The process to acquire Italian Dual Citizenship can be hardous and time consuming. We want to provide you with the tools that will make it a little easier. Yay! So here is a LONG list of FAQs that may be helpful to get you started; in order to get the answer you need quicker, please select the "category" of choice. To expand the answer, click on the "+" sign. If you still haven't found the answer you were looking for, no worries, you can always call us at 1-888-472-0171 (Option #1).
Frequently Asked Questions
No, you do not if you are applying for Italian citizenship, jure sanguinis. You have to learn Italian if you are applying for Italian citizenship through "marriage" or through "residency". You are required to show an adequate knowledge of the language (at least level B1 of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - CEFRL). This is a new requirement following the new Law No. 113/2018 in effect since December 2018.
Your can login to your account online on our website for updates: https://www.myitalianfamily.com/user/login.
Alternatively, you can call our Toll Free Number at 1-888-472-0171. We answer live Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST, Saturday from 10AM to 5PM EST.
More and more Italian Consulate accept "family files", so if you one of your family members has already received his or her Italian Citizenship, you can use his or her documents as long as you are applying at the same Italian Consulate. You will have to present your vital records, certified, Apostilled and translated to Italian and pay the "application fee" to the Italian Consulate. If you don't reside in the same jurisdiction, then you will need submit a brand new portfolio of certified documents (both U.S. and Italian) with Apostilles (or other legalization) as part of "your" application. Remember if you have minor children, they can apply with you and only their birth certificate is required (translated to Italian and with an international Apostille or other legalization). To learn about additional requirements, you can authorize one of our Telephone Consultations.
It is not uncommon to take upwards of one year+ to complete the application process and receive your Italian Citizenship. Some of the key processing times are estimated as follows:
1. Obtaining your ancestor's birth, marriage or death certificates from Italy using our services at My Italian Family can take up to 8 weeks. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR FEES AND TIMELINES.
2. Acquiring a certified copy of your Italian Ancestor's US (or other Country) Naturalization papers or, in case he or she was never naturalized; you will need to perform some additional research in the Census Records and with the National Archives. You may incur research costs, as well as, the cost of obtaining the copies. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NATURALIZATION RECORDS.
3. Obtaining your birth, marriage and death certificates in your native state or province varies, but it take as long as 2 or 3 months. Each state or provinces offices of vital statistics may have expediting services.
4. Once you receive your state or province documents, you will need to obtain an APOSTILLE or legalizations for each document. This is usually obtained through the appropriate department in your state or province offices. Again, time varies. Always presenting your documents in person results in a quicker turnaround.
5. All of your native country’s certificates have to be TRANSLATED TO ITALIAN. This may also be done while you are waiting for the APOSTILLES or legalizations. You can complete the actual application for citizenship and get it notarized in a very short time.
6. You will to make an appointment with the Italian Consulate of the State where you reside; some Italian Consulates have a wait time of a year of longer. This will give you time to gather all documentation prior to your official meeting.
In Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, being recognized as an Italian citizen by Ancestry (jure sanguinis) will not affect your current citizenship. If you are a citizen of any other country, you should verify your status with the nearest Italian Consulate.
Normally, no. You must apply at the Italian Consulate/authority that has jurisdiction over where you live outside of Italy. You can only apply for citizenship in Italy if you are a permanent legal resident of Italy.
Yes. Because citizenship when granted is retroactive; Italy requires that these documents be recorded in Italy. You can’t hide the existence of marriages, divorces, or minor children.
ALL birth, marriage, divorce and death records for all relatives in a direct line between you and your Italian ancestor must have Apostilles or legalizations. NOTE: Check with your Italian Consulate if they require births and deaths of “spouses” to be apostilled as well.
Not really. The first thing we suggest you do is make an appointment online with the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State where you reside, and this may be months in the future. This will give you time to gather all documentation prior to your official meeting. Remember, you can either outsource the whole process with us by authorizing our START-TO-FINISH Program (we'll even book your appointment with the Italian Consulate), or if you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can pick one of our "A LA CARTE" services. Remember: Gathering all the proper vital records, with Apostilles or legalizations and Translations to Italian takes time. The more prepared you are at the application meeting, the less likely you will incur delays.
