Getting Italian Citizenship Through Marriage

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.)

Continue reading “Getting Italian Citizenship Through Marriage”

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.





How to Get into Europe

How to Get into Europe

Since immigration laws for non-EU citizens in Europe are getting stricter by the minute, if you’re really serious about moving to Europe and staying here, you’ll need a visa. Laws also change quickly, so please check the consulate or embassy page for up-to-date information.

How to Get into Europe

The EU is made up of two zones: the Schengen area and the non-Schengen area. The non-Schengen area consists of Ireland and the UK. The Schengen area consists of mostly continental Europe. If you travel within the Schengen territory, you don’t need to show your passport in each country that you enter. So if you fly from Rome to Athens, you’re not going to go through passport control.

Continue reading “How to Get into Europe”


Tourist Visa:

Americans don’t need a tourist visa to enter the EU.

UK and Ireland: You’re allowed to stay as a tourist for a total of 180 months within a 12 month period.

Schengen Europe: You’re allowed to say for a total of 90 days within a 6 month period.

*In the past, a lot of non-EU peeps thought that they could stay in Italy or another country without a visa and leave the country for the a short weekend or a visit back home and come back in to renew their tourist visa. But that’s not the law. Some countries might seem to have lax border controls at the airport, but you don’t want to test them to find out. No one in Italy had ever asked to see my permesso di soggiorno in Italy, but whenever I flew into London, they always asked to see my permesso and asked me personal detailed questions about where I lived, where I studied, whether I was dating anyone in the UK, etc. etc. This shit is no joke.

The EU Blue Card:

This has been implemented in recent years  and had I known about it then, I probably would have taken advantage of it. This is probably your best bet for getting a working visa if you want to move to continental Europe.

This visa is for highly skilled workers that want to work in Europe. Countries excluded from the Blue Card are Ireland and the UK. It entitles you to work and benefits in your country of residence and free movement within the Schengen area. It also allows you to apply for permanent residence between 2 and 5 years depending on the country you reside in.

Requirements for the Blue Card:

-non-EU citizen

-must have completed higher education

-must have a work contract or a binding offer from an employer

*If you’re in the Schengen area on a student visa, you’ll be allowed to switch to a Blue Card visa provided that you find an employer.

Student Visa

Whether you want to do a university course or study the language long-term, you’re going to need a student visa. Depending on the country you live in, you may be allowed to work on a student visa.

UK: At the moment in the UK, if you’re on a student you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours a week. For those making applications from 3 August 2015 and on, you will not be allowed to workThe cost for a UK student visa is £322. 

Italy: In Italy, you’re allowed to work up to 20 hours a week. There is no visa fee. Once you arrive in Italy on your visa, you are required to apply for a permesso di soggiorno. Most schools will help you with that. *The nice thing about this is that you would be able to make contact with employers while on a student visa and be able to apply for a Blue Card without them having to sponsor you for a work visa.

Work Visa

A work visa is one in which your employer sponsors you for a visa. This is quite difficult to get because under EU laws, the employer would have to demonstrate that you are more qualified for the job than any other EU-member candidate. So if you have a skill like able to speak Chinese or Russian than that would put you at higher advantage of getting your visa approved. BUT it’s not impossible and there are also a lot of American companies based in Italy and the UK that might have an easier time sponsoring you for a visa.

Elective Residency in Italy

This is a visa that allows you to reside in Italy, but not work. It is usually given to retirees who can prove that they can live without working. This is the visa that I got when I first moved to Rome in order to do a six-month internship. I applied through the consulate in London and maybe my Italian name and speaking to them in Italian charmed them because I don’t know how else I could have gotten it. I’m sure that if I had applied to through the consulate in New York, they wouldn’t have given it to me. I’ve read some places online that in New York they’re dicks (which I’m not surprised about) and you have to be a millionaire in order to get the visa. Go figure. As with any Italian visa, once you arrive in Italy, you must apply for a permesso di soggiorno.





The Fiascos of Moving to Italy – My Story

The Fiascos of Moving to Italy – My Story

“But if your parents are Italian, that means  you can get citizenship, right?”

