How To Get Italian Citizenship Faster (What You NEED To Know)

Obtaining Italian dual citizenship can be a lengthy process. From the initial research to determine eligibility, to gathering records, scheduling an appointment at the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State you reside, and finally presenting your document portfolio, it can take up to a few years. But the reward is well worth it for those willing to invest the time to ensure everything is done correctly. Still, any alternative routes that may be able to shorten the process are sure to be intriguing. As it happens, there are other options for qualified candidates who may be ready to make a big change in their lives. HOWEVER, there are some important things to know first.

Can You Obtain Italian Citizenship Faster?

For those who have already gone through the process of determining eligibility for Italian citizenship, have gathered all necessary documentation, and are ready to schedule an appointment with the Italian Consulate, there is an alternative path. As many Italian Consulates face very long wait lists for appointments (and sometimes appointments are not even available), one can choose to apply directly at a town hall (Comune) in Italy. However to do so, one must plan to become a permanent resident of Italy.

If moving to Italy long-term is something that you may be interested in, then great! This option may be right for you. However, there are some very important details to keep in mind first:

  1. Residency cannot be temporary. If it is ascertained that residency is fictitious citizenship can be revoked.
  2. Taking residency in Italy, also for a short period, can bring some tax liabilities.

With that being said, the procedure of obtaining citizenship through residency can be the "fastest" option as long as the applicant in question is comfortable with and prepared to move to Italy and follow the correct process. Italian citizenship processing time can vary depending on the individual situation, but it is possible to obtain citizenship in 10-18 months. 

How To Obtain Italian Citizenship Through Residency

Purchase a house in Italy

First and foremost you must:

Confirm Italian Citizenship Eligibility

You can find out if you are eligible to become an Italian citizen by taking our FREE eligibility assessment HERE. There are several ways to determine eligibility, but the general principle is that:

  • Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation.
  • The Italian-born Ancestors never renounced their Italian citizenship or if they did, it must be after the birth of the child born in your foreign country, and after July 1, 1912. 

Other important circumstantial stipulations can come into play depending on a particular lineage, so it is important to perform thorough research to determine eligibility.

Gather Supporting Documents And Certificates

You still must gather all the same documentation as if you were applying locally in the US (or your country of residency) before setting residency in Italy.

NOTE: The process of gathering all required documents including:

  • Italian and US vital records
  • Certified Naturalization Records
  • Amendments (if applicable)
  • Apostilles
  • Translations to Italian (which will have to be authenticated by a local court in Italy)

Will take the same amount of time whether you apply in the US or Italy. My Italian Family can assist you with our Comprehensive Start-to-Finish Program so you can fast-track your application in Italy. 

File Residency Registration Application At The Italian City Hall

Once all of your documents are in order, and you have decided on a town in Italy in which you would like to move, then you can apply for residency at the town hall. There is not typically a wait time for an appointment, so getting a meeting at the town hall should not be a hassle. You will need to present:

  1. All hard copy original documents with Apostilles & Sworn Translation to Italian supporting your citizenship
  2. Minimum 1-year lease agreement to confirm housing

It is advisable to locate housing accommodation before arriving in Italy. Local real estate agents can help with this, or online home sites. This is crucial as the process of determining residency in Italian law states:

  1. The first component of the residency is based on physical presence in Italy, which must be regular and continuous, as opposed to sporadic and occasional.
  2. The second component of the residency is subjective: based on an individual’s intention to stay and live in Italy for the foreseeable future. In order to determine an individual’s intention to live in Italy on a regular basis, reference is made to a number of things, including but not limited to an individual’s conduct, social and personal habits, working relationships, family relationships, business and personal activities.

After application, the town hall should confirm residency in about 45 days. Exceptions may occur in larger cities such as Rome, Milan, etc.

File Citizenship Application At The City Hall

This can only be done after your residency in Italy has been confirmed. All Italian & U.S. documents supporting your claim to Italian citizenship must be complete, duly legalized and translated Italy to be presented to the Comune

Town Hall in Italy


Apply For A Permit of Stay For "Awaiting Citizenship"

This step can be omitted for EU citizens, but anyone else will have to visit the post office within 90 days from arrival in Italy. This can only be done after the two previous steps.

NOTE: The Permit of Stay "Awaiting Citizenship" does not allow the applicant to work while in Italy. In order to work, you must wait until the Permit of Stay has been officially issued then request it to be converted into a Permit of Stay for "Working Reasons".

After 1-2 months after application you will need to go to the local police office to be fingerprinted.

After 2-4 months you will return to the police office to collect your Permit of Stay card.

Processing times may vary from city to city; expect some delays depending on the authorities' workload.  

Once the 90 days are over and while your Permit of Stay is in process, you will not be able to travel to any other Schengen Country until your permit has been issued or your Citizenship has been granted.  Travel to non-Schengen countries (which includes the U.S.) may be possible but only through direct flights; however when returning to Italy, the Italian border police may raise some issues. 

NOTE: The 90-day Visa Waiver allows you to stay in Italy for 90 days every 180-day period.  If you travel back to the U.S. before applying for a Permit of Stay, you have to take into account that you will only be able to return to Italy in the next 180-day period. 

Bring Any Family Members To Italy

Once you obtain a Permit of Stay, your family members can enter Italy as tourists and apply for a permit to stay within 90 days from entry for "family reasons". Family members' applications should only be processed after the main applicant has received their Permit of Stay Awaiting Citizenship. It is possible for the applicant and their family to apply at the same time, but it is not advisable as it can delay the process.

NOTE: Additional documents will need to be provided for each family member:

  • A marriage certificate (no older than 6 months) with Apostille & Sworn Translation to Italian
  • Birth certificates for every child with Apostille & Sworn Translation to Italian

Your family members should not leave Italy  while their Permits of Stay are processed. 

Wait For Citizenship Confirmation

Once your citizenship is officially recognized by the Comune, you will be notified. In the time that is takes for your citizenship application to be approved (possibly over a year), you must maintain proper residency in Italy. You are allowed to travel abroad occasionally, but you must remain in Italy for most of the time.

But once it is complete, congratulations! You're officially an Italian dual citizen!

My Italian Family and our affiliate Italian Law Firm Mazzeschi are here to help you if you require assistance with the following:

  • Contacting the relevant Italian town hall and citizenship office for confirmation of the list of documents
  • Drafting and preparation of application documents
  • Assistance in applying for citizenship at the town hall and follow-up
  • Assistance with permit of stay application (filing, fingerprinting and retrieval)
  • Assistance with the Town Hall registration and follow up
  • Assistance after the adjudication of Italian citizenship to finalize the process: adjudication, transcriptions of documents and obtainment of an Italian identity card

To find out if you are eligible for Italian Dual Citizenship, book your FREE Consultation with us!

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