Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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If you qualify, there are numerous benefits to acquiring Italian citizenship. For non-EU citizens, Italian citizenship will allow you to travel freely within the EU and to work in any of the member states. While EU citizens already enjoy the above privileges, becoming an Italian citizen will enable you to vote in the democracy in which you live and most importantly, make you an equal under Italian law.

There are four ways of automatically receiving Italian citizenship: birth to an Italian parent; being born in Italian territory; being adopted as a minor by an Italian citizen; or judicial recognition of paternity or maternity of an Italian citizen. There are also ways of requesting Italian citizenship. These include demonstration of bloodline or descent (if certain conditions are met), marriage to an Italian citizen and naturalization. Note that in the cases of marriage and naturalization, the decision to award citizenship is at the total discretion of the authorities.


You can apply for citizenship by marriage after having resided legally in Italy for six months after the date of the official Italian registration of your marriage. You will have to demonstrate that you have never been convicted of certain crimes. If you marry an Italian citizen but do not establish residency in Italy, you must instead wait three years from the date of your marriage to qualify. When you apply, you will complete a modulo (form), downloadable online from the Prefettura (Prefect). You will also need to submit the following documents:

Atto di nascita: the long form of your birth certificate, with apostille.
Certificato penale: a good conduct certificate or police record from your home country, with apostille.
Certificato di matrimonio: Italian marriage certificate, or in the case of a marriage performed abroad, the accompanying atto di matrimonio (marriage act), demonstrating that the foreign marriage has been registered in Italy.


The government decides whether or not to accept a foreign citizen based on his or her involvement in Italian society, the applicant’s legal record and financial self-sufficiency. A general requisite is 10 years of legal residence in Italy, five for those who have refugee status or were adopted over the age of 18 by an Italian citizen, four for EU citizens and three for foreigners born on Italian soil. When you apply for naturalization, you will need your atto di nascita, certificato penale and a personal declaration renouncing protection of diplomatic authority.


Once you have obtained your apostilled documents, had them translated into Italian by an authorized translator and made copies in triplicate, you will present your application to the Ufficio Cittadinanza (Citizenship Office) of the city’s Prefect. Ask the person in the Citizenship Office to kindly review your documents to make sure that you have completed the paperwork correctly.

Your application will be assigned a protocol number and you will receive notification by mail that your request is being considered. The wait for citizenship takes approximately two years, depending on the caseload. If during the waiting period your permesso di soggiorno expires or you change residency, you must present your updated information to the Prefettura in writing. Be sure to include your protocol number.

Prefettura di Bologna - Ufficio Cittadinanza

Via IV Novembre, 24
Tel. 051.6401111 switchboard
Tel. 051.6401364 (active Tuesday and Thursday 12-13)
Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9-11:30

When I received a letter saying I had been granted Italian citizenship, my city hall authorities in Budrio arranged a small ceremony to make it more than just a passing of documents. My husband, twoyear- old son and in-laws came, flowers, gifts and cameras in hand. The ceremony was short and sweet and the municipal staff had prepared a floral bouquet, a packet of historical information and a copy of the Italian Constitution, all wrapped in the Italian flag motif. After my oath and lots of auguroni, we went to our village house for cake and spumante. It ended up being a special day that will remain etched in my memory as the day I became Italian.

Carol Sicbaldi

Il Ministero dell’Interno (Ministry of the Interior) operates a telephone hotline for information regarding citizenship: 06.48042101 (or endings 02/03/04). The hotline is active Monday-Friday 9-14; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 14:30-18:30.