ILC & Associates is a point of reference for foreigners in Italy who wish to obtain a certain benefit or have a right recognized in immigration and citizenship matters.
We want to ensure a professional work of the highest level to help the foreigner to acquire citizenship or to enter and stay in Italy under conditions of legality, for tourism or study, to work, to carry out economic activities, to rejoin a family member or for the other purposes protected by the law.
OBTAINING ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP
Italian citizenship for foreigners is the crowning achievement of a long integration process: after living so many years in Italy, the foreigner wants to finally feel equal to others, both socially and in the enjoyment of civil and political rights, by applying for Italian citizenship.
Obtaining citizenship in Italy is not an easy goal to achieve and also takes some time.
The extent of the waiting time for acquiring Italian citizenship can certainly be affected by the effectiveness of the steps taken by the foreigner to expedite the citizenship process. The ILC & ASSOCIATES Law Firm, as a firm experienced in immigration and Italian citizenship law regulations as well as the administrative process, is able to help the aspiring citizen in this way:
First explaining how to obtain Italian citizenship, that is, what are the requirements of Italian citizenship and the procedures that will have to be carried out in order to apply for citizenship, and then monitoring its progress;
Assist him/her from the online submission of the Italian citizenship application, ensuring that the documentation is complete and in order, as well as legalized, apostilled, and translated in accordance with legal requirements;
Solicit the file in order to reduce as much as possible the natural waiting time for citizenship, thus avoiding that the application for Italian citizenship remains abandoned on the shelves of administrative offices;
Provide assistance and advice throughout the entire process, representing the client before all relevant bodies, including with any requests for access to records;
Reacting to any notice of denial of citizenship or final denial, respectively, with a brief and an appeal to the Tar against the denial of citizenship.
The ILC & ASSOCIATES firm works with citizenship cases on a daily basis. We are one of the first firms, if not the first, to deal with the subject systematically and thoroughly. Any foreigner who wants to become an Italian citizen and wonders how to obtain Italian citizenship can find in us a point of reference. We are ready to assist you if citizenship is an important goal for you.
HOW IS ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP OBTAINED?
Those wondering how Italian citizenship is obtained should know that there are hypotheses of automatic acquisition, and others in which the acquisition of citizenship depends on a request by the person concerned. The hypotheses of automatic acquisition of Italian citizenship are as follows:
Iure sanguinis, that is, by birth, if father or mother are citizens;
By birth in the territory of the state, ius soli, if both parents are unknown or stateless or if the child does not follow the citizenship of the parents according to the law of the state to which they belong;
By adoption, if the child is a minor;
For minor children of those who acquire Italian citizenship in any capacity, who become citizens if the requirement of cohabitation is met, subject to the option of renunciation having come of age;
Alternatively, an application for Italian citizenship for foreigners is required, i.e. an application for Italian citizenship by the person concerned is needed.
These are the cases in which the acquisition of citizenship is not automatic but one must voluntarily make an application to acquire citizenship:
Citizenship by residence
the foreigner whose parents, or ascendants within the 2nd degree, were Italian citizens by birth, and has resided in Italy legally for at least 3 years;
the foreigner of age adopted by an Italian citizen, who has resided in Italy for at least 5 years following the adoption;
to the foreigner who has served, including abroad, for at least 5 years in the employ of the Italian State;
to the EU citizen who has resided in Italy for at least 4 years;
to the stateless person and refugee who has resided in Italy for at least 5 years;
the foreigner who has been legally residing in Italy for at least 10 years (standard assumption).
In these cases, then, how does one acquire Italian citizenship? One must submit an application for Italian citizenship to the Ministry of the Interior Italian citizenship for foreigners, after creating a personal account on the Ministry’s website.
The application is received and processed by the Prefecture, then the Ministry conducts further examinations and decides whether to grant or reject the application. The decree granting Italian “cittadinanza” is signed by the President of the Republic.
Citizenship by Marriage A second answer to how to take Italian citizenship is the hypothesis of acquiring citizenship by marriage: the spouse of an Italian citizen can acquire citizenship pursuant to Articles 5 et seq. of Law No. 91 of February 5, 1992, after two years of legal residence following marriage, or after 3 years after marriage if resident abroad. The terms are halved in the presence of children.
Citizenship by marriage is also applied for electronically, through the website of the Ministry of the Interior; however, the Italian citizenship application is processed and decided by a single body: the Prefecture of the foreigner’s place of residence.
How to obtain Italian citizenship
Article 1(1)(a) of Law No. 91 of February 5, 1992 adopts ius sanguinis as the general rule for the transmission of citizenship (“A child of a citizen father or mother is a citizen by birth”). Therefore, for the purpose of acquiring citizenship, it is sufficient to be the child of at least one citizen parent. Differently, naturalization implies a choice by the foreigner to become an Italian citizen.
