Second Citizenship
April 8, 2024
Reading Time: 7 min

13 advantages of Italy citizenship: how to obtain it and enjoy Dolce Vita till the end of the life

Italian citizens are fortunate to have one of the world’s strongest passports, allowing them to travel visa-free to 172 countries worldwide. They can also live, work, and study in all EU member states without restrictions.

Investors can embark on the path towards citizenship by applying for the Italy Golden Visa. They can get residence permit cards for themselves and their families for a minimum contribution of €250,000.

In this article, we list the benefits of dual citizenship that Italy provides.

Julia Loko
Julia Loko

Explains all the benefits of Italian citizenship

Benefits of Italian citizenship and how to obtain it

13 advantages of Italy citizenship: how to obtain it and enjoy Dolce Vita till the end of the life

13 Italian citizenship benefits

Many people would imagine living on the seaside and enjoying fine food on a warm summer night when they try to imagine living in Italy. While this could be true, there are some more practical benefits to becoming a citizen of the country.

1. Ability to live, work, and study in 27 countries. Among the benefits of an Italian passport is that the citizens can move without restrictions to all EU member states. They also have an advantage when it comes to employment, as hiring an Italian citizen requires a lot less paperwork for a local company.

2. One of the strongest passports. Italian citizens only need visas to enter 27 countries worldwide, such as China, Cuba and Nigeria, while travelling visa-free to 172 states. 45 countries allow entry with a valid Italian ID card, a number that includes all the European Union and Schengen Area. The list of visa-free destinations also consists of most countries in other regions.

Visa-free countries for Italian citizens

Europe

  • Albania

  • Andorra

  • Armenia

  • Austria

  • Azerbaijan

  • Belarus

  • Belgium

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Bulgaria

  • Croatia

  • Cyprus

  • Czechia

  • Denmark

  • Estonia

  • Finland

  • France

  • Georgia

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Hungary

  • Iceland

  • Ireland

  • Italy

  • Kazakhstan

  • Kosovo

  • Latvia

  • Liechtenstein

  • Lithuania

  • Luxembourg

  • Malta

  • Moldova

  • Monaco

  • Montenegro

  • Netherlands

  • North Macedonia

  • Norway

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Romania

  • Russia

  • San Marino

  • Serbia

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Ukraine

  • United Kingdom

  • Vatican City

Africa

  • Angola

  • Benin

  • Botswana

  • Burkina Faso

  • Burundi

  • Cabo Verde

  • Cameroon

  • Comoros

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Côte d’Ivoire

  • Djibouti

  • Equatorial Guinea

  • Eswatini

  • Ethiopia

  • Gabon

  • Gambia

  • Guinea

  • Guinea-Bissau

  • Kenya

  • Lesotho

  • Madagascar

  • Malawi

  • Mauritania

  • Mauritius

  • Morocco

  • Mozambique

  • Namibia

  • Nigeria

  • Rwanda

  • Sao Tome and Principe

  • Senegal

  • Seychelles

  • Sierra Leone

  • Somalia

  • South Africa

  • South Sudan

  • Tanzania

  • Togo

  • Tunisia

  • Uganda

  • Zambia

  • Zimbabwe

Asia

  • Bangladesh

  • Bhutan

  • Brunei

  • Cambodia

  • India

  • Indonesia

  • Japan

  • Kazakhstan

  • Kyrgyzstan

  • Laos

  • Malaysia

  • Maldives

  • Mongolia

  • Myanmar

  • Nepal

  • Philippines

  • Singapore

  • South Korea

  • Sri Lanka

  • Taiwan

  • Tajikistan

  • Thailand

  • Timor-Leste

  • Uzbekistan

  • Vietnam

Caribbean

  • Bahamas

  • Barbados

  • Dominica

  • Dominican Republic

  • Grenada

  • Haiti

  • Jamaica

Middle East

  • Bahrain

  • Egypt

  • Iran

  • Iraq

  • Israel

  • Jordan

  • Kuwait

  • Lebanon

  • Oman

  • Pakistan

  • Qatar

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Turkey

  • United Arab Emirates

North America

  • Belize

  • Canada

  • Costa Rica

  • El Salvador

  • Guatemala

  • Honduras

  • Mexico

  • Nicaragua

  • Panama

  • United States of America

South America

  • Argentina

  • Bolivia

  • Brazil

  • Chile

  • Colombia

  • Ecuador

  • Guyana

  • Paraguay

  • Peru

  • Uruguay

  • Venezuela

Oceania

  • Australia

  • Fiji

  • Kiribati

  • Marshall Islands

  • Micronesia

  • New Zealand

  • Palau

  • Papua New Guinea

  • Samoa

  • Solomon Islands

  • Tonga

  • Tuvalu

  • Vanuatu

3. Italian passport for the younger generations of the family. If a new Italian citizen has children under the age of 18, they are automatically eligible for the Italian passport as well — and so will their children and grandchildren, too.

