Italian citizenship is currently regulated by Law no. 91/1992 (and regulations for its implementation: specifically DPR no. 572 of 12 October 1993 and DPR no. 362 of 18 April 1994) which, in contrast with previous laws, reassesses the importance of individual intention in the acquisition or loss of citizenship and recognises the right to hold more than one citizenship simultaneously.
Citizenship legislation applies to:
- persons born Italian who have lost their citizenship and wish to reinstate it;
- descendants of Italian citizens claiming citizenship;
- foreigners applying for Italian citizenship.
Since 4 December 2018 foreign citizens applying for naturalization according to the law of 5 February 1992, n. 91, art. 5 (marriage) and 9 (different circumstances) must prove adequate knowledge of the Italian language, not lower than level B1 of the Common Framework of Reference for the knowledge of languages. The verification of this requirement must be carried out through the acquisition of:
– A certification issued by a public educational institution; or
– A certification issued by an authorized certifying authority.
At present the certifying authorities belonging to the unified certification system CLIQ (Italian Language Certification of Quality) are the following,
– The University for Foreigners of Siena
– The University for Foreigners of Perugia
– The Roma Tre University
– The Dante Alighieri
ACQUISITION OF ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP
Italian citizenship can be acquired in one of the following ways:
1. AUTOMATIC ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP AS A RESULT OF ITALIAN PARENTS/ANCESTORS (“iure sanguinis”)
Children of Italian parents (mother or father) who are Italian citizens. Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation, on the condition that none of the ancestors has ever renounced their citizenship.
Transmission of citizenship through maternal lineage is possible only for persons born after January 1st 1948.
A minor child living with a parent at the moment in which that parent becomes an Italian citizen also acquires Italian citizenship.
Contrary to past legislation, current legislation recognises the right to hold more than one citizenship simultaneously.
Ascertainment of citizenship.
When a person claims to be of Italian parentage or ancestry but no proof of the fact can be found in Italian registers, it is necessary to provide proof that all ancestors have maintained, and thereby passed on, their Italian citizenship. The authority legally valid to ascertain these facts depends on the person’s place of residence: for foreign residents, the diplomatic-consular mission in the country of residence; for residents in Italy the official statistics office (Anagrafe) office of the city of residence.
CITIZENSHIP GRANTED TO PERSONS BORN ON ITALIAN SOIL (“iure soli”)
Italian citizenship is granted to persons born on Italian soil:
– whose parents are unknown, Stateless or cannot pass on their citizenship to their child according to the laws of the State of which they are citizens;
– of unknown parentage found on Italian soil and whose natural citizenship is impossible to ascertain.
CITIZENSHIP THROUGH JUDICIARY RULING ON NATURAL PATERNITY / MATERNITY.
A child recognized or declared while a minor to be of Italian parentage. Persons of legal age recognised or declared as such must elect to become citizens within one year of that recognition. The following documentation must be annexed to the declaration:
- Birth certificate;
- Act of recognition or authenticated copy of the ruling on paternity/maternity, or of an authenticated copy of a ruling that declares a foreign ruling binding in Italy, or an authenticated copy of a ruling acknowledging the right to child support or alimony;
- Certification of parent(s)’ citizenship.
CITIZENSHIP BY ADOPTION.
The right to citizenship is extended to any minor child adopted by an Italian citizen by means of the provisions of the Italian Judiciary Authorities, or in the case of adoption abroad and rendered valid in Italy through an order issued by the Juvenile Court for enrolment in an official Italian statistics office (Anagrafe). Adoptees of legal age can acquire citizenship after 5 years of legal residence in Italy after the adoption.
2. ACQUISITION BY CLAIM
FOREIGN DESCENDANTS OF ITALIANS UP TO THE SECOND DEGREE, OR BORN IN ITALY.
Foreign or Stateless descendants (up to the second degree) of Italian citizens can claim citizenship. Requirements include one or more of the following:
- service in the Italian armed forces;
- employment by the Italian government, even abroad;
- residence in Italy for at least 2 years before reaching the legal age of 18.
Claims must be accompanied by the following documentation:
- birth certificate;
- certificate of Italian citizenship of mother or father or a direct ancestor up to the second degree;
- certificate of residence, where requested.
