Italian Citizenship in 6 month? How long does it take to obtain Italian Citizenship?

Apr 03, 2023

Appointments at Italian Consulates to file citizenship applications are fixed after years or in some cases, Consulates do not even answer. Many agencies offer a fast-track procedure by taking a temporary residency in Italy and applying at the City Hall. Applicants must however be careful of possible consequences: (i) residency cannot be temporary. If it is ascertained that residency is fictitious (as it recently happened to 600 Brazilian citizens who have obtained citizenship in Nettuno, a city near Rome) citizenship can be revoked; (ii) taking residency in Italy, also for a short period, can bring some tax liabilities.

If you have evidence that it is impossible to obtain an appointment in a reasonable time at the Consulate where you live, it is however possible to file a Court action against the delay and request adjudication by the Court.

Italian citizenship by descent: what are the criteria

If you have some Italian ancestors, you can be entitled to obtain Italian citizenship. The general principle is that citizenship:

  • is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation
  • on the condition that neither the Italian parent nor the Italian ancestors ever renounced their citizenship.


Where to apply for citizenship

If your eligibility is confirmed and you live abroad, the application must be filed at the Italian Consulate which has jurisdiction over your place of residence. The problem is that due to the great number of applications (in San Paulo there are allegedly 700,000 applications pending), most Italian Consulates are now fixing an appointment to file the application after some years and for others, it is even impossible to book an appointment online.

An alternative route could be to file the application in a City Hall (Comune) in Italy, but this requires the applicant to take formal residency in Italy.

Filing your citizenship application in Italy: Is it really a savvy option?

Can I obtain Italian citizenship in 6 months? Many agencies offer this route because citizenship adjudication is much quicker and the applicant does not need to fix an appointment (different than filing at the Consulate) with the Comune. After residency is confirmed, citizenship adjudication can be obtained in a few months.

Apparently, this option is much easier, even if it is more expensive because it requires the applicant (i) to travel to Italy for several appointments; (ii) to rent and keep an accommodation until citizenship is adjudicated. For many people, time is of the essence and they are lured by this shining and apparently more favorable option.

But it is not all that glitters is gold …

You will find information on the web that affirms that:

𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗿𝘆 for the time necessary to obtain citizenship; or

you will need to spend some time in Italy 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗻 𝗜𝘁𝗮𝗹𝘆 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺; or

it is recommended 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘆 𝗮𝘁 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘀𝗶𝘅 𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗜𝘁𝗮𝗹𝘆

This information is however not complete as:

(a) it does not specify what are the exact requirements for obtaining and maintaining residency;

(b) It does not include the possible consequences — especially for tax obligations — deriving from becoming an Italian resident, despite the duration of the stay in the country.

What does it mean to take residency under Italian law?

1) The first component of the residency is based on physical presence in Italy, which must be regular and continuous, as opposed to sporadic and occasional;

2) The second component of the residency is subjective: based on an individual’s intention to stay and live in Italy for the foreseeable future. In order to determine an individual’s intention to live in Italy on a regular basis, reference is made to a number of things, including but not limited to an individual’s conduct, social and personal habits, working relationships, family relationships, and business and personal activities.

For more information about ‘Residenza’(Residency), you can check also:

Residenza: what is exactly under Italian Law? | Mazzeschi Legal Counsels

What are the consequences of taking residency in Italy?

By registering as a resident in Italy, an individual becomes automatically subject to Italian tax obligations. In fact, as pointed out on the Tax Agency website:

A person is considered to be resident in Italy for income tax purposes if, for the majority of the year (at least 183 days a year, 184 for leap years):

– they are entered in the National Registry of the Resident Population in Italy; or

– they have their place of habitual abode; or

– they have in Italy their main centre of interest and affairs

The interpretation of this rule by the Court of Cassation is quite strict. The Court reaffirmed also recently (Ordennance 1355/2022) that:

the fact that the individual is entered into the Register of the resident population (anagrafe) for a certain period of time is a sufficient condition for her/him to be classified as a resident in Italy for income tax purposes

See also the OECD Guidelines on Italian income taxes.

Be careful of other possible consequences

If your residency is not continuous and does not meet the mandatory requirements, even though you have obtained citizenship, it can be later revoked and you can also be subject to criminal prosecution. There have already been several cases discovered by the Police where some agencies assisted applicants in obtaining citizenship by taking an “irregular” residency in Italy but leaving the country immediately after having filed the application. See for example the recent revocation (March 2022) of citizenship to 600 Brazilian citizens in the city of Nettuno, near Rome, after the Police verified that their residency was fictitious and did not meet the mandatory requirements of the law. There are also previous cases where citizenship was revoked because of fictitious residency

New Italian Citizenship Scam: more than 1500 cases involved | Mazzeschi Legal Counsels

Italian Citizenship Scam in the town of Lodigiano | Mazzeschi Legal Counsels

Are there any other options? File a Court action

An interesting path has been opened for those individuals who are seeking to obtain Italian citizenship by “iure sanguinis” that are currently living in countries where the application numbers are high (such as Brazil and the USA) and therefore, the processing time of their applications are very long or is proved to be impossible to book an appointment within a reasonable time.

The Court of Rome has recently established that

in those cases where the Italian consulate has not ensured a response in a reasonable time, it becomes possible to obtain the recognition of citizenship directly from the judge in Italy.

See also

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