If you are interested in obtaining the Italian citizenship but you already hold another nationality, you might be interested to know that Italy allows dual citizenship. Therefore, you can simultaneously hold two passports and have a dual citizenship. Below you will find a brief guide, with all the relevant information about Italian dual citizenship requirements and the available types of application.
Who qualifies for Italian dual citizenship?
Contrary to some other countries in the world, that allow to hold one citizenship only, Italy allows multiple citizenship. Specifically, article 11 of Italian Law of February 5th 1992, No. 91, provides that:
“The citizen who owns, obtains or re-obtains a foreign citizenship retains the Italian one, but he or she can renounce to it if he resides or established his or her residency abroad”.
This means that applicants who want to get the Italian citizenship do not mandatorily need to give up their original citizenship during the process. Nevertheless, Italians may decide to formally renounce to their citizenship rights, for personal or other reasons. Dual citizens enrolled in the Registry of Italians living abroad (A.I.R.E.) can renounce to their Italian citizenship by submitting a formal declaration to the Consulate.
Not everybody indistinctively qualifies for the Italian citizenship, but only those who fall into certain, specific categories.
Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent or by Birth
A possible way to obtain Italian dual citizenship is to apply for Italian citizenship by descent, by proving the existence of a direct blood line with some Italian ancestor. In this case, it is necessary to gather a clear family tree, starting from the Italian ancestor, collecting all the vital information about all people in the bloodline. Such information may include birth, marriage and death certificates of the relevant family members.
There is no limit to the number of descendants who can claim Italian heritage under the same maternal or paternal line, and there is no generational limit. However, when applying for citizenship by descent, ancestors sex and birth dates are also quite important factors to consider, as some limitations apply.
In addition to citizenship by descent, the easiest path to get the Italian passport is by recognition of the Italian citizenship by birth – also known as Ius Sanguinis. Foreigners can acquire it if they fall into specific cases of birth or adoption. If you were born in Italy and you want to know if you can get Italian dual citizenship, take a look at out article on Italian citizenship by Jure Sanguinis.
A second possibility is to apply for a concession of dual Italian citizenship through marriage, if you are married to an Italian national and you have been married for a few years. The required years of marriage may vary according to the applicant’s specific situation and, in any case, they are halved if the couple have children.
Among the necessary documents to provide, the application shall include their marriage certificate, their criminal background clearance and their residency certificate.
A third path is to apply for the concession of the Italian citizenship through legal residence in the territory of Italy. The required period of legal residence in the country varies according to the applicant’s situation and nationality. To know more about the requirements to apply for Italian citizenship, take a look at
Necessary documentation will include the applicant’s birth certificate, their criminal background clearance and their residency certificate. Furthermore, all the certificates issued abroad shall be duly legalized and translated to become valid in the eyes of the Italian authorities.
Benefits and disadvantages of the Italian dual citizenship
Applicants may decide to pursue a dual citizenship process for several reasons. In fact, the obtainment of the Italian citizenship may result in several benefits, especially for non-EU citizens, including for instance:
- obtaining the right to immediate work for Italian or European employers, without the need to apply for a work permit in advance;
- the possibility to easily reside or frequently travel to Italy and other European countries without the need of a travel visa;
- the right to vote in Italian elections.
On the other side, there are no specific disadvantages in having a dual citizenship, exception made for the obvious need to carry both your passports with you, to show to the frontier authorities in case of check.
Italy Dual Citizenship: Requirements and Application
To finalize the process of recognition or to obtain your Italian dual citizenship, you will need to provide documents supporting your application. Such documents differ according to the method you choose to pursue your citizenship application.
Applicants must present the complete documents package either to the correct government office (Italian “Prefettura”) or to the municipality where they intend to establish their residency, according to their case. If you are resident abroad and wish to re-acquire your citizenship, you can submit an application at the diplomatic or consular authority in your place of residence.
See our dedicated articles on the different types of citizenship in Italy to get more information on the specific requirements and applications for each type of Italian citizenship:
- Citizenship in Italy
- Italian Citizenship by Descent
- Italian Citizenship by Jure Sanguinis
- Italian Citizenship by Marriage
How long does Italian dual citizenship take?
Processing time varies according to your circumstances. The processing time to obtain a recognition of the Italian citizenship through a consulate or a municipality can be of several months.
On the other hand, the usual processing time to obtain the concession of the Italian citizenship, that is to say the period that the applicant has to wait after having submitted the application through the government website, is a couple of years.
Specifically, the Decree Law No. 173/2020, which converted into law the previous Decree No. 130/2020, has established that the new maximum duration term is 24 months, extendable up to 36 months in certain cases. Such new terms apply to all applications submitted starting from December 20th 2020. For all the previously submitted applications, the processing time can be up to 48 months as foreseen by previous Decree Law No. 113/2018.
How much does it cost to get Italian dual citizenship?
The application for Italian citizenship concession is subject to a government fee equal to €250, which can be paid at any Italian post office.
Do you have to speak Italian to get dual citizenship in Italy?
The concession of the Italian citizenship is subject to the possession by the applicant of an adequate knowledge of the Italian language, which should be not less than level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (QCER).
To this end, applicants who have not signed the integration agreement referred to in Article 4-bis of the Consolidated Text of Legislative Decree No. 286 of July 25, 1998, or who do not hold an EU long-term residence permit, are required to produce appropriate certification. Such document must be issued by a certifying body recognized by the Ministry of Education, University and Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation or the Ministry of Education, University and Research.