So... you want to apply for Italian dual citizenship in Italy?
You've come to the right place. I did it myself in 2009 and I've helped others do so, too.
It's a little known fact that applying in Italy is often less time consuming and less of a hassle than applying at an Italian consulate within the United States. You'll still need your documents and you'll still need a little patience, but with a little sense of adventure and some free time on your hands, you can apply in Italy and shave off over a year (sometimes even more) of wait time before you receive your Italian passport.
Applying for dual citizenship in Italy
Step 1: Getting into Italy legally
First, you'll need to find a way to get into Italy and stay there legally. I do not advocate moving to Italy with the intention of doing something illegal. The way to do it the right way is to obtain a visa. Americans visiting Italy less than 90 days do not need a visa, but for those seeking to apply for dual citizenship in Italy, residency in Italy will be required. This means that in order to obtain residency you will need to first obtain a visa for entry > your permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) > your residency. Sound confusing? Don't worry, I'll explain.
These are the types of visas for Italy (see which one would be the easiest for you). If that website isn't clear for you, you can search "types of Visas for Italy" which should bring up a wealth of information. Off the top of my head, I know that student visas are some of the easiest to obtain, but by Googling you should be able to pinpoint which visa is right for you.
NOTE: You must have an entrance visa before coming to Italy. This procedure will take several weeks, so it is advisable to apply well in advance of the departure date. The visa will be granted only for the time indicated on the application. If you are already in Italy, you will need to leave Italy to obtain a visa before you can obtain resident status.
Step 2: Start the process for your permesso di soggiorno
Once you arrive in Italy, you must obtain a permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay).
As of December 11, 2006, an application kit for the permesso di soggiorno may be requested from any of the 14,000 national poste italiane (post offices). You must provide the following information:
You then affix the tax stamps to the kit and then return it along with your information to one of the 5,332 designated post office acceptance locations. You will either get your permit automatically or be issued a time and date to pick up your permit at the questura (precinct).
IMPORTANT: You must make a copy of the receipt the post office gives you when you hand in your permesso di soggiorno kit. This receipt is the only proof that you are starting the process towards legal residence in Italy.
You can find more information about various permits to stay by visiting the ItalianPortale Immigrazione.
Step 3: File for residency
After you Within 20 days of receiving the permit to stay in Italy, you must go to the local anagrafe (vital statistics bureau) to apply for residency. You will need to bring your rental contract and any other information requested of you. You will then get a date and time to be visited by local vigili (officers) who will check your home for compliance and to see if you are really living there.
Don't be scared of the vigili! When I had my residency check, we just sat at my kitchen table, shot the breeze and sipped caffè. It was very pleasant.
Step 4: Apply for citizenship
After you've been visited by the vigili, you can then go back to the anagrafe and file for your citizenship! This is the moment of truth. You will present all of your translated, apostilled documents to the person in charge, and they will issue you a note, receipt or some form of paperwork. You're almost in the home stretch!
Step 5: Convert your permesso di soggiorno
You'll need to convert your permit to stay into a permesso di soggiorno in attesa del riconoscimento della cittadinanza (permit to stay while awaiting recognition of citizenship). You must go to the local immigration office and inform them of your intent to convert the permit to stay, and they will give you further instructions and set you up with a permit to stay for citizenship.
Step 6: Citizenship
After this point, there is nothing you can do but sit back and enjoy Italy! Your appointment "caseworker" will call you once you are an Italian citizen and will then assist you in filling out paperwork for your health card, registering your birth certificate with the Italian town and in how to obtain a passport. Auguri!
Since 2005, we've been helping people achieve their dream of obtaining their Italian passport or living, working and studying in Italy.
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