Skip to main content

Italian citizenship

hero-header

If you are a refugee or migrant married to an Italian citizen or you have lived in Italy for a given period of time, you could apply for Italian citizenship. Obtaining the Italian citizenship means getting fullness of civil and political rights in Italy. Once you become an Italian citizenship, you will also be able to request the Italian passport.

You can use this article to learn more on:

If you want to know more details about getting Italian citizenship, you can have a look at CILD guide here.

Who can apply?

There are many different ways to obtain the Italian citizenship. Here below you can find the main ones, with more details on eligibility criteria and procedure to apply for citizenship by marriage and by residence.

By birth or adoption (jus sanguinis)

Basically, if you have Italian citizenship, your child will automatically be an Italian national.

By birth and residence in Italy

Basically, if you do not have Italian citizenship, your child can become an Italian national only if the following requirements apply:

  • Birth in Italy
  • Uninterrupted residence until turning 18
  • Statement of intent within one year from the 18th birthday

Babies born in Italy from parents holding a permit of stay will get a family permit ('permesso di soggiorno per motivi familiari' in Italian).

By marriage with an Italian (art. 5)

If married to an Italian citizen, you can apply for citizenship after 2 years of marriage and legally residing in Italy, or after 3 years of marriage if resident abroad.

In case you and your spouse give birth or adopt a child you can apply for Italian citizenship after 1 year of legal residence (residenza) in Italy or 1.5 years if resident abroad. This holds true unless you legally separate.

If your spouse was given Italian citizenship, you need to wait 2 years since your spouse has acquired the citizenship before you're able to apply yourself.

In case you apply for Italian citizenship by marriage, you are not required to meet any income requirement.

For more information on how to apply skip to the "How to apply" section.

By legal residence in Italy (art. 9)

It can be requested by foreigners who have legally resided in Italy for a certain amount of time and meet specific requirements. In particular, you need to prove that you have:

Uninterrupted legal residence in Italy - The law talks about "residenza legale" (or legal residence). So basically this means that you need to have lived regularly and uninterruptedly in the country and have registered at the registry office for residenza anagrafica.

The law provides that you must be able to rely on a period of legal residence which varies according to your origin. In particular:

  • at least 4 years of uninterrupted legal residence in Italy, for EU citizens
  • at least 5 years of uninterrupted legal residence in Italy, for stateless persons or refugees holding Permesso per Asilo Politico
  • at least 10 years of uninterrupted legal residence in Italy, for non-EU citizens or those with a permesso per Protezione Sussidiaria or other permessi.

To prove your uninterrupted legal residence you must provide a historical residence certificate, or "certificato di residenza" in Italiano. You can request it at the Anagrafe office of the Comune where you live.

Please, mind that discontinuity of residence is one of the reasons why applications are often rejected.

The Prefettura and the Ministry of Interior will send you a rejection notice if your historical residence certificate does not prove that you have uninterruptedly lived in Italy for the required time (either 5 or 10 years, depending on your personal situation).

If you receive a rejection notice, the best would be to seek the support of a lawyer who can help you gather all the relevant and useful documentation to prove you actually meet the residence requirement.

Sufficient income to support yourself - The law provides that you must prove you have earned a minimum yearly income for the past 3 years, in order to obtain the Italian citizenship by legal residence. Mind that this does not hold true if you apply for citizenship by marriage (art. 5).

You need to have a minimum yearly income equal to or higher than € 8,263.31, if you are alone. That number goes up to 11,362.05 euros if you have a dependent spouse, to which you need to add 516.00 euros for each additional dependent person (such as your children, or your parents).

The government will calculate your income by reviewing your dichiarazione dei redditi (declaration of income) for the past 3 years. For this you will need to include the required documentation (such as Unico, CUD or 730) of the last 3 years.

In case your income is too low, it will be possible to add with the income of other family members living together.