In order to apply for Italian citizenship by residence, the foreigner must have resided in Italy continuously for at least 10 years (or for the different period provided for in Art. 9, Law No. 91/1992), without having “residence gaps,” that is, without having undergone a registry cancellation measure during this time.
Second, the foreigner must have received and declared sufficient income in the last 3 years prior to the application to acquire Italian citizenship (and maintain it during the course of the proceedings). Taking into account the entire household, the total income must be above the statutory limit for exemption from participation in health care costs.
Then follows the requirement of judicial standing: the foreigner must not have had any problems with the justice system, no criminal convictions issued, or pending proceedings.
If the general rule is that citizenship by residence is a concession and the administration must assess the degree of integration of the foreigner into the territory of the state, judicial standing is certainly the most relevant element for these purposes.
It should be premised that, as a general rule, crimes that have been prescribed or for which one has benefited from the extinction of the crime or rehabilitation may also prejudice the acquisition of citizenship.
However, each situation must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, which is why it becomes essential to consult a specialist in the field if the person with a criminal record wants to cultivate hopes of obtaining citizenship.
A further requirement for becoming an Italian citizen is to have adequate knowledge of the Italian language: a requirement proven by holding a long-term resident’s permit, or having obtained a qualification certifying knowledge of the Italian language at a level of at least B1. In order to obtain the acquisition of citizenship in Italy by marriage, it is necessary first of all that the foreigner be the “spouse” of an Italian citizen, by virtue of a marriage that on the date of adoption of the decree is perfectly in place and effective.
The foreigner must have resided in Italy for at least 2 years after the marriage (if the application is filed in Italy), or 3 years must have passed after the marriage (if the application is filed abroad). The time limits are reduced by half if there are children born to or adopted by the spouses.
Here again, the applicant must demonstrate knowledge of the Italian language of at least B1 level, in the same manner as described above. There are also negative requirements, i.e., the applicant must not have been convicted of any of the crimes listed in Book Two, Title I, Chapters I, II and III of the Penal Code. They also preclude the acquisition of citizenship by marriage:
conviction for a non-political crime for which the law provides for a maximum sentence of not less than three years’ imprisonment, or conviction for a non-political crime to a term of imprisonment of more than one year by a foreign judicial authority, when the sentence has been recognized in Italy;
the existence, in the specific case, of proven reasons pertaining to the security of the Republic. In the absence of the latter, the granting of Italian citizenship is a measure of a binding nature for the Administration, there is no discretion: for this reason, the relevant rights must be asserted before the ordinary judge and not the Tar.
WHAT are the waiting times for Italian citizenship?
It is necessary to know that the law provides a maximum time limit within which the Administration must conclude the process, which is currently 48 months (a deadline established by the first security decree of 2018, replacing the previous one that was 730 days). This does not mean that the foreigner will definitely wait 48 months to obtain Italian citizenship. The wait could be shorter but also longer: it all depends on how the applicant makes himself an active and conscious participant in the citizenship process. If the applicant remains passively waiting for the measure, the risk is really to see the waiting time lengthen, even beyond the 48 months stipulated by law. Therefore, it is important that the interested party, or even better a law firm that represents and assists him or her during the process, monitor the procedure and solicit public offices with some periodicity and constancy, leveraging the particular aspects of his or her case, which may possibly have profiles of urgency compared to any other citizenship application. The purpose of a dunning practice, then, is to control the progress of the proceedings and to reduce their duration as much as possible, seeking to have the client obtain Italian citizenship even before 48 months.
The ILC & ASSOCIATES Law Firm specializes in understanding how to expedite citizenship practice, being able to rely on more than a decade of experience in the area of acquiring Italian citizenship and practices to solicit citizenship practice.
WE PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF FOREIGNERS IN ITALY
If a foreigner intends to apply for a residence permit, if he or she wants to obtain reunification with a family member, family cohesion with an Italian citizen, or an entry visa to Italy of another type, or if his or her applications have been rejected or a response from the Administration is delayed on the same, he or she can rely on us and receive immediate legal assistance. The ILC & ASSOCIATES Law Firm provides assistance and advice in all matters concerning immigration law on in Italy, bringing to bear its experience and professionalism.
Our clients are foreigners wherever they reside, including abroad, whom we can assist without any difficulties related to distance, communicating by phone, e-mail and Skype.
The activity of our law firm also extends to applications for rehabilitation and extinction of crime – necessary for access to certain benefits such as citizenship or long-term resident’s permit – as well as assistance aimed at obtaining the removal of the foreigner from the Schengen Information System, which is essential for obtaining an entry visa.
We protect the foreign national’s interest in obtaining a visa to enter Italy. We also defend the client who has been denied a visa or entry clearance, or who is prevented from entering Italy due to an alert in the Schengen Information System (SIS).
