Second Citizenship
July 5, 2023
Reading Time: 8 min

How to get dual and multiple citizenship in Italy

An Italian passport allows its holders to travel visa-free to 188 countries around the world, as well as work, live and study in any country in the European Union.

Italy recognises dual and multiple citizenship, which means that foreigners can become Italian citizens without renouncing their first nationality and enjoy the benefits of both passports.

Even though Italy does not offer citizenship by investment, the Italy Golden Visa opens up a path towards obtaining it within ten years.

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Explained how to obtain dual or multiple citizenship in Italy

How to get dual and multiple citizenship in Italy

How to get dual and multiple citizenship in Italy

Does Italy allow dual and multiple citizenship?

Based on the current law, Italy recognises multiple citizenship, meaning that those who wish to obtain it don’t need to renounce their first nationality. Foreign investors can become citizens in Italy after joining the Italy Golden Visa program.

Dual citizenship is not the same as second citizenship. In both cases, a person has passports from two different countries. However, dual citizenship is based on bilateral agreements between states that officially recognise the rights and obligations of the person to each country.

Second citizenship is different: each country only recognises the person as its citizen. In rare cases, it could mean double taxation or troubles due to military obligations.

Here are some countries that allow dual citizenship with Italy:

  • Australia,

  • Belgium,

  • Canada,

  • Denmark,

  • France,

  • Finland,

  • Greece,

  • Hungary,

  • Ireland,

  • Israel,

  • Philippines,

  • Portugal,

  • Sweden,

  • Switzerland,

  • United Kingdom,

  • United States.

The rules do not limit the number of passports an individual can hold, so one person could be a citizen of three or more countries, provided all the other countries in question also allow this.

Children of Italian citizens are granted citizenship automatically. Even if the Italy passport is your second one, all the future generations of your family will also get passports. They will be able to enjoy its benefits, including visa-free travel to 188 countries and living in one of the most developed countries in the world.

Ways to get Italy citizenship

The most common way to become an Italian citizen is by birthright. Children of Italian citizens are automatically granted citizenship regardless of their birth country. Other options are applicable for foreigners.

1. By naturalisation. A non-Italian citizen who obtains a resident permit card can be eligible for citizenship in 10 years. Before applying, the individual must permanently reside in Italy, receive income, pay taxes and pass a B1 Italian language test.

The Italy Golden Visa program is one of the ways to obtain a residence permit and start the path to citizenship.

2. By descent. 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 also has this right. Those who qualify can apply for citizenship after three years of residing in the country.

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 2—3 years of marriage.

4. By service to the Italian government. Those who have worked for the Italian government for five years can be eligible for citizenship, even if they do not reside in Italy.

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

How to obtain dual citizenship in Italy by naturalisation

Anyone residing in Italy for 10 years can become eligible for Italian citizenship. The term is reduced to four years for an EU citizen.

To start living in Italy, foreigners must first obtain temporary residency for 1 or 2 years. In five years, they can claim permanent residence and won’t have to renew their residence cards until securing citizenship.

A non-EU citizen can obtain temporary residency in Italy for one of these reasons: 

  • investment;

  • work or pending employment;

  • study, scientific research or internship;

  • family reunification;

  • medical treatment;

  • special cases, such as residency for international protection or pending recognition of stateless status.

The key condition for citizenship applicants is uninterrupted legal residence in the country. The application will not be approved if the person has spent more than ten months outside Italy in five previous years.

The potential applicant also must pay taxes in Italy and confirm their annual income. Their minimum earnings per year must be:

  • €8,264 for a single applicant;

  • €11,362 for a married applicant;

  • €516 for each dependent.

Applicants must also prove their language proficiency by passing an Italian language test at the B1 level to receive a certificate recognised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Four institutions carry out the tests: the Dante Alighieri Society, the University for Foreigners in Siena, the University of Roma Tre and the University for Foreigners in Perugia.

Finally, the applicant must provide a certificate of no criminal record issued in Italy and any other country where they have resided for at least a year. Each certificate is valid for 180 days.

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How to obtain dual citizenship in Italy by investment

Italy does not offer any citizenship by investment program. However, one of the ways to obtain a residence permit is through the Italy Golden Visa program.

