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Italian Citizenship Through Marriage (Jure Matrimonii)

Italian citizenship through marriage could be an option If you are married to an Italian citizen and you are passionate about Italy – this was our experience.

Italian Citizenship Through Marriage - Duel Passports

Dueling Passports

This is an option that will help make any transition to Italy, or Europe, easier by not needing to worry about getting a visa or a Permesso di Soggiorno. I described in a post about the Italian citizenship requirements to get your citizenship recognized by the Italian government, and going through the Italian citizenship by descent process. 

Restart The Process For Italian Citizenship Through Marriage

Italian Citizenship Through Marriage - Requesting Vital Records

Directions for Requesting Vital Records

This isn’t a continuation of the of the previous Jure Sanguinis process, but more of a restart because of the differences in documentation and other requirements, costs, timing. The requirements to submit the application online are (from the Consolato):

  • The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen may apply for Italian citizenship after 2 years of marriage if the couple resides in Italy or after 3 years of marriage if it resides abroad. These time frames are reduced by half if there are children born or adopted by the married couple

  • If legal separation, divorce or death of the Italian spouse takes place before the issue of the Italian Ministry of Interior decree conferring Italian citizenship, the applicant loses his/her right to acquire nationality

  • The marriage must have been already registered at the Comune in Italy

  • If the couple resides abroad, the Italian spouse must be registered at the Consulate as an Italian Citizen Residing Abroad – A.I.R.E.

For us, the last two requirements were part of the Jure Sanguinis process, so it wasn’t a big deal. If your Italian spouse was born in Italy, you might want to confirm these steps were completed, because I think it could’ve been skipped if it was deemed unnecessary.

Italian Citizenship Through Marriage Documentation Requirements

Italian Citizenship Through Marriage - Apostille Certification

D.C. Apostille Certification Sample

The documentation requirements are, in some ways, more difficult and in others more simple. There are fewer generations to worry about, but more requirements for the applicant. They are:

  • Certified full copy of the birth certificate of the applicant. The certificate must be apostille certified and translated into Italian.

  • For us, the consulate requested the Italian copy of the marriage certificate, which may be the process for everyone.

  • You will need to request a state and federal criminal background check for every state you lived in as an adult. This is time critical because it can’t be older than 6 months and they all must be apostille certified and translated into Italian.

  • A valid passport

Language Requirements For Italian Citizenship Through Marriage

There was a language requirement added to the process in 2018, which was mid-process for us. It wasn’t retroactive so we didn’t need to meet it, but for others who started after 2018 it is mandatory for applicants wishing to acquire Italian citizenship to have an adequate knowledge of the Italian language at a B1 (QCER) level.

Citizenship Process And Time Requirements

We had to pay attention to the timing because the background checks couldn’t be older than 6 months. We started the process in May 2015. This part of the process involved mailing requests for background checks to all the states my wife had lived in as an adult, which was four. She also had to get her fingerprints taken and sent to the FBI for their background check. One of these steps needed to be completed in person, so my wife flew to Washington DC for this, which was an unusual $300 expense. This lasted until October, which was five months later.

Italian Citizenship Through Marriage - Certification

Professional Translation Certification

It took about a month to provide the translator all of the documents needed. Then in the beginning of November 2015 we submitted the application online, just under the 6 month limit on the background checks.

We waited until June 2016 until we learned everything was accepted and my wife will need time with the consulate. We sent an email to the consulate requesting an appointment and in December 2016, almost 6 months later, we received a call that our appointment would be in January 2017 and this is when we presented our documentation.

Now the waiting begins. I checked in regularly for a status update. Interestingly, the statuses and phases of this process changed, so there was a lot of uncertainty where we were. I kept checking in throughout the rest of 2017, then all of 2018 and at the end of 2019 we received a call from the consulate that there was an additional document that needed to be completed.

In December of 2019, we received an email that read:

This is an update on your wife’s application. On 12/16/2019 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave its ok to her application. Now we’ll have to await the decision of the Ministry of the Interior.

That update was good news because it showed that the process wasn’t stuck, but the waiting continued again, into 2020 and into COVID, which concerned us on a purely selfish level that it might delay our process. In May of 2020, the statuses started updating and things started to move faster. In June 2020, her citizenship was approved and we needed to re-do the federal and state background checks because the process lasted so long.

In September 2020 she had her swearing in ceremony and is officially an Italian citizen. Her process lasted a very long 4 years.

Dual Citizenship Requirements

Because my wife had to swear an oath to Italy, we wanted to confirm this didn’t have any impact on her US citizenship, and it doesn’t. Dual-Citizenship is allowed and fairly common. There are numerous websites dedicated to getting and having dual US/Italian citizenship. One that I used was the Italian Citizenship Message Board.

The Costs Of Italian Citizenship Through Marriage

When talking about the costs we encountered during this process, this should only be used as a very rough guide because this started seven years ago and there are a limitless number of variations for each individual that can run up the expenses. You might have more or fewer states to be concerned about and you might have the legal costs that I didn’t have for this process.

With those caveats behind us, the approximate costs were:

  • Total costs were $1.1k to obtain citizenship

  • Background checks and translation cost $850

  • Consulate costs were $180

  • Birth and Marriage records, including certification, were $130

Paying Italian Taxes

It was important to know if this new citizenship would require us to pay any additional taxes, and the answer is no. While living in the US, you are not required to file or pay Italian taxes. Once you move to Italy, however, then they do kick in. There are tax agreements between the US and Italy, so you won’t be double-taxed, but US income taxes follow you wherever you live, so when you move to Italy, you will need to file your taxes in Italy and the US.

Other Italian Citizenship Requirements

Once we were both citizens, it was on to Italy! If you liked this information about Italian citizenship through marriage, and you are interested in the other ways to obtain Italian citizenship, take a look at some of these other posts:

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