FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Dual Citizenship
If you are wondering how to obtain dual citizenship or considering the benefits of Italian citizenship for yourself and your descendants, these frequently asked questions may help you with your decision.
Why Should I Seek Italian Dual Citizenship?
The advantages are many, and include the right to live and work in the EU indefinitely, access to high-quality health care and education opportunities, travel and do business in many EU countries without a visa, voting in EU elections, and buying real estate in (or transporting personal goods to) Italy without excessive fees. Your eligibility for Italian citizenship opens many doors.
Am I Eligible for Italian Citizenship?
Determining if you qualify for Italian citizenship will teach you much about your family history and offers several paths to achieve this goal. You may qualify by birth or citizenship by marriage, or obtain citizenship by descent if you are of dual nationality. We have more details here and a pre-screening questionnaire you can fill out online in just a few minutes to see if you are likely to qualify.
How Do I Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship?
Are you wondering how an American can become an Italian citizen? Many people who would qualify simply do not know how to obtain dual citizenship. The application process, historical records, vital records searches, documents, and translations required may seem daunting, but assistance is available through our program to help you succeed in acquiring your dual citizenship. Italy does allow dual citizenship for those who qualify.
Where Do I Apply for Italian Citizenship?
You and your family members will need to apply with the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the state or USCIS district where you reside. If you have more than one residence, you must declare one to be your primary residence and submit your application to the correct Consulate for your region. You can only apply in Italy if you reside there and are seeking citizenship by residency.
What Documentation Is Required?
A dual citizenship application will require, at a minimum, birth certificates for yourself and your parents, divorce or death certificates, proof of permanent residence, and a naturalization records search for your direct Italian ancestor or spouse which will establish your right to citizenship. If your ancestor or spouse renounced citizenship when they naturalized, you might not qualify. Obtaining the right documentation is part of the cost of Italian citizenship.
Can Supporting Documentation Be Submitted in English?
Many of the required documents for your dual citizenship application, including birth, marriage, death, divorce, and naturalization records must be translated by a certified translator. Those which are notarized or legalized must be authenticated by Apostille, which is an internationally recognized form of legal authentication. Apostille services are another part of Italian dual citizenship costs. If you need experienced Italian citizenship help, we offer all the services you need to complete these necessary steps.
Will I Need to Learn to Speak Italian?
If you are eligible for Italian citizenship by marriage or residency, you will need to attain an adequate knowledge of the language—level B1 of the CEFR. If you are applying for citizenship by descent or bloodline, you are not required to speak the language—although, of course, it is highly encouraged for new Italian citizens and those traveling to Italy.
Can Multiple Family Members Apply Together?
In many cases where families reside in the same household, they may apply together. Certainly you can include your children in your own application if you are eligible for dual citizenship. Other family members with American citizenship who are under the jurisdiction of a different Consulate will need to file separate applications for recognition of their Italian citizenship.
How Long Does It Take to Obtain Italian Dual Citizenship?
It may take up to 18 months or more to complete the process once your application is accepted by the Consulate with jurisdiction in your area. The best way to complete the process in the shortest possible time is to submit a complete and correct application the first time, with all supporting documentation in order. You can complete your Italian passport application after your citizenship is granted.
What Responsibilities Will I Have as an Italian Citizen?
Becoming a dual citizen will not affect your US citizenship, prevent you from using a US passport, or limit your rights in any way. Serving in the Italian military is voluntary and not required for you or your children. If you do not choose to live in Italy, you will be required to register with the AIRE, which is an official registry of Italian citizens who reside abroad. This status allows you access to services from the Italian Consulate.
When Can I Obtain an Italian Passport?
You will need to wait to apply for a passport until you receive notification that your Italian citizenship is confirmed. Your passport will allow you to travel and work not only in Italy, but in all EU countries. If you are considering traveling to or living in Italy, you will definitely want to have this important travel document.
How Do My Children Become Italian Citizens?
If you have minor children, they can be included in your application. Your children who are 18 years of age or older will need to apply separately, either simultaneously or after your own application has been approved. To pass on your Italian citizenship to children born after your own citizenship has been established, you will need to register the birth in Italy, and their citizenship is automatic. Adopted children are also eligible, after judicial review by the Tribunale dei Minori (Children’s Court).
Can My Spouse Become an Italian Citizen?
Once you acquire your own Italian citizenship, your spouse becomes eligible to apply for citizenship by marriage. They will need to wait until you have been married for 2 years if living in Italy, or 3 years if you live outside the country. If you have minor children, the time is shortened to 18 months no matter where you live. Italy does recognize same-sex marriages and those living in marital union, with the same requirements for registering the marriage with the Italian Consulate or Italian Civil Registry.
Are There Other Ways to Become an Italian Citizen?
The law in Italy offers citizenship in a very specific set of scenarios—by blood, by marriage, and “jus soli” (right of soil). These include children born in Italy of unknown parents, born of “stateless persons,” or those who were born in Italy and resided there without interruption until reaching the age of majority and declare their intention to acquire citizenship.
While women who were Italian citizens prior to 1948 cannot technically be the basis for citizenship by descent, their descendants who appeal their citizenship case to the Italian courts are often granted their request due to the unpopularity of this official rule. You cannot gain Italian citizenship by buying property or moving to Italy, although you may apply for status as a resident if you intend to stay there more than 90 days.
How Can an American Become an Italian Citizen?
You can become an Italian dual citizen as an American either by blood (with a qualifying Italian ancestor) or by marriage to an Italian citizen spouse. The requirements for becoming an Italian citizen vary depending on which route you choose.
Do US Citizens Need a Visa in Italy?
You can stay in Italy up to 90 days as a tourist or longer with a work or student visa. You may be able to retire in Italy if you can prove that you are financially self-sufficient with an elective residence visa. To become a resident you must register at a local police station and be considered of good moral character.
Can I Live in Italy as an American Citizen?
If you have a self-sustaining income, assets, and investments and do not intend to work in Italy, you can apply for an elective residence or “golden visa.” If approved, you can live in Italy as a resident.
What Are the Obligations of Italian Citizens?
If you are an Italian citizen living abroad, you must register with AIRE. All citizens of Italy who are residents are required to pay taxes, obey the laws of both nations where they are citizens, report for military duty if called upon, and have the right to vote in Italian and EU elections.
What Happens If I Lose My Citizenship Certificate?
Once you have achieved Italian citizenship and been registered with AIRE, you are eligible to receive an EU passport. If you lose your paperwork or ID card, you can request duplicates from your regional consulate, and you might be charged a small fee for replacements.
Can I Lose Italian Citizenship?
Once you have obtained Italian citizenship by marriage, you will not lose it if you file for divorce. There are only a few ways to lose your citizenship once it is acquired.
- If you renounce your Italian citizenship in order to become a citizen of a country that does not allow dual citizenship.
- If you join the armed forces of another country (or take an official post there) when that country is at war with Italy.