Preparing for the Diversity of Italian Bureaucracy

questura, Italywise

The office of the immigration police.

If you’re planning on moving to Italy you’ll be dealing with bureaucratic processes that are significantly different from your home country – especially if you’re coming from the States. So, at a basic level, I believe it’s important to wrap one’s head around this and prepare accordingly. I’ve found many Italian newbies are caught unawares by the added layer of complexity and confusion of Italian bureaucracy in the different provinces.

Before bringing my life to Italy, I understood the country was only recently unified (1871). I anticipated language (dialect) and cultural differences by region, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the diversity of Italian bureaucracy. Thankfully everything worked out, but I certainly would have tackled this differently if I had it to do all over again.

Many bureaucratic requirements are consistent nationwide, but how they are administered can vary considerably.

I urge you not to zoom past this fact of Italian life and decide to “wing it” when you get here. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for frustration, and kicking yourself for not having done an additional layer of research about the region in which you intend to reside.

For instance, if you thrive within a bureaucratic process that is more buttoned up and predictable, you may want to consider living in the provinces that are known for those qualities. You may want to avoid areas that function a bit too “organically” for your tastes, and with less precision and speed.

Let’s take the Questura, the immigration police, for example.

In some provinces you may find yourself queueing up and waiting hours, even though you have been given an appointment. You may also find that the processing time for your permesso di soggiorno painfully slow (in some places it can take six months processing this document which has to be renewed annually). Here in Treviso the questura is one of the biggest offices I’ve visited. I was there for my carta di soggiorno (permanent residency). I had an appointment but I didn’t now what to expect when I arrived amidst a sea of probably over a hundred other people waiting their turns. I checked in with a receptionist (not always the case with other questuras), and within a minute my number came up indicating which window would process my request.

I was in and out of the questura in less than half an hour. And, my carta was promised within a forty-to-sixty day window (emphasizing the probability of being closer to forty days, and expressing outrage if it came to sixty).

With Italian bureaucracy, weigh the pros and cons of the provinces when making your decision of where to live.

Provinces handle and fund their administrative offices differently. If you’re in an area in Italy known for its raw beauty, rural lifestyle, and sparse population, you may find the trade off that the bureaucratic offices are not as well funded or staffed. Other wealthier, and more populated areas, can have more predictable and efficient functioning. Bottom line, it varies.

You may also find yourself paying different fees for the same services in different regions.

Research the area/s in which you are considering residing.

You’ll thank yourself later for this – especially if you don’t like surprises. The biggies in the Italian bureaucracy includes your questura, your local comune (consider it the town hall where all your registrations reside), the ASL (where you apply for the tessera sanitaria). See if you can connect with expats who’ve settled in the area and have at least a year or two of experience under their belts. I think it is sage advice to spend at least a couple of months living in a prospective area. You may find some good information online, but I believe nothing is as good a direct experience of talking with someone who has walked the path you are considering.

Italy offers such varied options for living. While the differences from province to province can sometimes be maddening, it’s also what makes living here so wonderful. You can visit another area, and feel almost as though you’re in a completely different country. It’s certainly not the same experience for me as going from state to state back in America!

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By |2017-02-07T12:43:54+01:00February 7th, 2017|Italian Residency, Moving to Italy, Permesso di soggiorno|34 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Ray February 28, 2018 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Could someone please comment on my situation?

    I am trying to see if it is possible to obtain an Italian citizenship

    · My mother was born in Italy in 1920 (I have a legal copy of birth certificate)
    · My Grandfather, Grandmother and my mother immigrated to the US in 1921.
    · My Grandfather and Grandmother renounced their citizenship in between 1933 and 1935. ( I have the documents).
    · I had some help to find that my mother became an US citizen since she was a minor (13 years old) — “your mother did NOT become a naturalized citizen in her own right — she acquired/”derived” citizenship through her parents when they naturalized”.
    · She married my American father in 1947
    · I was born in 1955

    Can I still apply for Italian citizenship under these circumstances? I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Thank you for all or any comments.

    • Jed February 28, 2018 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Ray, I’m not the expert on this, but from what I understand, in your situation the heritage rights stopped when your mom and grandparents naturalized. But, I highly recommend a call for a free consultation with the folks at I spoke with Peter Farina, the founder, and they’re experts in these matters and can give you a reliable answer in short order.

