(Office of Reference: D.G.IT. - OFFICE III)
Italian citizenship is currently regulated by Law no. 91/1992 (and regulations for its implementation: specifically DPR no. 572 of 12 October 1993 and DPR no. 362 of 18 April 1994) which, in contrast with previous laws, reassesses the importance of individual intention in the acquisition or loss of citizenship and recognises the right to hold more than one citizenship simultaneously.
Citizenship legislation applies to:
- persons born Italian who have lost their citizenship and wish to reinstate it;
- descendents of Italian citizens claiming citizenship;
- foreigners applying for Italian citizenship.
ACQUISITION OF ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP
Italian citizenship can be acquired in one of the following ways:
1. AUTOMATIC ACQUISITION
- CITIZENSHIP AS A RESULT OF ITALIAN PARENTS/ANCESTORS (“iure sanguinis ”)
Children of Italian parents (mother or father) who are Italian citizens. Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation, on the condition that none of the ancestors has ever renounced their citizenship.
Transmission of citizenship through maternal lineage is possible only for persons born after January 1st 1948.
A minor child living with a parent at the moment in which that parent becomes an Italian citizen also acquires Italian citizenship. Contrary to past legislation, current legislation recognises the right to hold more than one citizenship simultaneously.Ascertainment of citizenship. When a person claims to be of Italian parentage or ancestry but no proof of the fact can be found in Italian registers, it is necessary to provide proof that all ancestors have maintained, and thereby passed on, their Italian citizenship. The authority legally valid to ascertain these facts depends on the person’s place of residence: for foreign residents, the diplomatic-consular mission in the country of residence; for residents in Italy the official statistics office (Anagrafe) office of the city of residence.
Italian citizenship is granted to persons born on Italian soil:
- whose parents are unknown, Stateless or cannot pass on their citizenship to their child according to the laws of the State of which they are citizens;- of unknown parentage found on Italian soil and whose natural citizenship is impossible to ascertain.
- Birth certificate;
- Act of recognition or authenticated copy of the ruling on paternity/maternity, or of an authenticated copy of a ruling that declares a foreign ruling binding in Italy, or an authenticated copy of a ruling acknowledging the right to child support or alimony;
- Certification of parent(s)’ citizenship.
Judiciary Authorities, or in the case of adoption abroad and rendered valid in Italy through an order issued by the Juvenile Court for enrolment in an official Italian statistics office (Anagrafe). Adoptees of legal age can acquire citizenship after 5 years of legal residence in Italy after the adoption (see point 3. NATURALISATION ).
2. ACQUISITION BY CLAIM
- FOREIGN DESCENDENTS OF ITALIANS UP TO THE SECOND DEGREE, OR BORN IN ITALY.
Foreign or Stateless descendents (up to the second degree) of Italian citizens can claim citizenship.Requirements include one or more of the following:
- service in the Italian armed forces;
- employment by the Italian government, even abroad;
- residence in Italy for at least 2 years before reaching the legal age of 18.
Claims must be accompanied by the following documentation :
- birth certificate;
- certificate of Italian citizenship of mother or father or a direct ancestor up to the second degree;
- certificate of residence, where requested.
Foreigners, even those not of Italian descent, born on Italian soil can claim Italian citizenship after continuous legal residence in Italy up to legal age, and upon declaration of their desire to do so.
That declaration, to be presented within one year of reaching the age of 18, must be accompanied by the following documentation :
certificate of residence.
CITIZENSHIP BY MARRIAGE TO AN ITALIAN CITIZEN.
The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen can claim Italian citizenship in the presence of the following requirements:
a) in Italy: two years legal residence (permit to stay and enrolment in an official statistics office (Anagrafe)) after the wedding; abroad: three years after the wedding; the timeframes are reduced by half in the presence of children born or adopted by the spouses;
b) valid marriage certificate and permanence of marriage bond up until the issuance of citizenship;
c) absence of convictions for crimes leading to a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison or convictions by a foreign judiciary authority of more than one year for non-political crimes;
d) absence of convictions for any of the crimes listed in Book 2, Title I, items, I,II and III of the criminal code (crimes against government personnel);
e) absence of obstacles related to the security of the Republic.
Claims to Italian citizenship, addressed to the Ministry of the Interior, must be submitted to the Prefecture of the Province of residence, if in Italy; if residence is abroad, to the diplomatic-consular mission. Claims must include the reasons for claiming the right to Italian citizenship accompanied by the following documentation, duly legalized and translated:
birth certificate containing all pertinent data or, in the case of the documented impossibility of producing that, an affidavit issued by the diplomatic-consular authorities of the country of origin stating all exact personal data (name, surname, date and place of birth), as well as those of the father and mother of the applicant;
criminal record (or certified lack thereof) from country of origin and eventual third countries of residence;