No, not if you apply abroad in your country of residence. If you are looking to apply in Italy, you will need to become a "permanent" resident there. MORE HERE
The Italian government usually permits name changes in only two situations:
(1) your life is in danger
(2) your birth name is obscene.
If you changed your name prior to applying for citizenship, you must amend your birth certificate. To do so, you generally need to request a change of name decree from your local court, then contact the department of vital records of the U.S. state in which you were born and ask them to amend your birth certificate, presenting the decree as supporting evidence.
If your Italian-born Ancestor was a minor when he or she left Italy, you cannot use him or her as your proof of eligibility. Until 1976, the age of majority in Italy was 21. Minors who emigrated would naturalize concurrently with their parents. If your ancestor was a still a minor when his or her parent naturalized, it is likely that he/she also was naturalized at the same time. You will need to provide proof/appropriate documentation if this individual was naturalized at a later date. FOLLOW THIS LINK to learn how to determine if your ancestor became a naturalized citizen. If your Italian Ancestor was naturalized along with his or her parent as a minor, he or she effectively renounced his or her right to Italian citizenship. This means that your Ancestor was unable to pass Italian citizenship by Ancestry (jure sanguinis) to his or her children as an adult. No exceptions are made in these cases.
If your Italian Ancestor was born in Italy before 1861, but migrated to another country after 1861, he or she was an Italian citizen. If instead, your Italian Ancestor migrated away or died before 1861, he or she was NOT an Italian citizen.
Contact the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the state/province where you reside to find out what legalizations are required for birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates in your country.
As a general rule, Naturalization was a two-step process that took a minimum of 5 years.
1. After residing in the United States for 2 years, an alien could file a "Declaration of Intention" (so-called "First Papers") to become a citizen.
2. After 3 additional years, the alien could "Petition for Naturalization". After the petition was granted, a Certificate of Citizenship was issued to the alien.
These two steps did not have to take place in the same court. A copy of the Petition was kept at the court, and a copy of the Petition and Certificate was sent to the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services, which is now USCIS. After 1952, the Declaration of Intention was no longer required. These records include the alien's month and year (or possibly the exact date) of immigration into the United States, the date and place of birth, the occupation as well as the spouse’s name and place of birth, when they were married and their children’s dates and places of birth.
NOTE: Wives and minor children were automatically naturalized with their husbands and fathers.
If your Italian ancestor is deceased, check with relatives to see if any of them have an old copy. Becoming a naturalized citizen was probably a major event in your ancestor's life, and his or her certificate of naturalization was likely passed on to another member of the family.
The Italian Consulate requires certified copies of the Naturalization record. You can order them HERE
If you believe he or she was never naturalized, the Italian Consulate requires the "Certificate of Non-Existence" issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We can research the Certificate of Non-Existence and all related documents for you, including First Papers and corresponding certified Census Records. To order CLICK HERE
You will need a letter from the Town Hall (Comune) stating that no birth record exists, If no church document is available either, sometimes the Consulate will accept a certified copy of the Italian military draft document (for males) issued by the State Archive of the main Italian province, as evidence. The Italian military record would need to show the parents’ names and the ancestor’s place and date of birth. Always check with the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State where you reside before applying.
APOSTILLE is the legalization that the document is true and correct and is provided by the Office of the Secretary of State of the State where the document/certificate is issued. NOTE: The Apostille is not a stamp on the certificate. It is a legalization, i.e. a document stapled to the birth/marriage/death certificate by the Secretary of State.
U.S. Birth/Marriage/Death records related to the "Italian side" must bear an APOSTILLE (according to Hague Convention of Dec. 5, 1961) of the Secretary of State of the State in which the document was issued. You can order one or more Apostilles through us. (Select "A la Carte" services)
If your Italian ancestor was born in Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, or Veneto, in addition to the current eligibility requirements for Italian citizenship, you must also prove that he or she emigrated from Italy AFTER July 16th, 1920. This date refers to the effectiveness of the Treaty of Saint Germain with which, at the end of WWI, the Austro-Hungarian Empire territories were assigned to various States. It is listed in the Citizenship Law 379/2000, that regulates the recognition of Italian citizenship to those born in the territories belonging to the ex Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as to their descendants. In essence, the “Italian citizenship eligibility issue” linked to the “16 July 1920” requirement is the following: the ancestor who emigrated before 16 July 1920 expatriated as an Austro-Hungarian citizen and not as an Italian citizen (meaning he or she could not pass Italian citizenship on to their children, etc.).