      • Ray February 28, 2018 at 7:09 pm - Reply

        Jed thank you for this instantaneous response!

        Your perspective is probably on target… maybe I am grabbing at straws and hoping for an easier way to get retirement residency in Italy. I will contact for their opinion and see if it is worth persueing. After reading this blog, I understand more clearly the patience that is required to receive premesso di soggiorno. Not a deal breaker but I as hoping to avoid the annual issues I read here.

        Thank you Jed!

        • Jed February 28, 2018 at 9:08 pm - Reply

          Happy to help in any way I can. It’s good to exhaust all avenues for citizenship first!

  2. J. Mariani April 8, 2017 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed. I live in Tuscany and know quite a few retirees in this region; we have all had the same experience as to the issuance and renewal of the permesso di soggiorno. That is, the first one is given for a one year period, and all subsequent renewals are given for two years. I haven’t met any retirees here who have not been allowed to renew their PdiS for a 2-year period, and everyone marks their application form for “2 anni.” I am not sure why retirees in Umbria can not do that; the approval of the PdiS, and subsequent renewals, is determined by the immigration office in Rome where the applications are processed, and they have approved the 2-year PdiS for every retiree that I know. If one had the energy to provide proof to the office in Perugia that the renewal of the elective residence permesso is available for a 2-year period, it would save a lot of people the hassle of renewing their PdiS on a yearly basis. I had an issue with the Prefettura here in Florence, but after finding the applicable law/regulation and showing it to them, they agreed with my argument and my situation in that case was quickly resolved. I didn’t mean to give the impression that there is a 3-year permesso, of which I’ve never heard, and apologize if I was unclear about that. My friend who just renewed her PdiS did not have to provide copies of all of the pages of her passport, nor have I, upon submitting the application for renewal. Only the pages that show the identity of the holder of the passport. As for joining the public health care system for retirees, the cost in Tuscany is determined on a sliding scale and depends on one’s income. It is my understanding that retirees should only pay the flat fee. I have not yet joined the public health care system since I still have private insurance, but I will mostly likely do so at some point in the future. At that time, I will investigate further how fees should be charged to retirees. I only know of one retiree who joined the public health care system. The first year, she was charged the flat fee, but in subsequent years they charged much more and they based that on her level of retirement income. To make that determination, she was only required to provide a copy of her tax return to verify her annual income. It is possible that they are over-charing her as a retiree, although it could be an age-related issue; she is quite young for a retiree in that she is only 55 years old. As you know, none is this is necessarily easy because it is very difficult to locate the correct information on Italian government websites. It takes a lot of time and energy to ferret out the facts. lol

    • Jed April 11, 2017 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Thank you for this incredibly informative email! I hope other people residing in Tuscany will find this information useful. Frankly I don’t know why the Perugia office says they won’t issue the two-year permesso. But, I guess it’s worth trying to check that box on the application, and then seeing how it goes – and hoping NOT to get into an argument regarding what is clearly published. I had been told (not from personal experience) that Tuscany has a flat fee for healthcare for the person with elective residency, so hearing they are sometimes using a sliding scale is confusing. It’s my understanding that any sliding scales is supposed to be based on “earned income” and not passive income. For that reason, it would make sense for the flat fee on a person on pension. But, who knows?

  3. J. Mariani April 8, 2017 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Jed, as I have been pondering the E.U. permanent residence permit, it dawned on me that the rights afforded 3rd country nationals is provided by the E.U., thus I don’t think Perugia can deny anyone the right to apply for permanent residency, provided they meet the conditions. In the case that it might help those whom you know who are experiencing difficulties, perhaps this website is a good place for them to start:

    • Jed April 8, 2017 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      I really wish I had better understanding why Perugia seems to apply the rules differently than is stated by the EU. When a person runs up against something that is seemingly not in line with the published law, an immigration attorney does seem like the best way to deal with it.

      Thanks so much for sharing the link!

