Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Summary of the citizenship re-acquisition process

I have received several emails asking me to provide a summary of what is required for someone born in Italy, and has lost the Italian citizenship, to re-acquire it. 

It is really simple, although there is some confusion about the 91/1992 law, specifically the period of required residency in Italy. Article 13 specifically states that a person who has lost Italian citizenship can reacquire it:
c) if he or she declares the wish to reacquire citizenship and has established or establishes residence in the territory of the Republic within one year of such declaration; d) one year after the date on which he or she established residence in the territory of the Republic..." These two paragraphs (Comma c and d) are frequently confused. The law does not require one to live in Italy for one year. Comma c, implies an actual effort by the ex-citizen to regain its citizenship, and, clearly, a residence in Italy so that the reacquisition process can be finalized. Comma d) refers to an automatic reacquisition after the one year residency.

I followed the law 91/1992, Article 13, Comma c. I went to the Consulate in Vancouver and solemnly declared I wanted to reacquire my Italian citizenship. I provided my Canadian Naturalization certificate, birth certificate, criminal record, passport, drivers license and an affidavit declaring I was who I said I was. I also was asked for a copy of my last three years tax returns, and a fee of some 200 Euros payable to the Italian Interior Ministry. All those documents were translated in Italian. I also applied for an elective visa to stay in Italy for more than three months (the maximum allowed as a tourist). The Consulate sent the documents to various Italian Authorities, including the city of Rome where I was born. When in Rome, I found a place to live (i.e. a residence) and registered my residence with the city. Then waited, as described in my previous posts. When the paper work was finally over, my citizenship was retroactively established to the date I registered myself.

As I write this post, it seems that process is very simple and straight-forward. However, it did not feel that way. Unfortunately, various websites provide confusing or incomplete information, including the site by the
Italian Consulate in Toronto, which added to the uncertainty.


  1. How long after establishing residency did it take for you to obtain the papers saying your citizenship was reinstated?

  2. After establishing residency, that is after the municipal police checked I indeed lived where I said I was living, the residency office issued on the spot a one page certificate of residency. Then, all I had to do was take the certificate to the citizenship office at the "anagrafe" in Rome (within the same building) and finalize the re-acquisition. Since that office had already all the papers lined up (i.e. papers sent to it from the Vancouver Consulate as explained in the blog), the citizenship was immediate. In my case, the lady that helped me was busy in swearing in new Italians (not born in Italy), and asked whether i could go back the following day, which I did. I went the following day and she handed me the citizenship certificate. With that, I went downstairs, took a few pics of me from the self-service photo booth, and had the Italian ID card issued 30 minutes later.

    Summary: How long? Immediate. There is a bit of paperwork since different offices were involved. However, note that, since I was born in Rome, they already had me in their computer (this underlines the importance of re-gaining one's citizenship in the same city of birth). Also, I preferred doing everything in person, i.e. the various personnel did not have to send stuff in the mail, which sped up the process. Finally, it seemed clear to me that the Rome's offices were experienced in the process. Other towns may not understand the Article 13, Comma c (this is the very important one as explained in the blog) or may not have as an efficient computer system as the one in Rome.... not sure...