If the ancestor emigrated between 25/12/1867 (when the Austro-Hungarian empire was established) and 16/07/1920 (the Treaty of Saint Germain), the recognition of citizenship had to be done according to Law 379/2000 which offered a deadline to apply, i.e. December 19, 2010. As a consequence, today, the descendants of ancestors born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire Territories, where the ancestor migrated away before July 16, 1920, cannot apply for Italian citizenship.
ONLY if the ancestor was born or emigrated after 16 July 1920, his or her descendants are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship by right of blood. Questions? We can help. SCHEDULE A TELEPHONE CONSULTATION.
As of July 8th, 2014 all applications for the recognition of the Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (by descent) and jure matrimonii (in case of foreign national whose husband is an Italian citizen married prior to April 27, 1983) are subject to the PAYMENT OF A € 300 FEE (Law n. 66 April 24th, 2014 and modifications Law n. 89 June 23rd, 2014 art. 5-bis, comma 1). The application fee is NON REFUNDABLE, regardless of the outcome of the petition.
Yes, most divorces include a marital settlement agreement (the division of assets and child custody plan). If the marital settlement agreement is incorporated in the divorce, then the entire divorce document needs to be translated. CLICK HERE to learn more about our translation services.
Yes. Having an Italian passport allows you to live and work anywhere in the EU. Under the terms of Article 17 (ex Article 8) of the Treaty on European Union, "any person holding the nationality of a member state is a citizen of the Union." "EU citizenship, which supplements national citizenship without replacing it, grants citizens the right to move freely and to reside on the territory of the member states" (Article 18).
All birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates requiring an Apostille must also be translated into Italian. Apostilles do not need to be translated into Italian.
There is really no limit of the number of generations, provided your ancestor was born in Italy and emigrated after the beginning of the Kingdom of Italy, March 17th, 1861 and did not naturalize before July 1, 1912. If you are unsure or if you have questions, you can order a TELEPHONE CONSULTATION.
No, they will not return any documents to you. When ordering Italian documents from My Italian Family, order multiple copies as needed for your own record keeping and to use them if you need to amend U.S. records.
If you are an American and you're not sure which consulate covers your state, FOLLOW THIS LINK to find which consular office has jurisdiction over the State where you reside.
Yes. Frequently, a parent must be recognized as a citizen before he or she can request citizenship for an adopted minor child (unlike biological minor children, who are automatically citizens). The adoptions of minor children go to the Tribunale dei Minori (Children’s Court) for judicial review before they can be passed onto the municipality and the child recognized as an Italian citizen.
While gathering the required family records, it is not uncommon to discover inconsistencies in these documents. There may be name, date or place differences or spelling errors in birth, marriage and death documents. Examples might be the misspelling of first or last names, such as Americanization of Italian names, nicknames instead of formal names or different birth dates on different documents.
Italian Consulates require that documents be correct and consistent with the names and dates listed in the Italian family documents. We recommend if you discover discrepancies, that you address them and make an effort to correct the record before your consular appointment with an official "affidavit to amend a record". Be aware that most states do not allow a descendant to correct a birth record for someone who is deceased. They may allow corrections with required supporting evidence for marriage and death records. Not all states allow all descendants to correct documents so it is our advice that you check with the appropriate vital records office to ascertain who can correct and what documentation is required. Depending on the circumstances some states may require a court order to get a correction.
Also be aware that US Naturalization records cannot be corrected for someone who is deceased.
Once corrections are made, obtain the appropriate Apostille, have the document translated to Italian and submit it with your application. If you find that you are not able to obtain an amendment, the Italian Consulate may advise you what your options are, if any, in order for you to be successful with your Italian dual citizenship application. At any rate, it's always helpful to have the Vital records office write up the reasons why a specific vital record cannot be amended.
For assistance and to learn more, you can request a TELEPHONE CONSULTATION.
