Italian Citizenship through Marriage - how to do it and keep your sanity (2023)

Ok this is going to be LONG.. but I’m sure it will help some of you…

I have just read through a few of the comments posted already and I thought I’d add my 2 cents regarding applying for Italian Citizenship by Marriage to an Italian Citizen.
I am a South African citizen married to an Italian Citizen (residing in South Africa and registered as an Italian living abroad).
Although we have been together since 2001, we only got married in August 2015 and I have just submitted my application for Italian Citizenship (in November 2018).

Firstly, Italian women do NOT change their surnames when they get married… so your Italian Citizenship application and eventual Italian Passport will be in your MAIDEN surname. Please make sure that your Online Application is made with your MAIDEN surname and that all your supporting documents (Police Clearance Certificate, etc.) also reflects your MAIDEN surname.

It is also important that you check with your Department of Home Affairs of your Home Country what the rules are regarding DUAL CITIZENSHIP. In South Africa you need to APPLY for “RETENTION OF CITIZENSHIP” BEFORE you are granted Italian Citizenship or you will AUTOMATICALLY LOSE YOUR SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENSHIP as soon as you gain Italian Citizenship if you do NOT have the certificate giving you permission to retain your South African Citizenship!!!
You need to get a letter from the Italian Consulate / Honorary Consul stating that you qualify for Italian Citizenship and that Italy allows Dual Citizenship with your country – you then have to take that letter to your Department of Home Affairs and Apply for a “Retention of Citizenship Certificate” (Local cost was ZAR300.00 for this certificate) – keep this certificate SAFE!

1. Your spouse must obviously be an Italian Citizen – registered as an Italian living abroad (if not living in Italy
2. You need to be married for 3 years if living abroad and 2 years if you live in Italy before you can start your application (18 months from date of marriage if a child is born from the marriage)
3. Get your documentation in order before you do your online application;
3.1 You need to register your marriage with your spouse’s registered municipality in ITALY – this can be done through the Italian Consulate in your home country or your local Honorary /Vise Consul if you can’t do it yourself in Italy.
3.2You will need the original certificate from the Italian Municipality stating both your details and details of your marriage – this is easier if you can give permission to a family member that still lives in Italy to collect the certificate on your behalf at the municipality in Italy where your spouse is registered and courier it to you.
3.3A certified copy of your Passport – the page with your photo identification and passport/personal details on
3.4Your original Unabridged Birth Certificate (has your details as well as those of both your mother and father – you will also need their details for the online application, so keep it handy)
3.5Your original Police Clearance Certificate
3.6There are TWO of these original documents that need to be ‘Apostilled’* and ‘Translated into Italian’**:
1. your Unabridged Birth Certificate and
2. your Police Clearance Certificate

So to save costs on courier/postage fees, I would advise that you wait until you have both these documents before you send them to be Apostilled and Translated – send them together

Herewith the process of getting your documents “Apostilled” and “Translated”:

(Video) How to get Italian citizenship through your great grandparents

*Apostille: in South Africa we have Government Documents “Apostilled” by DIRCO – Department of International Relations and Cooperation. You need to courier your original Government Document/s to them with a covering letter stating for which COUNTRY you require the Apostille/Legalization for – you obviously select ITALY
Follow your local “DIRCO” instructions for submitting and retrieving documents to and from them.

The “Apostille” is a page (certificate) with a seal on attached to your original document with ribbon (can’t be removed from the original document thereafter without damaging/nullifying the Apostille/seal). This “Apostille” (certificate attached to your original document) has the details of the person who signed the Government Document and confirms the legality, signator and his/her official title/position.

** Translation: When you receive your Original Document with “Apostille” back from DIRCO, you will have to send it all to a ‘Registered Sworn Translated’ to have it all Translated into Italian (you can get a list of Registered Sworn Translators from your local Italian Consulate). The sworn translator normally has their own stamp with details & credentials on that they will stamp on the official translation page/certificate and send the original to you. (I paid ZAR200/about Euro12.50 per translation page in October 2018).

The Italian Translation then needs the appropriate Italian Revenue Stamps from the Italian Consulate / Honorary Consul (Euro24 for these stamps as at November 2018) and “legalized” by the Italian Consulate or your local Honorary Consul. The Italian Consulate or Italian Honorary Consul/Vise Consul must sign next to the Sworn Translator’s signature and physically write that he/she confirms that the person who did the translation is a ‘Registered Sworn Translator’ and the amount paid in Euro and your home currency is recorded next to the revenue stamps).

