How to Obtain Italian Residency
Any non-EU national who wants to stay in Italy for longer than three months needs to apply for an Italian long-stay visa as well as Italian Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno). You have to apply for a residence permit for Italy regardless of the reason you want to live there, like work study or simply retirment.
Permesso di Soggiorno translates to “permission to stay”, because it is the document that you need to obtain in order to be allowed to stay in Italy long-term.
The Italian residence permit card is electronic, and it contains a microchip and magnetic stripe (similar to a credit card) which can access your digitally-stored personal information.
Who is Eligible for Italian Residency?
Technically, anyone who fulfills the entry requirements into Italy can apply for Italian residency.
If you are a non-EU national, you need to apply for an Italy long-stay visa in your home country which allows you entry to Italy. You need the long-stay visa because the Italian residence permit can only be applied for when you are already in Italy. If you are in Italy for tourism purposes (with an Italy short stay visa or without a visa if you are exempt), you cannot apply for Italian residency. You can only apply for a permesso di soggiorno if you have received an Italy long-stay visa beforehand.
How to Apply for an Italian Residence Permit?
You must apply for an Italian residence permit within 8 days of entering Italy. The application process for the permesso di soggiorno is separated in two parts: the post office and the Questura (Police department).
Requirements for Italian Residence Permit
When you submit an application for a residence permit, both at the post office and at the Questura, you need to have several supporting documents.
The requirements for an Italian residence permit include:
• Four passport-size pictures
• Your valid passport
• Documents related to the reason you are in Italy, such as a work permit or enrollment in school.
• All the documents that you submitted when you applied for your Italian long-term visa in your home country. See:
o Italian Work Visa requirements
o Italian Self-Employment Visa requirements (if applicable)
o Italian Study Visa requirements (if applicable)
o Italian Family Reunion Visa requirements (if applicable)
o Italian Working Holiday Visa requirements (if applicable)
• Proof of health insurance. In some cases, you may be eligible for free health service, while in others, you may have to pay an annual fee. You can get started in obtaining Italian health insurance by registering at your Local Health Agency (Azienda Sanitaria Locale).
Keep in mind that all the required documents must be in original and photocopy. You will submit the originals at the Questura and the photocopies at the post office.
Types of Italian Residence Permits
The type of residence permit you receive depends on the reason you want to live in Italy, meaning, on the type of long-stay visa you have.
As such, you can apply for an Italy residence permit for working, studying, family reunification or retirement (in this case you will have to prove your financial means).
Get an Italian residence permit application kit at the Local Post Office
Within eight days of arriving in Italy, you have to pick up the application kit for Italian residency at a local post office. More specifically, at the Sportello Amico of a post office (ufficio postale or Poste Italiane) of where you want to live.
However, not all post offices offer application kits for Italian residence permits. You have to find a post office with a Sportello Amico counter.
The application kit is an envelope with the required forms that you must fill out. The forms will be in Italian, so come prepared.
Next, you have to buy a Marca da Bollo (Revenue stamp), which you have to attach to your application before submitting. This is a “duty stamp” which you can find at a tabaccheria.
You have to buy the kind of Marca da Bollo stamp which is stated on your application kit. This costs around € 16.
Once you have your completed application kit as well as all other required documents you have to submit them at the Sportello Amico where you first received them. You won’t have to submit the originals of any documents but bring them just in case they need to see them, along with photocopies for each.
Make sure not to sign the application or close the envelope, since the officers handling your application have to review them first. If they find that everything is in order, they will give you your appointment date for when you have to appear at the Questura (local police headquarters) for the second part of your Italian residence permit application.
They will also give you a receipt, which will serve as a temporary residence permit because the Questura appointment is usually 1-2 months away. You must keep this receipt with you in case someone asks to see your residence permit, to let them know you are in the process of getting one.
Go to the Questura (police headquarters)
On the date of your appointment at the Questura, you must bring the originals of all the documents that you need (see below), along with the receipt and the letter containing your appointment date that you received at the post office.
There, they will take your fingerprints, and may ask you some questions.
They will also let you know when you can come back in order to pick up your Italian residence permit card. If you have a regular entry visa, you can obtain a residency permit from the Questura within 60 days.
What are the benefits of having Italian residency?
