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How to Obtain an Italian Passport

Updated April 17, 2017

Hoping to obtain an Italian passport? Perhaps your father was Italian, your grandmother was born in Italy, or your most recent Italian connection goes back even further in history. You don't have to have been born in Italy yourself in order to obtain the burgundy passport.

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  1. Make sure that you have a verifiable Italian citizen in your paternal or maternal line. If this is found in your paternal line, there is no limit to the number of generations you must trace backwards. If this is found in your maternal line, you must have been born after Jan. 1, 1948. If you are a woman born before this date, you can only obtain citizenship from your father and subsequently can only transfer yours to your descendants born after this date.

  2. Be sure that the ancestor you are referencing remained an Italian citizen up until the birth of their immediate descendant directly related to you. In other words, if it is your father, he must have been an Italian citizen at least up until the time of your birth, or if it is your grandfather, he must have been an Italian citizen at least up until the time of your father's birth.

  3. Confirm that nobody in the line you are tracing ever renounced their right to Italian citizenship, including yourself.

  4. Apply for Italian citizenship at your nearest Italian embassy or consulate by filling out the necessary forms and providing the necessary documentation (birth certificates, naturalisation certificates). The processing of your application can take anywhere between two weeks and one year.

  5. If you are granted citizenship, you may submit your passport application to the nearest embassy or consulate. The processing of a new Italian passport for Italian citizens can take anywhere between one to six weeks.

  6. Tip

    If you do not qualify for citizenship through "jure sanguinis," or citizenship through ancestry, or you do not have any Italian ancestors, but are intent on obtaining an Italian passport, there are other ways of gaining citizenship, all of which entail residency periods. If you have formerly held Italian citizenship you are required at least one year of residency. If you are a foreigner with Italian parents or grandparents born in your native country you are required to live in Italy for three years. If you are an EU citizen of another EU country your residency requirement is four years. And if your citizenship is in a non-EU country, the requirement is 10 years. During all of these periods you must be a legal resident (with a visa or permit allowing your stay).


    Getting an Italian passport entails a long waiting period. Just to get an appointment in order to receive the necessary forms can take up to a year on a waiting list at most consulates. Obtaining Italian citizenship and an Italian passport are not goals for the impatient.

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Things You'll Need

  • Birth certificates tracing back to a direct ancestor with Italian citizenship (father, grandfather, great-grandfather's)
  • Certificate of Naturalization, statement of "No Records," or Green Card of parents and relevant ancestors
  • Death certificates, if applicable
  • Divorce certificates, if applicable
  • Spouse's birth certificate, if applicable
  • Birth certificates of children under 18, if applicable
  • Passport of home country, if applicable

About the Author

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.

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