Italian Citizenship

Acquisition of Italian Nationality

Before analyzing the different procedures to obtain the recognition of Italian citizenship, it is necessary to explain the principle that determines its transmission: iure sanguinis (by right of blood).

Under Italian Law, the basic principle for the transmission of Italian citizenship is the, iure sanguinis, which gives priority to the parents-offspring blood ties.

In this regard, Art. 1 lit. a) of Italian Law No 91 of 5 February 1992, states that:

Is a citizen by birth, the child born of a citizen father or mother

Thus, any person born of Italian parents is a citizen, even if the birth takes place outside of Italy as, for example, in Brazil.


Recognition of Italian citizenship means certifying the uninterrupted holding of the citizen status, inherited through a direct-line descent of an Italian born Citizen. Therefore, it means going back in time and recognizing Italian citizenship by right of blood to second, third or fourth generation of foreigners (Brazilians) descending in a straight line from Italian origin citizens emigrated abroad. There is currently no limit on the number of generations.


Any person of Italian descent (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren…) has the right to have the Italian citizenship, as long as supported by relevant documents and under certain rules.

Unfortunately, at the present time, the Consular waiting lists are extremely long, and therefore it is not possible to positively estimate a how long it might take to obtain Italian citizenship in Brazil.

For this reason, the quickest way is to carry out the process directly in Italy, even though, in this case, some special requirements must be met, as dictated by the Italian Law. For this type of procedure, our skilled and professional team will provide all the needed support, to ensure that the process is as simple and fast as possible.


The recognition of Italian citizenship is subject to demonstration, by the person concerned, that their direct-line ancestors kept, without any interruption, their Italian citizenship. Therefore, the procedure for the recognition of Italian citizenship starts with finding documents confirming the applicant’s kinship to an Italian ancestor, being the applicant his/her child, grandchild or great-grandchild. To this end, in accordance with current legislation, the documentation to obtain recognition of Italian citizenship in Italy is as follows:

  • Birth certificate (Extract of the Birth Certificate) of great-grandfather or great-grandmother;
  • Marriage certificate of great-grandparents;
  • Death certificate of great-grandfather or great-grandmother;
  • Positive or Negative Certificate of Naturalization of the Italian citizen issued by the Ministry of Justice;
  • Birth Certificate of grandfather or grandmother;
  • Marriage certificate of grandparents;
  • Birth Certificate of father/mother;
  • Marriage Certificate of parents;
  • Birth Certificate (daughter) of the applicant;
  • Marriage Certificate of the applicant.

In summary, these are the necessary documents. It is forbidden to skip generations.

After a preliminary verification of the certificates and of the actual right to recognition of Italian citizenship, the documents will be requested and prepared to be valid in Italy. The following steps are required:

  • The above-mentioned documents, in original, good condition and with a recent date, are required;
  • These documents must be duly translated into Italian by a Public Sworn Translator;
  • Original Brazilian documents along with their respective translations must be legalized (Apostille *).

* The Apostille is a certification with which the authorized offices notarize and confirm the validity of a public document to be presented abroad.

On August 14, 2016, it came into force for Brazil The Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 which eliminates the need for consular legalization of Brazilian public documents to be presented to foreign authorities abroad. Therefore, starting from that date, instead of consular legalization, it will suffice for certificates issued by the Brazilian authorities to be provided with an Apostille. This will be issued by the Brazilians notaries themselves under the terms of the The Hague Convention, which makes Brazilian certificates valid for foreign authorities.


BAPTISM CERTIFICATE – If the relevant Italian Municipality cannot issue an extract from the birth certificate, because the ancestor was born when there were no Civil Registers in Italy, you may submit the Baptism certificate, preferably in its original form, issued by the local parish, with the attached authentication by the Episcopal Curia responsible for the parish that emits it.

NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE CERTIFICATION OF NATURALIZATION of the Italian emigrant (in Brazil) –The Negative or Positive Certification of Naturalization, will be issued by the Ministry of Justice (and must contain any change of name and surname of the Italian citizen in each document).

Italian citizenship is recognized ONLY to children born before the naturalization; if the child is born after the Italian-born ascendant naturalized Brazilian, Italian citizenship is not possible.

If Brazilian certificates contain relatively minor mistakes in names or surnames, judicial amendments are not necessary. On the contrary, in case, of alterations that might leave doubts as to the identity of the person or the line of citizenship transmission, the documents must be rectified.

Process in Italy

The fastest way to acquire Italian citizenship is by requesting it within the Italian borders.

The procedures to obtain the recognition of Italian citizenship are set out in Circular n. k. 28.1 of 8 April 1991 of the Ministry of the Interior, considered fully valid following the entry into force of the Law 91/1992.

Please, note that, in this case, it is not necessary that all the descendants of the applicant have already obtained Italian Citizenship, since the Italian Citizenship is granted to the applicant (child, grandchild, or great-grandchild) who got the residence and who has submitted all the documentation required.

Once all the documents have been gathered, duly translated and legalized, the applicant can start to get ready for his/her trip to Italy.

Prior to your departure, all the documentation will be checked, to avoid any unpleasant surprise after your arrival in Italy.

Citizenship is directly requested at the Municipality, but to do so, you must be living in Italy. It is therefore necessary to obtain a residency recertificate to be able to start the process.

We will take care of finding a residence and a dwelling for the applicant, who will be staying in a well-located apartment or house.