Foreigners, even those not of Italian descent, born on Italian soil can claim Italian citizenship after continuous legal residence in Italy up to legal age, and upon declaration of their desire to do so.
That declaration, to be presented within one year of reaching the age of 18, must be accompanied by the following documentation:
- birth certificate;
- certificate of residence.
CITIZENSHIP BY MARRIAGE TO AN ITALIAN CITIZEN.
The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen can claim Italian citizenship in the presence of the following requirements:
a) in Italy: two years legal residence (permit to stay and enrolment in an official statistics office (Anagrafe) after the wedding; abroad: three years after the wedding; the timeframes are reduced by half in the presence of children born or adopted by the spouses;
b) valid marriage certificate and permanence of marriage bond up until the issuance of citizenship;
c) absence of convictions for crimes leading to a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison or convictions by a foreign judiciary authority of more than one year for non-political crimes;
d) absence of convictions for any of the crimes listed in Book 2, Title I, items, I,II and III of the criminal code (crimes against government personnel);
e) absence of obstacles related to the security of the Republic;
f) proof of knowledge of the Italian language.
The applicants must register on the institutional website called ALI, at the following url: https://www.interno.gov.it/it/temi/cittadinanza-e-altri-diritti-civili/cittadinanza/cittadinanza-invia-tua-domanda . Once logged in access to the online procedure will be granted in order to submit the application.
After registration, the applicants will be able to complete the online application by uploading all the required documents in the appropriate portal https://portaleserviziapp.dlci.interno.it/ . Technical and content queries referring to the online application must be submitted to the Ministry of Interior directly through their FAQs and Helpdesks system.
Through the website it is possible to select the competent Consular office.
All data must be filled in on the electronic form:
- birth certificate containing all pertinent data or, in the case of the documented impossibility of producing that, an affidavit issued by the diplomatic-consular authorities of the country of origin stating all exact personal data (name, surname, date and place of birth), as well as those of the father and mother of the applicant. For China only, birth certificate must be legalized; for Mongolia only, birth certificate must have Apostille;
- criminal record starting from the age of 14 y.o. (or certified lack thereof) from country of origin and eventual third countries of residence. For China only, birth certificate must be legalized; for Mongolia only, birth certificate must have Apostille;
- Certification of knowledge of the Italian language not lower than B1 level, issued by one of the above mentioned certifying institutions
- Receipt of a 250 euros bank transfer in favour of the Italian Ministry of Interior (ex Law n. 94/2009) containing the following information: name, surname (maiden surname in case of women), place and date of birth, reason of payment. Bank transfer must be done in favour of:
BENEFICIARIO: CONTO CORRENTE POSTALE intestato a
“MINISTERO DELL’INTERNO D.L.C.I. – CITTADINANZA”
BANCA Poste Italiane SPA / BancoPosta
INDIRIZZO BANCA Viale Europa 175, Roma ITALIA – INOLTRO A 34429
CODICE IBAN: IT54D0760103200000000809020
Codice BIC/SWIFT di Poste italiane:
– from foreign countries: BPPIITRRXXX
CAUSALE DEL VERSAMENTO “ISTANZA DI CITTADINANZA PER MATRIMONIO”
- Two copies of ID (in case the document does not contain information in English or French, also an official translation in Italian must be provided) authenticated by the Consular office of the issuing Country.
Once online application has successfully been completed, applicants will be invited by the Consular office to come in person for identification. All document must then be submitted in original. European Union citizens can self-certify (in accordance to D.P.R. 445/2000 and Law 183/2011) their birth certificate, family certificate, spouse’s Italian citizenship certification.
Further documents can be asked by the Italian Ministry of Interior in case are needed (in accordance to art. 4.5 of D.P.R. 572/93).
3. NATURALISATION, GRANTING OF ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP PURSUANT TO SPECIAL LAWS, DUAL CITIZENSHIP, LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP, RIACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP
For information on these topics, please check on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: Cittadinanza – Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale
As from 8 August 2009 applications or declarations regarding the election, acquisition, reacquisition, renunciation or granting of Italian citizenship are subject toa fee of 250 euro. As from 8 July 2014 applications by legal-age adults for recognition of Italian citizenship are subject to a fee of 300 euro.