How the new Immigration & Security Law may affect your Italian Dual Citizenship Application

Foreword: these changes were not prompted by a dramatic increase in the number of applications for Italian Dual Citizenship jure sanguinis (by right of blood) mostly abroad, but by the large influx of migrants primarily from North Africa and the Middle East that have targeted Italy in the last two decades. 

We are not going to judge the aspects of the law (nor its merits), but rather analyze the effects on people like you, who are working or just getting started with their Italian Dual Citizenship application.

You may have heard that the current Italian government was planning on limiting the number of generations to only TWO (you-father-grandfather) while currently there is no limit in the number of generations one can go back. Fortunately, this is not part of the new decree. Therefore, if your Italy-born Ancestor is your great-grandfather (paternal or maternal), you can continue to use him. 

There were also rumors that the 1948 Rule would be overturned, allowing people born before Jan 1, 1948 to apply through their maternal lines. Unfortunately, that is not the case and the 1948 Rule still stands. Those who continue to be affected have the option to challenge the law in the Courts in Italy on discriminatory grounds.

So, who is really affected by this new Law No. 113/2018 (which modifies the legislative framework set by the Law No. 91/1992)?

- Those who are applying for Italian Dual Citizenship through "marriage" &

- Those who are applying through "residency" or naturalization (if you don't qualify for Italian Dual Citizenship jure sanguinis you can reside in Italy for a certain number of years to gain eligibility to apply). 

These are the main changes:

Applicants through marriage and residency (or naturalization) are now required to learn Italian and show an adequate knowledge of the language (at least level B1 of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - CEFRL). Those who have an EU long-term residence permit and those who comply with the Integration Agreement provisions are exempted from this requirement.

The processing time goes from twenty-four months (i.e. TWO years) to forty-eight months (i.e. FOUR years); it is retroactive therefore it will also affect applications that are already "in process".

The application fee goes from Euro 200 to Euro 250 (for citizenship acquired through marriage, naturalization and reacquisition).

Applications for citizenship by marriage can now be rejected even after 48 months (which is the maximum processing time) from the time of submission. 

Citizenship acquired by marriage and naturalization can be withdrawn if the person poses a threat to national security because he or she has received a final conviction for terrorism-related offenses and offenses related to public security.

Processing time for Italian Town Halls to issue civil vital records (births, marriages, etc.) requested for the purpose of filing for Italian Dual Citizenship is now SIX (6) months

Finally, if you are applying or you are planning to apply for Italian Dual Citizenship through ancestry here in the US, or any jurisdiction out-side of Italy, nothing is going to change (except for records retrieval in Italy that may take slightly longer to get). We always suggest you apply in Italy to speed things up ONLY if you move there on a permanent basis.

Credit: Mazzeschi Law Firm 

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