The Italian government approved a decree (so-called Decreto Sicurezza or Decreto Salvini) that increases the maximum time limit for obtaining the Italian citizenship from 2 to 4 years.

What does that mean for your citizenship application?

This regulation allows the Ministry of the Interior and to the Consulates to extend the processing time of citizenship applications from 2 to 4 years. It entered into force temporarily on October 5th, 2018 and then finally on December 3rd.

This regulation was approved with modifications by the Parliament on December 3rd, 2018.

One of the modifications is relevant because it limits the application of the 4-years deadline to citizenship processes by residence and by marriage. It does NOT apply to the applications by lineage (jure sanguinis). The usual 2 years-deadline applies to the latter.

So the 4 years deadline applies to citizenship applications by residence and by marriage. According to the Ministry of the Interior, this new term also applies to the practices already started as of October 5th, 2018.

Language proficiency 

Since December 4th, 2018 (Amendment to the Citizenship Act no. 132 of December 1st, 2018) a new requirement applies concerning Italian language proficiency.

Applicants must be competent in the Italian language at the level B1 (or higher) of the European Union Common Language Framework. In practice, the Italian authority requires a certificate of proficiency issued by a public school in Italy or by private schools in Italy or abroad which are officially approved by the Italian government. Among such institutions in Italy are the International Universities of Siena and Perugia in Italy, the University Roma Tre in Rome and the Società Dante Alighieri with its offices in most countries in the world.

Please note that the language proficiency requirement applies to all citizenship applications by marriage submitted after December 4th, 2018.

What we do about it

The extension of the applications processing time, instead of organizing work more efficiently, represents a violation of the fundamental right of citizens to receive a decision from the Italian administration in a certain and timely manner, according to principles of efficiency. Such principles are stated by the Constitution, by the law of the European Union as well as by the Italian law on the administrative procedure.

In our Court cases and in any action with the Italian administration we have proposed several measures to modernize and expedite the application process.

Furthermore, we work with a network of Italian immigration lawyers (ASGI) to challenge these rules.

We take every useful action to restore legality and efficiency, including through judicial actions. The legal tools available to lawyers are unfortunately neither quick nor miraculous, but we think it is necessary to take action to change things.

What you can do

It’s a fact that active applicants get decisions faster. Don’t accept to be put on a shelf: let your voice be heard! Express your mind and urge the office to respect your right to a timely and clear decision on your application.

Read here how to speed up the process: “Italian citizenship by marriage. How to cut the waiting time?”

Moreover, consider an important point: The Italian case-law is solid on this: new measures enacted by the Government in the form of a law-decree (Decreto-legge), like in this case, only apply for the future.

Demand your process to be spared from the new 4 years rule if lodged your application before October 5th, 2018. The new rule only applies to the applications submitted after that date, according to Article 11 of the Preleggi to the Italian Civil Code which is a fundament for interpreting the law and rank higher than ordinary decrees and acts of laws.

If you applied for citizenship by marriage, please refer to my blog article Italian citizenship by marriage. How to cut the waiting time? for details.

From that page, you can also request the free form to send to the Italian administration and urge for a decision on your application.

Subscribe here if you want to receive updates about the question of the new norms applying to the citizenship process and how to overcome bureaucracy.

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