The Italian citizenship

With citizenship you officially become an Italian citizen and get the same civil and political rights that all Italian citizens have. Citizenship is obtained automatically or by applying. In this article, discover the cases in which you can get citizenship, what are the requirements and useful information on dual citizenship.

Citizenship is a document that officially makes you a citizen of the Italian state, even if you are a citizen of another country. With citizenship you get civil and political rights that you did not have before and which are the rights granted to all Italian citizens.

If you have Italian citizenship, you no longer have to apply for a permesso di soggiorno to live in Italy or even to live in other countries of the European Union.

In addition, you will be able to apply for Italian citizenship for your children and you will participate in important activities for the country, such as voting in elections.

How to get Italian citizenship?

There are some cases where no special requirements are needed to obtain citizenship. In these cases citizenship is obtained “automatically“. These cases almost always concern children.

There are some cases in which citizenship can be obtained by applying. The application is made online and is examined by the Prefettura.

So, there are 2 ways to get Italian citizenship: automatically or by applying. Here you find the details:

The cases in which citizenship can be obtained automatically are:

By nascita (birth): if the father or mother are Italian citizens, the child has Italian citizenship.

By nascita (birth) on Italian territory: if the parents are unknown, stateless (they are not citizens of any state) or foreign citizens of a state that does not recognize that the citizenship of the parents is passed on to their children, the child obtains Italian citizenship.

By adozione (adoption): if an Italian citizen adopts a child who is under the age of 18, this child obtains Italian citizenship.

The cases in which citizenship can be obtained by applying are:

By nascita (birth) and residenza (residence) in Italy: the child of foreign parents can apply for Italian citizenship if:

  • He/she was born in Italy
  • He/she always had residence in Italy until he was 18. The residenza is the main place where people live and the residenza address must be registered at the Ufficio Anagrafe.
  • At 18, he/she declares that he/she wants to get Italian citizenship. IMPORTANT: it is mandatory to submit the application in the year that goes from 18 to 19 years of age of the applicant. If the request is made after the age of 19, citizenship can be denied

By matrimionio (marriage): if a foreign person marries an Italian citizen, she can apply for citizenship:

  • after 1 year from the marriage if the couple adopts or has a child and resides in Italy. If, on the other hand, the couple has their residenza abroad, they can apply for citizenship after 1 year and a half
  • after 2 years from the marriage if the couple has their residenza in Italy
  • after 3 years of marriage, the couple has their residenza in another country

If, on the other hand, two foreign people are married and have their residenza in Italy and one of them obtains Italian citizenship, the other person in the couple does not immediately get citizenship. This person can apply for citizenship 2 years after the date on which the husband / wife became an Italian citizen.

Here is an example to help you understand better: Hassan and Pahola are resident in Italy, but they are not Italian citizens. Hassan and Pahola are married. Pahola obtained citizenship on March 10, 2021, so from this date Pahola is an Italian citizen. Hassan can apply for citizenship two years after this date, i.e. March 10, 2023.

By residenza (residence) (naturalization): a foreign person can apply for citizenship if he/she resides in Italy and is registered at the Ufficio Anagrafe without interruption after:

  • 4 years if he/she is a citizen of a country of the European Union
  • 5 years if he/she is a stateless person or refugee with a residence permit for asylum
  • 10 years if he/she is a citizen of a non-European country or has a permit for subsidiary protection, for humanitarian reasons or other residence permits

This way of obtaining citizenship is called naturalization.

In addition to the years of residenza in Italy, there are other requirements for naturalization. These requirements are:

  • have a minimum income of 8,263.31 per year for the 3 years prior to the year in which you apply for citizenship. If you have a family, the minimum income is 11,362.05 euros. Then for each one of your children it is 516.46 euros more.
  • If your income is lower than this number, you can add the income of another family member who is living together.
  • Have at least a B1 knowledge of theItalian language. You must submit a B1 level certificate, which you get by taking an exam. Level B1 is not necessary if you have a middle school (terza media) diploma in Italy.

By descent: if a foreign person has an Italian “ancestor”, that is, a remote grandfather or a remote grandmother who were Italian citizens, this person can apply for citizenship. In order to get citizenship, the person must have documents showing that the ancestor was Italian and that he has not renounces (let go) his Italian citizenship, such as the ancestor’s birth or marriage certificate.

The Italian law allows you to have two citizenships (that is called dual citizenship). This means that if you get Italian citizenship, the Italian state doesn’t force you to let go your original citizenship. You can keep it.

However, you must find out if this is also valid in the country of which you are already a citizen. Some countries, in fact, do not accept dual citizenship. If your country of origin does not accept dual citizenship it means that, if you get Italian citizenship, you lose your original citizenship.

Among the countries that do not accept dual citizenship are: Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Ivory Coast, India, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Venezuela, Zambia.

Thanks to the relations between Italy and other countries, the decisions of countries on dual citizenship can change. For this reason you must check with the institutions to be really sure about the decisions of your country. So, to find out if the country of which you are a citizen accepts dual citizenship or not, you must ask the embassy or consulate of your country in Italy.

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