How to Gain Italian Citizenship by Marriage

A foreign woman who married an Italian citizen before April 27, 1983 automatically acquired Italian citizenship. (Law n. 555/1912 granted Italian citizenship by marriage to women only). Law n.91 of February 5, 1992 states that the male or female (foreign or stateless) spouse of an Italian citizen may apply for Italian citizenship after he/she has legally resided in Italy for at least six months, or after three years from the date of marriage if he/she resides abroad.

There are two procedures depending on the sex of the applicant and the marriage date:

For Women Married to Italian Men Before April 27, 1983

This case follows a simplified procedure and requires only the following:

  • Application, with a copy of the passport and driver’s license
  • Birth Certificate of the applicant. If the applicant was born in the United States this must be a  “certified copy” (“long form” or “full form”) with an Apostille from the Secretary of State of the State where it was issued + Translation to Italian 
  • Affidavit of no divorce/separation


For Men Married to Italian Women in Any Year and For Women Married to Italian Men After April 27, 1983

Recent new requirements have been in force since December 4, 2018.  They include:

  • 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". UPDATE: On October 21, 2020 a new law decree (No. 130/2020) was passed in Italy introducing a few changes to the citizenship by marriage (jure matrimonii). The processing time for citizenship by marriage is now 36 months (3 years), as opposed to 48 months (4 years). It is not retroactive.
  • The application fee increases 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. 
  • Italian 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.

General Guidelines

  • The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen may apply for Italian citizenship after 2 years of marriage if the couple resides in Italy or after 3 years of marriage if it resides abroad. These time frames are reduced by half if there are children born or adopted by the married couple.
  • If legal separation, divorce or death of the Italian spouse takes place before the issue of the Italian Ministry of Interior decree conferring the Italian citizenship, applicant loses his/her right to acquire nationality.
  • “Application for Italian citizenship “jure matrimonii” must now be submitted ONLINE only.

Pre-requirements to Submit the Online Application

  • The marriage must have been already registered at the Comune in Italy
  • If the couple resides abroad, the Italian spouse must be registered at the Italian Consulate as an Italian Citizen Residing Abroad - A.I.R.E.


Required Documents to Apply Online

  • Proof of an adequate knowledge of the Italian language, not less than level B1 of the Common Framework of Reference for the knowledge of languages. This must be proven by presenting a certification/certificate by an acceptable organization that currently belongs to the CLIQ unified certification system (Italian Language Quality Certification).
  • Proof of bank transfer of € 250.00 to Ministero dell’Interno.
  • Certified full copy birth certificate of the applicant with its apostille, if the certificate is issued in the United States or in a country that recognizes the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961.  The certificate must be legalized with an apostille and translated into Italian. The translation also must be legalized with the apostille. If the birth certificate is issued in a country that does not recognize the Hague Convention, the original document must be legalized by the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs and translated into Italian. The certificate and the translation must be notarized by the Italian Consulate where the documents are issued. PLEASE NOTE: The application must be filled out with the exact name appearing on the birth certificate.
  • Criminal record background check certificates from the police authorities of each foreign country where the applicant had resided since birth. In case of a residency in multiple U.S. states, the applicant must provide the FBI criminal record background check along with the certificate of criminal check for each U.S. state he/she lived in (for info, American applicant may contact CJIS Division- Attn. SCU-MOD/D2 –1000 Custer Hallow Road, Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306 – Tel. 304-625-4995 ). These documents must be completed by an apostille and translated into Italian. The translation also must be legalized with the apostille. If the criminal record documentation is issued by a country that does not recognized the Hague Convention, all certificates must the legalized by the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs, translated into Italian and legalized by the Italian Consulate where the certificates are issued.

Important Notes

Be informed that, once you completed the online application, your request is not completed yet. To finalize the process for Italian citizenship by marriage, you will be invited by the Italian Consulate to present all your documentation in original, in person. 

Be also aware that the above-mentioned documents cannot be older than six (6) months when presented to the Italian Consulate the day of your visit. 

UPDATE: Up to now, if a foreign national married to an Italian citizen was in the process of acquiring Italian citizenship and the Italian spouse passed away while the application for Italian citizenship by marriage was in process, the law (art.5 of the law February 5, 1992, n.91) prohibited the acquisition of Italian citizenship. 
Recently, the Italian Constitutional Court (Corte Costituzionale) ruled that in the event of the death of the spouse of an applicant whose application for Italian citizenship by marriage is in process, said application can now be successfully finalized.  (Sentence no. 195/2022 published on July 26, 2022). This rule also applies to civil unions.

Questions about the process? Sign up for our Spousal Application Consultation to learn more!

At My Italian Family, we provide FULL assistance, handling all the purchasing and preparation of your entire portfolio of documents, whether you apply at an Italian Consulate here in the U.S. or you apply in Italy (including 1948 Challenge Courts Cases). Our experience spans 20 years, and we have expert knowledge of what each Italian Consulate requires and what the Italian Courts require. TO GET STARTED AND FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.