  4. J. Mariani April 8, 2017 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for your thoughts, Jed. I coincidentally had a coffee with a woman this morning who had just finished submitting her permesso di soggiorno renewal application. She took a copies of every possible document that they might request, but the folks at the post office said she only needed to submit copies of her passport, current permesso di soggiorno and carta d’identita` and nothing else. I’ve also heard very conflicting information regarding when one can submit the application for the long-term E.U. residence permit, as well as who qualifies for the permit. I am retired and was told by the prefettura that retirees do not qualify because their income is not from a work performed in Italy, which my Italian attorney said is not true. I’ve also been told that one must submit proof of having paid Italian income tax during the five years preceding the application. Neither of these two items are addressed on the government website, nor is the question of whether one can apply for the long-term E.U. residence permit in lieu of renewing the permesso di soggiorno at the end of one’s fifth year. For those of us here with an elective residence permesso di soggiorno, and forgive me if I’m stating something that you already know, the first one is for one year, the second for two years, the third for two years. So it would be advantageous to be able to apply for the permanent permit in lieu of renewing the permesso di soggiorno for a fourth time. I am not quite ready to apply for the permanent permit, but it might be something I will let my attorney do for me in the case that if an erroneous requirement is made by any personnel; he can address it immediately. I’d prefer not to spend the money, but I’d prefer it more not to have to do battle on my own. I am not quite sure how the office in Perugia can refuse to issue the E.U. permanent residence card since it is clearly something that has been made available by the Italian government to all foreigners who meet the requirements; it would seem to me to be something one could easily challenge. Again, thank you for your thoughts; they are much appreciated.

    • Jed April 8, 2017 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing what you’ve heard from the woman who recently went to renew her permesso. Was she still required to provide copies of all pages in her passport that have entry and exit stamps? I’d read that an application for a permesso can be made for one or two years (after the first one). In Umbria I’ve heard of only one person who got the two-year permesso – and that was by accident (I don’t know the details). Otherwise, for some reason the Perugia office communicates to most people on elective residency visas that the one year permesso is their only option – which is why I know several people who’ve been renewing, like clock work, every year in Umbria. I’ve not heard or read about a three-year permesso. I think it would be futile to attempt to argue with the people at the regional offices, which is why (as you point out) spending the money to have an attorney, who understands the rules, and can converse effectively with such offices, is probably the best avenue to follow.
      In other regions, the two year permesso is an option, as is the permanent residency, so a person has to research thoroughly how each region decides to apply and communicate the immigration laws.
      In Umbria, how they apply the national health plan (tessera sanitaria) varies from some other regions – applying a fee based on a sliding scale. Just this year the ASL offices in Umbria started requiring people who are on social security to provide a notarized 1099 of social security income from the US Consulate, in order to make the calculation. In Veneto, a flat fee is charged to a person with a permesso di soggiorno (less than 500 euro). I share this as an example of how each region decides to administer and fund their programs.
      I can’t explain the differences, other than offer it may be a matter of funding. Who really knows?
      Which regions are you in? I’m curious to know.
      Please let me know if you end up working through an attorney, and achieve success!

  5. J. Mariani April 7, 2017 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Hi Jed.

    I have recently heard two things that I am trying to confirm. First, for the renewal of the permesso di soggiorno, copies of financial records are no longer required; only a copy of one’s passport pages and current permesso di soggiorno are required, but I can find nothing that verifies that. Have you heard similar claims and know whether they are true? Second, a friend tried to apply for the long term residency permit because her current permesso di soggiorno expired at the end of her fifth year in Italy. They would not allow her to apply for the long term E.U. permit and insisted that she renew her permesso di soggiorno instead. They did tell her that she could submit her application for the long term permit the day after the expiration of her current permesso di soggiorno. When she asked them about the logic in that, they didn’t have a response but encouraged her to renew her permesso di soggiorno so that she would not be left with no valid permit at all. So, the question remains: is one able to apply for the long term E.U. permit at the end of one’s fifth year, or does one have to actually wait until one is in their sixth year? Thanks much!