A clean criminal record, to prove that you’re not a threat to the security of the Italian Republic - Criminal certificate of the country of origin (translated and legalized by the Italian embassy/consulate in your country of origin) and possibly of other countries where you resided. Please note that this certificate expires six months after the date of issue.

How to apply

You can submit the application for the Italian citizenship exclusively online by registering on the portal of the Ministero dell'Interno here

After you registered on the portal, the procedure and the documentation to provide changes depending on the reasons for which you're applying for citizenship. In this article we'll mainly focus on the requirements and the procedure to apply for Italian citizenship by residence (art. 9) and by marriage (art. 5).

Everyone needs SPID and PEC to file citizenship application

SPID: You will need a SPID identity to gain access to the website. If you already have one you can proceed directly. Instead, if you are not yet in possession of a digital identity, you can request your SPID credentials free of charge with your phone number, your email address, along with your valid ID document (permit of stay, ID card or passport) and tessera sanitaria.

Watch the video tutorial produced by Oxfam Italy to learn how to get your SPID account in six steps:

 

Click here to watch the video with French subtitles.

For more info visit the SPID official website: https://www.spid.gov.it/richiedi-spid or a local patronato in your area.

PEC: Eventually you will also need a certified email address, or PEC, in order to stay informed on the procedure and for any communication with the relevant office (comunicazione.cittadinanza@pecdlci.interno.it).

You can find more information here.

The most common PEC provides are Aruba or Poste, but you can find a full list of PEC providers here.

Italian citizenship by residence (Art. 9)

Go to the Ministry of Interior's website: https://cittadinanza.dlci.interno.it

Login with SPID and click on "cittadinanza - compilare ed inviare la domanda" complete and submit the application by selecting "Modello B" (which is the application form for citizenship by residence). Carefully complete the "Modello B" form and scan the following documents to be attached:

  • 16-euro revenue stamp ("marca da bollo" in Italian)
  • Photocopy of passport or identity card
  • Photocopy of the permit of stay
  • Certificate of recognition of refugee status (only for refugees)
  • Historical residence certificate ("certificato storico di residenza" in Italian)
  • Self-certification of current family status ("stato di famiglia" in Italian)
  • Income return, that can be proven with Certificazione Unica (CU), Unico or form 730 of the last 3 years
  • Certificate of knowledge of the Italian language at a level not lower than B1, or the "Licenza Media" certificate. This is also requested for holders of refugee status. If you hold an Ex carta di Soggiorno you won’t need to present the Italian language certificate.
  • Copy of the payment of the contribution of 250 euros (on the current account n.809020 in the name of: Ministry of the Interior DLCI citizenship - with the reason: citizenship - contribution as per art.1 co. 12, law 15 July 2009 n. 94.).
  • Birth certificate (translated and legalized by the Italian embassy/consulate in your country of origin)
  • Criminal certificate of the country of origin (translated and legalized by the Italian embassy/consulate in your country of origin) and possibly of other countries where you resided

Because refugees cannot get in touch with their home countries without losing their status, if you hold a refugee status, you can substitute the birth and criminal certificate with an Affidavit, to be requested and drawn up by the Records Office of the competent Court or Tribunal for your place of residence.

Italian Citizenship by marriage (Art. 5)

Go to the Ministry of Interior's website: https://cittadinanza.dlci.interno.it

Login with SPID and click on "cittadinanza - compilare ed inviare la domanda" complete and submit the application by selecting "Modello A" (which is the application form for citizenship by marriage).

Complete the Modello A form. Here you can find instructions on how to fill in this module.

