Find out how to apply for Italian citizenship in Brazil and who is eligible

Understand the legal mechanisms that allow Brazilians to obtain dual citizenship and be considered Italians as well

With a colony of Italian descendants among the largest in the world, several Brazilians have questions about how to apply for Italian citizenship. However, few people are aware of the fact there are many possibilities for obtaining this document.

With the so-called dual citizenship, as citizens won’t lose their Brazilian citizenship, Brazilians with an Italian citizenship have a series of advantages in Europe because of their European passport and are able to reside legally in the region and even work.

Italian citizenship: who can apply

Wanting to become an Italian citizen is not enough, one needs to follow some rules determined by the government of Italy. The legislation in force in this European country summarizes in one sentence who can obtain citizenship.

“The descendants of Italians who provide evidence of right of blood through birth, marriage and death certificates are entitled to Italian citizenship.”

This phrase may seem too simple, but we will explain it in more detail. First of all, be aware there is no limit on generations, for example, if you are the great-grandson of an Italian, you are entitled to apply for citizenship.

You can apply in two different ways: in Brazil or in Italy. The difference is that while in Brazil, procedures can take from 6 to 12 years to be completed, if you are able to stay in Italy for a period, the process can be completed there in up to 90 days.

The first step in applying for an Italian citizenship is to find out if you have an Italian parent. For example: is your father or mother Italian? Are your maternal or paternal grandparents Italian? Are your maternal or paternal great-grandparents Italian?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you can proceed with the application for Italian citizenship. Otherwise, the chances of becoming an Italian citizen using this method are zero, since you do not meet the prerequisites.

Necessary supporting documents

Children of Italians, even if born abroad and without an Italian surname, are considered Italians from birth. This principle is governed by Italian law and is called jus sanguinis – “right of blood”.

Thereafter, dual citizenship applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Birth certificate or certificates;
  • Marriage certificate or certificates;
  • Death certificate or certificates.

However, you need to be aware that documents from the entire succession line before you must be obtained. So, in case you have an Italian great-grandfather, for example, in addition to his supporting documents, you will need to submit your grandparents’ and parents’ documents.

The greatest difficulty faced by Brazilians is finding these documents in Italy. Birth certificates can be registered in comuni or churches of Italy. Some businesses have become specialized in carrying out this type of research, but don’t be surprised if you need to travel to Italy to expedite your paperwork.

A process for the few

In addition to fulfilling the prerequisites determined by the Italian legislation and submitting the corresponding documentation, Brazilians applying for dual citizenship must be willing to wait or invest a considerable amount of money.

As already mentioned, it is possible to start the process in Brazil or Italy. If you choose to start in Brazil you will spend less, but you will have to wait more. If you choose to start in Italy, you will wait less, but spend more.

In Brazil, it is possible to apply for Italian citizenship through an Italian consulate. On average, you will spend approximately BRL 10,000 with the entire paperwork. The problem is that legal procedures can take from 6 to 12 years and, in the end, there is no guarantee you will be granted citizenship.

If you choose to start the process in Italy, you will have to travel to the country and file the documentation at one of the prefectures (comuni). In this case, applicants must be at least 18 years old and must attend the place in person.

The main advantage is agility: processes take an average of 90 days to complete. On the other hand, the costs involved are much higher: a Brazilian is estimated to spend, in total, from BRL 35,000 to BRL 50,000 with all costs – without any guarantee that citizenship will be granted at the end.

In other words: you just can’t apply for Italian citizenship without making a good investment.

Italian passport: rights and duties

The main advantages of having an Italian passport include the possibility of taking up residence in Italy and studying in Italian schools and universities at lower tuition rates than those paid by foreigners.

In addition, since Italy is a member country of the European Union, those with an Italian passport are legally entitled to live and work in any European country that is a member of the economic bloc.

Countries like USA, Australia, Canada and Japan don’t require a visa for Italian citizens. As an Italian citizen, you are also entitled to vote in elections. In Italy, voting is not mandatory, as it happens in Brazil, but you will have the right to choose public representatives.

Finally, it is possible to contribute to both the Brazilian and Italian social security plans. That way, you can receive retirement benefits in both countries, according to the legislation of each nation.

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