4. Easier property purchase. Buying a house in Italy is likely to be a lot cheaper and more straightforward for the citizens of the country. Besides, there’s a tax discount on the individual’s first home in Italy.

5. Healthcare benefits. Italian citizens residing in the country can apply for the Tessera Sanitaria (Italian National Healthcare Card) to receive healthcare in Italy and the EU. The Italian healthcare system is both high-quality and affordable, with plenty of services provided for free or at a low cost.

6. More affordable tertiary education. Children of Italian citizens and residents can enrol in Italian universities and colleges easier than other overseas students. They will also face lower tuition fees and other associated costs.

The University of Bologna

The University of Bologna is the oldest in the world, established in 1088. It is still regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in Italy and the world.

7. No compulsory military service. In 2005, Italy stopped the military draft. As a result, the country’s armed forces are now formed solely from professional volunteer troops.

8. Voting opportunities. Depending on the place of residence, an Italian citizen over the age of 18 can participate in local, national and EU elections. Moreover, Italian citizens living away from the country have a chance to elect representatives for “overseas constituencies”, i.e. MPs and senators who would represent the interests of Italians abroad.

9. Social benefits. Italian citizens easily access various social welfare benefits, including pensions, unemployment benefits, and other social security bonuses.

10. Business opportunities. An Italian passport allows its holder to start a business in both Italy and other EU countries and benefit from a large, unified market. The process requires less paperwork than the one for foreigners and residents.

11. Tax incentives. There are several opportunities to reduce the tax burden in Italy. For example, new Italian tax residents are offered a special regime and can pay a flat tax of €100,000 a year on their foreign-sourced income for 15 years. Employed by local companies and the self-employed can pay only 30% of the income tax, and retirees can enjoy a flat 7% tax on their passive income outside Italy.

12. No need to renounce first citizenship. Italy recognises dual citizenship. It means that if a person obtains an Italian passport, they can keep the citizenship of the first country if the local laws allow it as well.

13. Comfortable place to live. Marvellous weather, world-famous cuisine, rich cultural heritage, spectacular scenery, and most of the major European cities just a couple hours away by plane — living in Italy could be the dream.

The Dolomites are viewed among most attractive mountain landscapes in the world

The Dolomites is a mountain range in the Italian Alps in northeastern Italy. It’s recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site

Disadvantages of Italy citizenship

While the benefits of Italy citizenship probably outweigh the disadvantages, you should be aware of a couple of drawbacks.

Lengthy acquisition process. Depending on the way of getting Italian citizenship, a person can become eligible for the passport in between 12 months and 10 years. It’s not the end of the road, though: the application could be processed for between 3 months and 3 years even if the applicant collects and presents all the required documents orderly.

Taxation aspects. An Italian citizen may not be required to pay taxes in the country if they don’t have any income or own property there. However, it only applies to individuals living for less than 183 days per year in Italy.

6 ways to obtain Italy citizenship

Most holders of Italian passports obtain it by birthright as children of Italian citizens. For foreigners, the most common ways to acquire citizenship are by naturalisation, by descent and by marriage.

1. By naturalisation. A non-Italian citizen who obtains a resident permit card can be eligible for citizenship in 10 years. An EU citizen can apply for Italian citizenship after living in the country for 4 years.

Before applying, the individual needs to permanently reside in Italy, receive income, and pay taxes. The applicant won’t receive citizenship if they have spent more than 10 months abroad in the five years before the application. A successful B1 Italian language test is also a requirement.

One of the ways to obtain a residence permit is through the Italy Golden Visa program, which allows investors to live in the country for two years. The permit can then be renewed for another three years. After that, the applicant becomes eligible for permanent residence and, five years later, citizenship.