You would have done both your Unabridged Birth Certificate as well as your Police Clearance Certificate (not older than 6 months) this way – Apostilled and Translated and Revenue Stamps Applied, etc. – so you will have THREE pages for each (original document, Apostille Page and Italian Translation) – make sure you scan all THREE these pages for each original document TOGETHER > i.e. ONE pdf file for 3 pages (3 pages in ONE pdf file for your Unabridged Birth Certificate and 3 pages in ONE pdf file for your Police Clearance Certificate) > you MUST UPLOAD all 3 these pages in ONE pdf file on your online application! VERY important

3.7Make the required payment for the Citizenship Application Fee (as of November 2018 it has gone up to Euro250!)
Instructions and banking details can be obtained from the Italian Consulate.
You will need to print the proof of payment

So, herewith the list of all your documentation needed:
1. Unabridged Birth Certificate – Apostille + Translation (3 pages in 1 pdf file)
2. Police Clearance Certificate – Apostille + Translation (3 pages in 1 pdf file)
3. Italian Marriage Certificate (1 page)
4. Certified copy of your Passport (1 page)
5. Proof of payment for Application Fee (Euro250) (1 page)

(Video) Italian Citizenship by Descent VS Italian Citizenship By Marriage

4.Online Application:
Unfortunately the whole online application & website is in ITALIAN – so unless you can speak Italian, it is advisable to get someone that DOES speak Italian to help you.

5.Once you have completed all the steps of the Online Application and successfully uploaded all your documents – you can submit your Online Application (follow website instructions)

6.I received an email the very next day from the Italian Consulate, with my local Honorary Consul “cc’d” into the email – requesting that he complete the “legalization” of the sworn translations correctly (he had put the revenue stamps and amounts on but did not physical write and sign and put his own stamp next to the translator’s signature – there is a certain way they need to do it) – so I had to go back to my Honorary Consul and have the document corrected – the next day I was able to re-upload those 2 translation documents on the online application and resubmit my online application

7.As soon as you submit your online application you can print your “questions” / completed online application in PDF form – you need to print this out – it’s called “Modulo di domanda compilata on-line” (9 pages) – YOU NEED TO SIGN THE LAST PAGE (PAGE 9) and your Honorary Consul / Italian Consulate needs to SIGN THE LAST PAGE as well and attach ANOTHER Italian Revenue Stamp (about Euro15.00 as at November 2018) > it is also important to note that wherever you need to SIGN you need to sign in your MAIDEN SURNAME!!!

8.You will also have received an email with an attachment page stating that your application has been received:
“Gentile xxx La informiamo che il modulo informatico è stato ricevuto correttamente.” (We inform you that the information form was received correctly) – and it has the your details and your application number on it.

9.About 3 days after submitting my online application I received another email from the Italian Consulate, requesting me to submit my Original Documents” – here they also give you your “K10/C” number.

Email wording:

(Video) Get Italian Citizenship Through Your Grandparents & More Details

Your Italian citizenship application n. K10/C/xxxxxxx has been provisionally accepted. Please acknowledge receipt of this notification.
You are kindly requested to present yourself to this Consulate or to the Honorary Vice Consul in xxx – as soon as possible – with the documentation
submitted on line for the necessary verification, authentication of signature and application of prescribed revenue stamp.
The following documents must be presented;
– Original unabridged birth certificate, Apostille, translation and legalization of sworn translator’s signature;
– Original criminal record certificate, Apostille, translation and legalization of sworn translator’s signature;
– Marriage certificate issued by the Municipaliity of registration in Italy;
– Proof of payment of Euro 250;
– Identity document submitted with our application;
– Printed version of the application submitted online.
Revenue stamp for the authentication of your signature amounts to R 228.00 which you can pay via eft (banking details attached) or in cash

10. You have to submit in person /courier ALL your original documents and the printed version of your application with the last revenue stamp on to the Italian Consulate.

11. And then you wait… a notification was sent out to all Italian Consulates and current pending applications in October 2018 that the waiting period for the PROCESSING of Citizenship Applications has been INCREASED to FOUR YEARS!

