How to Get Italian Citizenship

How to Get Italian Citizenship by Investment
 
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Italian citizens travel without visas to 190 countries to live and work in any country of the European Union. Citizenship can be obtained by naturalization, birthright, marriage or ancestry.

The Italy passport ranks fourth among all passports in the world in terms of the number of visa-free destinations. Italian citizens freely travel to the Schengen countries, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan.

Italy is a member of the European Union. Its citizens remain without time limits in any EU country, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland. They do not need to obtain a residence permit in advance in order to stay for a long time. They can go without a visa and find a job, open a business or start studying at a university.

Italy is a pleasant place to live, work and raise children. The country has a warm climate, beautiful architecture, friendly people and delicious food. You can settle living a comfortable life near the mountains or on the seashore. These factors are few of the italian citizenship benefits.

Italian law permits second citizenship: after obtaining an Italian passport, the applicant can retain the citizenship of the home country.

Italian citizenship is inherited.

Main ways to get an Italian passport

By naturalization. A person receives a residence permit card to move to Italy. After five years of residence, you can apply for permanent residence and for Italian citizenship after another five years. You need to permanently reside in the country for ten years, receive income and pay taxes.

By descent. Italian citizenship can be obtained if a person’s parents or grandparents were citizens of the country. The process of obtaining a passport through ancestry is similar to naturalization, except it is faster as you can apply for citizenship after three years of residence in the country. The applicant confirms his Italian origin with official documents.

By marriage. Those who marry Italian citizens do not automatically receive an Italian passport. However, this does speed up the procedure for obtaining citizenship. You can apply in two or three years depending on the place of residence.

By birthright. A child of Italian citizens automatically acquires citizenship, even if he was born in another country. Children who were born in Italy also receive citizenship if their parents are unknown.

Upon adoption. A child adopted by Italian citizens acquires citizenship from the moment of adoption.

After serving for the Italian government for five years, even outside Italy. In this case, you do not need to live in the country for ten years to obtain citizenship.

Adult foreigners most often acquire citizenship by naturalization, marriage or ancestry. These methods will be explained further.

How to get an Italian passport by naturalization

Who can get it? A citizen of another country who lives, works and pays taxes in Italy for ten years.

Requirements. To live in Italy with a residence permit for five years. Then apply for a permanent residence permit. After five years of permanent residency, you can apply for Italian citizenship.

10 years

term for obtaining Italian citizenship by naturalization

To maintain the residence permit, you need to live in the country for at least 183 days a year. Citizenship will be approved if the applicant has spent a total of no more than 10 months abroad in the last five years before applying. For the duration of your stay, you need to register at the place of living in Italy.

To obtain Italian citizenship, you need to receive income in the country. Minimum amount to be confirmed:

  • from €8,264 for the applicant;
  • €11,362 for applicant and spouse;
  • €516 extra for each child under 18 years old.
€8,264

minimum income of an applicant for Italian citizenship

Income certificates are provided for the last three years before the date of application for citizenship. The applicant pays taxes and confirms income with annual tax returns.

It is necessary to pass the Italian language test at B1 level: the person must be able to communicate about everyday topics. The test is carried out at four centers: the Dante Alighieri Society, the University for Foreigners in Siena, the University of Roma Tre and the University for Foreigners in Perugia.

You will not need to take the test if you have graduated from a school, college or university in the country. The same applies with a diploma from a provincial center for adult education and training (CPIA) or a local center (CTP) which has been obtained since 2015.

Compliance with the law is confirmed by certificates of no criminal record in the countries of citizenship, residence and in Italy. Certificates are valid for 180 days from the date of receipt. The documents are translated into Italian and notarized.

How to get an Italian citizenship by naturalization
The Cinque Terre is five ancient settlements on a rocky strip above the sea, which are included in the UNESCO cultural heritage list. They are known for their flamboyant homes and vineyards on rocky terraces

Italian citizenship through ancestry

Italian citizenship through ancestry is called Jus Sanguinis. Translated from Latin, this means “the right of blood.”

Who can get it? If either a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent was an Italian citizen, the person can apply for Italian citizenship.

Requirements. The applicant needs to prove that his ancestor was an Italian citizen or was entitled to Italian citizenship at birth. To do this, you need to find and obtain certified copies of official documents in the hometown of the Italian ancestor.

You will need to confirm that neither you or your relatives have ever renounced Italian citizenship. This is confirmed by a certificate from the Italian consulate.

To obtain citizenship through ancestry, you need to live in Italy for three years, register at the place of living and stay in the country for at least six months and one day a year.

