How long do I have to wait for a decision to be made on my application for Italian citizenship through marriage to an Italian citizen?
After the prerequisites (art. 5 of Law 91/1992), that the spouse may apply for Italian citizenship after he/she has legally resided in Italy for two years or after three years from the date of marriage if he/she resides abroad, it can take anywhere from six months to a year. It can take months for an appointment in which to make application, and processing can consume another 4-5 months. There are no prescribed timing or time limits within the law.
The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen can claim Italian citizenship in the presence of the following requirements:
a) in Italy: two years legal residence (permit to stay and enrolment in an official statistics office (Anagrafe)) after the wedding; abroad: three years after the wedding; the timeframes are reduced by half in the presence of children born or adopted by the spouses;
b) valid marriage certificate and permanence of marriage bond up until the issuance of citizenship;
c) absence of convictions for crimes leading to a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison or convictions by a foreign judiciary authority of more than one year for non-political crimes;
d) absence of convictions for any of the crimes listed in Book 2, Title I, items, I,II and III of the criminal code (crimes against government personnel);
e) absence of obstacles related to the security of the Republic.
Claims to Italian citizenship, addressed to the Ministry of the Interior, must be submitted to the Prefecture of the Province of residence, if in Italy; if residence is abroad, to the diplomatic-consular mission. Claims must include the reasons for claiming the right to Italian citizenship accompanied by the following documentation, duly legalized and translated:
- birth certificate containing all pertinent data or, in the case of the documented impossibility of producing that, an affidavit issued by the diplomatic-consular authorities of the country of origin stating all exact personal data (name, surname, date and place of birth), as well as those of the father and mother of the applicant;
- criminal record (or certified lack thereof) from country of origin and eventual third countries of residence;
- certificate of history of legal residence in Italy (with affixed tax stamp);
- marriage certificate issued the Italian city where the related marriage act was registered (non-certified or copy of marriage certificate);
- legal certificate of citizenship of Italian spouse (with affixed tax stamp);
- certificate of criminal record (or lack thereof) in Italy (with affixed tax stamp);
- certificate of charges pending in Italy (or certified lack thereof) issued by the State Prosecutor’s Office at the court authorised for the area of residence of the applicant (with affixed tax stamp);
- authenticated copy of residence permit (with affixed tax stamp);
- copy of passport (with attached official translation in Italian, where the document does not contain data, in addition to the original language, also in English or French), authenticated by the diplomatic-consular mission of the State that issued it;
- certificate of family status (with affixed tax stamp);
Pursuant to Ministry of the Interior Directive of 7 March 2012, as from June 2012 authority to issue citizenship decrees is assigned to:
a. the Prefect for applications submitted by foreigners legally residing in Italy;
b. Head of the Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration in the case of a foreign spouse residing abroad;
c. the Minister for the Interior in the case of reasons pertaining to the security of the Republic.