How to become an Italian citizen based on residency

A captivating shot of the Duomo di Milano in Italy.

1) Legal residence in Italy

  • 10 years for non-EU citizens;
  • 5 years for a legal-aged person adopted by an Italian citizen, stateless persons, refugees, and legal-aged son or daughter of an Italian citizen by naturalization;
  • 5 years of service on behalf of Italy, even abroad (no period of residence in Italy is necessary);
  • 4 years for citizens of the European Union;
  • 3 years for anyone who was born in Italy, and descendants of an Italian citizenship by birth (up until the second line of kinship).

2) Proof of income

Personal income (or from the entire family unit) of the last 3 years before applying to the Italian citizenship must be presented. The minimum amount per year is:

  • € 8.263,31 if the applicant does not have any dependents;
  • € 11.362,05 if the applicant has a spouse as dependent (the amount is increased by € 516 for each extra dependent)

3) No relevant criminal history

4) Acknowledgement of the Italian language

This must be proven by a certificate issued by an authorized teaching institution, level B1 intermediate; It is not possible to submit the application before presenting the certificate.

Further Information

  • All requests for Italian citizenship by residence are forwarded to the Italian Ministerio dell’Interno in Rome, and its acceptance takes, on average, 3 years. However, it is important to clarify that the organization is granted a legal timeframe of 48 months (4 years) to complete analysis of the request.
  • This type of citizenship is a concession, not a right, thus the Italian Government may deny your request.
  • Once granted your Italian nationality by residence, you will be notified to take an oath before the State up until 6 months after the issue date.
  • It is very important to emphasize that the acceptance of your request depends on presenting all the demanding aspects correctly, with the complete documentation, forms and application. Often it happens that, if not properly assisted and guided, documents and forms are submitted incomplete or with the incorrect information, and this can cause a denial of the request and the need to redo the whole procedure after years waiting for the response.

Learn more about the necessary immigration steps to Italy based on residency:

Cavalcanti de Albuquerque Law Firm facilitates bureaucratic practices and dispute resolution across borders. This group of professionals operate in a number of countries including Italy and Brazil.



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