Becoming an Italian citizen can be very useful and practical.
Italy is part of the Schengen area and citizens of Schengen countries can cross the internal borders of all member states without passport checks.
So being Italian is great!
Let’s find out how you can become an Italian citizen.
Italy: jus soli or jus sanguinis?
Jus soli is the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship. It was part of the English common law, in contrast to jus sanguinis.
Jus sanguinis is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship is determined or acquired by the nationality or ethnicity of one or both parents.
It derives from the Roman law that influenced the civil-law systems of mainland Europe.
Like many continental European countries, Italy is largely based on jus sanguinis, meaning that if your parents are Italian even if they don’t live in Italy, you’re automatically an Italian citizen.
However, citizens of other countries descended from an ancestor other than a parent (grandparent, great-grandparent, etc.) born in Italy may have a claim to Italian citizenship by descent according to jus sanguinis citizenship principles.
How to become an Italian citizen
So, basically, if your great grandparents were Italian, potentially, you have the right to Italian nationality.
But it’s not so simple. You have to prove that your Italian ancestor was, in fact, an Italian citizen or had the right to claim Italian citizenship when they were born.
How do you do this? You have to fill in an application form for Italian citizenship where you include their birth certificate as well as yours.
You might also need their death and marriage certificates.
These documents have to be apostilled and translated into Italian by a translator approved by your local Italian consulate.
The whole process might take months or years. So, you have to be patient!
Other ways to become an Italian citizen
You might be able to claim your Italian citizenship by descent but there are also other ways to become an Italian citizen.
For instance, if you have had a residence permit card and you reside in Italy, you can apply for permanent residence after five years. After another five years, you can apply for Italian citizenship.
However, you need to have permanently resided in Italy for ten years, received income, and paid taxes. So, again, it’s not so simple.
You can also apply for Italian citizenship if you marry an Italian citizen. But you won’t automatically receive an Italian passport.
It’ll take you around two or three years depending on where you live.
Last but not least, if your parents are from a country that is part of the Schengen area, you could claim their citizenship.
You’d need to double-check which countries apply jus sanguinis.
This way, you’d eventually get a European passport which would allow you to legally live and work in Italy.
Benefits of Italian citizenship
There are many benefits of Italian citizenship.
First of all, you can legally live in Italy. Isn’t that great? If you want to learn or improve your Italian, living in Italy is definitely the best option.
You can also vote and work in Italy. So, you’d have more civil rights than if you were not an Italian citizen.
Another great aspect of having Italian citizenship is the fact that you can live anywhere in the Schengen area. So, if your dream is to live in Spain or in France, you can do that!
Moreover, it’s easier to travel to other countries in the world if you also have a European passport. This is because it might be easier to get a visa.
You could also share your culture, language, traditions, and point of view with Italians so it would be a benefit for both parties.
So, if you’re considering becoming an Italian citizen, we highly encourage you to do so! You won’t regret it!
Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!