Along with Modello A, you will need to scan and upload on the portal of the Ministry of Interior the following documents:

  • 16-euro revenue stamp ("marca da bollo" in Italian)
  • Birth certificate (translated and legalized by the Italian embassy/consulate in your country of Origin. This will last 6 months)
  • Criminal certificate of the country of origin (translated and legalized by the Italian embassy/consulate in your country of Origin) and possibly of other countries where he resided;
  • Marriage certificate ("estratto dell’atto di matrimonio" in Italian)
  • Child's birth certificate (if you have born or adopted children)
  • Photocopy of passport or identity card
  • Photocopy of the permit of stay
  • Historical residence certificate
  • Certificate of knowledge of the Italian language at a level not lower than B1 or the "Licenza Media" certificate. This is also requested for holders of refugee status. If you hold an Ex carta di Soggiorno you won’t need to present the Italian language certificate.
  • Copy of the payment of the contribution of 250 euros (on the current account n.809020 in the name of: Ministry of the Interior DLCI citizenship - with the reason: citizenship - contribution as per art.1 co. 12, law 15 July 2009 n. 94.).

If you want to marry in Italy as a refugee or subsidiary protection holder, you can find more information here.


Tip: The documentation to be attached to the application for citizenship by residence is complex and nothing should be overlooked.

Before proceeding, it’s advisable to read the answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ): http://selfhdext.dlci.interno.it/shd/?referer=ALI

It is also highly advisable to verify that you have all the required documents with the Prefettura or a local CAF/patronato before making the 250-euro payment (which is not refundable)


# What happens next after submitting the application online?

After the completion and submission of the application online, you'll receive an invitation by the competent Prefettura to bring the original documents for verification.

The Prefettura will make sure that you provided all the documentation required

If everything is in order, you will be issued a processing/practice code number called K10 or K10/C which you'll use to check the progress and status of your application online on the Ministero dell'interno website.

If any of the required documents is missing or not authentic, the Prefettura will ask you to add it to the application, before issuing the K10 code.

The issuance of K10 code does not mean you will automatically get citizenship, it's just a processing code number to follow up with your application.

How long for granting Italian citizenship

Unfortunately, the procedure can take several years. So, you need to be a little patient.

It's important you know that the processing time varies depending on when you submitted your application. It can take up to:

  • 4 years, if you filed your citizenship application before 20 December 2020 (under Salvini Decree)
  • 2 years extendable up to a maximum of 3 years, if you filed your citizenship application on or after 20 December 2020 (under the new Immigration Decree)

The new timing to process the application will only be valid for those who apply for Italian citizenship by marriage and by residence – in all other cases it has been set at 48 months.

Please keep in mind that the procedure may have further delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Note: Until the conclusion of the procedure, you must maintain a continuous residence in Italy.

What if my request gets rejected?

If you get a negative response on your citizenship request, you can appeal on that decision with the help of a lawyer. You can decide either to hire a private lawyer or to apply for free legal aid ("patrocinio a spese dello stato" in Italian).

The competent Prefettura or Administration will also communicate the reason(s) for the denial and the terms in which you can present an appeal, "ricorso" in Italian.

In general, if your citizenship application was rejected you have up to 60 days to make an appeal, but you need a lawyer to help you with the procedure.

These are some of the main reasons for the rejection of citizenship request:

  • Incomplete or lack of legal residency period,
  • Insufficiency of income,
  • Threat to the security of the Republic,
  • Presence of criminal records,
  • Insufficient level of integration,
  • Lack of knowledge of the Italian language,
  • Divorced or legally separated (citizenship by marriage, art.5)

Learn more on: How to get free legal aid in Italy

Who can help?

If you've submitted your citizenship application already, and have questions on the status of their procedure, you can call the Ministry of Interior numbers:

  • 0646539955 on Monday and Wednesday, from 10 am to 12 pm
  • 3346909996 on Wednesday, from 10 am to 12 pm
  • 3346909859 on Friday, from 10 am to 12 pm

You can visit a patronato in your area to help you with the process. The most common ones are called the CGIL, ANOLF, INAS or ACLI.

A lawyer or legal expert can also help. For further information and queries, you can contact/visit the Prefettura in your place of residence.

You can also visit the online Help Desk on the Minister of the Interior's website here: http://selfhdext.dlci.interno.it/shd/?referer=ALI

def

Powered by Zendesk