How to obtain Italian citizenship

portada como adquirir la nacionalidad italiana

Many people want to know how to obtain the Italian nationality, since the advantages that this entails, among these, access to education in the country, in which there are prestigious universities such as the University of Bologna, which is the oldest institution of higher education in the Western world; to have free transit in Europe, and to exercise their profession in any country of the community, among others.

There are 3 common ways to obtain Italian nationality, these are descent, naturalization and marriage to a citizen. We will now analyze what is involved in each one and the requirements to be fulfilled before the authorities.

Italian nationality by descent

one of the ways to obtain Italian nationality is by descent.

The enormous immigration of Italians around the world also had repercussions in countries such as Colombia, since this represents an important immigrant population in Colombia, mainly in Caribbean cities such as Barranquilla, Cartagena and Santa Marta, some estimate that 2,000,000 Colombians have Italian ancestry. #1

If you are one of these Colombians who possess an Italian ancestor, you might consider applying for your blood right to Italian citizenship.

The essential requirement of how to obtain Italian nationality is to prove to be a descendant of an Italian who, through the paternal line, who did not die before March 17, 1861 and whose descendants have never lost or renounced Italian citizenship.


  • Birth certificate of the Italian ancestor issued by the Mayor’s Office (or by the Parish depending on the case);
  • Birth and death records in original, with apostilles and translations, of all the descendants in direct line that result in the genealogical tree that must be duly filled out by the interested party;
  • Marriage record in original (with apostille and translation if not celebrated in Italy) of the Italian ancestor who emigrated abroad;
  • Marriage (and eventual divorce) records in original, with apostille and translation, of lineal descendants, including records of the parents of the person applying for citizenship. In the case in which some ancestors have not married, it is necessary that the birth registry of the child of these two has the signature of the paternal recognition and that there is a document with which the mother accepts the paternal recognition. If this document is missing, it will not be possible to recognize the applicant’s Italian citizenship;
  • Copy of the applicant’s spouse’s citizenship card;
  • Certificate issued by the Chancellery of Colombia (or the country to which he/she emigrated) stating that the Italian ancestor has not renounced Italian citizenship;
  • Receipt of payment in original of the consular fees in the amount in pesos as per the 7B of the consular fee schedule and payment instructions, which will not be refunded in case the documentation is not complete or in case the applicant is not entitled to recognition of Italian citizenship;
  • If the information recorded in the documentation does not match, it is necessary to rectify it with the competent authorities and attach it together with the originals;
  • If the descendants were not born or married in Colombia or Italy, they must present the original records of the respective countries, translated into Italian, apostilled and legalized by the Italian Embassy or Consulate present in the country where these documents were issued.

Recognition of citizenship by trial

Italian women could not transmit their nationality to their descendants before 1948, so if you are descended from an Italian citizen before this date, the path on how to obtain Italian nationality is the trial.

The trial must be a Roman court, but it does not mean that you have the obligation to travel to Italy, as it can be done through representation.

The possibility of receiving a favorable judgment is high and the entire process can take between 8 and 18 months, varies according to each particular case and is divided into three distinct stages: the trial, execution of the judgment and transcription of documents.

Subsequent to the judgment they will have to register with AIRE through the FAST IT platform attaching the full text of the judgment of the Italian court and the extract of the birth registration issued by the Italian Mayor’s Office.

Italian nationality by marriage

Regarding how to obtain Italian citizenship by marriage, this is done through an oath. The married person can apply for this right if he/she has 2 years of marriage with residence in Italy or 3 years if he/she is outside the country (reduced by half if they have children). #2

To initiate the nationality process, the interested party must upload all the documents listed below in the CIVES portal:

  1. Original birth certificate apostilled and translated. If the applicant was not born in Colombia, the birth certificate must be apostilled and translated in the country of birth and legalized by the Italian Consulate in the same place;
  2. Identity document (copy of the passport authenticated at a notary’s office) and a simple copy (without authentication) of the Italian spouse’s passport;
  3. “estratto per riassunto dell’atto di matrimonio” issued by the Italian Municipality in which it is registered, with an issue date not earlier than one year. If the marriage was celebrated abroad, for example in Colombia, the Italian spouse must have previously requested a transcript of the marriage from the Embassy;
  4. 250,00 Euros to be paid by bank transfer to the current account of the MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS D.C.L.I. – CITTADINANZA – indicating as reason for payment: Name, Surname, “Naturalizzazione per matrimonio”. The bank details are: IBAN code IT54D0760103200000000809020 and SWIFT code BPPIITRRXXX;
  5. Criminal certificate from the country of current residence, apostilled and translated, and from each country of residence in which he/she has resided since the age of 14. Criminal certificates issued in countries other than Colombia must be apostilled and translated in the countries where they are issued and legalized by the respective Italian Consulates present in these countries. Criminal certificates must have been issued no more than 6 months prior to the time the application is entered into the portal. The person who has resided in the United States of America must present both the federal criminal certificate and that of each state where he/she resided (also in this case apostilled, translated and legalized);
  6. Italian language certificate not lower than level B1.

Subsequently, the applicant must reserve an appointment for “Citizenship by Marriage” and submit, on the day of the appointment at the Embassy, the following documents:

  1. The duly completed application form, on which the signature shall be affixed in the presence of the consular officer who will authenticate it;
  2. The originals of the documents uploaded to the portal;
  3. The originals of the payment vouchers of Art. 69 and the stamp tax. Two separate payments must be made.

If the spouse resides in Italy, the request is made in his or her commune of residence, complying with the above-mentioned requirements.

Italian nationality by naturalization

This method on how to obtain the Italian nationality is one of the most changing processes, since it depends on each case and according to the nationality from which you apply. It will be necessary:

  1. Tax declaration in Italy. In particular, a minimum income of 8,263.31 euros per person is required; per household, 11,362.05 euros in the case of a spouse who is economically dependent. These amounts will be increased for each dependent child.
  2. Absence of criminal record

The number of years of residence is 10 years, but this may be reduced in the following cases:

– 3 years of legal residence for descendants of former Italian citizens by birth, up to the second degree of kinship, and for foreigners born in the Italian territory;

– 4 years of legal residence for citizens of a State belonging to the European Communities;

– 5 years of legal residence for stateless persons or refugees, as well as for foreigners of legal age adopted by Italian parents;

– A period of residence is not required for foreigners who have served the State for a period of at least 5 years, including also service rendered abroad.

For naturalization procedures, a birth certificate, criminal record, passport, documents proving your length of residence in the country and evidence of knowledge of Italian no less than B1 are generally required.

The consular entities of each country have the power to request additional requirements if deemed necessary. Once the process is completed and approved, the person must appear within 6 months to take an oath to be faithful to the Italian Republic and to the Constitution.

How to apply for Italian citizenship?

It is important that you check if you can request an appointment for the procedure you wish to carry out through the web or if you must do it through the new modality via WhatsApp, this information can be found at the consulate of Italy in your respective country.

In the specific case of the Italian Consulate in the city of Bogota this is done through the Prenot@Mi platform, in this platform you must enter the required data, your email address, choosing a password and selecting “COLOMBIA, BOGOTA ‘EMBASSY OF ITALY” in the Consulate box.

It is of utmost importance that the appointment is confirmed directly by the user 10 to 3 days before the established date by accessing the portal in the “my appointments” tab, otherwise the appointment will be made available to anyone else who enters the platform.

Locating Italian relatives

If you do not have enough documents or information to locate your Italian ancestors, you should start a search process on the Internet or ask for advice from professionals in this area.

The first clue to find the Italian ancestry is the surname, investigate in the immigrant records the place of origin of that surname, another option is to look for information asking in the family. Knowing this you will be able to start collecting documents from the civil registries.

Some of the most commonly used sources of information for locating relatives are: parish and civil registries, surname search engines, population registers, military registry, Italian telephone directories and immigration lists.

The most common inconveniences that may occur are:

  • Alterations in the date of birth or other data in the documents.
  • Have a criminal record indicating that the applicant may pose a security threat.
  • In the case of claiming citizenship by naturalization, the most common case is that the requirements of the law are not met.
  • For marriage applications, one of the reasons for denial is that the authorities suspect that the marriage is a union of convenience.

These are some of the reasons why citizenship may be denied. Should this occur, the applicant has the right to file a claim opposing the denial within one month of notification.

For any of the options to opt for Italian nationality it is advisable to seek the correct advice from a lawyer with knowledge of Italian law.