12. There are 7 “phases” of your Application (mine is currently on “fase 2”):

1. Gli accertamenti di competenza dell’Ufficio Periferico sono stati avviati (fase 1)
2. L’istruttoria degli Uffici centrali è in corso, si è in attesa di acquisire tutti i pareri necessari (fase 2)
Gli accertamenti di competenza dell’ufficio periferico sono in via di definizione
3. è avviata l’istruttoria degli uffici centrali. è avviata l’istruuoria degli uffici competenti (fase 3)
4. Sono stati acquisiti i pareri – la pratica è in fase di valutazione finale (fase 4)
5. Sono stati acquisiti i pareri necessari. Il decreto di concessione è agli organi competenti per la firma (fase 5)
6. L’istruttoria si è conclusa favorevolmente; è in corso di trasmissione il provvedimento di concessione alla Prefettura che ne curerà la notifica. Se risiede all’estero, il decreto sarà inviato all’Autorità Consolare (fase 6)
7. Il decreto di concessione è stato firmato; sarà contattato dalla Prefettura per la notifica del provvedimento e dopo la notifica dovrà recarsi presso il Comune di residenza per il giuramento. Se risiede all’estero sarà contattato dall’Autorità consolare competente (fase 7)

7 Phases translated into English:

1. The assessments pertaining to the Peripheral Office have been initiated (phase 1)

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2. The Central Offices’ investigation is underway, all the necessary opinions are awaited (phase 2)
The assessments pertaining to the peripheral office are being finalized

3. the investigation of the central offices is started. the investigation of the competent offices is started (phase 3)

4. Opinions have been acquired – the practice is under final evaluation (phase 4)

5. The necessary opinions have been acquired. The concession decree is to the competent bodies for the signature (phase 5)

6. The preliminary investigation ended favorably; the provision of a concession to the Prefecture which will take care of the notification is being transmitted. If he resides abroad, the decree will be sent to the Consular Authority (phase 6)

7. The concession decree was signed; he will be contacted by the Prefecture for the notification of the provision and after the notification he will have to go to the Municipality of residence for the oath. If he resides abroad he will be contacted by the competent consular authority (step 7)

13. Once your Application has gone through all “7 phases” and you have presented yourself to the Italian Consulate for the “Oath”, you will be granted “Italian Citizenship” – only THEN can you start the process of applying for your Italian Passport

(Video) How Long Does It Take To Get Italian Citizenship?



How do you become an Italian citizen by marriage? ›

The non-Italian Spouse married to an Italian citizen can apply for Italian citizenship by marriage after two years from the marriage/civil union, if residing in Italy. This term is reduced by half if the couple has children under the age of 18, or when children are legally adopted by the couple.

How long does it take to get Italian citizenship through marriage? ›

If you have been married for more than two years and living in Italy for this same period, you are entitled to obtain Italian citizenship. However, if you are married to an Italian citizen and living aboard, you can obtain Italian citizenship within three years.

How long do you have to be married to get an Italian passport? ›

What do you need to qualify for an Italian citizenship through marriage? If you are a non-Italian married to an Italian citizen and residing in Italy, you will be able to apply for Italian citizenship by marriage if you have been married for two years. This includes same-sex civil unions.

What documents do I need for Italian citizenship by marriage? ›

Required Documents for Italian Citizenship because of Marriage for foreigners

What is the fastest way to get Italian citizenship? ›

Jure Sanguinis, also known as citizenship by descent (by blood), is one of the fastest and easiest ways to obtain Italian citizenship. There is no limit to the number of descendants who can claim Italian heritage under their paternal or maternal line. Furthermore, Italy does not have a generational limit when applying.

Do I need to speak Italian to get Italian citizenship by marriage? ›

- if you are applying for Italian Citizenship by marriage, since 2018, you must speak Italian and show an adequate knowledge of the language (passing the level B1 test of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - CEFRL).

Do I lose my Italian citizenship if I get divorced? ›

Once you have obtained Italian citizenship by marriage, you will not lose it if you file for divorce. There are only a few ways to lose your citizenship once it is acquired. If you renounce your Italian citizenship in order to become a citizen of a country that does not allow dual citizenship.

Do you automatically become a citizen through marriage? ›

A spouse married to a U.S. citizen will not automatically be a U.S. citizen after they get married. While in marital union, you will need to go through the naturalization process. Becoming a U.S. citizen through marriage starts off the same way most paths to naturalization start: by getting a green card.

Which country gives fastest citizenship by marriage? ›

The easiest way to obtain citizenship through marriage is in Argentina. You can apply for a passport the very next day after the wedding.

Do Italians take husband's last name? ›

Italy. Spouses keep their original surnames. According to the Italian Civil Code (article 143 bis), a woman who marries keeps her surname and has the option of adding her husband's surname after hers. Non-Italian citizens getting married in Italy will not have their surname changed in Italy.

How long do you have to stay married after getting citizenship? ›

In addition to living with your U.S. citizen spouse for at least 3 years before filing N-400, Application for Naturalization, your spouse must also have been a U.S. citizen for the entire 3-year period. You must continue to be married for the remainder of the process – through the final Oath of Allegiance Ceremony.

