Italian Citizenship by Marriage – Jure Matrimonio (JM)
The Administrators have developed the following linked 82 page (!!) guide outlining the detailed steps you must take to successfully complete a JM application. The basics are details below on this page. Dive into the linked PDF for all nitty gritty the details!
Basics: Legal spouses of Italian citizens (i.e. those whose marriage is registered in Italy) are able to become Italian citizens as well. Italy recognizes traditional marriages and also recognizes civil unions for same-sex couples.
How long to wait? You may apply for citizenship by marriage after you have been married to your spouse for three (3) years if living outside of Italy, or two (2) years if living inside Italy. That time is halved if you and your partner have minor children together, to 18 months and 1 year respectively. The waiting period starts from the date of your marriage, not the date of recognition of citizenship for your spouse. So if you and your spouse have been married for 5 years and they just received recognition, you may apply for citizenship immediately provided you meet the other requirements.
Your spouse must be a recognized Italian citizen with your marriage registered in his or her comune in order to start the process.
As of 4 December 2018, with the changes implemented under the Decreto di Sicurezza signed by the Minister of the Interior (colloquially known as the Salvini Decree), all applicants for citizenship by marriage must demonstrate a B1 fluency level in Italian. The level of the language required to reach B1 is in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This requirement does NOT apply to JM applications submitted before 4 December 2018.
You must also be able to provide background checks to show you are of “good moral character” to be eligible to apply.
How long to wait? The decreto also modified the amount of time the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are allotted to process your application. The original length was two (2) years from official receipt of your application and supporting materials. That period is now allowed to take up to four (4) years from the date of official receipt of all material. This change does apply to applications submitted before the Decree took effect (4 December 2018).
Application Status? All applications are processed by the Ministry of the Interior in Rome – the consulate you submitted your paperwork too simply shepherds your documents to Rome and cannot provide you an update on your case.