Obtain Italian Dual Citizenship

Updated on Friday 06th November 2020

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The number of foreigners interested in acquiring Italian citizenship has increased constantly in the last few years, as Italy is one of the most important economies in Europe and the European Union. While some those who want to immigrate to Italy choose to give up their citizenship at the moment of the application, there are also citizens interested in acquiring dual citizenship in Italy.

It is possible to obtain Italian dual citizenship as the government here does not require foreign immigrants to give up their citizenship, as other countries do. This is also what makes Italy very appealing for foreign citizens, no matter the reason they decide to relocate here.

Below, our immigration lawyers in Italy explain who can obtain Italian dual citizenship and how to do that. We are at your service no matter if you want to apply for Italian dual citizenship or a simple residence permit.
 

The main ways to dual citizenship in Italy


There are several ways to obtain citizenship in Italy and all of them allow foreign nationals to retain their first passports. Those interested in how to get dual citizenship in Italy must know the following:
 
  • they can obtain citizenship by moving to Italy and living here the minimum period of time required for naturalization;
  • they can also obtain dual citizenship if they have Italian ancestors (this option is subject to specific criteria);
  • the purchase of a golden visa is also an option most suitable for non-EU high net worth individuals;
  • employment and self-employment are two of the safest ways of obtaining Italian citizenship and retain the current passport of the applicant.

Italy is one of the friendliest countries in Europe and the European Union when it comes to the possibility of obtaining dual citizenship.

Our immigration lawyers in Italy can assist foreign citizens and entrepreneurs interested in acquiring a passport in this country.

Here is also an infographic with the main ways of obtaining dual citizenship in Italy:
 
How to Obtain Dual Citizenship in Italy


Criteria for qualifying for Italian dual citizenship


There are several criteria to be met for those interested in acquiring dual citizenship in Italy. Among these are:
 
  • the main requirement is to have at least one Italian ancestor and be able to support that with evidence;
  • foreign citizens with Italian descendants born after March 17th, 1861 can automatically become Italian citizens per Jure Sanguinis;
  • the Italian ancestor must have not obtained another citizenship which has determined them to give up their Italian citizenship;
  • when deriving from a maternal line, dual citizenship can be obtained from the woman’s paternal line, in case she was born before 1948;
  • foreign investors relocating to Italy through investment by citizenship can obtain Italian dual citizenship.

Italian dual citizenship can also be obtained if the applicant’s grandparents were Italian citizens.

There are several ways to obtain Italian dual citizenship, including after having lived in Italy based on a residence permit, however, the Citizenship by Investment Program is one of the favorites of non-EU citizens.

Our immigration lawyers in Italy can offer more information on obtaining Italian dual citizenship by descent.
 

How to get dual citizenship in Italy by employment


Employment or self-employment is one of the best ways of getting dual citizenship in Italy. This option is available for both EU and non-EU citizens with the mention that only the latter category of applicants will need to apply for an employment visa or for a self-employed residence permit. EU citizens must register with the local police office in the city they live in within 8 days from entering the country. Even so, they too need to wait the required period of time before applying for Italian citizenship.

With respect to non-EU citizens, they can apply for several types of work permits which come with residence visas, however, only a few of them represent a direct way to permanent residence followed by citizenship.

Third-country nationals interested in how to get dual citizenship in Italy by means of employment can apply for one of the following types of visas:
 
  • employee work permits which are issued based on a pre-established quota on a yearly basis;
  • professional employee work permits for specialists in specific fields, such as accounting;
  • work permits for assigned employees detached to work in Italy for a foreign company;
  • ICT work permits for highly skilled employees who can act as managers in local companies.

There is also the self-employment permit under which a foreign citizen from a non-EU country can work independently but also for an Italian employer.

The main aspect to consider when applying for dual citizenship in Italy is that different criteria apply based on the nationality of the candidate. These can be influenced by specific agreements between Italy and the applicant’s country of origin, by international treaties, as well as by Italy’s immigration policies.

If you want to apply for dual citizenship, we recommend you discuss your case directly with our immigration lawyer in Italy who can provide case-to-case advice.

The self-employment permit is another option for those seeking to apply for dual citizenship in Italy. This type of residence visa is available for those who can complete activities on an independent basis, such as handcrafters, sole traders, doctors, and so on.

Apart from these, it is also possible to obtain Italian citizenship by marriage while retaining the first passport.
 

Steps for obtaining Italian dual citizenship


One of the simplest ways of obtaining dual citizenship in Italy is by descent, as compared to the Citizenship by Investment Scheme, this procedure is not subject to any investment criteria which implies a significant amount of money.

The steps to be completed when seeking to obtain Italian dual citizenship are:
 
  1. establish who the closest Italian relative is (most of the times grandparents are the easiest to track);
  2. obtain the Italian ancestor’s naturalization records or birth certificates in order to establish if dual citizenship is possible;
  3. the applicant’s personal information (birth certificate, marriage certificate and even the death certificate of the Italian ancestor) is required;
  4. all the documents need to be translated into Italian and apostilled before filing them with the Italian authorities;
  5. book an appointment with the Italian Consulate or Embassy in the applicant’s home country and file the documents.

If the documents are approved, the applicant will receive the Italian passport within a few months after the procedure is completed.

If you need assistance in obtaining Italian dual citizenship, our immigration lawyers in Italy can assist you with various services, including tracking down Italian ancestors.
 

Documents required to apply for dual citizenship in Italy


Those seeking information on how to get dual citizenship in Italy and the documents required should know that these are not different from those when giving up the former citizenship. These depend on the way the foreign citizen immigrated to Italy and must be accompanied by a naturalization certificate that will attest to the applicant’s successful results to the tests imposed by the Italian Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs.

Our Italian immigration lawyers can assist in preparing the file when applying for dual citizenship. These must be filed with the Italian authorities if the applicant is in Italy at the time the request is made or with the Italian Embassy or Consulate if he/she is abroad at the time of the application. It is possible for Italian embassies or consulates to request various documents, which is why it best to ask on the specific requisites before starting the procedure.

This is our video on how to obtain dual citizenship in Italy:


 


​Benefits of citizenship in Italy


Becoming an Italian citizen has many advantages, among which the equal rights to those born here (voting and employment rights), access to the national education and healthcare systems, as well as EU residency and free travel to all EU and Schengen member states. Dual citizenship holders can also buy real estate in Italy.
 

Assistance in obtaining Italian dual citizenship


Obtaining Italian dual citizenship often implies a lot of research through national archives which for foreign citizens who have not come to Italy before can be quite difficult. With a vast experience in immigration to Italy, our lawyers can help with all the requirements related to obtaining citizenship, including dual citizenship in Italy.

The most important aspect of obtaining Italian dual citizenship is creating a connection between the foreign applicant and Italian ancestor, however, our lawyers can assist in such matters.

Italy is a very appealing country to immigrate to because it offers good jobs for those moving here based on employment permits, it also offers good investment opportunities and even students will find it very appealing to study here.

According to statistics:
  • in 2017, Italy occupied the 1st position among the EU countries welcoming foreign citizens (18% of the total EU immigrants);
  • in the same year, Italy was the 4th country in the EU to have 4,1 immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants;
  • between 2015 and 2017, the number of foreign citizens moving to Italy grew by 13%;
  • at an EU level, the number of immigrants in 2017 was 825,400.

For assistance in obtaining Italian dual citizenship, please contact our immigration lawyers.