Italian citizenship is a status through which the Italian legal system recognizes full civil and political rights.

How to Acquire Italian Citizenship?

The main ways through which Italian citizenship can be acquired according to Italian law are the following:

  • Ius sanguinis (right of blood): By birth from Italian parents (even if born abroad), by birth in Italian territory to unknown or stateless parents, or by adoption by an Italian citizen.
  • Marriage or civil union.
  • Residency
  • Ius soli (right of the soil): A child of unknown parents found in Italy is presumed to be an Italian citizen until proven otherwise.
  • Foreigners born in Italy: Foreigners born in Italy, who have continuously resided there until reaching legal age, and declare their intention to acquire citizenship within a year from that date.



Whether you want to claim your birthright or get a chance to possess dual Citizenship, several benefits come with being an Italian citizen.

The benefits you get by being an Italian citizen in Italy

1. Employment benefits in Italy and across European Union and Freedom of movement

You will not need to go through the “Decreto flussi”, The Nulla Osta and all the “problems” related to acquiring a Visa or a residence permit in order to be able to legally work to Italy.

As an Italian citizen, you are automatically a European citizen. That means that you are granted rights of residence, study, work and establish a business in all EU Member states.

An advantage of having EU citizenship is the ability to study and work legally across the whole European Union without the need of going through long and expensive visa applications or requests for special permissions.

In addition, EU citizens are often prioritized above many professional and educational opportunities before non-citizens, which means you can increase your chance for a job anywhere in the EU.

Italians born abroad have the same rights as those born in Italy. There are no first and second-class citizens. All Italian citizens are equal before the law.

2. Educational Benefits – High quality and low cost education

 Education in Italy is one of the best in Europe and all around the globe and the tuition fees are very low. For example, students can apply to have their tuition fees calculated on their household income. The minimum required fee is approximately €158 (~US$190) per year, while the maximum fee varies according to the degree programme which can range between €2,200 – €6,100 (~US$2,650 – ~US$7,360) per year.

Every Italian citizen can access public educational programs in Italy and all EU Member states, including state universities, EU-funded educational programs, Ph.D. programs, post-doc research programs. That includes the right to access scholarships, accommodation, exchange programs, additional health care plans.

You will have the right to access scholarships made available to Italian citizens by the Italian state, other states, or international organizations, foundations, etc.

3. Simplified and more cost-effective process to purchase properties in Italy.

 Italian citizens residing abroad who decide to purchase their first home in Italy will enjoy tax discounts.

Italian citizens can take advantage of many benefits, bonuses or participate in a number of special tax schemes when purchasing a home in Italy. Whether it’s partial funding of the purchase of the home to having eco friendly improvements covered or tax breaks, there are seemingly limitless programs that you can find in Italy.

4. Access to healthcare services

 Affordable High-Quality Healthcare.  Many services offered by the National and Local Healthcare Service are free or low cost. Once you are registered at the local healthcare office of your area of residence, you can access your treatment in any health care facility in the country. The National Health Care Insurance plan applies to all residents.

Moreover, you can access emergency care on free of charge if you are visiting any EU Member state.

The Italian national healthcare card also allows you the right to seek emergency healthcare services while in Europe if you are temporarily staying in another EU member state. The Italian insurance will allow you easier access in other countries and the costs are the same (sometimes free) as if you were insured in that particular country.

5. Automatic Italian Citizenship To Children Under 18 Years of Age & Future Generations

Any minor children that you may have at the time of your recognition as an Italian citizen will also automatically be recognized as Italian citizens.

You do not have to fill out another application for them to obtain that citizenship. You will only need to register their birth with Italy.


Italian nationality law (Law No. 91 of February 5, 1992) is the law of Italy governing the acquisition, transmission, and loss of Italian citizenship. The Article 1 states that a child of citizen parents is an Italian citizen by birth. This is known as “jus sanguinis” citizenship.

What is the Jus Sanguinis? Jure Sanguinis is Latin for “right of blood”.

This means that the descendant of an Italian emigrant who has not acquired foreign citizenship can also claim Italian citizenship through descent. Italian citizenship by descent is acquired through birth from an Italian ancestor (whether male or female), without generational limits, but with some exceptions.

Before the judgment No. 30 of February 9, 1983 of the Constitutional Court, Article 1 of Law No. 555/1912 did not provide that a child of an Italian mother is an Italian citizen by birth.

In fact following the Constitutional Court’s ruling that declared unconstitutional Article 1, the legal equivalence between men and women in matters of citizenship was established.

Therefore, descendants of Italian mothers can also request recognition of Italian citizenship “ius sanguinis,” provided they were born after January 1, 1948 (the date the Constitution came into effect), and that the mother possessed Italian citizenship at the time of the children’s birth.

However, the Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione), in a United Sections judgment of 2009, recognized the right to obtain Italian citizenship “ius sanguinis” through judicial proceedings even for descendants through the maternal line born before 1948. Consequently, even the descendant of an Italian mother born before 1948 can have their status as an Italian citizen by descent (iure sanguinis) recognized.

The Public Administration continues not to follow this jurisprudential approach, instead believing that the female ancestor only transmits citizenship from the enactment of the Constitution onwards.

As a result, while descendants of Italian mothers born after January 1st, 1948 (similar to descendants of Italian fathers) can obtain the recognition of citizenship directly through administrative channels (via a Consulate if residing abroad, or through an application to the Mayor if temporarily moving to Italy or already residing there), if the descendant of an Italian mother was born before 1948, they will necessarily have to initiate a legal action in Italy, with the mandatory representation of a lawyer.

To qualify for jure sanguinis, you have to prove that the citizenship was transferred to you by an Italian-born ancestor within the Italian law.

The application for recognition of Italian citizenship “ius sanguinis” can be submitted in two ways:



by submitting a request to the


by filing a petition with the representation of a lawyer

–       Consular Authority (if the applicant resides abroad) the processing time varies considerably depending on the Consulate (San Paolo Consulate is known to currently have a waiting time of around  10 years for appointments). In this case, is in the applicant’s best interest to proceed with a petition to the Civil Court of Rome to have their citizenship recognized by a judge.


–       In the case of the children (and descendants of children) of Italian women who lost their citizenship due to marriage before 1948 to a foreigner and who were born before 1948, the only way to obtain citizenship recognition is by initiating legal proceedings through an attorney registered in Italy.


–       Mayor of the Municipality of residence (if the applicant resides in Italy) – In order to submit the application, the applicant does not necessarily need to possess a residence permit, a declaration of presence is sufficient. This procedure takes approximately 2 years.


–       in cases of descendants through the paternal line when the relevant Consulate has an excessive waiting list for processing administrative applications.


An example is the San Paolo Consulate that  takes more than 10 years to process applications).

Through the legal process, it is possible to save time and financial resources!

In fact, it would not be necessary to move to Italy and rent an apartment, as your lawyer could handle the entire procedure even in your absence.

To initiate the legal process, the interested parties need to grant power of attorney to the Italian lawyer and send the original documents proving Italian descent to Italy.

The duration of the legal proceedings depends on the assigned Judge. Currently, the process takes approximately 18 months

The acquisition of citizenship by a foreign or stateless spouse of an Italian citizen is regulated by Articles 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Law 91/92 and subsequent amendments. The foreign spouse can acquire Italian citizenship upon request, under two alternative scenarios:

  1. If residing abroad – three years after the marriage or from the date of acquiring Italian citizenship by naturalization by the spouse
  2. If legally residing within Italian territory – two years of legal residency after the marriage or from the date of acquiring Italian citizenship by naturalization by the spouse


These terms are halved in the presence of children born or adopted by the spouses. 


  • Validity of marriage according to Italian law and transcription of the marriage certificate at the relevant Italian municipality;
  • Continuance of the marital bond until the issuance of the decree;
  • Absence of convictions for specific crimes;
  • Absence of reasons that pose a threat to the security of the Republic;
  • Certified knowledge of the Italian language.

According to Italian legislation, citizenship can also be granted to foreign individuals who have legally resided in Italian territory for a certain period.

Citizenship through residency can be requested by:

  1. Non-EU citizen residing in Italy for at least 10 years;
  2. EU citizen residing in Italy for at least 4 years;
  3. Stateless or refugee citizen residing in Italy for at least 5 years from the recognition of their status;
  4. Foreign citizen of legal age born in Italy and residing for at least 3 years (excluding the scenario under Article 4, paragraph 2, of Law No. 91/92);
  5. Foreign citizen with parents or second-degree direct line ancestors who were Italian citizens by birth, after 3 years of residency in Italy (subject to the provisions of Article 4, paragraph 1, letter c) of Law No. 91/92);
  6. Adult foreign citizen adopted by an Italian citizen, residing in Italy for at least 5 years after adoption;
  7. Foreign citizen who has served, even abroad, for at least 5 years under the employ of the Italian State;
  8. After 7 years of residency, in the case of a foreign citizen affiliated with an Italian citizen before the entry into force of Law No. 184/1983 (Article 21 of Law No. 91/1992).


Attention! For all foreign citizens applying for citizenship through residency, in addition to the certification of Italian language proficiency not lower than level B1, possession of another requirement that of personal or family income is also required.