ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP CAN BE ACQUIRED IN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING WAYS (Law No. 91/1992):
1) CITIZENSHIP AS A RESULT OF ITALIAN PARENTS/ANCESTORS (“ius sanguinis”)
A person acquires Italian citizenship when born the father, or mother are Italian citizens or whose ancestors (there are no limits of generations) are Italian citizens. Hence the principle of ius sanguinis - already enshrined in the previous legislation - is reaffirmed as a key principle for the acquisition of citizenship, while the ius soli remains an exceptional and residual case. Read more
2) CITIZENSHIP GRANTED TO PERSONS BORN ON ITALIAN SOIL (“ius soli”)
Italian citizenship is granted to:
- the subjects born on Italian soil whose parents are unknown, stateless or cannot pass on their citizenship to their children according to the laws of the State of which they are citizens;
- the children of unknown parentage found abandoned on Italian soil, whose citizenship is impossible to ascertain.
3) ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP WHEN MINORS
Law attaches particular importance to the acquisition of citizenship when minors as a result of:
-judicial ruling on paternity / maternity (a minor who is recognized by an Italian citizen to be of Italian parentage or is declared to be of Italian parentage through a judiciary ruling on paternity / maternity;
-parent’ s naturalization (the minor children of those who acquire or reacquire Italian citizenship, when living together with them, shall acquire Italian citizenship, but, after coming of legal age, they can renounce it, if in possession of other citizenship).
4) ACQUISITION BY CLAIM (article 4 of Law No. 91/92)
- A person whose father, mother or whose ascendants are in a direct line of second degree born were Italians, can acquire citizenship by claim: a) if he/she serves in the military for the Italian State; b) if he/she works as a public employer for the Italian State, also abroad; c) if, at the age of 18, he/she has resided legally in Italy for at least two years.
- A person who is born in Italy and has resided legally in Italy without interruption until the age of 18 can become an Italian citizen upon request before the age of 19.
5) CITIZENSHIP BY MARRIAGE TO AN ITALIAN CITIZEN OR BY CIVIL PARTNERSHIP
The foreign spouse can acquire Italian citizenship upon request, if the following requirements are met:
- in Italy: two years of legal residence after marriage;
- abroad: three years after marriage.
These terms are halved, for example, if the subjects have children.
6) ACQUISITION BY RESIDENCE
As a general rule, for non-EU foreigners, legal residence on the territory of the Italian State for at least 10 years is required, but there are many cases for which the period of residence required is lower:
- 3 years of legal residence for the foreigners whose father, mother or any of the ascendants in a direct line of second degree were Italians by birth or for the foreigners born in Italy and residing there;
- 4 years for the citizen of an EU Member State;
- 5 years of legal residence following adoption for the foreigners of legal age, or following the recognition of status for stateless people or political refugees.
7) GRANTING OF ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP PURSUANT TO SPECIAL MERITS
To foreigners who rendered eminent services to Italy, or when there is an exceptional interest of the State.
The starting of the procedure does not require an initiative of the subject concerned, but requires a proposal made by bodies, organizations, public personalities, associations, etc. proving a thorough assessment of the existence of the requirements established by law.
8) GRANTING OF ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP PURSUANT TO SPECIAL LAWS (Law No. 379 of December 14, 2000)
The declaration designed to obtain Italian citizenship for the persons born and formerly living in the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and their descendants, pursuant to Law 379/2000, could be made by December 20, 2010 to the Italian consular authorities, if the applicant was living abroad, or to the Civil Status Registrar of the Municipality, if the applicant was living in Italy.
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