Loss of Italian citizenship for failure to take the oath of citizenship within 6 months: what remedies are there?

Feb 06, 2023

Once the decree granting Italian citizenship has been received, the applicant has 6 months to take an oath of allegiance to the Italian Republic in front of a Town Hall officer or Consular officer, pronouncing the phrase: “Giuro di essere fedele alla Repubblica e di osservare la Costituzione e le leggi dello Stato”. 

The day after the oath, the applicant is effectively an Italian citizen and can apply for an Italian identity card and a passport.

In the event that the oath is not taken within the legally established terms, the Ministry of the Interior issues a declaration of forfeiture for failure to take the oath.

In this case, the decree granting Italian citizenship becomes ineffective and the applicant would have to file a new application and valid documentation. Furthermore, the applicant will be required to wait again up to three years to hopefully have a new decree granting citizenship.

However, in a recent judgment, the Court of Rome recognized the right to take a “late” oath, being the deadline already expired, after verifying that the failure to take the oath was not attributable to the applicant’s inertia but due to force majeure.

Talking about the specific case, the applicant was a Bangladeshi citizen who had travelled to Bangladesh to assist his elderly mother and who had been unable to return to Italy to take the oath due to the travel restrictions present during the pandemic (Covid-19).

The applicant had, indeed, sent numerous communications to the Municipality and to the Ministry of the Interior, without receiving any response, demonstrating his impossibility to attend the appointment set for the oath and requesting that it be postponed.

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