Guide to obtaining Italian citizenship

This guide will explain how and when to apply for Italian citizenship, including which forms to compile and how much it will cost.

If you would like professional assistance for this process, contact us and request a quote by writing to international@multilex.it. We will handle everything for you!

1. What is Italian citizenship and how is it acquired

Citizenship refers to the status of a person, to whom the national legal system grants full political and civil rights.

Citizenship can be acquired as follows:

– by birth (ius sanguinis), if at least one of the applicant’s parents is already an Italian citizen;

– by birth in an Italian territory, i.e., by being born in Italy, albeit to foreign parents and after having applied for citizenship after reaching the age of legal majority, also having lived in Italy, both legally and continuously;

– by residence, having resided in Italy continuously for a prescribed length of time;

– by marriage, having married an Italian citizen.

2. Italian citizenship by birth (ius sanguinis)

In Italy the principle of uis sanguinis applies, according to which Italian citizenship is acquired automatically upon birth, under the following conditions:

– being born with a mother and/or father who is an Italian citizen;

If you were born abroad to Italian parents and they forgot to request the transcription of your birth in the Italian civil status register, you must request verification of your Italian citizenship.

Verification can be requested as follows:

a. For those residing abroad, from the appropriate Italian Consulate with territorial jurisdiction;

b. For those residing in Italy, from the Civil Registrar in the relevant district of residence or the foreign consulate (in Italy) of the applicant’s native country.

– being born on Italian territory to stateless parents (i.e., those who do not have citizenship of any state);

– being born (in Italy) to unknown parents and if no other nationality is proved.

3. Italian citizenship by birth in an Italian territory

Italian citizenship can be acquired by a foreigner born in Italy to foreign parents, from the moment they turn 18, if they have resided in the country legally and without interruption up until the age of legal majority.

The request may be made from the time the person reaches the age of legal majority until the day before they turn nineteen. During the six months preceding the date of legal majority (eighteenth birthday), the Civil Status Office in the municipality where the subject resides is required to inform the foreign citizen, born in Italy to foreign parents, at the registered residential address, of the option to present a declaration of intent to acquire Italian nationality before reaching the age of nineteen.

The requirements are as follows:

– to be resident in the municipality where you intend to make the declaration of intent to apply;

– to be born in an Italian municipality to foreign parents;

– to possess a residence permit

– to have had legal residence in Italy without interruption from birth until the age of legal majority.

In the absence of the legal residency requirement, if the birth has been duly reported to an Italian local authority by at least one of the parents legally residing in Italy, you can present supplementary documents proving the applicant’s actual presence on Italian territory in the period preceding the formalisation of the birth certificate (e.g., school certificates, vaccinations, etc.).

The request for citizenship should be made through a declaration of intent submitted to the Civil Status Office in the applicant’s municipality of residence.

The applicant must present:

– identity card (if EU citizen);

– passport (if non-EU citizen);

– completed declaration of intent (you can find the form on the website of your municipality of residence or go to the Civil Status Office).

After all the requirements have been verified by the authorised office and a positive verification, you must pay EUR 250.00 to the post office current account no. 809020 made payable to “Ministero dell’Interno D.L.C.I. Cittadinanza“, specifying in the reason for payment “cittadinanza – contributo di cui all’art. 1, comma 12, Legge 15 luglio 2009, n. 94“, [citizenship – contribution pursuant to Art. 1, para. 12, Law no. 94 of 15 July 2009].

Italian law allows dual citizenship, so you do not have to renounce your native citizenship and the rights attached to it; however, some countries do not allow the retention of previous citizenship once another has been acquired, so if you do not want to lose your native citizenship, you should ask the relevant Consulate for information.

4. Italian citizenship by residence

Italian citizenship can be granted, upon request, after a foreigner has been residing in Italy for a prescribed period of time, without interruption. Specifically:

– 10 years, for non-EU foreigners, as a general rule;

– 3 years, for foreigners whose father, mother or one of the direct-line ascendants up to the second degree, are Italian by birth;

– 5 years upon the parent’s oath, for foreigners who are the children of a naturalized Italian foreigner;

– 5 years, for stateless people or refugees;

– 4 years, for EU citizens;

– 5 years after adoption and legal residence in Italy, for foreign nationals who have reached the age of legal majority and have been adopted by an Italian citizen.

Documents (in PDF format) to be attached are as follows:

a) EUR 16 revenue stamp (identification code of which must be indicated in the application);

b) Foreign birth certificate (if born abroad) containing all the applicant’s particulars (legalised and translated);

For women who have acquired their husband’s surname by marriage, the birth certificate must show both their maiden and married surnames. Otherwise, the marriage certificate (legalised and translated), showing the change of surname, must also be attached. In any case the surname stated on the birth certificate will be taken into account.

