Brexit Britain's EU vote sparks surge in Italian passport applications

At the start of Britain's Brexit journey, our Italian Citizenship & Immigration Group received a ten-fold increase of enquiries as Italian citizenship was seen as more desirable in light of Britain's Brexit vote to leave the European Union.  EU passport holders have a number of automatic rights in EU states and British passport will, post-Brexit, no longer provide these rights.

“We have noticed an increase in new enquiries, mainly from second-generation British citizens of Italian descent – says Brendan Dine, Head of Client Relations at Giambrone"

A demand for Polish and Irish passports has also been reported in the UK following Brexit. The rush for Irish passports was so great at one stage that the Irish Government urged Britons to hold off applying over fears processing systems were under threat of too much pressure.

On 23 June 2016, Britain voted in a referendum by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the 28-nation European Union, whose citizens enjoy free movement rights. They can also seek employment in other EU states without the need for a work permit, use public healthcare facilities across the bloc and benefit from welfare and other rights.

Italian citizenship is now regulated by the recently enacted Security Degree introduced by Matteo Salvini.

The three main routes to obtaining Italian citizenship are either by descent, marriage or naturalization.

  • Italian citizenship is based upon the principal of jure sanguinis (blood right), meaning the child born of an Italian father or mother is also an Italian citizen. Up until January 1 1948, It was not possible for an Italian mother to transfer Italian citizenship to her child. However, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that this provision was contrary to the constitutional principles and, more precisely, to the principle of equality between the sexes. Accordingly, children born to an Italian mother before 1948 may also be eligible for citizenship. However, an Italian bloodline is not in itself sufficient grounds for claiming Italian citizenship – a foreigner with Italian origin is eligible to apply for Italian citizenship only if he/she was born before the naturalization of his/her father/mother. The route remains the same.
  • Italian citizenship may be obtained by marriage to an Italian. This is an actual right of all spouses and can only be denied to those who have a criminal record for a serious crime committed either in or outside of Italy. It can also be denied to those who are considered a threat to national security and public order. After marrying an Italian citizen, certain requirements must be met under Italian law, for instance, a legal residency in Italy for a period of at least two years, or three years if the spouses are living abroad. Moreover, the marriage must subsist throughout the process of applying for citizenship. The new law introduced the requirement to speak Italian to the level of B1.  The process now is likely to take in the region of five years.  One year for the Consulate to review the documentation and a further four years for the application to be processed.
  • A non-EU citizen having legally resided in Italy for ten years may apply for Italian citizenship and an EU citizen after four years. A foreigner with native-born Italian parents or grandparents who have lost their citizenship and therefore unable to pass citizenship on is entitled to apply after three years of legal residency in Italy. The Consulate will require a year to review the documentation and a further four years to process the application.

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