Italian citizenship by residency: how many years do I need?

Dec 15, 2021

Living in Italy for a certain number of years can make you eligible for citizenship.

How many years of residency do I need?

Applications for the naturalization can be filed after 𝟭𝟬 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗹 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 in Italy, which can be reduced to:

  • 3 years: for those who were born in Italy or who have parents or grandparents that were Italian citizens;
    Example. Ettore’s grandfather was an Italian citizen. Ettore has now been living in Pisa, Italy for 3 years. Ettore can apply for Italian citizenship at the relevant Town Hall where he has established his residency.
  • 4 years: for EU citizens
    Ex. Isabelle is a Belgian citizen and has been living in Florence, Italy for four and a half years. Isabelle can apply for Italian citizenship at the relevant Town Hall where she has established her residency.
  • 5 years: for stateless persons or refugees, as well as for legal-age foreigners adopted by Italian citizens;
  • No period of residence: for foreigners who have worked for the Italian State for a period of at least 5 years, even abroad.

Residency: what does it mean?

Residency is the formal registration with the Vital Statistics Office (Anagrafe) in the city where the person is domiciled. Residency must be uninterrupted, if the person leaves Italy and residency is cancelled, previous years spent in Italy do not count.

No residency…….. No citizenship!!

Residency registration is an indispensable and essential condition for obtaining residency. Applicant cannot prove in any other ways of having lived in Italy without being registered with a Comune.

Keep your permit of stay valid!

Foreigners living in Italy must keep their residence permit valid (Permesso di Soggiorno) and they should be aware that spending time outside the country may cause the revocation/cancellation of their permit:

– the permit cannot be renewed or extended if the holder has stayed out of Italy — consecutively — for more than 6 months; or

– in case of two year permits, if the holder has stayed out of Italy — consecutively — for more than half the validity of the permit (e.g. 12 consecutive months for a permit with a validity of 24 months)

– CE long term Residence Permi is revoked if the holder leaves the EU for 12 consecutive months or leaves Italy for more than 6 years

– Permit for family member of an EU citizen (Carta di soggiorno) can keep its validity when the holder leaves Italy for periods of no longer than 6 months in a year or for longer periods in case of required military service. The permit keeps its validity even if the holder leaves Italy for up to 12 months in the following cases: pregnancy, maternity, illness, study or professional reasons, or work assignment reasons.

What else do I need, other than residency?

The applicant must prove:

  • Absence of criminal records and in countries where applicant has lived
  • Proof of having produced an income in Italy and paid taxes in Italy for at least the last 3 years before submitting the application
  • Language and culture test

THE INTERVIEW: what will they ask me?

❓ Did you choose to live in Italy

❓ Is your family living in Italy with you and how is composed?

❓ What did you do during your stay in Italy and what is your current job?

❓ Which school did your children attend? If they are adults, what are they doing?

❓ How do you earn your income? Did you always pay taxes?

❓ Do you own a house or do you live in a rented flat?

❓ How did you learn Italian?

❓ Do you belong to any associations, NGOs, etc?

❓ Do you know the political and legislative system and our Constitution?

❓ Do you have past or pending criminal charges?

FAQs — Frequently asked questions

𝟭. 𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝗜 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗹𝘆 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗳 𝗺𝘆 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗯𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱? 𝗡𝗢

𝟮. 𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝗜 𝗼𝗯𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝘆 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗱 ? 𝗬𝗘𝗦

𝟯. 𝗜𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗲𝘅𝗲𝗺𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁? 𝗬𝗘𝗦

𝟰. 𝗗𝗼 𝗜 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗱𝗼𝗰𝘂𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝗯𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻? 𝗬𝗘𝗦

𝟱. 𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝗜 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗺𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴? 𝗬𝗘𝗦

𝟲. 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗲𝘁𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝗺𝗲? 𝗬𝗘𝗦

𝟳. 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗜 𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗼 𝘀𝘂𝗯𝗺𝗶𝘁 𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀? 𝗬𝗘𝗦

𝟴. 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗱𝗷𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲? 3 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀

𝟵. 𝗜𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀? 𝗡𝗢

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