There are many of you out there who were born in Italy, came to this country and naturalized before August 16, 1992, the date Italy allowed for Dual Citizenship. If that is the case, it means that you renounced your Italian Citizenship when you became a US citizen. But fear not, because there is a way to regain it, although it involves you going back to Italy and reside there for some time.
The requirements to apply for the Reacquisition of your Italian citizenship are:
- Having been an Italian citizen in the past.
- Having the foreign naturalization duly registered on your Italian birth record.
- Establishing your residency in Italy for a certain period (up to one year).
Please note that the process consists of two (2) main STEPS:
1) Official Declaration of Intention to reacquire Italian citizenship to be filed at the Italian Consulate in your country of residency (i.e. here in the US - Preferred) OR at the Italian Town Hall where you will be establishing residency.
2) Residency registration in Italy and submission of the application to reacquire Italian citizenship at the local Italian Town Hall.
STEP 1: Declaration of intention to reacquire Italian citizenship
You have two options:
1) DECLARATION OF INTENTION TO REACQUIRE ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP AT THE ITALIAN CONSULATE THAT HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE STATE WHERE YOU RESIDE (Preferred way)
The timeline depends on the Italian Consulate and it may take somewhere between a few weeks to a few months. If the declaration is submitted at the Italian Consulate, you will have to acquire residency in Italy within ONE YEAR from the date of the declaration.
2) DECLARATION OF INTENTION TO REACQUIRE ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP AT THE ITALIAN TOWN HALL
STEP 2: Establishing residency in Italy
The following steps must be completed after your arrival in Italy on a “Tourist” Visa (90-day Visa Waiver):
A) Residency Application: this procedure requires you to have an accommodation in Italy (either a rental or a purchase of a home or an apartment) and register it with the local City Hall. For the registration to be accepted, all documents proving qualification for citizenship must be presented. Within 45 days after the Residency Application, the local Police officer (i.e. Vigile) will visit your accommodation, expecting to find you at home. For this reason, it is highly advisable to stay in Italy until the residency registration is approved.
B) Citizenship Application for Reacquisition: once the registration of residency in Italy is confirmed, you will be allowed to file for reacquisition of Italian citizenship.
C) Residency Permit Application: the last step to be completed is the application for a Residency Permit, also called Permesso di Soggiorno. The application can be filed at any Post Office by submitting the required forms along with the relevant supporting documents. As soon as the application is filed, the Post Office will immediately issue a receipt, serving as proof of submission, which is valid as a temporary permit of stay. You are not required to stay permanently in Italy but you will need to go back to Italy at least twice (fingerprints appointment and picking up the permit) in order to complete the process.
TIMELINE: Once the application is submitted at the local Town Hall in Italy, the processing time may vary from as little as three (3) months, up to nine (9) months. It is very hard to make a prediction, since it also depends on the Italian Town Hall and on the relevant Italian Consulate abroad, which will be contacted by the Italian Authorities.
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