3 years

term of living in Italy to obtain citizenship through ancestry

The applicant confirms the income received. Minimum amount to be confirmed:

  • from €8,264 for the applicant;
  • €11,362 for applicant and spouse;
  • €516 extra for each child under 18 years old.

Income certificates are provided for the last three years before the date of application for citizenship. The applicant pays taxes and confirms income with annual tax returns.

Previously, Italian citizenship was passed only through the male line. The transfer of citizenship through the female line is only possible for people born after the 1st of January, 1948. Moreover, the applicant’s relative could not have been a naturalized citizen of any other country prior to the applicant’s birth.

Italian citizenship through marriage

Who can get it? Anyone has the right to apply for Italian citizenship if married to a citizen of the country.

Requirements. Two to three years of marriage, depending on where you live. The term will be halved if a child was born or adopted in the family.

To obtain citizenship, the applicant confirms their knowledge of the Italian language at the B1 level.

When to apply for Italian citizenship through marriage

Situation How long to wait before applying for citizenship
Spouses live in Italy 2 years
🌎 Spouses live in another country 3 years
👶 Spouses live in Italy,
a child was born in the family
1 year
🌎 👶 Spouses live in another country,
a child was born in the family
1,5 years
How to get Italian citizenship by marriage: Verona

Verona is the city of Romeo and Juliet which inspires weddings to often take place here. Newlyweds take pictures at Juliet's house and view the city from the 84-meter Lamberti tower

How to get Italian citizenship by marriage: Amalfi

Popular resorts are located on the coast near Amalfi. The surroundings are immersed in the aromas of flowering orange trees and jasmine from April to June

How to get Italian citizenship by marriage: Verona
How to get Italian citizenship by marriage: Amalfi

How to obtain Italian citizenship by investment

Italian citizenship cannot be obtained by investment but the country has a residence permit program. Applicants choose from four investment options:

  • €250,000+ – investments in innovative startups;
  • €500,000+ – investments in the authorized capital of Italian companies;
  • €1,000,000+ – investments in socially significant projects;
  • €2,000,000+ – purchase of government bonds.

The investor confirms the legality of receiving funds for the investment contribution and undergoes Due Diligence.

A residence permit is issued for two years. It can then be extended for three years provided that the investment is maintained. Investors are not required to live in Italy if they do not want to obtain citizenship.

Investors receive citizenship by naturalization under general conditions. After five years of permanent residence, the investor receives permanent residence and after ten years, citizenship.

What documents are needed

For any method of obtaining Italian citizenship, you will need:

  • applicant’s questionnaire;
  • originals of passports, notarized and translated copies of passports of all family members;
  • copy of the residence permit in Italy;
  • police clearance certificates for all family members in Italy, each country of residence and country of citizenship;
  • payment receipt of the fee in the amount of €250; four photographs;
  • postal stamp.
In addition to the basic documents, the applicant for citizenship through marriage provides certificates of marriage, family composition and language proficiency certificate.

The naturalization applicant additionally confirms financial position with income certificates and tax returns for the last three years. A certificate of residence in Italy and a certificate of knowledge in the Italian language is also needed.

To obtain citizenship through ancestry, applicants submit the same documents as for citizenship by naturalization. They also need a certificate confirming the Italian citizenship of the parent or ancestor in a straight line up to the second knee. The documents are translated into Italian and notarized.
Documents for obtaining Italian citizenship
Lake Garda is the largest in Italy. There are resorts with healing springs here. Nearby, is a huge entertainment center called «Gardaland» with an oceanarium and safari

Where to apply for Italian citizenship and how to wait for a decision

An application for citizenship is filled out on the website of the Italian Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, scans of the necessary documents are uploaded. If all the conditions for filling out are met, the department employees set a date for the transfer of the original documents. The applicant hands them over to the municipality where he or she lives.

The Government Department reviews the application from three months to three years, depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the queue.

Alternatives to Italian citizenship

To obtain Italian citizenship, you need to live in the country for ten years. This path is not suitable for everyone.

Some EU countries give investors the opportunity to obtain a residence permit, permanent residence and citizenship much faster. With these statuses, you can live, study and work in the chosen country, enjoying the right of visa-free entry to other countries. Moreover, their conditions are often milder than in Italy: for example, in Portugal, investors receive citizenship after five years of resident status.

Maltese Citizenship for exceptional service by direct investment requires applicants to be naturalized after one or three years as a resident. The size of the investment depends on the term.

