FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Dual Citizenship
If you are considering the benefits of gaining 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 property in (or transporting personal goods to) Italy without excessive fees.
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, by marriage, or by descent. 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?
Many people who would qualify simply do not know how to obtain dual citizenship. The application process, vital record searches, and translations required may seem daunting, but assistance is available through our program to help you succeed in acquiring your Italian citizenship.
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 area 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.
What Documentation Is Required?
An Italian dual citizenship application will require, at a minimum, birth certificates for yourself and your parents, proof of permanent residence, and a naturalization records search for your direct Italian ancestor or spouse which will establish your right to 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 to Italian by a certified translator. Those which are notarized or legalized must be authenticated by Apostille, which is an internationally recognized form of legal authentication. 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 Italian 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 citizens.
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 Italian citizenship. Other family members who are under the jurisdiction of a different Consulate will need to file separate applications as appropriate.
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 Italian 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.
What Responsibilities Will I Have as an Italian Citizen?
Becoming a dual citizen will not affect your US citizenship 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, including the ability to obtain an Italian passport if you desire.
When Can I Obtain an Italian Passport?
You will need to wait to apply for an Italian 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 Much Will Gaining My Italian Citizenship Cost?
There is a non-refundable application fee of 300 euros which must be submitted with your application. Other services including Apostille, translation, and records searches will add to the cost. However, when weighed against the many benefits of dual Italian citizenship, the price is reasonable, especially considering it is a one-time investment which you can pass on to your children.
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 with the Italian government, 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, 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?
Italian law 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 Italian citizenship.
While women who were Italian citizens prior to 1948 cannot technically be the basis for citizenship by descent, their descendants who appeal to the Italian courts are often granted their request due to the unpopularity of this official rule.