Italian citizenship for special merits

Jan 28, 2021

The city of Sanremo proposed to grant citizenship for special merits to the Russian benefactor Elena Sivoldaeva.

What are the requirements under Italian law?

This article is written by Marco Mazzeschi and contributed to our publication on

Follow us on for more latest articles.

Image for post

There are several countries in the world having special provisions in citizenship laws granting citizenship based on public interest such as achievements in the field of science, sports, technology, research, energy and art/culture.

What about Italy?

Citizenship for special merits

Last December the Townhall Council of San Remo, a city in northwestern Italy not far from the border with France, approved a resolution requesting the competent national authorities to grant Italian Citizenship to the Russian millionaire and benefactor Elena Sivoldaeva “for special merits”.

Mrs. Sivoldaeva donated medical devices to the city, granted financial assistance for the construction of 13 prefabricated modules for children of a local school and was the donor in several other philantropic initiatives in the city.

Citizenship for sport merits

The athlete Yassine Rachik was granted citizenship in 2015 for sport merits. He is originally from Morocco and emigrated to Italy with his parents very young. Under the Italian flag he won the bronze medal in the Men’s Marathon at 2018 European Championships.

Other athletes who were granted citizenship arethe Cuban wrestler Abraham de Jesus Conyedo Ruano and the US ice-hockey player Chelsea Marie Furlani.

Citizenship for “civil” merits

Citizenship was granted to the Pakista citizen Nosheen Ahmad But. Noshee was beaten by family members on October 3, 2012 as she was accused of engaging in western behaviours and lifestyles. She was granted citizenship for putting her life at risk for the principles of integration and civil coexistence of our country.

Another case is the granting of citizenship to the widow of Samb Modou. Samb Modou, a Senegalese citizen, was killed along with his fellow countryman Diop Mor by Gianluca Casseri who had shot some Senegalese street vendors at the local market in Piazza Dalmazia in Florence on December 13, 2011.

The most recent case, still pending, is the proposal of granting citizenship to Rami Shehata. Ramy, an Egyptian teenager who lives in Italy with his parents, was the protagonist of the rescue of 51 children in San Donato Milanese.

It was he who alerted the police while he was onboard the bus that was seized then set on fire by senegalese Oyssenou Sy.

«“I told my classmates to stand up and make noise so I could call 112 and tell them everything»

What are the requirements to obtain Italian citizenship for special merits or services rendered to the country?

Art. 9/2 of law 91/1992 set forth that citizenship may be granted to an alien who has rendered

eminent services to Italy or where its granting is in the special interest of the State.

Broad discretion is left to the competent authorities to judge the grounds for granting citizenship under this provision.

What is the procedure?

The proposal must be submitted by a public body, as association or by a public figure that need to support the existence of the conditions set forth by the law for the concession of citizenship.

The individual must however give his/her consent to the submission of the proposal.

Citizenship is adjudicated with a decree of the President of the Republic, upon proposal of the Ministry of Interior and after deliberation of the Council of Ministers.

Within 6 months for the notification of the Decree, the person concerned must swear to be faithful to the Republic and to observe the Constitution and the laws of the State (art. 10, Law n. 91/1992)


The information provided on this article (i) does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; (ii) are for general informational purposes only and may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information (iii) may contain links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader; (iv) readers should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.

  • Contact us

    To request an initial assessment or to arrange a consultation call with one of our consultants, please provide us with your contact details and we will get back to you within the next 24 (working) hours.

    Get in touch →
  • MAZZESCHI S.r.l. - C.F e P.IVA 01200160529 - Cap.Soc. 10.000 € I.V. - Reg. Imp. Siena 01200160529 - REA SI-128403 - Privacy Notice - Cookies Policy
    Copyright © 2019 by Mazzeschi - Web Designer Alessio Piazzini Creazione siti web Firenze