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CITIZENSHIP

Italian citizenship is based on the principle of ius sanguinis (blood right) by which a child born of an Italian father or mother is Italian; it has to be mentioned here, however, that the mother citizen has only transmitted citizenship to minor children since January 1st 1948 as a result of a ruling by the Constitutional Court.
Italian citizenship is currently regulated by Law No. 91 of 5 December 1992, which, unlike the previous law, re-evaluates the importance of individual desire in the gain or loss of citizenship and acknowledges the right to hold citizenship in more than one country. 

HOW TO BECOME AN ITALIAN CITIZEN :

AUTOMATICALLY
 
  • By having an Italian parent(s);
  • By being born in Italy: including cases in which the parents are unknown, stateless or do not transmit their own citizenship to their child according to the legislation of the State to which they belong, as well as children found abandoned in Italy and for whom it is impossible to determine status civitatis (citizenship); 
  • Through paternal or maternal recognition while the child is a minor (in cases in which the child recognised is no longer a minor, he/she is obliged to elect to become a citizen within one year of recognition);
  • By adoption, both if the foreign minor is adopted by an Italian citizen by means of the Italian Judicial Authorities, as well as in the case in which adoption is granted abroad and made effective in Italy through a writ, issued by the Juvenile Court and registered with the Civil Registry.
  • If the adoptee is no longer a minor, he/she can become a naturalised Italian citizen after 5 years of legal residence in Italy (see How to Apply: Naturalisation).

BY APPLICATION

1. Declaration of desire to become a citizen;

If the foreigner is of Italian descent (up to the 2nd degree) he/she can obtain citizenship in any of the following cases (alternatively):   
    • by serving in the Italian armed forces;
    • by becoming a subordinate employee of the Italian State, even abroad;
    • by residing legally in Italy for at least two years after reaching legal age.
    • If the foreigner was born in Italian territory he/she can obtain citizenship by residing legally and uninterruptedly in Italy from birth up to legal age.
  2. Marriage to an Italian citizen

The requirements include:
·         two years of legal residence in Italy after marriage (residence permit and anagrafe (registry office) registration;
·         3 years of marriage if residing abroad; the terms are half-reduced if the couple has children or adopted children;
·         valid marriage certificate;
·         absence of criminal record;
·         absence of impediments associated with national security. 
Applications for citizenship are to be addressed to the Ministry of the Interior and presented to the Prefecture in the Province of residence, if residing in Italy, or to the diplomatic-consular authorities if residing abroad.

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents, duly legalized and translated:
·         Birth certificate from country of origin with all pertinent data; in the case of documented impossibility, statement issued by the diplomatic or consular authorities of the country of origin, indicating name, surname, date and place of birth as well as names of applicant’s father and mother.
·         Criminal record from applicant’s country of origin and any third eventual country of residence.
·         Certificate of residence history with tax stamp.
·         Extract from the marriage register of the Italian municipality where the relative deed was transcribed (not the marriage certificate or copy of the marriage deed).
·         Certificate of Italian citizenship for the spouse with tax stamp.
·         Police records certificate with tax stamp.
·         Certificate of pending proceedings issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the court authorised for the territory in relation to the place of residence of the applicant. (with judicial stamp).
·         Certified copy of residence permit with tax stamp.
·         Copy of passport copy together with an official translation into Italian, in case the document does not contain written information other than in the original language but also in English and French), certified by the diplomatic /consular authority with jurisdiction over the country in which it was issued.
·         Certificate of family status (stamp duty).
The final decision is taken by force of a decree issued by the Minister of the Interior.


3. Naturalization

To have legal residence in Italy is necessary for a foreigner to be naturalized.