Italian dual citizenship is relatively simple to obtain. In terms of documentation required and ease of qualifying, there is nothing else like it in Europe. However, it can be time-consuming. Even simple cases may take two years or more. That’s just the reality of the current situation, even before the pandemic.
Those expediting their applications either in court or directly in Italy can shave off significant time. However, it is by no means a quick process. However, as with everything else in Italy, even with the expedited options citizenship is not automatic.
That said, there is a rule we always tell clients: time will pass anyway, so you might as well start on your application and forget about it. One day you’ll get a nice surprise and become an Italian citizen!Italian Dual Citizenship
Now, let’s delve into the first option: skipping the consulate and applying directly in Italy.
Expedite your Italian dual citizenship by applying in Italy
The (very general) steps to applying in Italy
The most tried-and-true way to expedite your Italian dual citizenship.
If you can move to Italy for 6 months or more, this can be an excellent option. It’s also great for people already living in Italy for some other purpose such as studying or work. Finally, this option is excellent for those looking to “test out” living in Europe before making a permanent move.
Just like it sounds, applying in Italy involves physically moving to Italy and becoming a resident. You must be in Italy for a minimum of 6 months or more, as establishing residency involves showing a continued presence in your town.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to apply in your ancestor’s city of birth. You can elect residency anywhere you want in Italy, as long as the comune is willing to accept your application.
In a perfect world, every single town in Italy would take dual citizenship applications at any time. But in reality, some are more hostile than others for various reasons (such as applications taking up too much time from their other work, office workers not wanting to deal with people who may not speak Italian, or them simply not knowing the process in depth and not caring to learn etc.). It’s a good idea to call or e-mail beforehand to get a feel for the town. If possible, even visit in person! Additionally, if a town has a website dedicated to the Italian dual citizenship process, it’s a good sign they are a “friendly” one.
Some friendly towns at the time of this writing include Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Rome, and Turin.
This option has been around for more than a decade. Traditionally it was popular with people from South America. Lately, more and more people from the United States are opting to do this too. Take the information below with a grain of salt, as processes may vary from comune to comune and rules are always changing. However, this is a general guide that can be applicable in most cases.
Step 1: Obtaining a codice fiscale
Before anything else, you must go to any Agenzia delle Entrate (Italian revenue agency) and obtain a codice fiscale. This is a unique code issued just for you, kind of like a U.S. social security number. To get it, bring your passport showing date of entry into Italy. You’ll also have to fill in a form while you wait. There is no cost.
If you live in Europe already, you can obtain this before entering Italy by requesting one from your local Italian consulate. Italian consulates in the United States do not issue codici fiscali.
Step 2: Election of residency
Election of residency in Italy is a formal process that is unlike anything in the United States. Before anything else, you have to obtain a valid rental contract (contratto d’affitto), a declaration of hospitality (dichiarazione di ospitalità) from a landlord or friend, or a comodato d’uso contract. Then, you’ll fill in a residency request form and hand it in at your local anagrafe office. This will trigger a visit by the local officers (vigili) to confirm the applicant is actually living where they say they are. This visit must occur within 45 days, so be sure to stick around town during this time.
If all goes well, the town will confirm residency and places you within its APR (anagrafe popolo residente), the registry of residents.
Step 3: The citizenship appointment
Only after the officer has visited an applicant’s home can they then apply for recognition of Italian citizenship. This involves an appointment with either the ufficio di stato civile or the ufficio cittadinanza depending on the size of the comune. Much like at a consular appointment, applicants will hand in their supporting documents. Then, they receive a receipt that the citizenship process has started.
Step 4: Permesso di soggiorno
Finally, the applicant compiles a paperwork kit for a permesso di soggiorno in attesa di cittadinanza. These kits are available at post offices throughout Italy. This type of permesso di soggiorno is a special one because it is only for those seeking recognition of Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. It allows applicants to stay in Italy legally past 90 days.
Once the kit is compiled, applicants bring it along with the receipt of handing in citizenship paperwork to the post office. While there, they hand the kit + receipt in along with payment. A slip of paper will automatically be generated, along with a date. This is the day the applicant must show up to the questura (precinct) to request the actual permesso. However, if an applicant becomes a citizen before the date on the receipt for the permesso, they can let the date lapse and not request the permesso. Dual Citizenship Italy
Step 5: Official recognition of citizenship
After the applicant hands in all citizenship-related documents, the comune will take scans of all records. Then, they will send those scans to the consulate(s) back home with jurisdiction over all the places the applicant has lived. The consulate(s) must confirm that the applicant has never renounced the right to Italian dual citizenship.
Once the consulate(s) have responded with the go ahead, the comune will issue an official letter recognizing the applicant as an Italian citizen.
Step 6: Birth certificate transcription
This is the final step in confirming a person’s Italian dual citizenship. Once recognized, an applicant’s U.S. birth certificate is transcribed into Italian and placed in the registry of the comune in which s/he lives. This is the final, absolute proof of Italian citizenship.