ICA: Applying for Italian citizenship with your spouse and children

Nov 18, 2022 536

You’ve made the decision to apply for Italian citizenship with a spouse and/or children. So what does that look like? Does each family member need to go through the application process? To say it simply, not exactly. This article will outline everything you need to know if you are considering applying for Italian citizenship and you would like to extend it to your wife and children.  

“I have a spouse” 

In the case you apply for Italian citizenship and wish to reside in Italy, by law, your spouse is only granted 3 months in the country. However, if your spouse wishes to stay longer, he/she can apply for a residency permit by registering in the municipality where you are living, provided that you have registered your marriage certificate in the registry office and you are a resident in that municipality. The same applies if you want to move to another EU member state as your spouse will need to report his or her presence to the relevant authorities in order to obtain a residence card.

If your spouse would like to apply for citizenship by marriage, Italian law states that the non-Italian spouse can apply for citizenship 2 years from the date of the marriage or civil union if you reside in Italy or 3 years if you live abroad. However, this term is reduced by half if you have biological or adopted children under the age of 18.

As of 2018, the non-Italian spouse must also be able to speak Italian and pass a level B1 language test. This type of test is considered intermediate and would show that your spouse is able to communicate in everyday interactions. In addition to the language requirement, the Italian authorities require clear criminal record checks issued by the FBI (if your spouse is a U.S. citizen) and by the U.S. states (and foreign countries, if applicable) where your spouse has resided since the age of 14.

Once the paperwork has been submitted to the Ministry of the Interior’s online portal it will be assessed and the Italian consulate where you are registered with the AIRE will contact your non-Italian spouse to provide feedback about the outcome of the application. On the other hand, if you reside in Italy, you will need to submit the original documents to the local prefecture (Prefettura).

“My children are still minors”

According to Italian law, a child must have one parent who is an Italian citizen in order to qualify for Italian citizenship. If you are currently applying for Italian citizenship, this means that your child is automatically considered an Italian citizen the moment you are. However, it is essential to note that if you have children after you are granted Italian citizenship, you will need to register their births before they turn 18 in order for them to be recognized as Italian citizens. This entails filling out a form, signing it and mailing it to the consulate that covers the jurisdiction where you reside together with your child’s birth certificate, which bears an Apostille and which has been translated into Italian.

If you do not register your children’s birth certificates before they turn 18, they will need to apply for the recognition of Italian citizenship by descent and they will need to submit certified copies of the vital records pertaining to all the family members in the Italian lineage starting from the ancestor who was born in Italy and who emigrated to the United States.

“I have adult children”

Under Italian law, adult children need to file their own application for Italian citizenship. In particular, if both you and your children reside under the same consular jurisdiction, you can apply via the same consulate and you will be able to share the vital records pertaining to the individuals in the Italian lineage but you will need two separate appointments.

On the other hand, if your adult children live under a different consular jurisdiction, they will need to file their own application and provide the consulate which covers the jurisdiction where they reside with all the vital records pertaining to the individuals in the Italian lineage, starting from the ancestor who was born in Italy. For more information click here.

If you would like to learn more about applying for Italian citizenship with your spouse and children do not hesitate to contact Italian Citizenship Assistance at info@italiancitizenshipassistance.com or at +1- 323 – 892 – 0861.

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