Obtaining residency in Italy can bring you various tax benefits, such as a reduced payment of a 4% tax on the purchase of your ‘main home’ and reduced payment of other municipal taxes. For instance, you won’t pay the annual tax on the ownership of your property. In addition, as an Italian resident living in Italy you have the possibility of enrolling in the National Health Service and benefiting from the health care assistance provided to Italian citizens. When you register with the National Health Service, you receive a document called the “Tesserino sanitario personale” (Italian Health Insurance Card), that entitles you to a lot of free or part paid services (ticket sanitario) which can vary from region to region. These include general medical examinations in clinics and specialist medical appointments; medical visits at home; hospitalisation; vaccinations; blood tests; X-rays; ultrasound; medicines; re-education and prosthetic care.
Italian Naturalization through Marriage
One of the ways that it is possible to become a citizen of Italy is through marriage.However, obtaining the Italian Citizenship through marriage can be challenging given the time sensitivity of the documents required.
In recent years, there has been a rise of immigrants coming into Europe, and politicians are trying to handle the increased immigration while taking care of the needs of the italian citizens and the country and have been increasing restrictions on the immigration system in Italy
On October 4, 2018, the Italian office of the Ministry of the Interior put forth a new law that outlined the new rules for immigration. The decree included information on citizenship by naturalization including residency and marriage, with a new linguistic requirement.
In addition to the several changes put forward, there is also a new requirement for linguistics. Now, you will need to have a B1 Level Certificate or higher. The B1 is considered to be a lower-intermediate level of proficiency in Italian. This was not required in the past, and it could be looked at as a good chance to feel like you belong to the community and to communicate with other people easily. Knowing the language helps make interactions easier, it ensures that you can find your way through the city and that you know what you are buying at the store or ordering while you are out. We, at the Italian Institute, offer a specific course, defined to get you prepared for the exam. The exam can be taken in few places in the States (Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, …) or in Siena.
As of August 1, 2015, new regulations have been promulgated in connection with the spousal citizenship application process. All applications must be submitted online with digital copies of required documents to the Minestero dell’Interno. Applicants will then be contacted by the relevant consulate jurisdiction of an appointment date in which to appear at the consulate with the original documents.
An individual must apply through the Italian Consulate where the Italian spouse is registered with current residence. Although the naturalization law for spouses of Italian citizens applies regardless of place of legal residence, each consulate has slightly different procedures regarding application procedures.
Please note that women who married before April 27, 1983 are eligible for automatic citizenship through their Italian husband.
Below are the public guidelines for applying for Italian citizenship through marriage:
A male or female (foreign or stateless) spouse of an Italian citizen may apply for Italian citizenship after being married for two years if residing in Italy, or after three years from the date of marriage if he/she resides abroad, by presenting a request for naturalization accompanied by the following documents:
- CILS certificate issued by: Universita’ per stranieri di Siena; Universita’ per gli stranieri di Perugia; Universita’ Roma Tre; Societa’ Dante Alighieri.
- ITALIAN SPOUSE, if residing outside of Italy, must be registered at the A.I.R.E. department at the Italian Consulate or Embassy that has jurisdiction over the person’s place of legal residence.
- Marriage certificate issued by the Italian Comune. Parties married outside of Italy who have not had their marriage certificate recorded in Italy by the Italian Consulate with territorial jurisdiction over their place of marriage, must present their certificate to the competent consular authority, requesting its registration in Italy, and subsequently obtain the “estratto per riassunto dell’atto di matrimonio” from the Comune, before presenting their application (please be aware that this may take a varying number of months, depending on the Consulate and on the Comune).
- BIRTH CERTIFICATE of the applying spouse. If the applicant was born in the United States this must be a “certified copy” or “long form” or “full form”, with an “APOSTILLE”, accompanied by a translation into Italian
- CERTIFICATE OF CITIZENSHIP OF THE ITALIAN SPOUSE. In the US the Italian Spouse accomplishes this by being registered at the Italian Consulate of legal residence.
- “POLICE CLEARANCE” or “Certificate of criminal records,” issued by the central Authority of each State and Country of which the applicant has been a resident since the age of 14. The certificates must be originals, with APOSTILLES, accompanied by Translation into Italian.
- FBI CLEARANCE (with required finger prints) with Translation into Italian. This document must be obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- An applicant who has resided in Italy for six months or more also need to provide background clearances from Italy
All background clearances must be dated no more than six months before application.
- Applicant’s VALID PASSPORT and photocopy (The copy will be certified by the Consulate).
Overwhelmed? Talk with the Professionals
It is important to keep up with any and all immigration updates when you are trying to become an Italian citizen. Trying to understand immigration and citizenship in Italy can be difficult for anyone even before these laws were in effect. Now that the new laws are in place, it can make it even more difficult to know how to navigate the waters of immigration.
