What does the Italian citizenship status mean?

In Italy, citizenship is governed by the law of 5 February 1992, n. 91 and by the implementing regulation. Italian citizenship shows the relationship of a person with the State, and it is strictly connected with full civil and political rights.

How can I acquire Italian citizenship?

Italian citizenship can be automatically acquired in the followings ways:

  • iure sanguinis: that is by birth or adoption by Italian citizens;
  • recognition or judicial declaration of the filiation: if an Italian citizen recognizes, in a moment after the birth, a minor child, the child automatically acquires the Italian citizenship, and then it is valid from the moment of birth. Nevertheless, if the recognition or the judicial declaration is addressed to an adult, he maintains his foreign citizenship but he can (within one year by the judicial declaration) declare to choose Italian citizenship;
  • acquisition or re-acquisition by a parent: the minor child of the parent who acquires or reacquires the Italian citizenship, acquires him-self directly the citizenship as long as he coexists in a stable and effective way with him;
  • iure soli: this is applicable only if you are born in the Italian territory by stateless parents or if the parents are unknown or cannot transmit their citizenship to the child, according to the law of their State of origin.

Furthermore, it is possible to acquire Italian citizenship by declaration, following verification of the existence of the requirements, in the following cases:

  • residence (naturalization) in Italy for at least ten years, five years for those who have been recognized as stateless or refugee and four years for citizens of Countries of the European Community. Citizenship by naturalization can be granted in the following cases:
    • if the foreigner, who legally resides in Italy since at least three years, has a parent or ascendant in a direct second degree who has been an Italian citizen by birth;
    • if the adult foreigner adopted by an Italian citizen has been legally resident in Italy for at least five years after its adoption;
    • if the foreigner has been employed by the Italian State, even abroad, for at least five years;
    • if the foreigner born in Italy legally resides there for at least three years.
  • bloodline: the foreigner or stateless person, wherever born, by the father or mother (or one of the grandparents) who were Italian citizens by birth and who, in a further stage, lost their Italian citizenship, acquires Italian citizenship if he meets one of the following requirements :
    • He actually provides military service in the Italian Armed Forces and declares in advance that he wants to acquire Italian citizenship;
    • He has a public employment also abroad, for the Italian State;
    • He is legally resident in Italy, without interruption, for at least two years starting from his 18 years old.
  • marriage with an Italian citizen: the foreign or stateless spouse of an Italian citizen may acquire Italian citizenship after two years of legal residence in Italy or, if residing abroad, after three years from the date of the marriage. This applies only if there has been no dissolution, cancellation or termination of civil effects of marriage and if there is no legal separation. These conditions are halved in the presence of children born or adopted by the spouses.

Who may I refer to in case I wish to acquire Italian citizenship?

The declarations of intention to acquire Italian citizenship must be made at the Registry Office of the Municipality of residence or, in the case of residency abroad, before the Italian diplomatic or consular authority, by submitting the documentation in order to demonstrate the possession of the requirements needed.

Citizenship by marriage and by naturalization are recognized by the Prefect of the applicant’s province of residence. From 2015, the procedure is thematic through the online immigration desk.

How long does it take to have an answer on my application?

The Italian law establishes that the procedures for granting citizenship must end within seven hundred thirty days from the date of submission of the application. In the event that the deadline for the conclusion of the procedure (including any suspension motivated by the need to acquire information or documentation not already in the possession of the administration, or acquired by other administrations) passes for nothing, the applicant may request the replacement subject identified by the same administration. This person is required to conclude, within a period equal to half of that originally expected, the procedure through the competent structures or with the appointment of a commissioner.

Which are the legal remedies against measures for denial of citizenship or silence of the public administration, after over two years from the application?

The legal remedies against the denial of citizenship or silence of the public administration are the following:

  • In case of an over two years silence on the application for the recognition of citizenship for residence, a petition to the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio (TAR Lazio) in order to oblige the Public Administration to adopt the measures related to the refusal or the acceptance of the application for citizenship;
  • In case of refusal or silence of the public administration on the request of citizenship iure sanguinis or for marriage, you can appeal the competent Trial Court. In fact, in this case the applicant has a full subjective right in order to acquire Italian citizenship.

What is the European citizenship?

Every citizen of an EU Member States enjoys European citizenship, in addition to the citizenship of the country of origin.

Citizenship of the European Union includes well-defined rules and rights, which can be divided into four categories:

  • freedom of movement and residence throughout the territory of the European Union;
  • the right to vote and be elected at the Municipal and European Parliament elections in the Member State of residence;
  • protection by the diplomatic and consular authorities of any Member State in a third country where the State of citizenship of the person is not represented;
  • the right to present a petition to the European Parliament and to appeal the European mediator.
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