Top 5 Ways To Get Italian Citizenship - Digging Up Roots in the Boot

Top 5 Ways To Get Italian Citizenship

How do I get Italian citizenship?  This question is the most frequently asked question that I receive.  There are millions of Italian descendants living abroad that want Italian citizenship.  So, here is a list of the top 5 ways to acquire Italian citizenship. 

1.  Get Italian Citizenship Administratively via Jure Sanguinis

There are 5 Key Criteria to determine whether a person of Italian descent qualifies for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis.  First, the criteria must be satisfied to present an administrative case.  Then, it is possible to make an appointment with the Italian consulate in your jurisdiction.  

It is the applicant's responsibility to prove the Italian bloodline with supporting certified documents.  The process is both time-consuming and requires a financial commitment. Watch the video below for a Q&A and recap of an appointment at the Italian consulate in Houston.

2. 1948 Judicial Case in the Italian Courts in Rome

According to the Italian Citizenship Law established in 1912, only men are allowed to transfer Italian citizenship to their children, while women could only hold citizenship without the legal right to pass it on to their children. 

In 1948, the Italian Constitution was established and introduced the principle of equality between men and women. For the first time in the history of Italy, gender discrimination was abolished. So, according to a 1983 ruling on the matter, it was determined unconstitutional to prohibit women from passing their Italian citizenship to their descendants. 

Today, Italian woman born on or after January 1,1948 are eligible to have their Italian citizenship recognized and pass it on to their offspring. 

However, descendants of a woman born before January 1,1948 are prevented from applying for Italian citizenship. Today, the only way for a descendant born to an Italian woman before January, 1 1948, to obtain Italian citizenship, is to file a motion with the Italian courts to appeal the “1948 Rule” based on the 2009 Italian Supreme court decision. 

To sum up, If you are applying for Italian citizenship via jure sanguinis or blood right and your blood line includes a woman who was born before January 1st 1948 and a child in her line was also born before 1948 you have to appeal the 1948 ruling with the Italian courts by means of an Italian board certified Attorney. 

Watch the video below with Italian Attorney Alessandra Galligani for answers to the most frequently asked questions about the judicial process of a 1948 case.

3. Get Italian Citizenship Through Residency In Italy With Italian Ancestry

Italian descendants have a third possibility to be recognized as an Italian citizen. You may be eligible to apply to become a naturalized citizen of Italy after living in Italy for three years. This option is possible with Italian ancestry up to the second degree. So, your last Italian born relative must be your parents or your grandparents to use this option.

In the event, your parents or grandparents became naturalized citizens of another country before your birth: there is a break in the Italian bloodline. Therefore, you cannot apply administratively in the Italian consulate in your jurisdiction. But, you can establish legal residency in Italy for three years. Then, you can request to be a naturalized citizen in your legal residence in Italy.

4. Become An Italian Citizen By Way Of Marriage - Jure Matrimonii

According to Italian law number 91 of 1992, Articles 5-8 allow for Italian citizenship via marriage. The law varies depending on whether you are a resident of Italy or a foreign national.

Non-Italian spouses living in Italy can apply for citizenship after two years of marriage/civil union.  But, the wait time is half of that if the couple has minor children.

Spouses who reside outside of Italy can apply for citizenship by marriage after three years of marriage/civil union.  Foreign nationals also benefit from a reduced wait time of a year and a half if the couple has minor children.

In 2016, Italy began recognizing same-sex civil unions.  So, any same-sex marriage celebrated abroad is considered a civil union in Italy.

There are two additional requirements for spouses.  Frist, you must provide a background and criminal record check with your application.  Secondly, you must show proof of knowledge of the Italian language at a B1 level.  Certificates are issued by: Universita' per stranieri di Siena; Universita' per gli stranieri di Perugia; Universita' Roma Tre; Societa' Dante Alighieri.

5. Get Italian Citizenship Via Residency In Italy Without Italian Ancestry

Italy offers citizenship through residency without Italian ancestry under article 9 Law 91/1992. The length of residency varies as follows.

A person must legally reside in Italy for at least 10 years if they are from outside the EU.

Three situations require a minimum legal residency of 5 years in Italy.  

  1. A stateless person or refugee 
  2. A foreginer who has worked for the Italian government in Italy or abroad.
  3. A foreigner over age 18 adopted by an Italian citizen and a legal resident of Italy for 5 years after the adoption.

A European Union citizen can apply  after 4 years of legal residency in Italy.

Finally, a person born in Italy and a legal resident in Italy for at least 3 years can request Italian citizenship.

Contact us if you are interested in finding out more about your Italian Citizenship.

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I am a proud third generation Italian American dedicated to promoting the richness of Italian cultural heritage.

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