Italian citizenship through marriage - the Language Test

When applying for Italian citizenship through marriage, you must prove you have adequate knowledge of the Italian language. Learn how to prepare for taking the test.  Applicants are required to have competency in  Italian to the level of B1 level of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

This guide explains how to apply for citizenship through marriage, what the Italian B1 level language certification is, how long the Italian language test will take, where you can take it, as well as where you will file your Italian citizenship application and the other ways of obtaining Italian nationality.

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The documents you need to apply for Italian citizenship through marriage.

When applying for your Italian citizenship through marriage, you will need to show your B1 proficiency certificate. You will also need a copy of your marriage certificate transcript from the Italian municipality where your Italian spouse is registered with AIRE (Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad).

In addition to these requirements, you will also need a criminal record check that demonstrates that you have no criminal charges against your name, a certified copy of the foreign birth certificate, and the ID card of the Italian spouse. There is a cost of 250.00 Euros payable to the Ministero dell’Interno. Make sure to get a copy of your bank transfer, as you will also be required to provide proof of this payment.

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What is the Italian B1 level language certification?

The Italian B1 level language certification is at an intermediate level. This means that you are proficient enough in the Italian language for everyday interaction, making integration much more straightforward if you choose to live, study or work in Italy. This will allow you to live, study, and work in the community with relative ease.

How well do you need to speak Italian to meet the B1 requirement?

It is not necessary for you to display perfect comprehension or pronunciation to achieve the B1 requirement. However, as mentioned previously you should have a level of proficiency and comprehension that allows you to interact in all aspects of your daily life.

How long will the test take?

Your test will take several hours. This will depend upon the institution you choose and how familiar you are with the material, as well as your language comprehension. It will also be dependent upon how quickly you can complete the exam.

Where can I take my exam?

CILS exams can be taken a few times a year, in many locations all over the world. It is carried out simultaneously on these designated dates. In Italy, you can take the exam at the University of Siena and at the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. Across the UK, there are many affiliated centres in which to take your exam. The exam centre must be certified by an institution that is approved by the Italian Ministry of Education (“MIUR”) or Ministry of Foreign affairs (“MAECI”).

What does the exam consist of?

The CILS exam consists of five sections: Listening, Reading Comprehension, Grammar, Writing and Speaking. This is similar across the board to other common Italian language exams.

Where do I file my Italian citizenship application?

You will need to file the application to become an Italian citizen through marriage at your local Italian consulate if living in the UK, or at the local Prefettura if you are living in Italy.

Are there any other methods for applying for Italian citizenship?

There are other avenues for applying to be a citizen of Italy. If you are applying for dual English/Italian citizenship through Italian descent, you will need your passport, the birth certificates of your Italian parent or parents, and if applicable, the death certificates of your parents. You will also require civil records (birth certificate, marriage certificate, birth certificates of your children, divorce records).

If you are applying via the naturalisation route, you need to have legally lived in Italy for ten years, and already be working under a visa. You will need to prove that you are an integrated part of your community. You will also need to provide your passport, birth certificate, clean criminal record, and proof that you have been living, working and paying tax in Italy.

You can read our full guide to qualifying for Italian citizenship here.

Frequently asked questions - Taking an Italian language test

Why is it necessary to take the Italian B1 level for citizenship?

It is necessary to take the Italian B1 level for citizenship in order to prove that you can integrate into your community. It shows that you will be able to work and study in Italy without being isolated due to a lack of language fluency. Taking a language test also shows you are dedicated to having a life there.

Can you get a job in Italy without speaking Italian?

You can get a job in Italy without speaking Italian as long as you are fluent in English.

How difficult is it to get Italian citizenship?

Getting Italian citizenship is a lengthy process regardless of whether you apply through marriage, descent or naturalisation and the supporting documentary evidence must be correct or your application will fail. Therefore, it is vital that you have the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure that all the documents you require are correct.

Which are the most recognised Italian language certifications?

The most recognised Italian language certifications are the CELI (Italian Certification as a Foreign Language) and CILS (Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language).

Can you live in Italy without citizenship?

You can live in Italy without citizenship if you have a residence permit, but you will not enjoy all the rights of a full citizen, such as voting.

How long does it take to obtain dual Italian/English citizenship by marriage?

You will need to wait eighteen months after you marry to apply for citizenship.

Related content

Completing an Italian dual citizenship form

How to qualify for Italian dual citizenship