Over the years, Americans have been fascinated by the concept of dual citizenship. Italy is among the favorite destinations as it offers an incredible mix of beautiful landscapes, a pleasant climate, a comfortable lifestyle, and excellent healthcare and education systems. You may consider starting life afresh post-retirement in the country or join the workforce because there are opportunities galore. Starting a business here is also a good idea because the growth prospects are bright, and the economic climate is favorable for investors.
Moving to Italy for the long haul is an attractive prospect because it opens the opportunity to travel visa-free across Europe. You can even live, work, or study in the EU countries without any hassles once you have Italian citizenship. But the big question is how to get it in the first place? How long does the process work, and what do you need to get through? Thankfully, there is more than one option to get a step closer to your Italian dream. Let us explain them in detail.
1. Citizenship by descent- Reclaim your roots
If you have ancestral roots in the country, claiming your citizenship rights can be a tad easier. The Jure Sanguinis law states that a person born to Italian parents is entitled to Italian citizenship, even if born outside the country. The law extends to three generations behind, which means it applies to your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, provided that the ancestors did not renounce their citizenship before the claimant’s birth. Moreover, it is a one-time process, and the rights pass down to your future generations. However, eligibility requirements can get complicated if you dig deeper.
Eligibility requirements: The law is applicable to the paternal and maternal lines, but the paternal line extends to 17 March 1861, when Italy became a nation-state. Conversely, the maternal line dates back to 1 January 1948 only. A female ancestor cannot pass the citizenship right to children born before 1948. If it is the situation, you cannot apply through the usual process and will need to claim through a judicial process in the Italian court. The Italian government enforced the 1948 case rule to address the discriminatory stance of citizenship laws in the country.
Process and timelines: If you wish to claim through your bloodline, you will need to locate documents validating your family history and prove your ancestors did not renounce their Italian citizenship before passing it on to the next in line. The documents have to come from the local comune of the ancestors. Those originating in another country should be apostilled and translated in Italian to be considered valid. Once you have these documents ready, you can apply through the local Italian consulate. Applying in Italy is also an option to speed up the process. You can expect the process to take up to three years, though it may happen earlier if the case is not complex and the waiting time at the local consulate is shorter.
2. Citizenship by marriage- Get together with your spouse
While having a bloodline in the country gives you good chances to acquire Italian citizenship, you can still secure it if you do not have roots there. Marrying an Italian citizen is another way to get there. A civil partnership is a route for same-sex relationships, which are valid from the citizenship perspective. Although you will have to fall in love with the right person first, this is a great opportunity to live in an incredible country with your spouse and new family.
Eligibility requirements: Being married to an Italian citizen isn’t the only thing that makes you eligible to apply for citizenship by marriage. You will have to live with your spouse in Italy for two years after marriage (three years if you live as a married couple in another country) to initiate the process. If you have biological or adopted children together, the period is cut short to half. You also need to have a clean record in your country of residence. Also, people considered a threat to the country’s security cannot apply.
Process and timelines: While you have to comply with the timelines after marriage to start the process, it is not all. You will also need to test and get a pass certificate for a B1 level (intermediate level) of the Italian language as a part of the application. Further, you will have to provide valid proof of the marriage, apostilled and translated if issued out of Italy. The marriage must continue throughout the entire process. The processing time with this route may extend up to three years, depending on the circumstances.
3. Citizenship by naturalization- Stay because you are here
The longest and perhaps the most complicated route to acquire the citizenship of Italy is through naturalization. You can get it only if you have been living in the country for several years. The eligibility and processing depend on the country of your origin. Additionally, a strong understanding of the visa and immigration process will keep you on track. You can find great content on the process by Bersani Law Firm to get a better idea of all three routes. It is crucial to know them better, specifically for this one, as it is lengthy and complex.
Eligibility requirements: A non-EU citizen can apply for citizenship through naturalization only after having lived here for at least ten years. If you are an EU citizen, you can apply after four years of residency in Italy. The period reduces to only three years if you have an Italian heritage, with native-born parents or grandparents who have renounced their citizenship in the past. While you may not be eligible to apply through Jure Sanguinis, you can get a head start with the naturalization process.
Process and timelines: Once you complete the time period of living and working legally in Italy with a valid visa, you can apply for citizenship by naturalization. You will require the documents to validate your residential status to take the process ahead. But the Italian government may reject the application if they consider you a security risk.
While these are the three main citizenship routes, you can gain residence by investment if you want to move to the country sooner rather than later. But this process often works for high-worth individuals who are capable of investing millions in the country. It means that descent, marriage, and naturalization are the top options for living in Italy and getting the same rights that the local citizens have. But everything boils down to your eligibility when it comes to picking the route that works for you.
Benefits of having assistance on Italian Citizenship
Now that you understand the basics of eligibility, process, and timelines for each route for Italian citizenship, you will probably be apprehensive about going ahead. Moreover, it becomes even harder to imagine applying outside the country. Fortunately, you can seek professional assistance on Italian citizenship by experts to simplify things from start to end. These seasoned professionals bring expertise and experience to the table, so you can move ahead with confidence. Here are some benefits you can avail of by getting professional assistance for the process.
Even the basic eligibility requirements can get challenging to understand for each citizenship route. For example, it can be hard to assess whether you can move with the usual descent process or have a 1948 case due to female lineage. Eligibility norms are complex with the naturalization route too. An expert can determine your eligibility and ensure there are no complications down the line.
Selecting the right route
After deciding your eligibility for a specific route, these experts can help you choose the apt one for you. Consider a situation when you have Italian ancestry and are also married to a citizen of Italy. What is your best option to claim your right to citizenship quickly and easily? Let the experts guide you and pick the one that will be in your favor.
Gathering local documentation
Paperwork is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the application process. It can get tougher when you apply from another country but need to obtain documents from the local authorities. Thankfully, local citizenship assistance can come to your rescue as they have the right connections around.
Legal representation if needed
You may require legal representation to handle your case in court if the 1948 rule applies to you. A local representative can take care of things even as you cannot fly down to Italy for the proceedings. They will make sure that everything closes smoothly, from the first hearing to the final decision.
Prevention of errors and omission
Typically, a citizenship application involves a lot of work and extensive documentation. There is always a possibility of error and omission as you submit papers and fill in your forms. Even the smallest ones can slow down the process and even lead to rejection. Professional assistance sets you up for success as they eliminate errors and ensure timely completion.
Collaborating with experts gives you peace of mind as you can rest assured that nothing can go wrong with your application. Just follow their guidance and let them do the rest while you visualize the fulfillment of your Italian dream.