Whether you are looking for citizenship by blood, citizenship by marriage, or citizenship by naturalization, it is important to get in touch with professionals, who understand how to understand the law and the requirements. Our team of Italian citizenship professionals can help guide you and keep you well informed of what the necessary steps are to become an Italian Citizen.
Italy’s healthcare system is routinely ranked among the best in the world
Based on its overall quality, equity of access, and the general health and life expectancy of the Italian population.
The national health plan (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) provides universal coverage for hospital and medical benefits. The Italian public healthcare system is decentralised and is based on three levels: the State, region and local health boards. The State is responsible for issuing general system guidelines, establishing work contracts, handling international relations and financing research hospitals. The 20 regions of Italy control the functioning of the health services within their areas of jurisdiction and finance independent hospitals. Finally, the local healthcare units provide daily management of services and finance public and private hospitals under contract with the regions. The remaining private hospitals are financed by their patients.
Every legal resident (Italian or non-) of Italy can access the system either for free or at a relatively limited cost and As dual citizen residing in Italy, you can apply for your Tessera Sanitaria to receive Italian healthcare
Is there a Generational Limit to Apply?
(Photo courtesy of Cathy Strode)
A common misconception about Italian Citizenship by descent is that there is a generational limit. This is not true, in fact there are absolutely zero generational limits for Italian citizenship by descent. There are, however, numerous laws, regulations to follow and requirements to meet when determining eligibility for Italian citizenship by descent, that could determine some restrictions.
The initial step to take is to decide which ancestor of yours you would need to make your claim through. Though, the gender of your ancestor can make a difference. The process differs greatly, contingent upon whether you are proceeding through a family line starting with male or a line that includes a female ancestor. Where the two process may share similarities is that your ancestors in both cases must have been alive and a citizen of Italy after the formation and unification of Italy in 1861 (with the exception of few pre-unitary states that became part of the Italian nation at a later date).
If it would be necessary to go through a female ancestor who gave birth to her child (another part of your direct family line back to Italy), and gave birth
before January 1st 1948, then you would not be eligible to apply for Italian citizenship under Italian law. In fact, prior to the promulgation of the 1948 Italian constitution, Italian-born women and women of Italian descent (who had the right to Italian citizenship) did not have the same rights as men and were unable to transfer their citizenship onto their children. This is why, if you have a female Italian ancestor in your Italian line going back to Italy, who gave birth to her child before 1948, you would not be considered as an Italian citizen by birth. Though, in these cases, it is still possible to pursue Italian citizenship via the court system, based on several legal precedents and a 2009 ruling of the Italian Supreme Court, which declared retroactively that citizenship could be transferred by a female ancestor even to children born before 1948. It would be necessary to go through a judicial process to make your claim for Italian citizenship because, as it currently stands, the law discriminating against women has not been repealed by the Italian parliament.
However, if your ancestry goes through a female who gave birth
on or after January 1, 1948, or through a male regardless of what year it was, these processes will be alike and both go through an administrative process through a consulate or comune (Italian municipality) in order to make your claim to petition for recognition of Italian citizenship by descent.
US - Italian Dual Citizenship
What are the main reasons more and more people are claiming back the Italian Citizenship?
In our (several) years of assisting our clients to get the Italian citizenships, we have identified these main areas, why people want to obtain the Italian Citizenship.
- Reconnect to the Ancestors' Homeland
- Being a European Union Citizen
- Being allowed to work, study and live in the EU Countries without a visa
- Transferring to their children the Italian Citizenship
- Having easier access to public health.
There are two main ways to get the Italian citizenship back: either through blood (descendant) or through marriage.
How to apply through jus sanguinis (discendent):
- Determine your last Italian born ancestor
- Obtain naturalization records
- Obtain Italian and American vital records
- Apostille your American vital records
- Professionally Translate your American documents into Italian
- Apply at the Italian consulate of your jurisdiction
- Schedule your passport appointment
How to apply through jus matrimonii (marriage):
- Obtain the Italian marriage certificate
- Obtain the birth certificate of applicant
- Obtain the FBI criminal records
- Obtain the Police background checks
- Obtain the Authentication of documents
- Obtain the Professional translation with Certification
- Obtain the Verification of Italian language knowledge - Level B1
Interested? Curious? Join us for a Seminar on January 9, 2020. We will be happy to explain in more details the process and help you obtaining your Italian Citizenship.