Entry into the territory of the State is permitted to a foreigner in possession of a valid passport or equivalent document and an entry visa, and may take place – except in cases of force majeure – only through specially established border crossings.
Entry into Italy naturally presupposes an application for a visa, which may be for short stays, and that is, up to ninety days, or for stays of an extended duration that presuppose the attainment of a residence permit, the reason for which must be identical to that mentioned in the visa.
Recall that citizens of countries on the so-called “white list” (such as, for example, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Costa Rica, Croatia, etc.) are not obliged to apply for an entry visa for stays for tourism, mission, business, invitation and sports competition, provided that the stay does not exceed 90 days.
The main hypothesis for foreigners to enter Italy is work-related visas; but this is where the difficulties for the foreigner who wants to obtain a visa to enter Italy grow.
As we know, in fact, entry for work is regulated by the flow decrees issued by the government, which in fact, for many years now, have resulted in purely formal measures, because they are reserved for absolutely niche cases that cut off the most widespread hypotheses of foreign employed or self-employed workers (first and foremost domestic helpers and caregivers).
It thus becomes interesting, in wondering how to obtain a visa for Italy, to look out for specific figures of entry visas, unless one wants to stay in Italy only for tourist reasons, and then the interest is rather in the tourist visa.
Returning to the topic of work, one should know that the law provides for hypotheses of entry for work in special cases. Reference is made to Article 27 of the Consolidated Immigration Act, which allows entry to foreigners outside of quotas.
As we have said, the entry of foreigners for work can take place only within the quantitative limits imposed by the “quotas” established in the flow decrees (for many years-we repeat-the quotas have been reserved for particularly skilled workers or investors, or other very narrow cases).
Well, Art. 27 provides for hypotheses of entry for work in special cases, that is, which allow entry regardless of the quantitative and numerical limits established by the State: reference is made, for example, to executives seconded by foreign companies, university professors called to fulfill an academic assignment, translators and interpreters, sports professionals, artistic personnel, professional nurses, and other hypotheses for the list of which we refer to the above-mentioned legal norm.
As you can see, these are very specific and reserved hypotheses of entry, not available to everyone. Another particular hypothesis is that of the entry visa for elective residence,
which can be considered when the foreigner has the ownership or legal availability of a property in Italy to elect as residence, as well as the availability of income and economic resources – not from work activity – that would allow him to be able to live and support himself in our country without having to work.
Beyond these individual and specific assumptions, there is a broad category of entry visas, which is well outlined by Interministerial Decree No. 850/2011. For example, one can enter Italy with a visa for: adoption, business, medical treatment, diplomatic reasons, accompanying family member and family reunion, sports competition, self-employment, mission, religious reasons, re-entry, study, transit, tourist visa and others.
The visa for entry into Italy is issued by the Italian diplomatic or consular representation at the foreigner’s place of origin or residence, after verification of the requirements. In particular, the foreigner must prove:
- to have appropriate documentation about the purpose and conditions of the stay;
- that he/she has the availability of sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of the stay, and except for work stays, also those necessary for the return to the country of origin;
- that he/she is not in one of the causes preventing entry, provided for in paragraphs 3 and 6 of alrt 4 of the T.U.I;
- having obtained, with regard to visas for specific types of stay, a special clearance (e.g., for reunification);
- to fall within the numerical quotas set annually by decree of the President of the Council of Ministers (so-called flow decree). This requirement is needed only for entries aimed at subordinate (including seasonal) and self-employment;
- Nulla osta and entry visa: For entries into the territory of the State aimed at the performance of work activities (subordinate, including seasonal, or self-employment) or functional to family reunification, the Legislator requires, as a necessary step to obtain a visa, the prior acquisition of specific nulla osta whose applications must be submitted to the Single Desk for Immigration.
Should the application for a visa to enter Italy result in a negative outcome, the interested party may appeal. The competent judge is the Administrative one, because case law holds that a mere legitimate interest, and not a subjective right, is configured in the foreigner.
Since the decision on entry can only explain its effects throughout the national territory, the competent court must be considered the Lazio Regional Administrative Court.
On the other hand, with reference to the denial of a nulla osta, territorial jurisdiction is rooted in the place where the Sportello Unico that instructed the file is located.
An exception to the jurisdiction of the Administrative Judge is the case in which the object of the appeal is the denial of a visa for family reunification or for entry of the accompanying family member.
In such a case, the legal situation concerns a subjective right, i.e. the right to family unity, as such protectable before the ordinary courts.
A foreigner who has been denied a visa for entry into Italy can receive immediate legal assistance from us. We provide assistance and advocacy in lawsuits directed at challenging the denial of a visa to enter Italy, so that the competent Embassy is ordered to issue the requested visa. OF ENTRY: