Getting Italian Citizenship Through Marriage

UPDATED: *16 Oct 2017

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.

  1. Collect the documents (see below)
  2. Prepare yourself to spend some cash on translations, certifications, fingerprints, and apostilles.
  3. Submit your application and upload your documents online at the Ministero dell’Interno website (also known as ALI).
  4. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.





25 thoughts on “Getting Italian Citizenship Through Marriage

  1. Thank you for posting your story! I’m an American from the east coast married to an Italian citizen. We’ve been married for 3 years, and I would love to apply for Italian citizenship. My only problem is that our relationship has been rocky lately, and I am afraid that he won’t cooperate with my citizenship application. I cannot begin to tell you about the hoops of fire I had to jump through to sponsor him for his U.S. green card. Now that roles are reversed (kind of) I’m very worried about my chances of getting Italian citizenship. I’ve heard conflicting stories about the process, and I understand that each consulate handles things in a different way. With everything now being handled online, that is a relief. However, I do know there is an interview and an oath ceremony. Are Italian spouses required to be present for either or both? Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!!!

    1. Hi Kim! Thanks for reading! I haven’t needed my partner for most of the process. He needed to be registered for l’AIRE through the consulate, but I put together the majority of the paperwork on my own. The only thing I needed my partner to do was contact his comune in Venice to get the Estratto per riassunto dell’atto di matrimonio. We were able to get it easily from them because we had already registered our marriage at the consulate in London (who then notified the comune back in Venice where he had previously been a resident). He also came with me at the consulate when I finally was called in for my appointment to present the original paperwork, but I don’t think it was necessary. His presence though helped them to see that we were still married, but they didn’t ask us any questions. For other things, I’ve heard that each consulate handles things in a different way, too. For example, the New York consulate website doesn’t say that the Italian translations of the documents need to be apostilled, but the London consulate does. I haven’t had to deal with the green card process, so I’m not sure what exactly you had to do for your partner (but I’m sure it was a lot), but for the Italian citizenship process, I didn’t really need him to do much. The process hasn’t finished yet and now that we’re in Italy, the consulate will send the paperwork to the Questura in Venice and they’ll finish it here (fingers crossed). I’m sorry things are rocky for you and your partner and hope you can find a way to get your citizenship.

  2. Hi Giovanna
    Thank you for sharing this! I applied online on August 2017 (also for London) and still waiting for their answer. Where Can I check my status or call them? Do you have any number I could use? I check my email every day looking for this reply and nothing!

    1. Hi Nass, You can check your status on the Farnesina site (the Ministero dell’interno site where you submitted your application). From my experience, I waited almost a year before I had my appointment at the consulate. I submitted my application online in Dec 2016 and it wasn’t checked by the consulate until Aug 2017. I then had my appointment in October. You can contact the citizenship office by email and they usually respond in a day or two. When I went for my appointment, the lady told me there were only two of them in the citizenship department and showed me a huge pile of applications that she had to go through and said that since Brexit they’ve had hundreds of submissions. Once you have your appointment at the consulate, by law, they have to process your application within two years. From what I’ve read online and what people have told me, it takes a long time and the consulates are notoriously understaffed.

  3. In your post, you said this:” [UPDATE: As of February 2017, you can apply for Italian citizenship as soon as your marriage is registered in Italy]”

    Do you mean right after I marry my Italian boyfriend, I can immediately start applying for an Italian citizenship without waiting for 2 years? (I will be marrying my Italian boyfriend sometimes next month in our local comune, near to Padua.)

    1. Hi Shelia,

      That’s what it says on the Italian consulate website for London. It seems that the law has recently changed, but I’m not sure if that applies for people who reside in Italy or for those that live abroad though. Perhaps you can check with the consulate of your region in the US. They could tell you better.

      1. The Feb 2017 amendment was done to include (non-marriage) civil partnership; a provision to include same sex marriages (performed abroad). The registered partnership duration period still applies.

        1. Thanks Adi. For a few months on the London consulate website, it said that those who had just been married could apply for citizenship straight away and didn’t have to wait the three years. I assume that was because of the long processing times for the application. I’ve just checked and it’s not there anymore. I’ll update the blog post.

    2. Hi everyone

      I applied my cityizenship through marriage on 2015 starting, and now it’s 2 years and 10months gone but no any response from their side. Hopefully get this year then I’ll let you know about it

  4. Hi again! Last question I’ll bother you with! Do you work with an Italian accountant to help manage filing American and Italian taxes? We have an American accountant.. and an Italian accountant… but having some trouble finding someone who can do both and advise on American business while residing in Italy. Any advise for agencies would be great. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Laura! I’m on the look out for an Italian/American accountant as well, so I don’t know of anyone at the moment. If I come across some, I’ll let you know. Maybe we could help each other. x

  5. Hi Giovanna, are there any travel restrictions during the application processing? I am also going to be applying from London, but does this mean I have to stay in London till its done? Is it 2 year wait after you submit the application or after you have your interview with consulate?

    1. Hi Elena,
      There are no travel restrictions during the application process. When you apply online, you upload scans of your passports and when you go to your appointment, they only take a photocopy of you and your spouse’s passport. Unfortunately, it’s a two year wait after your interview at the consulate, but you’re free to travel. If you move out of the jurisdiction of the consulate during the process, you have to let them know so they can find you when the process is complete. Hope this helps and best of luck with the application! Giovanna

  6. Hi Giovanna! Thank you for this post, I am preparing to apply in London and starting to think about getting the documents. I saw that the Consulate advises you to get some documents done only after getting the interview appointment because they expire in 6 months. But then how can you upload them in step 3? At the interview will they accept the same documents you uploaded, even if expired?
    Thank you again for sharing your experience!

    1. Hi Henry,
      Your police records need to be under 6 months old when you apply online and upload them to the site. They will still be valid when you go to your interview to present the original documents because the documents refer to the date from when you made the application. Good luck with the application!

  7. Hi Giovanna,

    I am having the same dilemma I submitted my application May 2017. I have been married for 17 years, have sent few emails to the embassy requesting an update still not getting any reply back from the embassy not sure if I am sending the email to the correct department. The most annoying part is my application haven’t been looked at.

    I do understand they are understaffed, being transparent and giving guidelines for the waiting time on the website does go a long way.

    1. Hi Tosin,
      Ah, I know how you feel. It’s not exactly clear and this is the frustrating and mind-numbing nature of Italian bureaucracy. For correspondence, I’ve used the email address I applied online in Dec 2016 and had my appointment in Oct 2017, but I suspect I would have waited much longer if I hadn’t emailed to tell them I was moving back to Italy. Also, they checked my application in August 2017 and then emailed me my consulate appointment two weeks before I had to go in. Now that my application has been accepted and sent to the Questura in Venice, I now will most likely wait up to two years for the citizenship to finally go through as once the Questura looks at it, they will send it to Rome. Good luck with everything! Giovanna

  8. Hi Giovanna,

    I am in the process of applying for citizenship in London and after a few months struggling I finally managed to get all documents required. Is there any website you could recommend for guidance on how to fill in the application on the Ministerio dell Interno website? There are a few confusing part and when reading the FAQ’s and guidelines it wasn’t that helpful.


    1. Hi Carlos,

      Sadly, I haven’t come across any websites that help with filling out the application. I had trouble uploading the documents and I later found out that you have to load all the criminal record documents and translations together as one pdf, both passport scans as one pdf, etc. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Good luck with everything! Giovanna

  9. Hi all, I applied online on August 2017 and I went today to the consulate in London to check my application and the lady on the citizenship department (4th floor) didn’t even look at my application just told me that I have to wait as they are still checking online applications of 2016. She said they are very short of staff and that unfortunately they can’t do anything else, she asked me to check back next year if nothing! But she says that they are doing “their best” . So she just asked to wait!! What a long wait…. in order to help us each other in this group I suggest we share information regarding our timing, so if any of you guys gets an answer please do let’s us know to have an approximate of the timing taking. So today she said they are going through applications of 2016 but didn’t mention month. Hopefully is end of 2016.

  10. Hi Giovanna
    thanks for your wonderful blog. I’m an American about to go to Europe on a Shengen visa to be near my fiance. He’s an Italian citizen now living in Germany.
    – We’re trying to determine the best/easiest way to get married. Can we do this in Germany at an Italian consulate, or do we need to go to Italy?
    – Can I be on a Shengen visa for this process?
    – Do I have any options for after my Shengen visa runs out in 3 months?

    1. Hi Sarah, Thanks for reading! Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! I don’t have experience doing this so I can’t really answer your questions. As you plan on spending more than 90 days within the Schengen area, I’m not sure if you need a specific entry visa in order to enter into Europe with the intent to marry, like a fiancee visa or something. If so, then you may have to get the visa in the US before you fly to Europe. Italy and Germany may have different requirements and I would check on the websites of the German and Italian consulates that cover your region in the US to see if they explain what you need to do. If you don’t need a specific visa, you may need some documentation from either the consulate that certify that you’re eligible to marry. Hope this helps and good luck! x Giovanna

  11. Hi Giovanna! thanks so much for sharing your story. My partner is Italian but living in Germany. I’m now in the US and we are trying to determine the best way/place to get married in the EU. Can I do this while on a Shengen tourist visa in Europe? Do you know if we can do this process through the Italian consulate in Germany?

  12. Hi, Giovanna! Thanks for the information. I sent my application online on 18th March 2018 and kept on checking the communication on the ALI website every now and then as I am scared that my No criminal records certificate will be expired prior to acceptance of my application and submission of the original documents to the Italian Consulate. I didn’t know that the consulate takes time to reply. I just don’t know here in Hong Kong. Most probably, the number of applicants is less compared to London.

    If you applied on December 2016 and got an appointment with the Consulate on October 2017, so therefore, your no criminal record certs are already expired during the presentation/submission of the original document to the Consulate. Hopefully, if the Consulate here will accept the expired documents if they will give me a late appointment.

    Keep us updated on your application. I will be checking this forum from time to time. Thanks!

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