So, you’ve got romantic Italian villas in your eyes, delicious wine in your dreams, and a passport in your hand. You’re ready to move to Italy. But not so fast! If you’ve decided that life in Italy is for you, you’re gonna need more than just that passport. You’re gonna need Italian citizenship.
But how do you get that coveted Italian citizenship? If you’re looking to stay in Italia for the long run and are wondering how you can get citizenship in Italy, keep calm and read on!
How to get Italian Citizenship: 3 ways
- By blood. This is otherwise known as Jure Sanguinis, and is one of the guaranteed ways to become an Italian citizen.
- Through marriage. This one is easier said than done. You'll have to be pretty selective about who you go on dates with!
- Naturalization. This takes real dedication. Don't rule it out – you might be naturalized already!
You’re going to need a visa. Or an Italian citizenship.
1. Jure sanguinis
Got any Italian ancestors? Meaning literally “blood law”, this path to Italian citizenship is open to people of Italian descent who were born in another country. In order to get citizenship via jure sanguinis, you will have to prove your family connections to Italy, which may require tracking down official documents in your family member’s town or city of origin. One caveat? If your Italian family member became a naturalized citizen of another country before you were born, you can’t seek citizenship by blood. Sorry!
Helpful hint: if you think you might be able to claim Italian citizenship by blood, your best bet is to get in touch with your local Italian consulate or embassy. They will point you in the right direction!
Did your nonno become a happy U.S. citizen long ago, dashing all your dreams of pastas, pizzas, and piazzas? Well, you could always do as the Romans do (or, more accurately, as I did) and marry an Italian citizen. Yeah, yeah, I know: easier said than done. This obviously requires the aggravating steps of meeting an Italian, falling in love, dating for several years, and then finally pressuring them taking the next step and getting married. Oh for the love of Jove!
Well, if you do hit the romance jackpot, citizenship is a right that is given to all spouses of Italian citizens. After two years of marriage in Italy (or three, if you are both living together outside of Italy), you can apply for citizenship. Hooray!
Helpful hint: unlike countries such as the U.K., there is no Italian language requirement to become a citizen of Italy. Double hooray for the language-impaired among us!
The final (and by far most complicated) way to get Italian citizenship is by naturalization. In order to get to this step, you need to already be living in Italy legally with a visa. The catch? You have to have been living in Italy with a visa for 10 years before you can apply for naturalization. Ouch. It takes a longgg time to reach naturalization, but it is possible. Stay positive!
Helpful hint: having lived and worked legally in Spain (which has identical naturalization laws) for 5 years before I married into EU citizenship, I can commiserate with the long wait. And the frustration. And the heartbreak.
But, I was able to find ways to stay legally that long. If I had kept it up, I would have gotten there without the ol' diamond engagement ring anyway. You CAN do it.
And there you have it. These three paths to Italian citizenship aren’t easy. But I find that the most difficult things in life are often the most worthwhile. Don’t you?
See you on the other side, nuovi italiani!
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