years, or after 3 years if residing in the United States. If you and your spouse have a child under 18, this time frame may be reduced by half.
Anyone, man or woman, stateless or a citizen of a foreign nation, who is the spouse of an Italian citizen may be eligible. Other eligibility requirements and prerequisites include:
- Applying for Italian citizenship through marriage is possible after 2-3 years from the date of marriage, with a few exceptions.
- The new law only applies to citizenship applications filed after it went into effect.
- Certified knowledge of the Italian Language at the B1 level or above, which is considered intermediate by the Common European Framework for Reference for Languages.
- A language certificate must be issued by an institution approved by the Italian Ministry of Education or Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and certified under the Italian Quality Language Certification system.
- If a couple resides abroad, the Italian spouse must register with the AIRE, or Registry of Italians Residing Abroad, before the other spouse can apply for citizenship.
As of 2016, the Italian government recognizes same-sex civil unions. Marriages of these individuals which were documented abroad may be eligible. Under these regulations for same-sex marriages, where one spouse is an Italian citizen, their partner may consider applying for citizenship as well.
If Married Before April 27, 1983
Women who married an Italian man before April 27, 1983 are eligible for a streamlined citizenship process. This type of Italian citizenship by marriage was granted automatically on the day of the marriage before the law changed on the above date. The process involves simply filing the documentation needed to establish the claim.
If you have additional questions or concerns on applying for Italian citizenship by marriage, the Italian government has set up a helpline to assist; it can be reached at:
- 06-46539955: Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- 3346909996: Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- 3346909859: Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Applying for Italian Citizenship by Marriage
While getting Italian citizenship through marriage is very possible, some people find the process difficult to navigate on their own. Italian American Citizenship Assistance can help you or your spouse gather the necessary documentation for a complete application, while staying within the time limits that apply to certain pieces of the required paperwork.
Some of the documentation requirements and guidelines involved include:
- Documenting B1 knowledge of the Italian language (CILS, CELI, or other certificate).
- Obtaining Apostille authentication and working with the specific Italian Consulate Jurisdiction’s requirements for documentation.
- Locating or obtaining an official Italian marriage certificate from Italian vital records or the consulate in your country of residence.
- Documenting the existing Italian citizenship of one spouse.
- Locating the foreign or US birth certificate of the person applying for citizenship.
- Documenting FBI and police background checks for the applicant (must include the non-Italian spouse’s criminal records since age 14).
- Translation of required documents into Italian by a professional translator.
- Uploading documents required to be submitted digitally and sending in official paper copies of those records which must be submitted in physical form.
- Obtaining and submitting a valid passport for the applicant.
To obtain Italian citizenship via marriage or civil union, you must apply using the following steps:
- Submit your online application: Register on the “ALI” portal and fill out the application at the Italian Ministry of Interior’s website. You must have a copy of a marriage certificate from the Italian municipality it was issued, and where the Italian spouse is AIRE-registered. Criminal background checks and a certified copy of the non-Italian spouse’s birth certificate are also required.
- Consulate Review: At your finalization appointment, you’ll need to provide proof of payment, your application form, and an original and copy of your Italian passport and non-Italian spouse’s State ID/foreign passport. Proof of residency, signed declaration of current marriage, and a long-form copy of the applicant’s birth certificate are needed, as are original marriage records from the Italian city of residence. You’ll also need to submit a money order for the legalization of translated documents.
- Citizenship Ceremony: If a request for Italian citizenship through marriage is granted by the consulate, you’ll receive a message via its web portal scheduling a citizenship ceremony. This occurs about six months from when the applicant is granted citizenship. Both spouses must be present and sign an affidavit confirming they’re currently legally married. During the ceremony, the Consul General of Italy or a representative will read the “verbale di giuramento” statement and the applicant will take an Oath of Allegiance.
Finding Assistance With the Italian Citizenship Process
Our knowledgeable team navigates these processes every day and can help you or your spouse submit the right documentation the first time and respond to unexpected requests for more information. You can start with a phone consultation to learn more about the law, the process, and your rights to Italian citizenship or dual citizenship, either by marriage or by descent.
At Italian American Citizenship Assistance, we provide full-service packages to guide you through the process with compassionate and efficient help at every step of the way. We can assist with gathering documents, locating Italian vital records, and preparing for your consulate interview. If certain pieces are missing, we will partner with you to locate them or file accepted substitutes.
Establishing Italian citizenship opens the door to a wide range of advantages, including the ability to buy land in Italy, attend educational institutions, or be selected for high level careers in the EU, so don’t wait to get started on this journey. Contact us today for more information and your free consultation to start living “la bella vita” as an Italian citizen.