This is the most important Step in the process of recognition of your Italian citizenship. An Officer will be informed by the Municipality and following the verification of your actual residency the Municipality will receive the translated and legalized documents and immediately require the “Attestato di Non Rinuncia” (which testifies that none of your direct ancestors ever renounced their Italian nationality) to the competent Consulate of any other doc that might be necessary.

Upon reception of the “Attestato di Non Rinuncia”, the Municipality will start transcribing the documentation.

From the very moment in which the transcription in Civil Registers is accomplished, the applicant is officially an Italian citizen.

The process of recognition of citizenship ends with the before mentioned transcription, following which you can already apply for the ID card and the Italian Passport.


Once all the documents are ready (filled, translated and legalized) and have been sent to Italy, the average waiting time to get your citizenship is about 3-6 months; however, this estimate may vary from case to case.

Some processes of citizenship were completed in 60 days, some others in 4 months, and there are even cases which lasted almost 1 year.

We cannot predict beforehand a definite processing time for the accomplishment of the procedure, especially considering that Municipalities cannot start transcribing the documents until they receive the “Attestato di non rinuncia” from the Consulates.

It is important to remember that everything depends on a number of administrative factors including

– Some municipalities are more bureaucratic and slower than others.

– Some Municipalities that used to be faster at dealing with citizenship processes, became more bureaucratic because of a large amount of people applying for citizenship at the same time.

– The Consulate’s response to the Municipality’s administrative requests regarding the “Attestato di Non Rinuncia” may vary from Consulate to Consulate. The Municipality receives the reply via PEC (certified mail).

– The visit of the Officer to check the actual residency, and its subsequent registration to the Municipality.

Italian Citizenship by Marriage

As a result of an administrative act by the Italian Government, Italian citizenship can be obtained either by descent, or, alternatively, by naturalization, or marriage.


WOMAN (Wife): automatically acquires citizenship by marriage, preserving her own, if she married an Italian citizen before 27/04/1983; after this date, the wife is eligible for Naturalization.

MAN (Husband): has the right to be Naturalized, as a result of marriage, without losing the original nationality.

Foreign women who got married to an Italian citizen prior to April 27, 1983 are automatically entitled to Citizen Recognition if the husband’s citizenship has been recognized. If your husband is starting a citizenship process, you will also gain recognition of citizenship, concurrently with him, as long as your marriage was celebrated prior to the before mentioned date. Therefore, even though, at that time, he was not an Italian citizen yet, what counts is the fact that the marriage took place within that date. In case of death or divorce (with final court judgment) occurred after April 27, 1983, the wife retains the right to Italian citizenship. On the contrary, if death or divorce occurred before the that date, the wife loses this right.

Both men and women, married on or after April 27, 1983, can apply for Naturalization by Marriage, which basically grants the same rights as Italian citizenship.

In fact, the art. 5 of Law n. 91 of 1992 provides that the foreign spouse of Italian citizen can obtain the Italian citizenship in two alternative ways:

  • if, after the marriage, he\she has the legal residence in Italy from at least 2 years;
  • 3 years after the marriage is he\she has the legal residence aboard.

The above-mentioned times are reduced of one half if there are children born or adopted by the spouses.

Residents in Italy must submit their application directly at the Prefecture; residents abroad- in their own Consular Jurisdiction. Apart from the time you need to wait to start the process of naturalization, there is no difference whether you set the process up from Italy or Brazil – in both cases, the waiting time is about 4 years.

Please, note that all Brazilians can have two or more nationalities and passports. You do not lose a nationality by acquiring another one; the only way to lose your Brazilian nationality is by officially expressing your will to do so.



As for the return of this “investment”, the recognition of Italian nationality will allow you to:

  • Transmit Italian citizenship, with all the rights attached thereto, to your children and grandchildren;
  • Transmit Italian citizenship, with all the rights attached thereto, to your spouse. The spouse concerned may apply for naturalization after two years of marriage -if resident in Italy- at the Prefecture, or after three years of marriage -if resident abroad- at the Italian Consulate;
  • Work in all Member States of the European Union;
  • Italian citizens can freely move within any member country of the European Community;
  • In addition to the European Community, European Citizens benefit from special agreements for travelling to the United States, Canada and Japan without visa. Holding Italian citizenship eliminates the need to face lengthy procedures at customs and consulates;
  • Dual citizenship will give you the right to retire in Europe, getting your pension in EUR;
  • Participate in Italian competitions (university, regional, provincial and municipal);
  • Study at any EU University;
  • Take advantage of the scholarships made available to Italian citizens by the Italian Government, other States or international organizations, foundations, etc.;
  • Work as a freelancer within the European Union, having your professional title recognized;
  • Participate in Diplomatic contests, having your qualification recognized;
  • Take part in European and Italian University contests;
  • Set up your own business in Italy or in the European Union;
  • Vote in referendums, political and administrative elections, being able to register in the polling districts of the Italian Republic;
  • Italians born abroad have the same rights as those born in Italy. There are no first and second class citizens. All Italian citizens are equal before the law;
  • The citizen residing abroad and returning temporarily in Italy, is entitled to free health care provided by the national health service;
  • It is useful to remember that in Italy military service is not mandatory and therefore you do not need to serve in the Army;
  • You must pay taxes if you generate profits, for example, working in Italy thanks to your nationality;
  • Voting is not mandatory.

We live in a growing interconnected world market, which offers, thanks to integration and conspicuous expansion, many prospects and possibilities abroad. Therefore, the costs of citizenship can be compared to a great investment, as much for the person concerned, as for his/her descendants, children, grandchildren…