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Italian citizenship is based on the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood), whereby the child born of an Italian father or an Italian mother is Italian. However, it is important to be aware that the Italian mother transmits the Italian citizenship only to her minor children born on or after 1st January 1948 as per a specific Constitutional Court ruling.

Italian citizenship is currently regulated by Law no. 91 of 5th February 1992 which, unlike the previous Law, revalues the importance of individual intention in the acquisition or loss of citizenship and recognises the right to hold more than one citizenship at the same time, subject to the provisions of international agreements.

As from August 16, 1992 (the date of entry into force of Law no. 91/92), Italian citizenship is no longer lost when the citizenship of another country is acquired.

Who acquired a foreign citizenship after 31.03.2001 is not obliged any more to notify the Italian authorities.                            





  1. BIRTH
    The minor child of an Italian Citizen is automatically Italian regardless of his/her place of birth.
    The birth certificate must be submitted by the parent to the Consulate in order to register it in Italy.

    People over the age of 18th of Italian fathers by birth have the right to Italian citizenship without time limits, even when born outside of Italy, whereas children of Italian mothers by birth can apply only if born from 1st January 1948.

    • if the parents are unknown or stateless or unable to pass on their citizenship according to the legislation of the country of origin/nationality; 
    • children found abandoned within the Italian territory when it is impossible to ascertain the citizenship. 

Parents can apply for Italian citizenship on behalf of minor children following a paternity or maternity acknowledgement. If the child being acknowledged is an adult, he/she must opt to be naturalised Italian no later than one year after the date of the acknowledgement deed.


Italian citizenship is granted to any minor child adopted by an Italian citizen by means of a ruling of the Italian Judicial Authorities or, in case of adoption abroad, by means of a ruling issued abroad and made effective and binding in Italy, through an order (issued by the Juvenile Court for minors) for enrolling in the Civil Status Register.

Adoptees of legal age can acquire Italian citizenship by naturalization after 5 years of legal residence in Italy since the adoption (see Acquisition by application: Naturalization)



  1. Declaration of intent

Foreigners who are the descendants of an Italian national by birth (up to the second degree), may acquire Italian citizenship (alternatively) in the following instances:

• Have served in the Italian Armed Forces; 
• Are employed as a civil servants by the Italian Government, even abroad; 
• Have been registered as legally resident in Italy for two years before becoming of age.

Foreigners born in Italy may acquire Italian citizenship if lawfully and uninterruptedly resident in Italy from birth up until coming of age.

  1. Marriage to an Italian citizen 

The foreign national woman who married an Italian citizen before 27.04.1983 automatically acquired Italian citizenship and maintained it even after the eventual death or divorce of the Italian spouse, provided that it took place after 27.04.1983.


For those who got married after 27.04.1983, the acquisition of Italian citizenship by the foreign spouse (male or female) is subject to  his/her request of acquisition of Italian citizenship.

The Law no. 94 of 15.07.2009 has introduced some modifications regarding the application and the requested requirements.

The application can be submitted by the foreign spouse after two years from the date of marriage if resident in Italy or after three years from the date of marriage if resident abroad. (These terms are halved in the presence of children born of the marriage or adopted by the spouses)

The marriage bond must remain at the time of the adoption of the provision.

The necessary requirements must be proven by certification and self-certification is not permitted.

Fee payment of € 250.00 is required.

Upon request, the list of the necessary documentation is provided to be attached to the application.

The applications are submitted by booking an appointment at the following e-mail address:


Introduction of linguistic requirement for applications of Italian citizenship by marriage (pursuant to art. 5, Law 91/1992)

Following the entry into force of Law no. 132 of 2018 of conversion of Legislative Decree 113/2018, the foreign citizen requesting Italian citizenship by marriage (art. 5 of Law 91 of 1992) must demonstrate possession of an adequate knowledge of the Italian language, not lower than the B1 level of the common reference framework for knowledge of languages.

This knowledge must be demonstrated by submitting a diploma, degree or qualification issued by a public or equivalent educational institution or, alternatively, by a certification issued by a certifying body.

The following entities can be considered certification bodies, as they belong to the unified certification system known as Italian Quality Language Certification (CLIQ):

  • the University for Foreigners of Siena,
  • the University for Foreigners of Perugia,
  • the Roma Tre University,
  • the Dante Alighieri Society.

We inform that in the competent territorial jurisdiction it is possible to take the CILS exam for the B1 certificate at the ETON INSTITUTE, authorised centre for the administration of the CILS exams from the University for Foreigners of Siena. For more information click here.

We also inform that it is possible to take the PLIDA exam for the B1 certificate at the authorised headquarters of Dante Alighieri Society.

For an updated list of locations click here.


  1. Naturalization

The requirements are:

  • 10 years of legal residence;
  • Sufficient income;
  • Having no criminal records;
  • Renunciation of original citizenship, if need be.


The number of years can be reduced to:

  • 3 years of legal residence if the applicant’s ancestors were Italian by birth (up to the second degree) and in case of foreign nationals born in Italy; 
  • 4 years of legal residence if the applicant is a national of a EU country;
  • 5 years of legal residence if the applicant is stateless or a refugee, or as well if the applicant is a foreigner of legal age  adopted by an Italian national; 
  • 7 years of legal residence for the adoptee of an Italian national; 
    no residence requirement is necessary if the applicant has been employed  by the Italian Government for at least five years, even abroad.

The application for naturalization is to be addressed to the Italian President of the Republic and lodged at the Prefettura of the Province where the applicant is formally registered as resident in Italy.



The Italian citizenship can be reacquired if it is lost:

  1. Automatically 
  • One year after the date of the establishment of residence in the territory of the Italian Republic unless the applicant within the same period renounces the Italian citizenship.
  1. By application
  • if the applicant performs effective military service at the Italian Armed Forces;
  • if the applicant is or was employed as a civil servant by the Italian Government even abroad;
  • if the applicant establishes his/her residence in Italy through a specific declaration at the Registry Office of the Italian Town Hall “ Comune”
  • by means of a declaration by Italian women who lost their Italian citizenship automatically by marriage to foreigners prior to January 1, 1948.

For more information, please write to:

To book an appointment click here