If only it were that easy! That’s what I thought while growing up. That everyone was just too lazy to haul ass to the Consulate in New York and get me my passport. By the time I finally made it when I was 21, they told me that I was too late. The laws had changed.

“Just marry an Italian,” the officer told me. “It’ll be easier.” I was crushed and wanted to slap him across the face with a sword for denying me my birthright.

The law is that you can claim Italian citizenship through your ancestors as long as the tie has not been broken. But my parents were naturalised as US citizens in the 70s right before I was born. Back then, they had to give up their Italian citizenship in order to become American. So technically, I wasn’t born to Italian parents and couldn’t claim citizenship. But my siblings could because they were born when Mom and Papa were still Italian. And that means that their children can get it and their children’s children can and their children’s children children can. But I couldn’t.

Continue reading “The Fiascos of Moving to Italy – My Story”

This was a huge blow to me because all I wanted to do in my life was live in Italy. I spent my turbulent twenties traveling, teaching English and coming up with strategies, hitting walls, dealing with dejection and depression. I tried living in Mexico City, New York City, and Paris, but all of those places pissed me off for not being Italy.

Finally, in 2008, I said to myself, “Grow some balls, Giovan! Do it right!”

So I decided to do a masters in London and use that to get to Italy. I went to London, wrote my dissertation on an Italian artist in Rome, and then moved there a year later to work with him. Through the Consulate in London (which was much friendlier than the one in New York and at the time much smaller and more personable as there were less Italians living in the UK during those years) I got an elective residency visa which meant that I was able to live in Italy, but not work there. It wasn’t the greatest, but it did make me legal and I got my papers in order. I still worked though and got paid in cash teaching private English lessons and translating for the artist. I wasn’t happy about it and I felt like a drug dealer paying for everything in cash. It let me live though and I thought I could try to figure out another way to stay. After a year and a half, immigration laws across Europe were changing again and with no other prospects, I decided to move back to London just before they got rid of the post-study work visa which lets you work in the UK for two years.

It was a really hard decision to make because I loved Italy and Rome so much despite my heartbreak over love, intense solitude, and the soul crushing bureaucracy of Italian life and immigration issues. I was so close, but there was still a wall. I know that there are lots of expats that stick it out in Italy, but I was so afraid that if I gave up that life-raft of a UK visa that eventually I would have had to go back to New York, back to square one. And New York was even farther from Italy than London. So I went to London in order to figure out how to get back to Italy.

I got a job in London at a big company and when it came close to my visa expiring they told me that they couldn’t sponsor me for a new visa because the laws had changed again!

“Is there anything I can do from my end?” I asked HR.

“Do you have a boyfriend? Can you get married?,” she asked.

I wanted to slide down the chair until the floor and cry my guts out. I sucked at love.

So the only other thing to do other than go back to New York was study again. So I got into another masters programme (I’m so smart now) and got myself a student visa and got some more time to think.

UNTIL three weeks before I was due to start the programme, the university announced that they had been denied by the government to sponsor international students and that I as well as the other 4500 international students had to find another university that would accept them or go home.

What’s amazing about all of this is that during this fiasco that gave me three months of the puke syndrome and insomnia, I met Davide, my Marituccio, a sweet man from Italy that lived in London. And despite my freakouts and puking episodes and emotional storms, he liked me and wanted to hang around.

I was like, “O really? You might have to marry me.”

And he was like, “Sure.”

Which made me freak out a bit because I didn’t want a visa wedding. So I went back to school, calmed down, and two years later we got married.


In the end, I did what the jerk at the Italian Consulate in New York told me to do a million years ago. I married an Italian.

But HAH! You think that’s the end of it, but it’s not!

Because three years after we got married, Brexit happened. And suddenly my EU family member residency permit didn’t look so stable anymore. In fact, everything was up in the air about what was going to happen to EU citizens in the UK. No one was rushing to kick us out, but we were sad and disappointed and I was back to the familiar feeling of uncertainty over my immigration status and sense of home, we both said, ‘Hey, isn’t this the best reason to move back to Italy?’

So in November 2017, we packed up our things and got a van to drive our stuff to Italy and we moved to Ischia, a small island in the bay of Naples, where we both work now. It’s taken me 10 years to get to this point, but I finally feel like I’m allowed to make this place my home.