My Story of Becoming an Italian Citizen

The day I received my Italian citizenship was, I kid you not, probably one of the happiest days of my life.

I decided back in 2014 that I eventually would want to move to Italy; so, that fall, I began my research on how to become an Italian citizen. There are several avenues through which to obtain citizenship, but the following are the most common:

  • Ancestry, or iure sanguinis (a Latin phrase meaning ‘by right of the blood’)
  • Marriage, or iure matrimonii
  • Residency

I was eligible through iure sanguinis, a popular option for many Italians all over the world. Luckily, both of my parents were Italian citizens at the time of my birth, and have never renounced their citizenship, so I was unofficially considered an Italian citizen the moment I was born. Below are four categories for eligibility through ancestry, as explained by the Italian Consulate General in Washington, D.C.:

“Category #1: your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship;

Category #2: your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, you were born after January 1, 1948, and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship;

Category #3: your father was born in the United States or a country other than Italy which considered him a citizen by birth “jure soli” (by the law of the soil), your paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth, your father did not renounce his Italian citizenship before your birth;

Category #4: your mother was born in the United States or in a country other than Italy which considered her a citizen by birth “jure soli” (by the law of the soil), your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth, you were born after January 1, 1948, and your mother did not renounce her Italian citizenship before your birth.”

Once you determine if you qualify, then comes the fun part! I’m just kidding; it’s not fun at all.

The list of documents necessary for the application is lengthy, and it took me about six months to compile and complete the majority of it. If you’re considering citizenship, I strongly urge you to make your appointment FIRST, then begin the paperwork since most waiting times average one to two years. From what I remember, I had to dial 1.800.686.4446 to make my appointment, a call that will cost you $2.49 per minute. (Told you it was fun!)

Utilizing the specifications from the New York Consulate, I created a document back in 2014 to keep me organized and accountable during the paperwork process. Since I am in the jurisdiction of the New York Consulate, all of the pertinent government offices are within the five boroughs. Also, keep in mind that my citizenship was passed to me through my parents, so that is why I had to retrieve their vital records (birth, marriage, divorce certificates) and naturalization documents.

The checklist is free, and hopefully answers any questions that you may have. If not, feel free to leave a comment!

In total, the entire process above cost me roughly $400.00 and nearly all my sanity. After nearly three years, in March 2017, I finally received a letter declaring my citizenship. Now that I look back, though, I can say it was well worth it. My employment opportunities are endless in Europe, and—if I ever decide to leave Italy—I won’t have to apply for a visa if I wish to return for more than three months.

I won’t lie; being able to say that I’m a duel citizen is pretty badass, too!

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