Marrying a foreigner sounds like an exciting prospect, but the idea of starting afresh in another country is daunting. Even if the place is an incredible one, the challenges of immigration sound scary. If you plan to marry an Italian, consider it a stroke of good luck. The country has a relatively simple process that lets eligible individuals apply for citizenship by marriage. It means you have to fulfill some formalities to join your Italian family after marriage and start a new life with them.
While everything about the route seems too good to be true, it actually is easier than you imagine. But you must understand everything about the process, right from eligibility requirements to paperwork and formalities to get through easily. Further, collaborating with a citizenship expert can make the journey easier. You can visit Bersani Law Firm for understanding more about the route before going ahead. Let us explain the basics that you need to know for claiming your citizenship rights through your Italian spouse.
Qualifying for citizenship by marriage
Marrying an Italian citizen does not make you eligible for citizenship by marriage right away. You have to follow some requirements to validate your eligibility for the process. These include:
- Your marriage took place in an Italian city where your spouse resides.
- Even marriages registered abroad are valid, but your spouse should be registered with the Italian consulate in the country of residence.
- You can apply after two years of marriage if married to an Italian residing in Italy and after three years if they live outside Italy.
The law applies to same-sex civil unions, apart from married couples. Italy is a liberal country that recognizes same-sex unions as legal since 2016. The good thing about the process is that it expedites automatically if you have biological or adopted children with your spouse. Couples in Italy can apply after one year of marriage, and those residing abroad can go ahead with the application 18 months after marriage once they have children.
Gathering relevant documents
Qualifying for Italian citizenship by marriage depends on timelines, as you can apply once you complete a specific period. Once you are eligible, you need to gather relevant documents to validate your marriage. Here are the ones you will require to get started with the application process.
- A copy of your marriage certificate from the Italian municipality where your spouse is registered with the Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad (AIRE)
- A copy of criminal background checks
- A certified copy of your foreign birth certificate
- ID card of your Italian spouse
- Italian language certification that attests B1 (intermediate) level of proficiency
Besides these documents, you will have to deposit a fee of 250.00 Euros to the Ministero dell’Interno to apply for the process. Keep a copy of the bank transfer at hand as you will need it down the line.
Going ahead with the application process
At this stage, you are all set to go ahead with the application process. While citizenship by marriage is an easy route, you can still expect several steps and formalities to prove the facts. The last thing you will want to do is miss out on a step or make an error. It is best to have a citizenship expert showing the way and ensuring that you are on the right track throughout the journey. Here are the steps involved in the process.
Step 1- Submission of documents
Gathering documents beforehand gives you a head start with the citizenship process. But just having them is not enough. You need to ensure that the documents issued outside Italy are certified-translated and apostilled to be regarded as valid. You will have to provide your marriage certificate in the original form. If one or both partners have been divorced, a decree absolute or a no-divorce declaration is also needed. When all the documents are ready, you must submit your application online, along with the required documents in PDF format.
Step 2- Consulate visit
After completing the submission process, you can fix an appointment with your local consulate to validate the documents in person. Usually, you can get an appointment within a month, so it is not a long wait. Make sure that documents are in place and acceptable so that you can have a hassle-free experience. The consulate may seek additional documents during the interview, so double-checking them beforehand helps. Even better, get them verified by a professional. These experts ensure that there are no errors and omissions in the existing documents. Even if you need additional paperwork, they will assist you in procuring it quickly.
Step 3- Decision time
The authorities go through your documents, and they may accept, deny, or accept your application with reservations. Even if they ask you for more documents, there are still good chances of getting a favorable decision eventually. You can expect the processing time for your second passport to take up to three years, though you can get it within two years as well. It depends on the waiting time in the Ministry of Interior Office for marriage and civil union applications. Also, ensuring that there are no errors in your first application and documentation can reduce the timelines significantly.
Moving to Italy as a citizen after marriage may take time and effort as you have to fulfill a process and complete its formalities for a valid status. But it is worthwhile as you get all the facilities and rights similar to your spouse and Italian family. Life gets much better, and you feel at home with your new family. The best way to go ahead with the process is by having an Italian citizenship expert guiding you and handling the process on your behalf. Since they know everything about the country’s laws, there is hardly a chance of going wrong or missing out on anything. The best part is that they can even help you with document gathering. Not to mention, you feel more confident and complete the process as early as possible.