Refugees may enclose the substitute document, i.e., the notarial deed (sworn before a notary or other public official).

c) Criminal record certificate (legalised and translated) from the native country stating that the person has had no problems with the justice system during the period indicated in the certificate. This certificate is not necessary if the individual was born in Italy or has been residing in our country since before the age of 14. This certificate, unless extended by national regulations, agreements, international conventions, or EU regulations, is valid for up to six months from the date of issue. If the applicant has also resided for more than 6 months in other countries, a criminal record certificate must be submitted for each country;

The aforementioned documents (birth certificate and criminal record certificate), if produced by an EU country, do not require legalisation or apostille to prove their authenticity, pursuant to European Parliament Regulation no. 2016/1191.

Sworn translations must however be provided.

In the case of stateless people or refugees, a replacement document, i.e., a self-certification, must be attached and signed before a notary or other public official.

c) Valid identity card if European citizen;

d) Valid passport, if non-European citizen;

e) Valid residence permit, if non-European citizen;

EU citizens need only enclose a certificate of permanent residence, which must be requested from the municipality of residence.

f) Historical certificate of residence, showing that there has been no discontinuity in residence. The certificate of residence can be replaced by a self-certification, signed before a notary or other public official.

g) Modello di Certificazione Unica [Single Certification Form], and modello [form] 730 (relating to income received in the last 3 years), depending on the applicant’s employment status.

In the event of insufficient income in the last three years (EUR 8,263.31 per year, increased to EUR 11,362.05 with a dependent spouse and with the addition of EUR 516.00 for each dependent child) it can be supplemented, if necessary, with the income of other family members living with the applicant. A partner’s income is only taken into account in the calculation if it is regulated by ‘Civil Union’ or ‘De facto cohabitation’. Income parameters are subject to change and it is wise to check them before applying.

On the other hand, domestic helpers, caregivers, and domestic helpers must present an INPS statement, which documents the proper payment of social security contributions.

h) Certificate of Italian language proficiency at a level of not less than B1, issued by a public or accredited school or certification body, specifically:

– The Società Dante Alighieri;

– The Università per Stranieri di Perugia;

– The Università per Stranieri di Siena;

– The Università degli Studi Roma Tre.

If abroad, there are examinations for language proficiency certificates at various institutions. Contact the relevant country’s Italian consulate for a list.

This certificate is not necessary for holders of a long-term EU residence permit or for those who have signed an accordo di integrazione [integration agreement], which should be attached to the application, (page is in Italian only).

i) Applicant’s education certificates;

l) Copy of the payment of the EUR 250.00 contribution to post office account no. 809020 made out to “Ministero Interno D.L.C.I. cittadinanza“, with the reason for payment “cittadinanza – contributo di cui all’art. 1 co. 12, legge 15 luglio 2009 n. 94”. [citizenship – contribution pursuant to Art. 1, para. 12, Law no. 94 of 15 July 2009]. A copy of the payment receipt must be attached to the documentation;

m) EUR 16 revenue stamp (identification code of which must be indicated in the application).

Documentation to be attached as appropriate:

– Court-issued adoption judgment;

– Parents’ Italian citizenship certificate or that of direct-line ascendant up to the second degree;

– Certificate acknowledging stateless or refugee status.

– Income of legal guardian and declaration of maintenance with consent to data processing.

5. Italian citizenship by marriage

Italian nationality may also be acquired by marriage to an Italian citizen.

In this case:

– if the spouses reside abroad, 3 years must have elapsed since the marriage before applying for nationality;

– if they reside in Italy, 2 years.

If the couple has children, including adopted children, the time is halved in both the above cases.

There must not have been any legal separation, dissolution, or annulment of the marriage during the reference years.

The following documents (in PDF format) must be attached to complete the application:

a. Birth certificate containing all the applicant’s particulars (legalised and translated). This document does not expire.

Foreign nationals who have acquired their husband’s surname, should check that the birth certificate contains both the maiden and married surnames.

Refugees only need to enclose a self-certification signed before a notary or other public official.

b. Criminal record certificate (legalised and translated) from the native country and any other previous country of residence, if the stay in these countries exceeded 6 months. This certificate is valid for 6 months from issue (unless extended by national regulations, agreements, international conventions, or EU regulations and not from legalisation). This certificate is not necessary if the individual was born in Italy or has been residing in our country since before the age of 14.

Refugees or stateless persons only need to enclose a self-certification signed before a notary or other public official.

c. Valid residence permit. EU citizens only need to enclose a certificate of permanent residence, which must be requested from the municipality of residence.

d. Passport, if not an EU citizen.

e. Identity card, if EU citizen.

f. Copy of the full marriage certificate issued by the Italian municipality where it was registered.

g. Certificate of Italian language proficiency at a level of not less than B1, issued by a public or accredited school or certification body, specifically:

– The Società Dante Alighieri;

– The Università per Stranieri di Perugia;

– The Università per Stranieri di Siena;

– The Università degli Studi Roma Tre.

If the applicant is abroad, there are examinations for language proficiency certificates at various institutions that you can find by checking the website of the relevant Italian Consulate.