You will be contacted by the Italian authority through which you submitted your application for citizenship. Though this may vary from country to country, you will probably receive an email or a letter stating that you have been recognized an Italian citizen and what is the procedure in order to receive an Italian passport. You will be registered in the Registry of Italians Resident Abroad (A.I.R.E.).
A.I.R.E. was established by Law no. 470/1988 and keeps track of the changes in citizenship status, address, marriage, birth and death of Italian citizens. A.I.R.E. enrolment is obligatory for Italian citizens living abroad for more than 12 months and for Italian citizens residing abroad either as a result of being born there or having obtained Italian citizenship through Ancestry (jure sanguinis), marriage or other.
Yes, since 1992. On February 5, 1992, the Italian government passed a law (no. 91, art. 11) stating that any Italian citizen who acquired or reacquired a foreign citizenship after August 15, 1992 would not lose his or her Italian citizenship.
The Italian Consulate "may" accept church records such as baptismal certificates or religious marriage certificates if the civil authorities provide a statement that they have no record of a birth or marriage. In addition, the local diocese has to certify that the church document is authentic. The Bishop's signature may have to be notarized in order to be Apostilled. Please note: there is no guarantee that church records will be accepted by the Italian Consulate. For more information, set up a Telephone Consultation.
A.I.R.E. (Anagrafe Italiani Residenti all’Estero) is the registry of Italians residing abroad. For people of Italian descent pursuing Italian Dual Citizenship jure sanguinis, AIRE’s enrolment is a right and a duty. It provides access to consular services abroad and allows the exercise of some important rights, such as the right to vote and the right to renew IDs and travel documents. Enrolment is free of charge.
NOTE: More and more Italian Consulates require that applicants for Italian Dual Citizenship fill out the AIRE Registration Form and have it ready the day of their appointment. You can download the enrolment form by visiting the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction of the State where you reside.
Yes. If you were adopted as a minor you will need certified copy of your adoption decree (translated to Italian with an Apostille). If adopted as an adult, you must reside in Italy for five years before applying.
Yes, if your children are under the age of eighteen they can apply with you. If they are eighteen or older and qualify, they will need to apply separately.
1. Italian Citizenship allows you to be eligible to work, live and study in Italy and in the other EU countries without the need for a Visa. Other benefits that you will accrue by having your Italian Citizenship include:
2. Buying property in Italy is easier.
3.Transferring citizenship to all children under 18 years old.
4. Having easier access to public health care and public education available to all EU citizens.
5. You can vote for your regional Italian Parliament representative.
There may be a situation where an applicant knows that he or she qualifies for Italian Dual Citizenship but their living ancestor does not have a copy of their Naturalization Certificate or they are unsure as to the details of their naturalization. If you are faced with this challenge you need to be aware that only the living ancestor can request a replacement of their naturalization record.
The form to use for this request is found at the Department of Homeland Security webpage and the form to use is N-565. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the information is available only to living individuals and not to others. The instructions for completing the request are very specific and most be followed exactly. Certainly anyone can assist an individual with making a request but only he or she can formally do it and receive the document. The information is not available to anyone other than the person named on the record. If the individual has no recollection of the date and or place of their naturalization, they can conduct a Genealogical Index Search by using Homeland Security Form 1041 and follow the results of this search with a Genealogical Records Request (Form 1041A) or better still with a Replacement of the Record (Form N-565). Again the living individual must do this even if assistance with making the request is required. As part of the process, it is advised to retain all correspondence including the envelopes that are received from Homeland Security.
Another option for obtaining naturalization records for living ancestors, but not the best one, is to request a copy of the individual’s naturalization record from the National Archives or the Court where he or she became United States citizen. These are public records but the Italian Consulate may still require something official from Homeland Security since the ancestor is alive. Missing naturalization documents for living individuals can be challenging but not insurmountable.
Normally, yes, after you acquire Italian citizenship, your spouse is eligible, but you must first register your marriage in Italy, prior to applying. Spouses of Italian citizens can apply for citizenship after two years of marriage if a couple is living in Italy and after three (3) years of marriage if they are living abroad. When applying, if these time periods have already been met the process is immediately started. Also if you have a child, the time is cut to 18 months in both Italy and in another Country. Foreign women who married Italian men prior to 27 April 1983 automatically acquired Italian citizenship, and thus are entitled to apply simultaneously with their husband. This is a request and not a right. For more information, FOLLOW THIS LINK
On May 8, 2001, the Italian government passed a law (Art. 7 del D. Lgs. 8 maggio 2001 n. 215) making military service completely voluntary as of January 1, 2007.
