Italian Citizenship by marriage

cidadania italiana por casamento


Obtaining Italian citizenship through marriage to an Italian spouse is a process that involves several steps and specific requirements.

To start the procedure, the foreigner must fill in the application form, gathering all the documents required by the Italian authorities.

It is a derivative means of acquiring Italian citizenship where there is a voluntary act by one of the parties to acquire the nationality of their spouse.

In this way we are dealing with citizenship by naturalization, and the application is submitted administratively to the competent body.

The acquisition of Italian citizenship by marriage is conceived through the civil marriage between the parties, duly registered with the Stato Civile department of the corresponding Comune. In other words, the law does not consider a stable union between the parties for the purposes of citizenship by marriage.


Italian law lays down certain requirements for applying for citizenship by marriage:

a) Temporal requirement: In order to apply for citizenship by marriage, the spouses must have been married for: a1) 02 years if they are resident in Italy. For example, a Brazilian marries an Italian in Italy where they are resident. Or a2) 03 years if the residence is abroad. Example: A Brazilian acquires citizenship through the courts and subsequently marries a Brazilian woman and takes up residence in Brazil.

The periods of 03 and 02 years are halved if the spouses have children, which includes adoption.


It is important to note that, according to Italian law, the marriage must have a minimum duration for the foreign spouse to have the right to apply for Italian citizenship.

If the marriage is dissolved before this period, the foreign spouse will lose the possibility of acquiring Italian citizenship through this specific route.

 b) Continuous requirement: During this period, the parties concerned cannot have been annulled, separated or divorced. The law states "non sussista la separazione personale dei coniugi", so not even de facto separation can take place. The couple must be united until the process is completed.

c) Language requirement: The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen must have a level of proficiency in the Italian language corresponding to level B1, as established by the regulations. This requirement aims to ensure that the individual is able to communicate effectively in the local language. Law 132 of December 1, 2018, known as the SICUREZZA DECREE, establishes knowledge of the Italian language. It is worth remembering that this applies to derivative citizenship acquired by marriage.


People married before April 27, 1983, either to a Brazilian who was born in Italy or to a Brazilian who subsequently obtained Italian citizenship, can apply for recognition without having to queue at the Italian Consulate. This is a citizenship with automatic legal application as long as the time requirement is met, i.e. marriage before April 27, 1983.

 The date of April 27, 1983 is particularly relevant because Italian laws changed during this period, establishing new criteria for granting citizenship to spouses of Italian citizens. It is therefore essential to be aware of the legislation in force at the time of the marriage.

Documentation for those married before 1983 includes:

- full birth certificate issued by the registry office with apostille and sworn translation

- Completion of the Substitute Declaration of Certification - Stato Civile form available on the website

- Payment of a fee of 300 euros.

General documentation

When filling in the application form, it is essential to include all the required documents, such as marriage certificates, proof of residence, etc. The process can take some time to complete and it is common for it to take at least 2 years from the start of the application to the actual granting of Italian citizenship.

In summary, to obtain Italian citizenship by marriage, it is necessary to meet the stipulated requirements, respect the minimum time of union, be proficient in the Italian language and provide all the relevant documents. In this way, the foreign spouse will have the right to Italian citizenship, strengthening family ties and guaranteeing their rights as an Italian citizen.