The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen may apply for Italian citizenship 2 years after the marriage if the couple is living in Italy or after 3 years of marriage if they’re living abroad. These time frames are halved if there are children born or adopted by the married couple. This same provision, under EU law, provides for civil partnerships. Let’s take a look at the general process.
How can a spouse apply for Italian citizenship?
An application for Italian citizenship by marriage must be submitted online by the applicant via the Italian Ministry of the Interior’s web portal. This procedure does not apply to women who acquired Italian citizenship automatically when they married an Italian citizen before 27 April 1983, as the law has since changed. After logging in, you’ll get access to the online procedure so you can apply for Italian citizenship. Once the application is accepted, the applicant will be called to the office to have the identification confirmed and deposit for verification the original documents uploaded online as well as any other document that is required.
What are the requirements for citizenship?
There are a couple prerequisites for requesting citizenship before an application can be submitted online that concern both spouses. The marriage must have been already registered at the city hall (Comune) in Italy where the Italian spouse is from along with receiving an Estratto per riassunto dai registri di matrimonio which proves the marriage was registered and will be needed for the Consulate. If the couple resides abroad, the Italian spouse must be registered at the Consulate as an Italian Citizen Residing Abroad.
What documents are needed for Italian citizenship?
The process and documents required for obtaining Italian citizenship are different depending on the circumstances through which you are trying to obtain it. The documents that will be required for almost any bureaucratic processes in Italy are:
- Valid passport and driver’s license, meaning that it has not expired and will not expire within the next six months, plus a copy;
- Residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) if living in Italy, as proof that you have been living in Italy legally;
- Certified full copy of the applicant’s birth certificate. The certificate must be legalized with an apostille (if the certificate is issued in the United States or in a country that recognizes the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961) and translated into Italian. The apostille is issued by government officials and verifies that the document carries legal weight within the country it was issued in. If the birth certificate was issued in a country that does not recognize the Hague Convention, the certificate and the translation must be legalized by the Italian Consulate where the documents are issued. The name on all paperwork must match exactly as it is written on the birth certificate.
- Criminal background check certificate, which has been issued by the state government of your home country;
In addition to the above documents you will also need the follow certificates and make the one-time payment:
- Marriage certificate issued by the Municipality in Italy (Estratto dell’Atto di Matrimonio);
- Payment receipt for the €250 to be paid by all applicants through international bank transfer pursuant to Law Decree n. 113 of 4 October 2018 indicating the applicant’s NAME and SURNAME. The information is included at the end;
- Italian language certificate from an approved program or school;
- Statement of no divorce/separation along with the copy of the Italian passport;
- Proof of residency in the consular jurisdiction;
- Printed copy of the application form (prepared following registration on the Ministry of the Interior’s webpage) which must be signed in front of the Consular officer. It is also necessary for the Italian spouse to be present;
- FBI clearance (Fingerprint Check)—for US citizens only.
Translations of certificates issued outside the US must be obtained in the country of origin of the certificates. Certification of the translation must be obtained in the same country of issue. Translations of documents must be from the original language into Italian. For example, a birth certificate cannot be translated from Vietnamese into English and then into Italian, but rather directly from Vietnamese into Italian.
Birth certificate and background checks certificates are legalized for international use with the Apostille if the Country is a signatory to the “Apostille Convention” from 1961. For all other countries: the Italian Consular authorities in the Country or those that have the Country within their jurisdiction must do the legalization. All official documents must be apostilled (by the Department of State in the case for US citizens) and translated into Italian. Documents that are certified this way are only valid for six months. If the application is not submitted and considered complete within that six-month frame, you’ll need to re-submit the paperwork again.
Do I need to speak Italian to get Italian citizenship by marriage?
As of 1992, knowledge of the Italian language is now required by law: granting Italian citizenship (see articles 5 and 9 of Law 91/1992) requires that the interested party display an adequate level of Italian at a B1 proficiency—in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)—proved by passing an official exam. Language proficiency must be proved by submitting one of the following:
- A diploma issued by an Italian public educational institution or equivalent institution, or
- A certificate issued by one of the certifying bodies that are part of the CLIQ— Quality Italian Language Certification (Certificazione Lingua Italiana di Qualità)—system, listed here: University of Siena for Foreigners, University of Perugia for Foreigners, University of Roma Tre, or the Dante Alighieri Society.
Be informed that, once you completed the on-line application, your request is not completed yet. If your application is accepted, this Consulate General will contact you to schedule an appointment to present all your documentation in person.
Furthermore, the Italian spouse must provide two additional documents:
- Certificate of Nationality (certificato di cittadinanza) for the Italian spouse, which must be requested at the Consulate prior to your appointment.
- Certificate of Family Status (certificato di stato di famiglia) which must be requested at the Consulate prior to your appointment. All children need to be registered in order for this certificate to be processed.
How long does it take to get Italian citizenship by marriage?
It can take up to two years after the marriage for the process to be completed. Like most bureaucratic processes in Italy this can either take much longer or even as little as six months and is heavily dependent upon how busy any given office is.
That being said, if legally separated, divorce or death of the Italian spouse occurs before the Italian Ministry of Interior decree grants Italian citizenship, the applicant loses their right to acquire nationality.
Regarding the previously mentioned 250 euro fee from, if paying from within the United States, it must be made via bank transfer to the Italian Department of the Interior (Ministero dell’interno):
Beneficiary: CONTO CORRENTE POSTALE “MINISTERO DELL’INTERNO D.L.C.I. – CITTADINANZA”
Bank: Poste Italiane SPA / BancoPosta
Bankaddress: Viale Europa 175, Roma ITALIA
IBAN code no. IT54D0760103200000000809020
BIC/SWIFT Code for Poste italiane:
– for International transfers: BPPIITRRXXX
– for Eurogiro operations : PIBPITRA (only if performing bank transaction within Europe)
Reference of payment: “ISTANZADICITTADINANZA PER MATRIMONIO DI [full name of the applicant (women’s maiden name)].”