Italian citizenship: how to apply? Which documents have to be translated?

Understand what you need to do in order to be granted an Italian citizenship.

Brazil is one of the countries where dual citizenship is accepted, i.e. individuals can be considered a citizen of more than one country, and Italian citizenship is among one of the most sought after by those seeking the benefits of dual citizenship.

This is because Brazil was a major destination for Italian immigrants from 1880 to 1930. The last census survey conducted by IBGE where ancestry was one of the questions was in 1940 and approximately 3.8% of the Brazilian population were Italians and their children.

This subgroup of the population only grew and that is why so many Brazilians have Italian relatives. These people can apply for Italian citizenship despite not knowing how to do it exactly.

Understand who is eligible to Italian citizenship, how to proceed and which documents are necessary.

Who can apply for Italian citizenship?

All Italian descendants. There is no child birth date restriction for male ascendants (great-great grandfather, great-grandfather, grandfather, father). However, female descendants are only allowed as of January 1st, 1948.

That is because up to 1947 Italy was a kingdom where only men were entitled to pass their citizenship on to their descendants.

Women were given this right only in 1948, when Italy was no longer a kingdom and passed the Italian Republic Constitution. From this point on, women were also authorized to pass on their citizenship to their descendants.

In summary, those descending from an Italian man can apply for Italian citizenship regardless of their child’s year of birth, while those descending from an Italian woman can only apply for the citizenship if they were born after January 1st, 1948.

The paperwork may lead to other situations and setbacks, but as a general rule, these are the requirements to be met when applying for Italian citizenship.

The number of people who can benefit from this decision is large. Italian ambassador in Brazil, Antonio Bernardini, said that in 2018 almost 15% of Brazilians are entitled to apply for Italian citizenship, which correspond to over 30 million people.

Data released by Italy’s Institute of National Statistics (Istat) say that the number of Brazilians who were granted Italian citizenship in 2016 was 5,799 people, a 297% increase compared to 2015, when 1,458 people were granted the benefit.

How should you proceed to apply for Italian citizenship?

Applicants should apply through the Internet on Ministero Dell’Interno website. After registering in the system, applicants can proceed by following the instructions given.

The webpage is written in Italian and this can be a problem for non-native speakers. However, the General Consulate of Italy in Brazil has created a nice tutorial with guidance on how to increase chances of approval.

Applicants can follow the application on the website and this makes it easier for those interested in applying for Italian citizenship. However, additionally, applicants should submit different documents to confirm their entitlement.

What documents are necessary when applying for Italian citizenship?

Documents can change on a case-by-case basis and depending on the blood relationship of the person that is passing on the citizenship. The weaker the relationship genealogically speaking, the higher the number of documents required.

The major documents requested on behalf of the Italian individual who will pass on the citizenship to the applicant include:

  • Original birth certificate (Estratto dell’atto di nascita) of the Italian ascendant who will pass on the citizenship;
  • Marriage certificate;
  • Negative certificate of naturalization;
  • Recent death certificate (if deceased).

All certificates should be full certificates, which provide more information than conventional certificates to ensure successful Italian citizenship application.

If an Italian ascendant has lived in other countries, a negative certificate of naturalization is necessary, which will confirm that the individual has not been naturalized in any other nation.

In case of marriages or deaths occurred in a third country that is not Brazil or Italy, these certificates, issued by the countries were they have been registered, are also necessary.

Additionally, applicants themselves have to submit different document to apply for Italian citizenship and these include:

  • Application form;
  • Proof of residence on behalf of the applicant, maximum of 3 months after the issuing date;
  • A copy of the applicant’s Identity Card and, if applicable, of their children who have not reached lawful age.

A sworn Italian translator is necessary, who will translate all documents required, making them valid in foreign countries provided that the original counterpart and its respective translation are submitted together.

What are the advantages of becoming an Italian citizen?

Dual citizenship for Brazilians is quite popular because the benefits overcome the difficulty of the process. The major benefits are the following:

  • Visiting the European Union without having to apply for a visa;
  • Enjoying the benefits offered to an European citizenship, for example, applying for job opportunities without a work visa, being authorized to live in European countries, studying in schools and other public institutions without a student visa, among others;
  • Being able to work in all European Union member countries;
  • Buying real estate in Europe in a more simplified way.

Enjoy the benefits of Italian citizenship

With so many benefits, it’s clear that becoming an Italian citizen – and, consequently, an European citizen – can be the beginning of a great change in your life, whether in the professional, academic or personal dimension.

Additionally, being free to choose where you want to live, in Brazil and/or Italy, being free to travel to and from these countries, and being able to enjoy both nations (and the rest of the European Union) is a wonderful opportunity.

Seize this opportunity offered by Italian citizenship, become an European citizen and enjoy all of its advantages. You chances of success are great if you submit all documents correctly and hire a reliable translation agency.

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