    • Jed April 8, 2017 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Hi, I haven’t heard that financial records aren’t required at permesso renewal. I always included them (just the last account balance summary page). I made my applications in Umbria with a official from a local union (free service). Unless you can find something that officially attests to this no longer being a requirement I’d still include it so as to not have any hiccups during processing. Bureaucracy implementation can be inconsistent, and you’d hate to get caught up in that – which is why I advise to provide the information. I was relieved, after having to provide six months of financial statements for the visa application before coming to Italy, to just provide a few pages, printed from online, of my account info, for the permesso.
      As for the odd timing and process for the carta di soggiorno at the end of the fifth year, I’ve heard stories that are all over the map. It seems as though different regions apply this differently. In fact, in Umbria, the Perugia office has told many people they’re not issuing the long term residency permit (I know people who’ve been renewing the permesso yearly for 10+ years). The guy at the union told me that you can’t even apply unless you they can see you are paying income tax in Italy (the IVAFE foreign asset tax doesn’t count). I’d read, as you have, that you can apply for the permanent residency card after five full year, so all of this has been a head scratcher.
      My advice is to follow what you’re being told by the officials in your local office, even though the logics seems strange. I think the different regionals offices often make up their own rules and vary their processes. This makes it exasperating for people who want to plan and have all their t’s crossed and their i’s dotted.
      My experiences between Umbria and Veneto have been pretty different. Because my spouse is Italian I easily (and painlessly) was converted to the carta di soggiorno, so I haven’t had to navigate the process you’re describing, which should be available to all after five full years. In bocca al lupo!
      Hope this helps!

  6. JR February 11, 2017 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Neil, I am so grateful for your detailed response. All of the parties involved are now deceased, so it will take a good deal of research on my end to discover the circumstances of their US citizenship. But this gives me a solid starting point. Thank you so much for your time and generosity!

  7. Anita February 7, 2017 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    Ciao Jed! Wow very complicated..thank you always for great advice! A presto Anita

  8. royane February 7, 2017 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    :sigh: wish we had read this a few years ago. We have not started any process yet for residency and WE ARE the only Americans living in our City in southern Italy ( 3 months at a time). So, we will just hope for the best at this point. Anyway…thanks for the posting!

    • Jed February 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      I’m sure you’ll figure it all out with the time comes to plan a longer stay. I’ll keep sharing what I learn. Maybe one of these days I’ll attempt to research some of the unique experiences as they pertain to a particular province!

  9. elizabeth wholey February 7, 2017 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Also rules and regulations change from one year to the next! Patience is a requirement, but once you get the hang of how things “work”, living here is worth the occasional aggravation. Very important: learn to speak and understand Italian. Thanks for how to do that in your recent blog, Jed!

    • Jed February 7, 2017 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Elizabeth! Yes, patience is the most important ingredient, and I have to remind myself of that over and over again.

  10. Neil Vetrano February 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Excellent post as you are correct, it can be maddening indeed. I find that in many cases the workers in these offices had little experience handling Americans moving to Italy, or likely none at all. I moved to a fairly large city outside of Milan and felt as thought people really were making things up as they tried to figure out what to do with Americans. My situation is quite different as I am of Italian origin and applied for Citizenship through blood, then a permesso di soggiorno specific for allowance to reside in Italy while awaiting citizenship. Even so, it was frustrating. I found that asking Italians was not at all a good idea as they likely have no idea how their Comune or Questura will process things for Americans, but they will give you advice with absolute certainly; advice that will most surely be incorrect. So your suggestion to try to ask ExPats who have done the process in the same area is absolutely good advice. Thank you.

    A few additional points. A permesso di soggiorno is required for stays in Italy over 90 days. You must first have a Visa from your local Italian Consulate in the US. Come to Italy with this Visa and use it to get your permesso di soggiorno, along with any other documents they require, likely including a lease or hospitality agreement showing that you have a place to stay while in Italy. Also, the financial obligations for the Visa are quite high, so check before you make your appointment at the Consulate. And they will offer you no more help than what you find on their website. You must have everything in order prior to your appointment and be sure you meet the requirements.

    In many areas in Italy you also must visit the post office to request a “kit” for the Questura. It will be long forms, all in Italian, that must be filled out correctly, have stamps attached that you purchase at the tobacco shop, and then submitted back to the post office, with payment. The post office will then actually give you your appointment at the Questura. Again, other areas may vary, but this was my experience.