Applicants fulfill several investment conditions:

  • €600,000+ – contribution to the National Development Fund;
  • €10,000 – charitable contribution;
  • €16,000+ per year or €700,000+ – rent of housing for five years or purchase of real estate.

You do not need to pass a language proficiency test to obtain citizenship. It is allowed to include spouses, children and parents in the application.

The average annual increase in the value of real estate in Malta before the pandemic was 5-10%, in resort areas – up to 15-20%.

How to obtain Maltese citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Malta: a turnkey apartment with a pool and sea views in St. Julian's. The area is 222 m². The price is €740,000

How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Malta: a turnkey apartment with a pool and sea views in St. Julian's. The area is 222 m². The price is €740,000

How to obtain Maltese citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Malta: a turnkey apartment with a pool and sea views in St. Julian's. The area is 222 m². The price is €740,000

How to obtain Maltese citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Malta: a turnkey apartment with a pool and sea views in St. Julian's. The area is 222 m². The price is €740,000

How to obtain Maltese citizenship: an apartment for purchase
How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase
How to obtain Maltese citizenship: an apartment for purchase
How to obtain Maltese citizenship: an apartment for purchase

A residence permit in Greece can be obtained by investments of €250,000. Applicants invest in real estate, buy shares or deposit money. The money can be returned in five years.

After five years, the investor can apply for permanent residence and after another two years, obtain Greek citizenship.

With a residence permit in Greece, cosmopolitans travel without visas to the Schengen countries. A Greek passport gives investors additional opportunities: for example, to move to any EU country using a simplified registration procedure.

How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Greece: an apartment in a residential complex in Athens, 500 meters from the Aegean Sea. Area is 90 m², costing €290,000

How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Greece: an apartment in a residential complex in Athens, 500 meters from the Aegean Sea. Area is 90 m², costing €290,000

How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Greece: an apartment in a residential complex in Athens, 500 meters from the Aegean Sea. Area is 90 m², costing €290,000

How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Greece: an apartment in a residential complex in Athens, 500 meters from the Aegean Sea. Area is 90 m², costing €290,000

How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase

An example of an investment property in Greece: an apartment in a residential complex in Athens, 500 meters from the Aegean Sea. Area is 90 m², costing €290,000

How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase
How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase
How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase
How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase
How to obtain Greek citizenship: an apartment for purchase

A residence permit in Portugal can be obtained in a few months through participation in the investment program.

The minimum investment is €250,000. The applicant can buy real estate or securities, open a deposit, invest in business, science or culture.

The minimum investment is €250,000. The applicant can buy real estate or securities, open a deposit, invest in business, science or culture.

An investor with a resident status can live in the country, conduct business and travel to the Schengen countries without a visa. There is no permanent residency requirement. It is enough to spend seven days a year in Portugal.

In the application for a residence permit in Portugal, you can include a spouse, children under 26 years old, parents over 65 years old. Children and parents must be financially dependent on the investor.

Citizenship applications can be submitted after five years as a resident. To obtain a passport, the investor and his family members take a language proficiency test.

How to obtain Portugese citizenship: an apartment for purchase
Apartments in a residential complex in Lisbon. Area of 88 m², costing €590,000

Frequently Asked Questions

The main ways to obtain Italian citizenship are:

  • by birth, if the child was born to Italian citizens;
  • through ancestry, or Italian citizenship by blood if parents, grandfather or great-grandfather are Italians;
  • through marriage, after two years of marriage in Italy or three years in another country;
  • by naturalization after ten years of living in Italy;
  • in case of adoption: if the child is adopted by Italian citizens;
  • after serving the Italian government, after five years, even outside the country.

Italians can hold a second citizenship of another country, so you will not have to give up the first one.

The naturalization process usually takes over 10 years. Citizenship by marriage can be obtained after two years of residence in Italy or after three years of residence outside the country. Foreigners can get an Italian passport after working for the Italian government for five years, even outside the country.

Most often, they refuse if the applicant does not abide by italian citizenship laws providing false documents, false information, expired certificates, or the documents have not been translated into Italian with notarization.

May be refused if the applicants receive income only from abroad and do not pay taxes in Italy.

A residence permit is the first step towards citizenship. Applicants who receive a residence permit by investment are subject to Due Diligence. If the result of the check is negative, the residence permit is refused.

Yes, if the citizen holds a public office in another country or enlists in a foreign army. The Government can revoke citizenship if found that the applicant has misled the Italian authorities or withheld information that could lead to the applicant's denial.

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