Getting Italian dual citizenship is an alluring prospect for Americans. It is an opportunity to get the best of both worlds, as you experience the pleasures of an American lifestyle and the luxury of the European culture. But reaching the goal of dual citizenship takes a lot of work. However, the good thing is that you have multiple options to become a citizen of Italy while holding your American passport as well.
However, everything boils down to your eligibility when it comes to choosing between these routes. You can check Bersani Law Firm website to understand the options and assess your eligibility for them. Getting recommendations from an expert about the route that makes the best match is an even better way to achieve dual citizenship goals. Here are some factors that make you eligible for different citizenship routes.
Citizenship by Descent (Jure Sanguinis)
The Jure Sanguinis is perhaps the easiest way to obtain Italian citizenship, but you must have an Italian lineage to qualify for it. You can claim through a parent, grandparent, or a distant ancestor as there are no generational limits to the route. However, you have to fulfill some eligibility criteria to qualify. These include:
- You can apply as a biological or adopted offspring if either or both of your parents are Italian citizens.
- Your ancestor was alive and a citizen of Italy after its unification and formation in 1861.
- They did not naturalize elsewhere before giving birth to the next person in your Italian bloodline.
Apart from these requirements, you must also understand the exceptions to the Jure Sanguinis principle. A person with a maternal bloodline does not qualify if the female relative gave birth before 1948. In that case, you can still claim through a court process under the 1948 Rule. Once you are sure about your eligibility, you need to collect documents to validate your Italian ancestry. It can be challenging to get the certificates of birth, death, and marriage from your ancestor’s Italian comune, but collaborating with a citizenship expert helps. After completing the document checklist, you can submit your application at your local consulate, wait for an appointment, and complete the process.
Citizenship by Marriage
The second route to claim Italian citizenship is by getting married to an Italian. But you cannot expect to become a citizen right after tying the knot. Here are the eligibility norms to fulfill before going ahead with the application:
- You can apply 24 months after the nuptial if residing in Italy (the timeline is 36 months if living abroad).
- The time period is halved if you have adopted or biological children with your spouse. You can apply after 12 months and 18 months respectively.
- You must obtain a B1 level certification in the Italian language from an approved educational institution.
- The citizenship by marriage process applies to couples in a same-sex civil union as well.
You can initiate the application after completing the timelines, passing the language test, and getting your documents in place. Couples living in Italy can submit the application to the local “Prefuttura”. Those residing abroad can apply with the local Italian consulate. Expect the process to take a couple of years, though you can join your spouse and family in Italy as a resident.
Citizenship by Naturalization
Getting citizenship by naturalization is perhaps the most complex route. But it is the only option when you do not qualify for the other options. Essentially, you have to acquire a residence status in the country and stay here for the long haul to qualify for naturalization. The period of stay as a resident depends on individual factors. Typically, an applicant has to establish a legal residence and live in Italy for a decade to complete the process. You can live and work here, access education and healthcare benefits, and travel visa-free across the EU as a resident. But you will still want to get citizenship by naturalization to own one of the most powerful passports in the world. It is best to seek assistance from an expert to get through with this route because it takes an in-depth understanding of visa laws.
The choice of the citizenship option depends on your eligibility. You may even qualify for two routes, such as having ancestral connections in Italy and marrying an Italian. But there is always an ideal option that gets you in quickly and easily. Check with an expert because they have the knowledge, expertise, and experience to guide you about the best route according to your circumstances.