Are Italian passports strong? ›

The Italian passport currently ranks on the 4th place according to the Guide Passport Ranking Index. It provides visa-free access to 190 countries. It is considered one of the most desirable passports in the world with a very high mobility score.

Do I need to speak Italian for citizenship? ›

Applicants are required to have competency in Italian to the level of B1 level of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

What is Nulla Osta for marriage? ›

A Nulla Osta is the Italian version of a UK certificate of no impediment and proves you are legally allowed to get married. Revised forms so they can also be used by customers with embassy appointments. Changes to the Certificate of No Impediment form.

How much Italian blood do you need for citizenship? ›

Italy is one of the countries where a person can easily be recognized as Italian citizens by having at least one Italian ancestor.

Which country gives faster citizenship? ›

Bolivia is among the few nations in the World that allows you to become a citizen after marrying and living there for two years. Individuals who've already lived in Bolivia legally for three years in a row could apply for Citizenship.

Which country give citizenship very easily? ›

Austria, Belgium, Ecuador, Belize and Costa Rica, countries where you can get citizenship and work visas easily of you have an Indian passport. Travel Tips, Immigration with Indian Passport: There are many countries in the world who give citizenship of their country if you have the passport of India and some documents.

Is Italian citizenship hard to get? ›

To obtain Italian citizenship, you need to live in the country for ten years. This path is not suitable for everyone. Some EU countries give investors the opportunity to obtain a residence permit, permanent residence and citizenship much faster.

Can I live in Italy if I marry an Italian citizen? ›

'Family cohesion' allows a foreign national to obtain a new residence permit based on their family relationship with an EU citizen with registered residency in Italy. Both a marriage and a same sex registered union make two people family members.

What are the benefits of having Italian citizenship? ›


Can I apply for citizenship after 3 years of marriage? ›

The spouse of a U.S. citizen residing in the United States must have been living in marital union with his or her citizen spouse for at least 3 years immediately preceding the time of filing the naturalization application.

What happens if you marry for citizenship then divorce? ›

Filing for Naturalization After Three Years

You must remain married from the beginning to the end of your naturalization. If a divorce occurs before or at any stage during the citizenship application process, you may no longer be eligible to receive U.S. citizenship under this category.

Can citizenship through marriage be revoked? ›

A spouse or child who became a U.S. citizen through the naturalization of a spouse or parent could lose U.S. citizenship if 1) the spouse or child reside outside the U.S. at the time of revocation, and 2) the spouse or parent's citizenship is revoked as a result of becoming affiliated with certain organizations within ...

What happens if you marry someone for citizenship and then divorce? ›

If you divorce during the application process for a marriage green card, then the application will stop and no longer progress. This is the case whether you are applying for a marriage green card or you are married to someone being sponsored for a green card through their U.S. employer.

What happens after marriage citizenship? ›

After you receive your green card

Your citizenship doesn't change. You can apply to become a U.S. citizen after you have had a green card and have been married to a U.S. citizen for three years.

What is the three year rule for citizenship? ›

What is the 'three-year rule' for Form N-400? If you are married to a U.S. citizen and have been living in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least three years, you may be eligible to file Form N400 to become a U.S. citizen.

Do you have to stay married to keep citizenship? ›

Once an applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance and the naturalization certificate is issued, there's nothing that would preclude the new citizen from getting divorced.

Which country has toughest citizenship? ›

17 Hardest Countries To Get Citizenship [REVEALED]
  • Qatar.
  • Vatican City.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • Bhutan.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Kuwait.
  • Switzerland.
  • China.

Which country has the best marriages? ›

Fiji followed directly with 9.8 marriages.
Countries with the highest marriage rates worldwide as of 2018 (marriages per 1,000 population)
CharacteristicNumber of marriages per 1,000 population
West Bank & Gaza10
9 more rows
21 Oct 2022

Which country give spouse visa easily? ›

The countries such as Canada, the UK, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, and New Zealand allow spouses and partners to work, whereas the countries such as Hong Kong and the USA allow only married spouses to work.

What do Italian husbands call their wives? ›

Immediate family members in Italian
EnglishItalian SingularPronunciation
Domestic partnerConviventekohn-vee-vehn-teh
28 more rows
27 Jun 2022

What do Italians call their wives? ›

“Husband” in Italian and “Wife” in Italian: Marito and Moglie.

How do you address an Italian married woman? ›

The titles signora and signorina do not, like Miss and Mrs in English, always denote marital status. Signorina is used to address a very young woman but if you know she is married she becomes signora. Signora is used for married women and all older women. If in doubt, or in a business situation, use signora.

