Let’s be honest. Coveting dual citizenship is an appealing concept. Having more than one passport reminds me of grand espionage, James Bond or Jason Bourne style. But on a serious note it can look great on your CV, possibly landing you a career globally!
I speak from personal experience: I work abroad! I’m a dual citizen in the United Kingdom. As part of the EU, I can work/study/travel in different European countries without any visa worry. Italians work in Belgium. Germans work in France. You get the idea! [EDIT: because of the Brexit decision, we’re not sure how this will affect current/future Europeans working in the UK]
From my understanding, dual Italian citizenship is an “easier” dual citizenship to pursue. I put this in quotations for a reason. Firstly, obtaining citizenship through jure sanguinis (ie. the blood-line) is more than just proving your Italian heritage through connections, you’ll need to collect forms, forms and MORE forms. You really need to do homework! Plus, like any government establishment, it requires a good deal of patience. Like the army, you’ll experience a lot of hurry up and wait as you send away for appropriate documents.
Do I regret it? Not for a second. It’s ABSOLUTELY worth the process. It took me about eight months of work to go this and I’m really glad I did!
I’ve broken this into a few parts to help those who are looking into obtaining citizenship for themselves, and their families.
How do I know if I qualify for dual citizenship?
Through jure sanguinis: “Italian citizenship is granted by birth through the paternal line (with no limit on the number of generations) or through the maternal line (for individuals born after January 1, 1948). If you were born in any country where citizenship is acquired by birth, and any one of the situations listed below pertains to you, you may be considered an Italian citizen.”
There are lots of different ways to qualify. Here are a few of the most typical:
- Your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, you were born after January 1st, 1948 and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your father was born in your native country, your paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth, neither you nor your father ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your mother was born in your native country, your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, you were born after January 1, 1948 and neither you nor your mother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your paternal or maternal grandfather was born in your native country, your paternal great-grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, neither you nor your father nor your grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your maternal grandmother was born in your native country, your maternal great grand-father was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, your mother was born after January 1st, 1948, and neither you nor your mother nor your grandmother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship. (This is the one I chose).
To find more, please look at this webpage:
I know all of that looks extremely daunting, but go over all of it slowly. The only way to actually RENOUNCE your citizenship rights is to declare at the embassy you no longer want to be an Italian citizen.
In my own example, I decided to go through my mother’s lineage (see above).
My great-grandfather was born in Montegrosso and moved to the States at a young age with my great-grandmother. My grandmother was born in Madera, California. And my mother was born in 1950 (not 1948). Although my great-grandfather became a naturalized citizen in the 1930s, he did not formally declare to the Italian government he wanted to renounce his citizenship. Because of that my grandmother, mother, and myself were all entitled to citizenship through his blood-line.
Why should I get this done?
In my own example, I chose dual citizenship to work abroad in Europe. I don’t speak Italian, but have always had the desire to learn other languages. Having dual citizenship allows me the freedom to be a full citizen. I will have an easier time purchasing property and can even vote! I’m also entitled to universal health care and retirement benefits, if I choose.
What about taxes?
If I decide to travel in/out of Italy, every couple of years I would have to pay a small tax. Currently I pay 50 EUR, however this will probably always change. As I don’t live or work in italy now, I’m exempt from this tax when I leave or travel out of the UK. This is ONLY when leaving Italy.
What about being in the army?
The Italian army is like the American army: strictly volunteer. Plus as a woman, I wouldn’t have to serve.
In my next post, I’ll talk more about the process of obtaining certificates and how to get those tricky documents in Italy!