1. Since August 16, 1992 (Law 91 Art. 11), the voluntary acquisition of foreign citizenship no longer leads to the automatic loss of Italian Citizenship (with the exception of acquisition of citizenship in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Norway.
2. Italian citizens who were naturalized in their adopted country prior to August 16, 1992, implicitly renouncing their right to Italian citizenship, can reinstate it by declaring their intentions to do so and taking up residence in an Italian comune within one year from such declaration.
3. Italian citizens who became naturalized citizens of their adopted country after August 16, 1992, retained their Italian citizenship unless they expressly renounced it. They are required to personally inform the Italian Consulate of becoming citizens within ninety days, or when they reach their 18th birthday, otherwise they risk a fine.
Contact your nearest Italian embassy or consulate for details. (CLICK HERE FOR LOCATIONS)
The cost varies based on how many generations exist between you and your Italian ancestor who emigrated to your country. For instance, these are the costs that you will likely incur:
1. Ordering your Italian ancestor’s birth, marriage and death certificates, as applicable through our service, My Italian Family. Click here for procedures and fees.
2. You will need a certified copy of your Italian Ancestor's Naturalization papers or, in case he or she was never naturalized, you will need to perform some additional research in the Census Records and with the National Archives.
3. You will need new official copies of birth, marriage divorce and death records of all your ancestors in your lineage from your native/current country, including your own. These are usually ordered from your State or Province vital statistic offices.
4. You will need to have your State or Province provide you with an International Apostille or legalizations for each document.
5. These non-Italian documents will need to be translated to Italian.
6. The Italian Consulate where you will officially apply for citizenship will charge you an application fee. As of July 8th, 2014, all applications for the recognition of the Italian citizenship Jure Sanguinis (by descent) and Jure Matrimonii (for foreign national whose husband is an Italian citizen married prior to April 27, 1983) are subject to the PAYMENT OF A € 300 FEE Anyone over the age of 18, asking to be recognized as an Italian citizen, is subject to pay the consular fee. The fee is subject to change depending on the exchange rate. The application fee is NON REFUNDABLE, regardless of the outcome of the petition.
7. Eventually, when you receive your citizenship, you will incur fees to order your Italian Passport, which is approximately $145 for five years.
Due to the many changes in the boundaries between Italy and other nations over the course of history and the ever changing laws of citizenship, the complexity requires you ask your closest Italian Consulate if you qualify. But sure to explain to the consulate official where and when your Ancestor was born and when your he or she emigrated from Italy or another country. For questions, please SCHEDULE A TELEPHONE CONSULTATION.
Check this ARTICLE available in our Resource Center
Yes. If you are living now, or plan on living in Italy (through work visa’s, etc.) you may qualify in the following ways:
• Reside one (1) year in Italy, if you are formerly an Italian citizen
• Reside three (3) years in Italy, if you are a foreigner with native-born Italian parents or grandparents
• Reside four (4) years in Italy, if you are a citizen of another EU country
• Reside ten (10) years in Italy, if you are a citizen of a non-EU country
You must request a "certified copy" issued in a "long form" or a "full form"; (not "certification" or "abstract) of non-Italian documents. This format contains the names of the parents of the individual who relates to the document itself. This is the format required for all birth, marriage and death records. They are normally acquired from your State or Province offices that provide vital statistics.
If your Italian Ancestor naturalized before July 1, 1912, you do not qualify for Italian citizenship even if his or her child was born before this individual naturalized. Prior to that date, when a native-born Italian naturalized in another country, he gave up not only his own Italian citizenship but also that of all of his minor children, regardless of where they were born. Ancestors who naturalized before July 1, 1912 cannot pass on Italian citizenship under Italian Law No. 555 of July 23, 1912.
Yes. All living ancestors in the direct line between you and your ancestor from Italy will be recognized as Italian citizens in you reside in the same Consular jurisdiction. Applying with other family members, such as siblings or first cousins is possible but each will have to present a separate application.