    Lastly, if you don’t speak Italian very well, take a fluent speaker with you. Even though you will be at an immigration office which deals with people from Europe and Africa who all speak English, you will likely not find fluent English speakers at the Questura.

    Buona Fortuna

    • JR February 10, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      @ Neil Vetrano, thanks for your useful comments. I am curious about the “citizenship through blood” option, since both sides of my family originated in Italy and immigrated to the States only two generations ago. I was told at some point that because my parents became US citizens before I was born, this ancestry link didn’t apply. I would greatly appreciate any further information or insights you might have about this path to residency. Thank you!

      • Jed February 11, 2017 at 6:35 pm - Reply

        Ciao Josephine, you pose a good question. I also will contact a couple of my friends who have either gone through the process or are currently navigating it. I hadn’t been aware that the timing of U.S. citizenship of your grandparents could be a non-starter. My understanding is that you need to prove a certain % of your heritage is Italian, and I think grandparents who were Italian citizens before immigrating would suffice. I’ll see what I can find out. In the meantime perhaps Neil can shed some light on this! Jed

        • Neil Vetrano February 11, 2017 at 7:14 pm - Reply

          As to the matter of needing a percentage of your heritage, that is correct, sort of. You only need to have one line of decent from an Italian citizen. And even if you have more, you only have to document one. So one parent must have had Italian citizenship, one of their parents, etc., back to a person born in Italy. This applies even to inherited citizenship to those born in the US. You will, however, need marriage records of any descendant along the line of decent of citizenship. So if you use your father’s citizenship, you need his marriage record, as well as his parents’ marriage record. You will also need the death records for any in the line that are deceased.

        • Craig Snively February 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm - Reply

          Jed and Josephine, we are on this path as well. My wife is the great granddaughter of an Italian immigrant couple, but into Uruguay, not the US, although the rules are the same in whatever country. Her great grandparents never became Uruguayan citizens, although their children (my wife’s grandfather in this case) were Uruguayan by birth, Since the great grandparents were still Italian, then the descendants can become Italian “by blood”. So my wife has to do the following, have birth certificates of all the line, great grandfather and grandmother, grandfather (but not grandmother), mother and her own. She also needs the marriage and death certificates of the above family tree as well. And then, the bureaucratic part begins. All of the documents must be in Italian, if not, then translated into Italian by a certified translator, and then the documents must be “apostilized” (I think international notary is a close description). In her case, that is all but 2 documents translated and apostilized. Lots of fun and excitement :(. Then the Italian consulate will schedule a meeting for you.

          Jed, I have a few questions for you. Our plan is to move in the next 2 years to the Alps area in Italy. Since hopefully my wife will be an Italian citizen by then, she will be able to enter, register, etc. with only the “normal” processes to complete. But me, being an American citizen married to a now Italian, what are my “things” to do? I know I will need the permesso di soggiorno and carta di soggiorno. I’ve read that I also have to have medical insurance that covers me, and possibly supplemental insurance for my wife. What do you do about this insurance requirement?


