UPDATE (on 24 February 2019): As of 5 December 2018, the process for Italian citizenship via marriage has changed in the following ways:
- Application fee has been raised to 250 euros
- Waiting time to receive citizenship (starting from the date your application has been accepted by the consulate abroad or the prefettura in Italy) has increased from 24 months to 48 months.
- Applicants are now required to possess knowledge of the Italian language at a minimum of B1 level (lower-intermediate). You must either have a diploma certified by a state-run or private school in Italy or have a certificate issued by an accredited language institution (belonging to the CLIQ System -currently Siena University for foreigners, Perugia University for foreigners, University of Roma Tre, and Dante Alighieri Society.) See Italian Language Courses Abroad that can issue the relative certificate.
It’s still unclear at what point you will be requested to show your language certificate or if the new language requirement applies to only new applicants who have uploaded their applications to the Ministero dell’Interno website after 4 December 2018, or for all applicants who are in the process of gaining Italian citizenship. I’ve emailed the Prefettura di Venezia for information, but they ignored that part of my question. As the process will take a long time anyway, I will take a language exam to gain the certification just in case.
I’ve recently applied for my Italian citizenship. (Thank you, Marituccio!) And while my application was accepted and I had my appointment at the Italian consulate in London, I now have to sit and wait for maximum of two years to get my letter that says I’m officially Italian.
For those of you who have to go through the same thing, I’m going to tell you how to do it.
- Collect the documents (see below)
- Prepare yourself to spend some cash on translations, certifications, fingerprints, and apostilles.
- Submit your application and upload your documents online at the Ministero dell’Interno website (also known as ALI).
- The consulate will view your application and either accept it, deny it, or accept it with reservations (which happened to me because I uploaded the documents in the wrong way. Make sure when you upload, keep the documents — such as criminal records – state, FBI, and translations, all in one pdf)
- Once the consulate accepts your application you will be called in for an interview to hand in your documents, sign the application and pay for the certifications of the photocopies of you and your spouse’s passports and translation of the UK police certificate.
- The consulate will send your documents to the Ministero dell’Interno where they will then process it and then inform the consulate. You will then get a letter that you are officially an Italian citizen.
Time frame – I applied online in Dec 2016 and didn’t get my appointment at the consulate until Oct 2017. In the meantime, I wrote to the consulate numerous times and only when I told them that I was moving back to Italy that I got a response — first they looked at my application online and then they called me for an interview. The consulate has been swamped since Brexit as everyone and their mother in the UK that’s eligible for citizenship is applying and there are only two (TWO) people processing citizenship applications. I feel for them and understand that people in the consulates across the world are overworked. So, be prepared to wait.
If you apply for citizenship within Italy, the process can be a lot faster. Once we move to Italy, I may hear from the Italian government sooner as the answer will no longer have to go through the consulate, but I’m preparing myself for the worst and maybe I’ll be presently surprised.
(While Italian bureacracy is a soul-crushing bitch, after seeing what other friends and family members have gone through, this isn’t as complicated as getting British citizenship or a US greencard.)
Italian Citizenship through Marriage — documents you need
If you are married to an Italian citizen, you are eligible for citizenship after being 2 years of marriage if you reside in Italy and 3 years if you live abroad. (You can apply after 18 months no matter where you are if you have a child together). If you reside abroad, your spouse must be registered with l’AIRE (l’Anagrafe degli Italiani Residenti all’Estero) at the nearest Italian Consulate where you live. When we decided to get married, I was like to D, “Dood, you gotta do it.” Otherwise anything that he wanted to do he would have to go to Italy (get a new ID card, renew passport, register marriage, etc).
Since I’m an American from New York that resides in the UK, I’m going to tell you what I need to specifically get. Substitute your country and state where applicable.
Documents You Need
- Unsigned application.
- Estratto per riassunto dell’atto di matrimonio. This is a document issued by the Italian municipality where the Italian spouse is registered and has had the marriage registered. Since me and D registered our marriage at the Consulate in London, we don’t need this form since they already have us on record. *So they say on the website. But they also say to call just to make sure.
- Full birth certificate. I was born in New York, so I needed to get this through the New York State Department of Health. (Not through the town hall where you were born as I first thought) This needs to be translated and certified in New York State. I also need to get an apostille through the New York State government. More info about the apostille can be found here.
- Certificate of no criminal records from your country. For those who are from the US, you will need one from the FBI and one from every state that you have lived in since you were 14 years old. So that means for me one from the FBI and one from NY State. (If I had gone to university or lived in another state, I would have to get forms from those states, too.) Each of these documents needs to be translated, certified, and with an apostille. Here are links to the FBI and NY State Criminal sites. You need to get the apostille from the US government for the FBI certificate and they apostille from New York State for the NY police records. These documents are valid for only 6 months, so make sure you don’t get them too far in advance.
- Certificate of no criminal records from the UK. More info on the certificate is here. This also needs to be translated, certified, and be legalised. The London Consulate says that they can certify this on the spot when I come in for the citizenship appointment. More info on the British apostille can be found here. Again, this document is valid for only 6 months. The consulate advises you to get this done after you make the appointment.
- Copy of the applicant’s passport and photocopy of the title page.
- Copy of the applicant’s UK resident permit (if applicable). The original and photocopy of the title page.
- Italian spouse’s passport and photocopy of the main pages.
- 200 Euros.