international people italian citizenship

Having an Italian Citizenship can be quite common compared to other countries. It is estimated that the number of Italian descendants, called “Italian natives”, is between 60 and 70 million. They are everywhere in the world: the widest communities are in Brazil, Argentina and USA. As a result, a good number of people nowadays, born and raised abroad, are Italian citizens even if often not officially recognized.

The eligibility for a citizenship through ancestry is not even that strict either: it is enough to have an Italian ancestor born in Italy after 1861 that was never naturalized for other countries and that didn’t renounce to his/her Italian citizenship before the birth of their descendant. Moreover, this applies also to people with adoptive parents with Italian ancestors. If you recognize yourself in one of the afore mentioned cases, check your eligibility through our Italian ancestry questionnaire.

However, this type of citizenship is not the most common in Italy. According to ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics) in 2020 the majority of foreigners in Italy acquired a citizenship through residency (more than 66.000) while around 50.000 people obtained other typologies of citizenship (ancestry, re-acquisition and declaration of will). Around 15.000 people obtained a citizenship through marriage.

Citizenship through residency is the most common procedure but also the longest path. If certain requirements are met (such as being an EU citizen, or having an Italian parent/grandparent/adoptive parent) is possible to shorten the wait, but in the majority of cases it is mandatory to have a 10-year legal and continuous residency in Italy. With, of course, no criminal record and a stable income. Discover more on Citizenship through Residency.

Who are the foreigners living in Italy (with an Italian Citizenship?)

According to ISTAT, the majority (64%) of foreigners with an Italian Citizenship arrived in Italy as adults (>18 years). The 38% has been living in Italy for over 5 years and the 32% has been living in Italy for more than 11 years. Among the top countries of origin we find, Albania, Macedonia, Romania and Morocco.

Where does Italy position itself among the other countries with regards to citizenship?

According to the European Commission (source: Eurostat) in 2020 most of new citizenships were obtained in Italy (18% of the total in EU) followed by Spain, Germany, France and Sweden.

This might reflect the ease in obtaining citizenship in Italy. Variables that determine the difficulty or simplicity are, among others: the requirements, the complexity of the procedure, the costs and the options available.

Why obtaining citizenship?

Having citizenship is not the same as having a resident permit. It gives the possibility to live and work in every European Country without obtaining additional visas and permits. Moreover, Italian citizens can apply for a public position and vote.

But why Italy?

Italy is well known for its naturalistic beauty and biodiversity, the rich history and artistic production. The favourable weather and the wide cuisine complete the picture, making the Country a perfect touristic destination. Moreover, Italy is the 3rd economy in Europe and the 8th in the World as well. It is ranked 31st in the world happiness report 2022 on a total list of 146 countries, it ranks 14th out of 78 countries on Education (according to world population review) positioning itself between Norway and Finland. According to the global talent competitiveness index 2021 Italy is 35th out of 134 countries, with a good ranking on technical skills and retention (this last one due to being the global leader in Lifestyle together with France, of course!). Finally, Italy sets on the 31st place on a total of 167 Countries as regard the quality of the Healthcare system. Not bad, right?

Contact us for more information on Italian citizenships or check our dedicated services.


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