Applying for Italian citizenship with family members

Applying for Italian citizenship with family members

Tue 25 Jul 2023 12:52 PM

The excitement of embarking on the journey of obtaining Italian citizenship by descent often spreads to other family members, such as parents, siblings, cousins, or other relatives. In addition to fostering an emotional experience, choosing to apply for Italian citizenship alongside family members often proves to be a financially prudent decision by allowing for the sharing of expenses among relatives. Such benefits can apply whether you opt for obtaining Italian citizenship by descent (Jure Sanguinis) at a consulate, through an Italian municipality, or via a 1948 case proceeding through the Italian courts. 

Applying through a consulate

If you and your family members pursue Italian citizenship through your local consulate, the initial step involves confirming whether all of you fall within the same consular jurisdiction. If you do, each family member who is interested in applying would proceed with scheduling an individual appointment. While the appointments need to be arranged separately, and each person is responsible for their own consular and application fees, it may be possible for your group to book appointments on the same day. The “lead” family member will attend the first appointment and you will all be able to share one set of documents pertaining to the individuals in your Italian lineage. These documents encompass vital records such as birth certificates, marriage/divorce certificates, and death certificates of the relevant family members, along with proof of the ancestor’s naturalization status and the ancestor’s vital records from the Italian municipality’s registry office (“stato civile”). All documents must be authenticated with Apostilles and translated into Italian. Please be aware that certain Italian consulates may request that applicants sharing the same document portfolio present both photocopies and originals. It is strongly recommended to verify the consulate’s specific procedures by sending them an email prior to your appointment.

The process of gathering, certifying with apostilles, and translating these documents can quickly become costly, making the option of providing a single set of documents a financially wise choice. However, it is important to remember that this arrangement is applicable only to family members who are applying through the same consulate. If you and your family members reside in different consular jurisdictions, sharing documents is not possible as consulates do not collaborate on citizenship cases. However, it may still be cost-effective to apply simultaneously, as obtaining multiple sets of documents and translations together often incurs lower costs compared to placing separate individual orders.

Please note that any living intermediate relative, such as a parent or grandparent, will not be automatically granted Italian citizenship based on your application. However, their involvement is crucial in the process. They will need to provide a signed declaration (FORM 3) confirming that they never renounced their Italian citizenship before the Italian authorities. This declaration is a mandatory requirement that must be submitted alongside your citizenship application.

If you have children under the age of 18, they will automatically be included in your application and granted Italian citizenship without the need to pay a consular fee. However, children 18 and over are required to submit their own application and pay the applicable consular fee. In the case of children born after you have been recognized as an Italian citizen, their births can be registered through the A.I.R.E. (Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad) before they reach the age of 18. Once their birth certificates are registered in Italy, they will be eligible to obtain an Italian passport. If your spouse is interested in obtaining Italian citizenship after you have received it, or if you get married after becoming an Italian citizen, they will be eligible to apply for citizenship by marriage after two years of marriage if you reside in Italy, or after three years of marriage if you reside outside Italy.

Applying through a municipality

Filing your application for Italian citizenship by descent in Italy can be one of the fastest ways to apply, both individually and with family members. Applying on behalf of family members is not permitted; therefore, all applicants must be physically present in Italy to apply as a family. Just as in the case of a consular application, you will need to collect both personal vital records, vital records of those in the Italian lineage, and naturalization records. These documents must be authenticated with Apostilles and translated into Italian. When applying through a municipality, these translations must be certified. In this case, you and your family members will be able to share those documents pertaining to your shared Italian lineage and Italian ancestor.

It is necessary to establish residency in the municipality where you intend to apply for citizenship by descent upon your arrival in Italy. If you live with your family members, you can share the same residency address. The local authorities will verify your residency within a time frame of approximately 45 days. Once your residency is successfully verified, you can proceed to submit your citizenship application and the accompanying documents at the town hall of the respective municipality. During the processing period, you will be issued a residency permit. After establishing residency, the process of obtaining Italian citizenship takes on average a few months, although this may vary depending on the municipality to which you apply.

Applying via the Italian Courts

If you and your family are unable to qualify for Italian citizenship through the regular administrative route at the Italian consulate and need to challenge the 1948 rule in Italian courts, you have the opportunity to share the same document portfolio with other family members who have the same Italian ancestor. While petitioning the courts can be costly, expenses can be divided among family members listed in the same petition. It is not necessary to be physically present in Italy for the court hearing; an Italian lawyer can represent you via power of attorney. You must still compile a complete document portfolio (vital records certified with apostilles and translations), but in this case the Italian translations must be certified by a local court in Italy. Once granted citizenship by the Italian judge, your birth records will be recorded in your ancestral Italian town hall, and Italian birth records will be issued for registration with the A.I.R.E. This registration enables you and your family members to book an appointment at your consulate for an Italian passport.

Whether applying through a consulate, a municipality in Italy, or the Italian courts, sharing the same document portfolio with relatives who have the same Italian ancestry can help distribute costs. By involving family members, obtaining Italian citizenship becomes a shared endeavor, fostering a stronger sense of connection and heritage.

If you are thinking of applying for Italian citizenship with your family and you would like more information about the eligibility requirements and the application process, feel free to contact Italian Citizenship Assistance for a free consultation at

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