          • Jed February 12, 2017 at 12:13 am

            Hi Craig, I will attempt to provide some clarity, so bear with me! My understanding (possibly erroneously) is if your wife has her Italian citizenship when you arrive in Italy, you will both go to the questura (immigration police), after filing for residency (your wife) in your comune, to apply for your permanent residency card (carta di soggiorno). This is your right as the spouse of an Italian citizen. I would recommend having your documents (your wife’s residency card, your passport, and your marriage certificate (you’ll probably have to register your marriage with the comune as well) scanned, and emailed to the questura along with an explanation and request for the appointment for the carta di soggiorno (for family reasons). Many people recommend having a pec email account -which is a legally accepted type of email certification of receipt in Italy (this will help ensure your email and request is taken seriously and hopefully you’ll receive a more expeditious response). You may have to wait until you’re actually in Italy, since a pec email account (available through requires residency and a codice fiscale (tax number) – which your wife will get when you are there.
            If your process is anything like mine (I recently did this as part of a civil union) it should go fairly easily. In my case, I’ve already been a resident in Italy for almost four years, and previously I had a permesso di soggiorno. But, once our union was registered at the comune, we were told I would no longer need a permesso di soggiorno. We recently completed the carta di soggiorno application process.
            So, in short, I believe you will not need to go through the hassle of getting a permesso di soggiorno – which requires you go through the tedious process of first applying for visa from the Italian consulate prior to your arrival in Italy. Everything I’m saying changes if your wife is still waiting for her Italian citizenship when you begin to reside in Italy. In that case you probably will need to get the visa, and the permesso di soggiorno – and that will require proof of financial viability/income and medical insurance for a year (including repatriation and emergency medical evacuation coverage – I got mine through Atlas Insurance/HCC). If you and your wife arrive with her Italian passport in hand, theoretically you will be in good shape, with a 90-day window to apply for your carta di soggiorno (receipt after you application should suffice if you are stopped or questioned). Just make sure you have a medical insurance plan to cover you until you make the application at the questura. Your receipt from the questura usually suffices for you to get your tessera sanitaria (national health coverage) – with three-month validity as you wait for your carta di soggiorno to arrive. After you have your carta, and after two years, you can apply for an Italian passport.
            A disclaimer… what I share has been my experience as a resident in Veneto. Each province handles things differently, so if you can visit the offices in the area where you intend to reside (prior to moving to Italy), with someone who is fluent in Italian, that will be the best bet for ascertaining what is needed and what will happen in your particular situation. Jed
            Hope this helps!

      • Neil Vetrano February 11, 2017 at 7:02 pm - Reply

        Hello Jr. After much research, and finally verification by having it work here in Italy, I think I can provide a fairly solid answer. The issue with US citizenship is WHEN the Italian immigrant was granted citizenship AND if they renounced their Italian citizenship. In my case my great-grandfather did indeed renounce his Italian citizenship to get his US citizenship, but AFTER my grandfather was born in NY. According to Italian law, this means that at the time of his birth my grandfather inherited Italian citizenship. Any children born AFTER my great-grandfather renounced Italian citizenship did not. Since my grandfather was born in the US, he became a US citizen without ever renouncing his Italian citizenship. So my father, and then I, also inherited Italian citizenship. So I have always been an Italian citizen, I just needed to prove and register it with the government of Italy.

        If I understand your comment, your grandparents did not become US citizens and your parents applied for and become citizens, which was before you were born. If that is correct, the issue still is if your parents or grandparents renounced their Italian citizenship before the next descendant was born. If your parents were born to Italian immigrants, like my grandparents, then they should have become US citizens without doing that. It also will likely be a bit easier if you have the option to use the male chain of decent. Italy has changed this to be more modern in its policies, but it is still easier to use males in the line of decent. So if you can, use your father and grandfather.

        The only thing is that all of this must be documented with official state and federal records. You must have the Italian immigrant’s naturalization papers clearly showing the date when Italian citizenship was renounced, and then the next descendant’s birth certificate showing a date of birth prior to that. All documents from the US must have Apostille certification, which is an international standard accepted in Italy, and be translated into Italian. Your chain of decent is short, so it should not be too bad. Prepare to spend some months and perhaps several hundred dollars getting and certifying all of the needed documents.

        I hope that helps.

        • Jed February 11, 2017 at 10:28 pm - Reply

          Neil, grazie mille for the the detailed information regarding this process. I have a friend who is patiently doing this now. Sometimes the documents and records, especially if they’re old, came be a bit challenging. Persevere and be patient is what I’ve been told!

    • Ed Eugeni September 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      Hello Neil,

      I noticed in your post that you applied for Citizenship through bloodlines. I am interested in doing the same thing and would like to discuss your experience if you are willing. The National Italian American Foundation had an online questionnaire and my results indicated that I have uninterrupted line of descent, and may have been conveyed Italian citizenship from my ancestors. It looks like a lot of documentation is required. I greatly appreciate any insights that you may have regarding your experience with this process.

