Owning an Italian Passport: Your Rights and Benefits

We are often asked about what exercising your right to Italian Citizenship and becoming an Italian citizen can mean for your future and the future of your family. There is no question that Italian Citizenship can provide some amazing life-changing benefits to you and your family including future generations.  While there can be some limited drawbacks depending on your specific situation, there are also number of misconceptions about Italian citizenship that we are commonly presented with. 

Will I lose my American citizenship if I obtain Italian citizenship? 

Obtaining Italian citizenship does NOT mean you lose your U.S. citizenship nor any of your rights available to you as an American citizen. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and other related legal code, the law in the United States does not require a U.S. citizen to choose between U.S. citizenship and another foreign nationality or nationalities.   Additionally, as a U.S. citizen, there are no extra requirements in place by the U.S. government to obtain foreign citizenship and keep your U.S. citizenship.  There are no court actions that you need to file and no U.S. agencies that you need to grant you permission.  Similarly, Italian law also now allows Italian citizens born after August 15th, 1992, or naturalized in other countries after that date, to keep their Italian citizenship automatically despite becoming citizens of any other country.   As the world has become more receptive to the idea of shared national identity, now is as good of a time as any to see if you qualify for Italian dual citizenship!

Ready to get started?  We are here to help with your journey to Italian Citizenship!  Call us now at 1-844-741-0848 to book your FREE 30-minute Telephone Consultation!

Will Italian citizenship mean I have to pay taxes and perform military service in Italy?

The Italian government made military service in Italy completely voluntary effective January 1, 2007 (Art. 7 del D. Lgs. 8 maggio 2001 n. 215). There is no obligation to serve in the Italian military by becoming an Italian citizen.  

There is also no obligation to pay taxes to Italy just by becoming an Italian citizen as long as you continue to reside here in the U.S. and you are properly registered with the A.I.R.E. (Registry of Italian citizens residing abroad) and you do not own any assets in Italy.  According to Article 2 of the Italian tax code, you are NOT required to pay taxes if you reside in Italy for less than 184 days per year. We do suggest seeking professional tax advice in case you are planning to move permanently to Italy or to another European country that is part of the EU.

What is the allure of having an Italian Passport?

According to the Henley Passport Index using data from the International Air Transport Authority, Italy is currently (2024) ranked first in global passport power.  This study takes into account ease of travel to other countries, how much effort a traveler must take prior to departure in order to be authorized to travel, and the list of destinations a specific passport can access visa-free.  Italy scored among the highest in all categories of measurement.  

Italy is also a member of the Schengen Area and the European Union. This provides some great advantages and benefits to owning an Italian passport:

  1. Work Opportunities: With an Italian passport, you can live, work, and study in any of the 27 EU member states. This presents a vast array of potential economic benefits and advancement opportunities, as well as freedom of movement throughout these countries. The ability to work throughout most of Europe without a Work Visa can open up professional opportunities as many companies view this as a significant asset. Starting a business as an EU citizen is also much easier as there are many different EU funds and initiatives available to support start-ups and significantly less restrictions to face from the single economic EU zone than those faced by non-EU citizens.  

  2. Higher Education:  The costs of a university education in Italy for Italian citizens is considerably lower than the cost in the United States for American citizens. Tuition at these Italian universities can be even lower for Italian citizens based on academic success and family income. The quality of higher education is also very competitive as Italy being is home to numerous universities of significant international repute. Studying in Italy provides students with invaluable opportunities and a learning environment that is both culturally and professionally enriching.  If you are an Italian citizen, you can also study in universities located in other members of the European Union that have excellent universities with low tuition rates like France, Germany, Norway, Spain, and the Netherlands.  

  3. Property Ownership:  With an Italian passport, purchasing property can be easier and cheaper as legal restrictions and procedures are less burdensome.   You may even be entitled to a tax reduction available to Italian citizens who buy their first home in Italy.  Check out our guide to home buying in Italy. 

  4. Easier access to Public Health Care:  Italian passport holders are also eligible to receive a European Health Insurance Card. This card gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland or the United Kingdom. If you decide to move to Italy after obtaining dual citizenship, you can also apply for a Tessera Sanitaria (Italian National Healthcare Card) which provides free comprehensive health coverage including primary care, inpatient care, and health screenings.  Italian healthcare is consistently ranked among the best in the world. The World Health Organization in 2019 found the average life expectancy to be 83 years old – significantly higher than the United States and other parts of the world.   

  5. Travel Benefits:  You can travel freely within the European Union and Schengen Area without the need for a visa.  The flexibility this provides can be incredibly beneficial to those lucky enough to have it. Additionally, with an Italian passport, you have the ability to “fast-track” through customs to avoid long queues. Should the need arise, you can also seek assistance from the Italian Consulate in the country where you are currently traveling, in case of emergencies, legal issues, or any other unforeseen circumstances.  

  6. Future Generations of your Family: Should you qualify, your children under the age of 18 can join your application, become Italian citizens with you, and have their birth certificates registered in Italy together with your own.  Any of your children born in the future can also be recognized as Italian citizens so long as a parent registers their birth before they turn 18.  

What can My Italian Family do to help me apply for an Italian Passport? 

For many of us with shared cultural identities, obtaining Italian citizenship and an Italian passport can be a way to connect with our heritage and ancestral roots.  Give us a call!  We offer a FREE 30-minute Telephone Consultation for applicants who have questions regarding qualification, required documentation, estimated cost, timelines, and tips on how to make an appointment with an Italian Consulate here in the U.S. (among other questions). We will also perform some free preliminary research to establish if you have a path to Italian Citizenship. Call us today at 1-844-741-0848!


About the Author

Matthew Caruso Dolson received his Juris Doctorate degree from Widener University School of Law. Prior to joining MY ITALIAN FAMILY, Matt spent several years working in a small firm in Elkton, Maryland working on a variety of cases including civil litigation, family law, real property, and criminal defense. Matt is currently a Senior Project Manager at My Italian Family where he is in charge of managing from Start-to-Finish Italian citizenship document portfolios for presentation to Italian Consulates, Italian Courts or Italian town halls. Matt is also one of My Italian Family's content creators.