2. By descent. According to the ‘jus sanguinis’ principle, if a parent, a grandparent, or a great-grandparent of a person was an Italian citizen or had the right to claim citizenship at birth, that person has this right as well.

The applicant must prove their eligibility with certified copies of official documents in the hometown of the Italian ancestor. They also have to prove that the said ancestor did not renounce Italian citizenship at any point.

3. By marriage. A non-Italian citizen marrying an Italian person does not automatically receive an Italian passport. However, marriage does make the process of obtaining Italian citizenship easier and faster.

The spouse of the Italian citizen becomes eligible for Italian citizenship after two years of being married if they live in Italy and after three years if they live elsewhere. If the couple has a child, the term is reduced to 12 and 18 months, respectively. The applicant must also pass a B1 Italian language test.

4. By birthright. A child of Italian citizens automatically obtains citizenship regardless of the birthplace. Children born in Italy also become citizens if their parents are unknown.

5. By adoption. A child adopted by Italian parents becomes a citizen at the moment of adoption.

6. By working for the Italian government. A person acquires citizenship after five years serving the government, even if they do not live in Italy.

Is the Italy Golden Visa worth it? Watch the video and find out

How an Italy Golden Visa can lead to citizenship

Italy does not have a citizenship by investment program. However, the Italy Golden Visa program offers a path towards obtaining citizenship by naturalisation within 10 years.

To participate in the program, an individual has four investment options:

  • €250,000 in an innovative startup;

  • €500,000 in equity instruments in an Italian limited company;

  • €1,000,000 as a philanthropic donation to a socially important project;

  • €2,000,000 in government bonds.

The investor is first issued a residence permit for two years. If the investment is maintained, it can be extended for three years. Investors living in Italy throughout this period can follow this up by receiving permanent residence for five years. At the end of that term, they can receive Italian citizenship by naturalisation as per the standard procedure.

Individual cost calculation of the Italy Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of the Italy Golden Visa

How to get Italy citizenship through Golden Visa: a step-by-step procedure

It could take at least three months to obtain the Italy Golden Visa that will open up a path towards citizenship. Immigrant Invest will be able to help the applicants along the way, as most actions can be carried out on the investor’s behalf by lawyers based on a power of attorney.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

Immigrant Invest has its own compliance department that can conduct a mandatory and confidential preliminary Due Diligence procedure.

The check will help indicate potential issues and reduce the chances of visa refusal to 1%.

2

7+ days

Applying for Nulla Osta

Nulla Osta is a certificate that confirms the absence of obstacles to obtaining an investor visa. Immigrant Invest lawyers will help the investor apply after the following documents are provided:

  • a copy of passport;

  • a certificate of professional experience;

  • documents confirming the availability of money required for investment;

  • a written commitment to investing in the Italian economy after receiving the visa.

3

30 days

Issuance of Nulla Osta

The application is considered within 30 days. The program committee may request additional documents or a video interview. After the decision is made, the investor is notified through their personal account on the program’s website.

4

7+ days

Applying for an Italy Golden Visa

Nulla Osta is valid for 6 months. During this period, the investor must apply for an Italy Golden Visa at the Italian consulate in their country, submitting the following documents:

  • a Nulla Osta certificate;

  • a copy of passport;

  • a contract of the purchase or lease of residential property in Italy;

  • a confirmation of income in excess of health care costs — €8500+;

  • a photo.

Immigrant Invest lawyers will accompany the applicant along the way.

5

10 to 120 days

Obtaining an Italy Golden Visa

The consulate checks the applicant’s documents for a maximum period of 120 days. In reality, visas are approved within 10–20 days. The answer is sent to the investor’s email address.

6

7+ days

Visiting Italy and applying for a residence permit

The Italy Golden Visa is valid for 2 years. The investor must visit Italy and apply for a residence permit during that period.

After entering the country, the investor must:

  • personally submit documents for a residence permit to the Migration Service — Questura within 8 days. The investor provides Questura with a copy of their passport, two photos and a revenue stamp;

  • make an entire investment according to the chosen option within 3 months;

  • upload the documents confirming the fulfilment of the required investment to the program committee.

7

30+ days

Obtaining a residence permit card

The Migration Service examines the documents provided by the investor. If additional questions arise, the applicant has up to 30 days to respond. The residence permit is valid for an initial two-year term.

