Italian citizenship is based on the principle of ius sanguinis (blood right) by which a child born of an Italian father or mother is Italian; nevertheless, it must be kept in mind that the mother citizen has only transmitted citizenship to minor children since January 1st 1948 as a result of a ruling by the Constitutional Court. Italian citizenship is currently regulated by Law No. 91 of 5 December 1992, which, unlike the previous law, re-evaluates the importance of individual desire in the gain or loss of citizenship and acknowledges the right to hold citizenship in more than one country, except in the case of the various provisions of international agreements.
WAYS TO BECOME AN ITALIAN CITIZEN
1. by having an Italian parent(s);
2. by being born in Italy:
including cases in which the parents are unknown, stateless or do not transmit their own citizenship to their child according to the legislation of the State to which they belong, as well as children found abandoned in Italy and for whom it is impossible to determine status civitatis (citizenship);
3. through paternal or maternal recognition while the child is a minor (in cases in
which the child recognised is no longer a minor, he/she is obliged to elect to become a citizen within one year of recognition);
4. by adoption, both if the foreign minor is adopted by an Italian citizen by means of
the Italian Judicial Authorities, as well as in the case in which adoption is granted abroad and made effective in Italy through a writ, issued by the Juvenile Court and registered with the Civil Registry.
If the adoptee is no longer a minor he/she can become a naturalised Italian citizen after 5 years of legal residence in Italy (see How to Apply: Naturalisation).
HOW TO APPLY
1. Declaration of desire to become a citizen
If the foreigner is of Italian descent (up to the 2nd degree) he/she can obtain citizenship in any of the following cases:
– by serving in the Italian armed forces;
– by becoming a subordinate employee of the Italian State, even abroad;
– by residing legally in Italy for at least two years after reaching legal age.
If the foreigner was born in Italian territory he/she can obtain citizenship by residing legally and uninterruptedly in Italy from birth up to legal age.
2. Marriage to an Italian citizen
The requirements include:
– legal residence in Italy for at least 6 months after marriage or 3 years of matrimony if residing abroad;
– valid marriage certificate;
– absence of criminal record;
– absence of impediments associated with national security.
Applications for citizenship are to be addressed to the Ministry of the Interior and presented to the Prefecture in the Province of residence, if residing in Italy, or the diplomatic-consular authorities if residing abroad.
– 10 years of legal residence;
– sufficient income;
– absence of criminal record;
– renunciation of original citizenship (where foreseen).
The number of years can be reduced to:
– 3 years of legal residence for descendents of former Italian citizens by birth, up to the 2nd degree, and for foreigners born in Italian national territory;
– 4 years of legal residence for citizens of European Community Member States;
– 5 years of legal residence for displaced persons or refugees, as well as for legal-age foreigners adopted by Italian citizens;
– 7 years of legal residence as the child of an Italian parent;
no period of residence is required for foreigners who have served the State for a period of at least 5 years, even abroad.
Application for naturalisation must be addressed to the President of the Republic (Presidente della Repubblica) and presented to the Prefecture in the Province of residence.
DOCUMENTATION TO BE PRESENTED WITH APPLICATION FOR CITIZENSHIP
Certificate of family situation with revenue stamp;
Certificate of residence history; if there is more than one municipality of legal residence, certification of residence history for each municipality must be provided with revenue stamp;
Authenticated copies of tax forms 740 or 101 for the three years immediately preceding application, or certificate issued by the authorised tax office of income earned in the three years immediately preceding application.
Documentation NOT SELF-CERTIFIABLE:
birth certificate from country of origin with all pertinent data; in the case of documented impossibility, statement issued by the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of origin, duly translated and witnessed, indicating name, surname, date and place of birth as well as names of applicant’s father and mother;
Criminal record from applicant’s country of origin and country of residence (self-certificate from EU citizens only);
Authorisation of the authorities of the country of origin to release all pertinent information on the applicant that may be requested by the Italian diplomatic authorities, using the pre-printed form available from the Prefecture;
Declaration renouncing the protection of the Italian diplomatic and consular authorities from the authorities of the country of origin, using the pre-printed form available at the Prefecture (only for applicants requesting citizenship in order to reside in Italy)
Certificate with revenue stamp of Italian citizenship of spouse (only for those applying for citizenship following matrimony).
After application is made the following additional documentation will be requested by the competent authorities:
Certificate concerning charges pending in the applicant’s area of residence issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the locally authorised courts;
Data concerning the applicant’s entrance and period of stay;
Copy of marriage certificate from the Italian municipality where the marriage is registered (only for those applying for citizenship following matrimony).
In order to shorten the process the applicant can always send certificates in his/her possession, even if not authenticated, by electronic means.
GETTING ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP BACK ONCE LOST
Italian citizenship can be reinstated once it is lost:
One year from the date in which residence is established in Italy, except in the case of renunciation within that same period.
· being hired as a public servant at the service of the State, even abroad;
· residents abroad: providing the Italian Consulate with a statement stating the intention to reinstate Italian citizenship and establishing residency in Italy within one year of that statement;
· statement by Italian citizens who automatically lost citizenship by marrying a foreigner before January 1st 1948.