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

  • €250,000 or more for investing in an innovative startup;

  • €500,000 or more for equity financing to an Italian company;

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

  • €2,000,000 or more as a purchase of government bonds.

The investors undergo Due Diligence and confirm the legality of receiving funds for the investment condition.

The Golden Visa allows investors to live in the country for an initial two-year term. The applicant can renew the permit for another three years. After that, they become eligible for permanent residence and, five years later, citizenship by naturalisation on common grounds.

Individual cost calculation of the Italy Golden Visa

Individual cost calculation of the Italy Golden Visa

Step-by-step procedure for becoming a citizen after an Italy Golden Visa

Obtaining the Italy Golden Visa could take at least three months, after which the investor could get a residence permit for two years, followed by another three-year term. After five years of living in Italy, the applicant can receive permanent residence and citizenship in another five years.

Immigrant Invest lawyers will help the Italy Golden Visa applicants every step along the way. Here is the full process.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

Immigrant Invest has a compliance department conducting a preliminary Due Diligence procedure. It’s a mandatory step we take before signing a contract with any client.

The confidential check helps indicate potential risks and reduce the chances of visa refusal to 1%.

2

7+ days

Applying for Nulla Osta

Nulla Osta is a document that confirms an investor’s eligibility to join the Golden Visa program. The certificate is valid for 6 months.

To obtain it, the applicant needs to create a personal account on the Investor Visa for Italy Committee website and submit the following documents:

  • 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 processed within 30 days. The investor can be asked to provide additional papers or a video interview. The applicant receives the decision on their account on the program’s website.

4

7+ days

Applying for Italy Golden Visa

The investor with a valid Nulla Osta certificate applies for an Italy Golden Visa at the Italian consulate in their country, submitting the following documents:

  • the Nulla Osta certificate;

  • a copy of passport;

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

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

  • a photo.

5

10 to 120 days

Obtaining Italy Golden Visa

The consulate checks the documents for a maximum period of 120 days. Generally, 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 investor must visit Italy and apply for a residence permit upon obtaining the Italy Golden Visa.

After entering the country, the investor must:

  • submit documents, a copy of their passport, two photos and a revenue stamp to the Migration Service — Questura within 8 days;

  • complete the investment according to the chosen option within 3 months;

  • upload the documents confirming the investment to the website program committee.

7

30+ days

Obtaining a residence permit card

The Migration Service examines the investor’s documents. If extra questions arise, the applicant can respond in 30 days. The residence permit is valid for two years.

8

After 2 years

Renewal of the residence permit

The applicant must renew the residence permit following a similar procedure. The application must be submitted at least 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.

The permanent residency gives some new rights to non-Italian citizens, including healthcare and education benefits and the ability to relocate to another EU country. However, those who wish to obtain citizenship need to live permanently in Italy.

10

After 5 years

Applying for Italian citizenship

The investor can apply for Italian citizenship on common grounds five years after obtaining permanent residency.

The following documents are required:

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

  • passport-sized photos of all applicants;

  • certificates of the absence of criminal record in the country of origin or any other country the applicants have resided since turning 14;

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

  • Ministry of the Interior fee receipt for €250.

How to obtain citizenship in Italy by marriage

Anyone who marries an Italian citizen becomes eligible to apply for citizenship. However, it is not done automatically or immediately.

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 pass a B1 Italian language test and receive a certificate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How to obtain citizenship in Italy by descent

‘Jus sanguinis’, or ‘the right of blood’ is a principle that determines who is eligible to become an Italian citizen by descent.

Applicants must prove that their parent, grandparent or great-grandparent was an Italian citizen or entitled to Italian citizenship by birth.

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

Before applying, the prospective citizen must legally reside in Italy for three years, staying there for at least six months and a day per year.

As well as those who apply for citizenship by naturalisation, this category of applicants must pay taxes in Italy and confirm that their earnings per year are at least:

  • €8,264 for a single applicant;

  • €11,362 for a married applicant;

  • €516 for each dependent.