8

After 2 years

Renewal of the residence permit

Two years after the residence permit is issued, the applicant must renew it following a similar procedure. The application for renewal must be submitted no less than 60 days before the expiration date of the previous residence permit. The new permit is valid for three years.

9

After 3 years

Obtaining permanent residence

Three years after renewing the residence permit, the investor can apply for permanent residence, which is necessary for those wishing to obtain Italian citizenship.

Permanent residency gives a non-Italian citizen the same rights as an Italian citizen, including healthcare and education benefits, as well as the ability to relocate to another EU country.

10

After 5 years

Applying for Italian citizenship

Five years after obtaining permanent residency, the investor is eligible to apply for Italian citizenship on common grounds.

The applicant will need to collect the following documents:

  • original birth certificates, passports and Italian residence permit for all family members applying for citizenship — as well as copies of all these documents;

  • passport-sized photos of all applicants;

  • certificates showing the applicants hold no criminal record in the country of origin or any other country they have resided since turning 14;

  • Italian language proficiency test certificate showing the B1 CERF level or higher;

  • Ministry of the Interior fee receipt in the amount of €250.

Key things to remember about Italy citizenship and its benefits

  1. The Italian passport is considered one of the world’s strongest, allowing its holders to travel visa-free to all but 27 countries.

  2. Italian citizens can live, work and study in every European Union country without restrictions.

  3. There are multiple ways to get Italy citizenship, including naturalisation, descent, and marriage.

  4. The Italy Golden Visa program offers investors a path towards obtaining Italy citizenship after 10 years.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain a Italy Golden Visa?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a Italy Golden Visa?

Frequently asked questions

  • How can I become an Italian citizen?

    There are three main ways for a non-Italian person to become a citizen of the country:

    • by ancestry — if one of your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents is Italian by descent;

    • by marriage;

    • by naturalisation if you have resided legally in Italy for 10 years.

  • What is the main advantage of the Italian passport?

    The Italian passport is one of the strongest in the world, allowing its holders to travel to all but 27 countries worldwide without a visa.

  • Can I live and work in other EU countries with an Italian passport?

    Yes, Italy is an EU state member, which means that the benefits of becoming an Italian citizen include travelling, living, working, and studying in all other EU countries without restrictions.

  • Is dual citizenship recognised in Italy?

    Yes, the person who obtains an Italian passport does not have to renounce their first nationality unless the other country requires it.

  • What are the disadvantages of Italian dual citizenship?

    There are a few disadvantages to having Italian citizenship. It’s noteworthy, however, that the process itself could be long: becoming an Italian citizen by naturalisation could take over 10 years.

  • How do I get Italian citizenship by descent?

    The applicant needs to present documents proving that one of their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents was an Italian citizen or was entitled to become one and never renounced that right. They also need to reside in Italy for three years.

  • How quickly do I get Italian citizenship?

    Depending on the way you have chosen to apply for citizenship, you can be eligible to do so in between 1 and 10 years. After that, your application will be processed between 3 months and 3 years.

  • Can I get Italian citizenship by investment?

    No, Italy does not have a citizenship by investment program. However, obtaining citizenship 10 years after receiving the Italy Golden Visa is possible.

  • What is the Italy Golden Visa?

    Italy Golden Visa is a program that allows investors to obtain a residence permit for an initial term of two years. After that, the residence permit can be renewed for another three years.

  • How expensive is the Italy Golden Visa?

    An individual can obtain the Italy Golden Visa for a minimum investment of:

    • €250,000 in an innovative startup;

    • €500,000 in equity instruments in an Italian limited company;

    • €1,000,000 as a philanthropic donation to a socially important project;

    • €2,000,000 in government bonds.

  • What is the duration of the Italy Golden Visa?

    The Italy Golden Visa is initially issued for two years and can be renewed for three years. After five years, the investor can apply for permanent residency. After another five years, the investor residing in Italy becomes eligible for citizenship.

  • How strong is Italian citizenship?

    The Italian passport is one of the strongest in Europe, allowing visa-free entry to 172 countries.

  • Do dual citizens pay taxes in Italy?

    Italian citizens with dual nationality pay taxes in Italy only if they live in the country for more than 183 days a year or get income there.

    You also can be exempt from paying taxes in Italy if your country of origin and Italy have signed a double taxation avoidance treaty.