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How to Obtain Italian Citizenship

Melanie has been interested in cultures, languages, and travel since her youth. She also runs a YouTube channel: The Curious Coder.


There are several reasons you may be considering obtaining Italian citizenship. Whether you're planning for retirement, marrying an Italian, relocating to Italy for work, or just dreaming of living in this beautiful country, you may have found that there is not much information (available in English) on the rules and regulations regarding becoming an Italian citizen.

Not only is there very little information on the subject, but much of what is available can be confusing. Because of this, I've decided to put together this guide in order to outline the processes involved.

These are just guidelines to follow and are not the absolute final word on whether or not Italian citizenship can be obtained.

Every situation is unique, and when you go ahead and apply for citizenship you may find that the process that you go through may be different than "standard procedure." If this happens, leave a comment sharing your experience.

Many people come to Italy each year to take in the beautiful scenery and some decide to stay.

Many people come to Italy each year to take in the beautiful scenery and some decide to stay.

Italian Citizenship Requirements

There are many requirements that must be met to become a citizen of Italy. Some requirements are easier to meet than others and some are things that can't be helped such as where you were born.

If you don't meet 100% of the requirements but are still interested in becoming a citizen of Italy, go ahead and give it a try. Like I said, these are just guidelines that are followed by the Italian government, but not necessarily the final word.

Italian citizenship can automatically be obtained if:

  • One of your parents has Italian citizenship
  • If you were born in Italy to non-Italian parents and have lived in Italy from birth to adulthood.

You will have to obtain Italian citizenship through naturalization (you'll have to go through the citizenship process) if:

  • You are married to an Italian citizen and you have lived in Italy for at least two years.
  • You are married to an Italian citizen and have been married at least three years (this is if you haven't been living in Italy.)
  • You have legally resided in Italy for at least 10 years, have no criminal record, and have financial resources in order to support yourself (this can be income through work or money set aside.)

What You'll Need for the Naturalization Process

There are a variety of things you'll need to do in order to get the ball rolling. There are some things in this list that may not pertain to you, so if you have a question about a particular item, feel free to leave a comment.

  • A completed application
  • If one or more of your ancestors were Italian, you'll need to turn in a sworn affidavit saying you've never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
  • Proof that you've resided in Italy for the required amount of time.
  • A photocopy of your passport
  • Your official birth certificate translated into Italian
  • If you are claiming Italian citizenship and have an Italian ancestor you will need your parents' marriage certificate and each of their birth certificates translated into Italian (if your parents were married.) If either of your parents came from Italy, you can stop here. If not, you'll need your grandparents' birth certificates included (and so on until you get to the ancestor that came from Italy.)
  • Death certifications, translated into Italian, will be needed for any deceased ancestors under which you are applying for citizenship.

This sounds like a hefty load of requirements, but compared to the citizenship process in other countries, these requirements are fairly lax. It's also important to note that Italy allows for dual citizenship. So don't worry about any possibility of losing your US citizenship because of becoming a citizen of Italy.

Remember, however scary and long the process may be, it's worth it! Italy is a beautiful country and there are many benefits to not only living in Italy but also being a naturalized citizen.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2010 Melanie Palen


jude on June 03, 2013:

In regards to the process, I have read that all documents you submit, as well as being translated into Italian, need to have apostilles. Is this true? The apostille process confuses me, since, while I can get it from the Secretary of State, there is some rule that the apostille can only be granted if the official documents one is presenting is signed by a govt. or civil official from that state. So, if one is presenting a birth certificate or marriage license from Louisiana to the Sec. of State in Indiana, they won't affix an apostille? I'm trying to do as much of this is possible on my own, since services charge a lot of money to provide these services, but it is very complex! Thanks.

waitingfornews on January 27, 2013:

Add Your Comment..I am a wife of an Italian citizen, the process of applying is a nightmare and more so after you have applied. I applied in 2010 and have heard nothing from them nor has my status change on the online system designed to check the process of your application, oh and did I mention it has not changed since September 2010

kathy on August 29, 2012:

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My daughter was born in Italy in 1992 at an Italian hospital, she has an italian birth certificate. Can she claim citizianship?

umeraziz on July 12, 2012:

great hub.. you make me save consultancy fee of agents.. :)

useful tips.. voted up!

bolaji on July 10, 2012:

i was born in italy though my parents are africans i have my birth certificate am i eligible for an italian dual citizenship and passport

marco on June 22, 2012:

A child born to foreign parents in Italy doesn’t automatically acquire Italian citizenship, but has the right to it provided it’s requested before the child reaches the age of 18. but i have reached 21 year can i have it ?

joe on June 03, 2012:

how about the interview process? there is no info anywhere about that. what do they ask? what is the success rate? how can my mom make it more favorable to her? any ideas?

Sonia habrak on December 27, 2011:

Iam a common wife to an Italian citizen since 3 years . We don't live in Europe but planning to move soon to France how can I apply for a passport

Ngọc Anh on November 13, 2011:

How can you resident in Italia without being deported? I mean, you are not Italian, is it allowed to live in Italia? Sr for being stupid, but I am serious

jesse on November 02, 2011:

great information i lives in italy and all rules u told is valid but i wanna tell u one thing and that's truth if u legally resident in italy since 10 years u can apply but believe me u can apply they don't give u i had seen people lives in italy from 22 years with permanent job same owner but they didt get yet so this system is not good i believe that seriously or they have to remove this rule if yes must be time like marrid persons with italian 2 years and they get i hope gave the right information too all my friends and thanx again to u

danny on May 15, 2011:

than you dear friend..gracia

Anon on March 26, 2011:

I do .

Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on January 24, 2011:

Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 21, 2010:

This is a great help who wants to get Italian Citizenship.

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