Documents required to apply for dual citizenship in Italy

Regardless of the method of obtaining Italian citizenship, 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 for €250.

Additionally, applicants for Italian citizenship by marriage must provide the full marriage certificate or extract of the marriage certificate issued by the Italian town hall where it was registered. The certificate must be issued no more than six months before the application date.

Applicants for Italian citizenship by descent submit documents confirming their ancestors have been recognised as Italian citizens.

Each document must be duly legalised and translated into Italian.

Advantages of obtaining Italy citizenship

Italy is a splendid place to live, with a Mediterranean climate, deep cultural background and world-famous cuisine. There are other, more practical benefits to living in the country.

1. Strong passport. In 2023, the Italian, German, and Spanish passports were ranked the strongest in the world, only behind Singapore. Italian citizens only need visas to enter 22 countries worldwide, such as China, Cuba and Nigeria. They can travel to 45 countries with only a valid ID card, including all the European Union and Schengen area states.

2. Ability to live in the European Union. 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 in employment as hiring an Italian citizen requires much less paperwork for a local company.

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3. Passing the citizenship down. If a new Italian citizen has children under 18, they are automatically eligible for the Italian passport as well — and so will all the next generation of their family.

4. Easier property purchase. Buying a house in Italy is cheaper and more straightforward for its citizens than even for non-citizens who permanently reside in the country. Besides, there are several tax breaks for individuals who buy their first home in Italy, including a reduction of VAT from 10% to 4% and a 7% discount on registration tax.

5. Healthcare benefits. Tessera Sanitaria is a public insurance card allowing all Italian citizens residing in the country 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. Affordable higher 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 associated costs.

Key things to know about dual and multiple citizenship in Italy

  1. Italy recognises dual and multiple citizenship without limiting the number of passports their citizens can hold.

  2. There are multiple ways to become an Italian citizen. For foreigners without Italian relatives, the main option is citizenship by naturalisation.

  3. Italy does not offer citizenship by investment. Foreigners can obtain citizenship 10 years after becoming a resident of the country with the Italy Golden Visa program.

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

  • Does Italy allow dual citizenship?

    Yes, Italy recognises dual and multiple citizenship, meaning that an individual does not have to renounce their first nationality or the rights it brings — provided the country of the first citizenship also allows it.

  • Why is Italian citizenship worth it?

    Italian citizenship has a number of benefits, the most important of them being the right to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union. The holders of the Italian passport can also travel visa-free to all but 22 countries worldwide.

    It also means an opportunity to live in a warm climate, with access to excellent education and healthcare — and a chance for your children to have this life as well.

  • Who can obtain Italian citizenship?

    There are three main ways to obtain Italian citizenship:

    • by naturalisation — for anyone who legally resides in Italy for at least 10 years;

    • by descent — for a person who can prove that their ancestor was an Italian citizen or had a right to claim it;

    • by marriage — for a person who marries an Italian citizen.

  • What documents are required to get Italian citizenship?

    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 for €250.

    Applicants for Italian citizenship by marriage must provide the marriage certificate issued by the Italian town hall where it was registered. The certificate must be issued no more than six months before the application date.

    Applicants for Italian citizenship by descent submit documents confirming their ancestors have been recognised as Italian citizens.

  • Is it possible to obtain Italy citizenship by investment?

    No, but there’s a path towards obtaining Italian citizenship starting with the Italy Golden Visa program. An individual can make a minimum investment of €250,000 to get a two-year residence permit when it can be renewed for another three years.

    Following that, they become eligible for permanent residence and, five years later, citizenship by naturalisation.

  • How much does it cost to apply for Italian citizenship?

    Regardless of how you apply for citizenship, you do not need to pay any fee for citizenship, but there are associated costs. To reside in Italy legally, they need to rent or purchase a house or apartment for up to 10 years and pay taxes. The prospective citizen will also have to pay a €250 stamp duty and at least €120 for an Italian language test.

    Additionally, the Italian government imposes a fee of approximately €300 for all applications made outside of Italy for persons over 18.

  • How quickly does it take to get Italian citizenship?

    Depending on the way to obtain Italy citizenship, it can take between a year and 10 years to become eligible for citizenship.