Which is the strongest passport in Europe? ›

The list
46 more rows
29 Mar 2022

Can you smile in an Italian passport? ›

If you wear a head covering for this reason, your face needs to be in full view. Smiling is never appropriate in passport or visa photos. It distorts facial recognition by the government. Keep face neutral and mouth closed.

Does Italian citizenship expire? ›

A: Once the vital record documents for your citizenship application are legalized by means of Apostille they do not have any expiration date and can be filed with the consulate at any time.

How hard is the Italian citizenship language test? ›

It all depends on your level. If you are an absolute beginner in Italian, it might take anywhere from 6 to 24 months, depending on your time commitment and native language. If you already have an intermediate level, it might take you a month to handle how the exam works.

How long Italian citizenship takes? ›

By law, consulates have up to 24 months to process an application for Italian citizenship by descent, however, it could also take less.

How long do marriages last in Italy? ›

18 years. According to the Economist, couples in Italy stay together longer than any other country evaluated. Istat dives into these numbers a little deeper, noting that the average marriage lasts 15 years up until separation or 18 up until divorce.

How long after divorce can you remarry in Italy? ›

If one or both spouses wishes to remarry it is possible to obtain divorcee status (in around 18 months) even if maintenance or custody of the children are still not resolved.

How much does a marriage certificate cost in Italy? ›

You should expect to pay the following fees for your Italian wedding: A revenue stamp for the Dichiarazione Giurata/Nulla Osta of €16. Two revenue stamps for the Atto Notorio of €16. An application for the Atto Notorio of €10,62.

How long does it take to get Italian citizenship by marriage? ›

The non-Italian Spouse married to an Italian citizen can apply for Italian citizenship by marriage after two years from the marriage/civil union, if residing in Italy. This term is reduced by half if the couple has children under the age of 18, or when children are legally adopted by the couple.

How powerful is Italian citizenship? ›

It allows you to live, work and study not just in Italy, but in all the other 26 countries that are part of the European Union, including Spain, Germany, France, and Ireland, without the need of an extended visa.

How do I apply for Italian citizenship through marriage? ›

Process of Italian Citizenship Through Marriage
  1. Copy of marriage certificate transcript from Italian municipality where Italian spouse is AIRE-registered.
  2. Criminal background checks from applicant's residences since 14 years of age and FBI.
  3. Certified copy of foreign birth certificate.

Can I live in Italy if I am married to an Italian? ›

Applying for citizenship by marriage requires waiting a number of years before filing an application (2 years from the date of marriage if the couple reside in Italy, 3 years if they reside abroad). It also entails passing a language test and a criminal record check.

Which country gives immediate citizenship by marriage? ›

CAPE VERDE. Marrying a Cape Verde citizen will allow you to get their citizenship right away, should you so desire. If you want the fastest second passport by marriage, the African country Cape Verde may be your best option.

Can I apply for citizenship after 2 years of marriage? ›

The spouse of a U.S. citizen residing in the United States must have been living in marital union with his or her citizen spouse for at least 3 years immediately preceding the time of filing the naturalization application.

Can you get married in Italy if you aren't a citizen? ›

To marry in Italy as a foreigner you'll need:

a marriage Nulla Osta (certificate of no impediments) that you can request in the Consulate or Embassy of your country in Italy, an Atto Notorio signed by two witnesses, a declaration of marriage intent submitted to the civil register.

Does marriage help with citizenship? ›

First, let's get one important thing straight: Marriage to a U.S. citizen makes someone eligible for U.S. lawful permanent residence (a "green card"), not for U.S. citizenship. (At least, not in the short term.) Having a green card for a certain number of years can make the person eligible for U.S. citizenship.

Is marriage a easy way to citizenship? ›

One way to get citizenship in the United States is to marry a U.S. citizen. However, it's not as easy as filling out a couple of forms. It's not a fast process, and the outcome isn't guaranteed, and there are lots of requirements to fulfill along the way.

Is citizenship automatic with marriage? ›

A spouse married to a U.S. citizen will not automatically be a U.S. citizen after they get married. While in marital union, you will need to go through the naturalization process. Becoming a U.S. citizen through marriage starts off the same way most paths to naturalization start: by getting a green card.

How long after marriage do you become a citizen? ›

When you have a U.S. spouse, you can apply for U.S. citizenship in three years instead of the normal five years. This shorter timeline can be incredibly helpful but also requires careful planning to get all the necessary documents and fill out the necessary forms.

Can I stay in Italy after marriage? ›

Usually, that amounts to 3 years from the marriage date if the couple resides abroad and 2 if they live in Italy. Aside from living together, your spouse must also pass a B1 language test before moving to Italy. In addition, they will have to go through a criminal record check with the local authorities.


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