Applying for a passport in Italy
If you are an Italian citizen residing in Italy or if you applied for Italian citizenship by descent directly in Italy and have decided to continue residing in the country you can apply for a passport at the local “Questura” (police headquarters). The same applies if you have claimed Italian citizenship via a court case and you reside in Italy, if you have applied for Italian citizenship by residency or if you have applied for Italian citizenship by marriage and you and your Italian spouse live in Italy.
Via an Italian consulate
If you have applied for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (by descent) via an Italian consulate, after having submitted your citizenship application comprising all the certified copies of your family’s vital records (birth, marriage, death and divorce certificates, if applicable, and your ancestor’s naturalization records or proof that your ancestor was never naturalized) the citizenship clerk will evaluate your claim to Italian citizenship, and if it is approved you will be officially recognized as an Italian citizen and you will be registered with the A.I.R.E. (Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad. Only when your AIRE registration is complete will you be able to apply for an Italian passport. This entails booking an appointment at the Italian consulate that covers the jurisdiction where you reside and submitting a duly completed and signed application form.
Similarly, individuals who obtained Italian citizenship by descent while residing in Italy can decide to apply for an Italian passport via an Italian consulate in the U.S., however they can do so only after registering with the AIRE.
If you have applied for Italian citizenship via a 1948 case, and you reside in the U.S., you will need to register the final judgment granting you citizenship through the Italian consulate that covers the jurisdiction where you reside. The consulate will then send the certified copy of the judgment, together with a certified copy of your vital records (namely your birth and marriage certificates, which the court will provide you with after your claim to citizenship has been approved) to the municipality in Italy where your ancestor was born. Finally, you will be able to apply for a passport at your Italian consulate as soon as the municipality in Italy registers your records and you have registered with the AIRE.
If you have applied for Italian citizenship by marriage and you reside abroad, you will need to apply for an Italian passport via the Italian consulate that covers the jurisdiction where you reside.
What documents do you need in order to apply?
In order to apply for a passport, you will need to book an appointment via the Italian consulate that covers the jurisdiction where you reside, if you live outside Italy, or via the “Questura” (local police headquarters) if you reside in Italy. An in-person appointment will be required because electronic passports now require fingerprinting. Please note that children under twelve do not need to take fingerprints in order to be issued a passport.
In order to apply you will need the following:
- a valid form of ID (passport or driver’s license)
- your old Italian passport – if you are renewing your passport
- an application form, which is provided by the Questura or by the Italian consulate
- 2 passport size photographs with white background
- a consent form (if you are applying for a minor child’s passport)*
- a passport fee
It generally takes between one and six weeks to be issued a passport.
* As per Italian law, if you have minor children, you will need your spouse’s formal consent to apply for an Italian passport as well as for your children’s passports.
What are the benefits of holding an Italian passport?
There are several advantages to being an Italian citizen and holding an Italian passport. As explained above, as an Italian citizen and EU citizen you can travel, study or work anywhere in the European Union without the need to apply for a visa and without any time restrictions. Holding an Italian passport also allows you to benefit from high quality, low-cost universal health care and access Italy’s education system, which is another important asset. In fact, university fees in Italy are generally very affordable and many Italian universities have an excellent reputation and rank high on an international scale.
Is having a passport a legal requirement in Italy?
Although by Italian law you must carry a form of identification with you at all times (i.e., passport or ID card), holding an Italian passport is not a legal requirement (i.e. you can be an Italian citizen and decide not to apply for an Italian passport). However, it is worth pointing out that if you apply for an Italian passport, you will need to renew it every 10 years through the Italian consulate if you reside outside Italy, or through the “Questura” if you reside in Italy. You can renew a passport 6 months before it expires. If you forget to renew your passport you will simply need to apply for a new one.
Finally, unlike a passport which expires after ten years from the date of issuance, your citizenship status is not subject to any expiration date.
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 Being registered with the AIRE means that your vital records are filed in a municipality in Italy and that both the Italian government as well as your consulate have proof that you are an Italian citizen residing abroad. If you move to another state in the U.S., or if you move abroad, you will need to update your address with the AIRE so that you are eligible to apply to a different consulate that covers your new jurisdiction. It is also advisable to register with Fast It as it will enable you to access some consular services online, such as updating your address and contact details.