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Italian citizenship is based on the principle of ius sanguinis (blood right) by which a child born of an Italian father or mother is Italian; nevertheless, it must be kept in mind that the mother citizen has only transmitted citizenship to minor children since January 1st 1948 as a result of a ruling by the Constitutional Court. Italian citizenship is currently regulated by Law No. 91 of 5 December 1992, which, unlike the previous law, re-evaluates the importance of individual desire in the gain or loss of citizenship and acknowledges the right to hold citizenship in more than one country, except in the case of the various provisions of international agreements. 



1. by having an Italian parent(s);

2. by being born in Italy:

including cases in which the parents are unknown, stateless or do not transmit their own citizenship to their child according to the legislation of the State to which they belong, as well as children found abandoned in Italy and for whom it is impossible to determine status civitatis (citizenship);


3. through paternal or maternal recognition while the child is a minor (in cases in

which the child recognised is no longer a minor, he/she is obliged to elect to become a citizen within one year of recognition);

4. by adoption, both if the foreign minor is adopted by an Italian citizen by means of

the Italian Judicial Authorities, as well as in the case in which adoption is granted abroad and made effective in Italy through a writ, issued by the Juvenile Court and registered with the Civil Registry.

If the adoptee is no longer a minor he/she can become a naturalised Italian citizen after 5 years of legal residence in Italy (see How to Apply: Naturalisation).





1. Declaration of desire to become a citizen;

If the foreigner is of Italian descent (up to the 2nd degree) he/she can obtain citizenship in any of the following cases:

- by serving in the Italian armed forces;

- by becoming a subordinate employee of the Italian State, even abroad;

- by residing legally in Italy for at least two years after reaching legal age.

If the foreigner was born in Italian territory he/she can obtain citizenship by residing legally and uninterruptedly in Italy from birth up to legal age.


2. Marriage to an Italian citizen;

The requirements include:

legal residence in Italy for at least 6 months after marriage or 3 years of matrimony if residing abroad;

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3. Naturalizzazione

requirements include:

10 years of legal residence;

sufficient income;

absence of criminal record;

renunciation of original citizenship (where foreseen).

the number of years can be reduced to:

3 years of legal residence for descendents of former Italian citizens by birth, up to the 2nd degree, and for foreigners born in Italian national territory;

4 years of legal residence for citizens of European Community Member States;

5 years of legal residence for displaced persons or refugees, as well as for legal-age foreigners adopted by Italian citizens;

7 years of legal residence as the child of an Italian parent;

no period of residence is required for foreigners who have served the State for a period of at least 5 years, even abroad.

Application for naturalisation must be addressed to the President of the Republic (Presidente della Repubblica) and presented to the Prefecture in the Province of residence.



Italian citizenship can be reinstated once it is lost:


One year from the date in which residence is established in Italy, except in the case of renunciation within that same period.

By Application

· serving in the Italian armed forces;

· being hired as a public servant at the service of the State, even abroad;

· residents abroad: providing the Italian Consulate with a statement stating the intention to reinstate Italian citizenship and establishing residency in Italy within one year of that statement;

· statement by Italian citizens who automatically lost citizenship by marrying a foreigner before January 1st 1948.