      Thank you,


      • Neil Vetrano September 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm - Reply

        Hi Ed. If after reading all the prior posts in this thread you have specific questions, feel free to post them and I, or others, can try to help. I am not sure what you actually want to do. If you just want to obtain citizenship while living in the US, it is all done through the Italian Consulate that handles the state where you reside in the US. It will take a long time, but if you are not planning to move to Italy, or spend more than 90 days there, time is not really an issue. Since you seem to have an uninterrupted line of decent, you must verify the information from previous posts, trace the ancestor that was born in Italy and get the Italian birth record. Find the naturalization papers and see if they got US citizenship, if they renounced Italian citizenship, and the date. Then make sure the their child, next in your line of decent, was born in the US after that date. That is crucial. If the birth took place after renouncing Italian citizenship, you can stop there, you did not inherit it. If you are good, continue the document gathering. Birth certificates from the first one born in the US in your line of decent to yourself. Applicable marriage records for all in the chain, including yourself, as well as death certificate for any in the chain that are deceased. If all of these are found, you need to get Apostille certification on all US documents. Your consulate may or may not require them to then be translated into Italian.

        If you have specific questions on how I did this, doing it all in Italy rather than through the consulate, please let me know.

        • Maura Kanuri June 22, 2018 at 7:55 am - Reply

          Hi Jed and Neil: I am glad I found this posting and all your great information. I will be coming to Italy next month without an elective residency visa to try and establish residency / citizenship in Puglia. The consulate told me to bring all documents to Italy. I will be attempting to “acquire” my lost citizenship. Meaning, my grandfather came to New York in 1920 and he became naturalized 2 years BEFORE my father was born so we are not Italian citizens. However, there is some old law (consulate will send to me) that since my grandfather did not renounce his citizenship in Italy in front of the italian authorities before coming to America he was still technically an italian citizen even though he naturalized in the US. This is only possible up to the 2nd degree meaning if I had to go up the chain to great grandparents I could not attempt this. In the process of getting a couple of more certified documents and then have them all apostilled here in the states and translated when I arrive in Italy. I am cautiously excited and hope it all works out. Maura

          • Jed June 22, 2018 at 12:52 pm

            Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I’m hoping that other people will find value (and hope) in similar pursuits of Italian citizenship! Keep us posted! Jed

    • Simona February 27, 2020 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Neil!

      My question is about this specific statement you made:

      “A permesso di soggiorno is required for stays in Italy over 90 days. You must first have a Visa from your local Italian Consulate in the US. Come to Italy with
      this Visa and use it to get your permesso di soggiorno, along with any other documents they require, likely including a lease or hospitality agreement showing
      that you have a place to stay while in Italy.”

      I am an Italian citizen (and now also American) and my husband is American. We currently reside in the US. We have submitted an Italian citizenship application for him a few months ago. We are aware it’s going to take years for him to become an Italian citizen…

      Anyway, we are probably going to move to Italy (permanently) by the end of the year. The local Italian consulate told us that my husband doesn’t need a visa because he is married to me (an Italian), so he will just need to request a Permesso di soggiorno once we move to Italy.

      So I am not sure every American needs a Visa (in addition to the Permesso) if they are planning on staying for more than 90 days. I guess it depends if one is married to an Italian citizen?
      Or maybe you are just saying that Americans who want to stay over 90 days (but not moving to lItaly permanently) need a Visa? Thanks!


      • Jed March 7, 2020 at 2:10 pm - Reply

        As the spouse of an Italian citizen your husband is entitled to permanent residency (or a “carta di soggiorno”). First, you need to establish residency (and get your identity card) by going to the comune in your jurisdiction with a lease agreement or house ownership documents, and your Italian passport. With that established, then you’ll need to contact the local questura to secure an application appointment and understand the details and documentation they will require (sometimes it include financial “wherewithal” documentation for the sponsoring spouse). Then you wait for the document and you will have some kind of receipt with a tracking number. I don’t remember how exactly that was generated since I contacted the office through registered (PEC) email and sent in my application materials (instead of the post office as I did when applying for a permesso di soggiorno).
        New arrivals who aren’t married or in a civil union to an Italian are obliged to have an ERV before applying to the permesso di soggiorno. And, they’re not allowed (legally) to stay in Italy beyond 90 days in a 183 day period.

  11. Tammy February 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Wonderful advice, Jed. Thank you again for your personal insight. Faccio una breve vacanza per cinque giorni in aprile. Resto a Venezia e Treviso (un b&b). Forse possiamo incontrarci ancora. A presto!

    • Jed February 7, 2017 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      Spero di sì!!!!

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