This certificate is not necessary for holders of a long-term EU residence permit or for those who have signed an integration agreement, or accordo di integrazione (page is in Italian only), which should be attached to the application.

h. Educational qualifications (legalised and translated).

i. Copy of the receipt for payment of the EUR 250 contribution to post office account no. 809020 made out to “Ministero Interno D.L.C.I. cittadinanza“, with the reason for payment “cittadinanza – contributo di cui all’art. 1 co. 12, legge 15 luglio 2009 n. 94”. A copy of the payment receipt must be attached to the documentation.

l. EUR 16 revenue stamp (identification code of which must be indicated in the application).

You must also attach the following documents or replace them with self-certifications (whose signatures must be notarised before a lawyer):

– family status, certifying the presence of any children born of, or adopted by, the spouses;

– historical certificate of residence, certifying legal residence for two or three years (half if there are children, including those adopted), with exact indication of registration and any transfers to other municipalities. Any changes of address within the same municipality must also be indicated. You can request this information from the registry office of the municipality where you resided;

– date that the spouse acquired nationality, if he/she is not an Italian citizen by birth;

– reason for residence abroad of the Italian spouse or the Italian civil partner.

6. Legalisation of foreign deeds/documents

As a general rule, civil status records and public deeds issued by a foreign state or its consular representation in Italy and that are to be used on Italian territory are subject to legalisation or apostille.

These are the rules for establishing which legalisation procedure is applicable on a case-by-case basis, depending on the country of origin of the documents:

– if the country of origin adheres to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, the document must be apostilled, unless specific exemptions apply (such as, for example, those for documents from EU states under EU Regulation 2016/1191);

– if the country of origin does not adhere to the Hague Convention or benefit from specific exemptions, the documents must undergo diplomatic or consular legalisation;

– deeds issued by a foreign diplomatic or consular authority based in Italy must be legalised by the Consul in whose district the foreign authority itself is located, except for specific exemptions (such as, for example, that introduced by the London Convention of 7 June 1968).

7. Procedure for translating foreign deeds/documents

Once legalised, a foreign deed must be accompanied by an Italian translation so that it can be presented to the Italian authorities.

The Italian translation may be performed as follows:

in Italy, with a sworn translation performed by a translator who presents a sworn affidavit to the clerk of any judicial office without any further requirements, or by an Italian notary public. The translator cannot be the person in question or one of the persons mentioned in the document. Third-party status is required;

in a foreign country where the document was drafted, by an official translator whose signature should, as a rule, be legalised by the Italian Consular Office or, if there is no such person, by an interpreter accredited at the offices of the Italian diplomatic or consular authority in that country, stamped ‘per traduzione conforme’, [compliant translation], with no need for additional formalities.

Certain documents are issued in Italian by the applicant’s native country’s diplomatic or consular offices, which are located in Italy; in this case, they must be legalised by the Prefecture.

Exceptions to the above are the cases provided for in Article 6, (1) of EU Regulation 2016/1191 and the multilingual formats of the Vienna Convention of 8 September 1976.

As far as European Union states are concerned, in fact, according to Article 6 (1) of EU Regulation 2016/1191, the member state in which the public document is presented may not require a translation if it is drafted in one of its official languages or in an unofficial, but expressly accepted, language. Furthermore, according to the 1976 Vienna Convention, a translation cannot be required if the public document is accompanied by a multilingual format.

8. How to apply for Italian citizenship

The application for Italian citizenship should be compiled here (page is in Italian). Access is granted by means of SPID [Public Digital Identity System]. You can activate your SPID here (page is only in Italian), if you have not already done so. After which you should click on, “cittadinanza-la mia domanda di cittadinanza”, [citizenship-my application for citizenship].

Applicants for citizenship who are not resident in Italy, will be allowed access without SPID by clicking on ‘Accedi senza spid’, [access without spid]. You will then be asked to register on the site, otherwise log in with the credentials you already have.

Once on the page, applicants can choose which form to fill out according to their needs and attach the required documents.

Applicants can also check the progress of their file: after logging in, click on “cittadinanza” [citizenship] and then on “comunicazioni/stato pratica”, [communications/file status].

For any clarifications or further information applicants can email to comunicazione.cittadinanza@pecdlci.interno.it inserting the file identification number (K10) in the subject, or call this number: +39 334 690 9996 (on Mondays), +39 06/465 399 55 (on Wednesdays), +39 331 653 6673 (on Fridays) from 10.00 am to 12.00 midday.

For applications submitted after 20 December 2020, the procedure will be completed within 24 months, extendable up to a maximum of 36 months, from the date the application is submitted. Applications submitted before the above date, will take 48 months.

The applicant will then be assigned a K10 code and, if the attached documentation is incomplete, the relevant Prefecture will indicate the missing or inaccurate documents.

If there are no factors that may affect the security of the Republic (such as the person concerned being convicted for particularly serious offences, ruled in Italy or abroad), the order conferring citizenship is issued by the Prefect. Otherwise, jurisdiction lies with the Minister of the Interior.

After notification of the decision, the person concerned has 6 months to take the oath in their municipality of residence; they will then acquire citizenship on the following day.

If you need someone to take care of your entire citizenship application, including any translations, please contact us at international@multilex.it.

We will be delighted to help you with the entire process, from start to finish!

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