You don’t need to wait for Italian citizenship to stay in Italy and enjoy an unlimited right of residence. All family members of Italian citizens have a right to reside in Italy, no matter what their nationality.
Family members – spouse or partner, children up to 21 years old and the partner’s children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents… – have a right to a residence permit. After five years, they have a right to permanent residence.
Which family members are entitled to a Residence Card?
- Spouses and partners
- Children of the couple (until 21 years of age)
- Children of the Italian citizen or of the non-Italian spouse or partner (until 21 years of age)
- Children above 21 years of age, if maintained by the Italian citizen
- Parents, if maintained by the Italian citizen
- Grandchildren and grandparents of the Italian citizen
- The parent’s of the Italian citizen’s spouse (or same-sex registered partner)
The parents of a Chinese daughter who resides in Italy and is married (or registered in a same-sex partnership) with an Italian citizen have a right to enter (visa-free) and stay in Italy under option #6. If their daughter has children in Italy, the right of said parents to enter and stay in Italy falls additionally under option #5.
Basis: Article 2 of Italian Legislative Decree of February 6th, 2007 no. 30
Did you know that…?
> Since February 2017 Italy has extended the right to citizenship and all residence rights to same-sex spouses/partners.
> The right of residence extends to any other of the 27 states which are part of the European Union. You can take up residence and stay as long as you wish, no matter if you work, study or enjoy your retirement. That is the core of family rights for every Italian (thus European) citizen.
How does it work?
Just move to Italy with your Italian family member.
In some cases, you may need a visa to move to Italy. That depends on your nationality. Find out here how to obtain a visa.
Once in Italy, you will register with the immigration authorities (Questura). I have a tip for you: sometimes the Italian authority grants a temporary “Family Residence Permit” to the family members of Italian citizens.
That is a 2-years residence permit called Permesso di Soggiorno per Motivi Familiari.
This permit is enough for family members to access health care coverage, work, study, and travel visa-free to the other 27 European Union member states.
However, this type of permit has some distinct disadvantages. It doesn’t allow you to:
… stay in any other European Union member state after three months;
… work or study in any other European Union member state, even on a temporary basis;
… enjoy any social/healthcare benefit in any other European Union member state;
… avoid a time-consuming renewal process: every second yearyou must undergo a full review of requirements and documents which takes months.
Is there an alternative?
Yes. My advice is to opt for a RESIDENCE CARD.
In fact, family members to Italian citizens (or to any other European Union citizen) have a right to a long-term residence card. Besides, after 5 years of residence in Italy, you are entitled to a permanent card. In Italian, it is officially called “Permesso di soggiorno per familiari di cittadino comunitario”.
A Residence Card is a special treat for the family members because the family is so important in Italy.
As a family member of an Italian citizen, you are eligible for the 5-years residence card and have free access to work, business, studies, health care, and most rights on a par with Italian citizens.
Italian authorities tend to give a 1 or 2-year “Family Residence Permit” if you don’t insist on a 5-year Residence card. That might have to do with the fact that a Residence Card sets you free from bureacratic renewal procedures for a long time and enjoys benefits for at least five years. But the law is on your part. So it’s up to you to claim your rights and demand a Residence Card.
Residence cards for Italian citizens’ family members are free of charge.
How can you obtain a Residence Card?
You just hand to the local immigration office the following:
A copy of your passport (show the original)
An official certificate proving that you are a family member (e.g. a marriage certificate)
Copy of your Italian family member’s id card
Documents of your income, showing that your family have a sufficient income and do not have to depend on the public security (you don’t ned to have a job for that)
Remember: Residence cards are for families residing in Italy. In order to obtain it, both you and your Italian citizen family member need to move to and reside in Italy.
Alternatively, you can have a similar residence card if you move with your Italian family member to another country within the European Union.
In case the applicant is the parent of an Italian citizen or of the Italian citizen’s spouse (or same-sex registered partner) as per categories #4 and #6 above, additional documents are required to prove that the applicant is partly or totally maintained by the concerned child (i.e. the Italian citizen or of the Italian citizen’s spouse or same-sex registered partner). This requirement is called “Vivenza a carico”.
Viable documents to this end are bank statements showing that the concerned child sent money to the parent, tax reports, and statements by accountants, as well as any other official statement from Italy or from the authorities of the applicant’s country of origin/residence. Such documents should be translated into Italian and legalized by the Italian Consulate.
Alternatively, the parent may first apply for a residence permit for family reasons and the child should add the parent to the Italian tax report for that year. The following year, the Italian tax report will be accepted as a sufficient document to obtain a 5-year residence card.
In some circumstances, the parents of minors with Italian citizenship can be granted a residence permit, even if they do not live together. In that case, it is important to show the authorities both proof of family tie (the child’s birth record showing parentship) and of the parent’s right of shared custody or visit.
Now it’s your turn…
Let me know with your comment on this page: how does this information work for you?
Which other information would be useful for you to know?
Free compact guide SPECIAL RESIDENCE CARD KEY
Are you interested to know more about some requirements for the residence card?
You can receive more information about sufficient income limit to apply for a residence card, or the conditions to keep or lose your card, or how you can obtain a Residence Card if you settle in another country in Europe.
I put this information together in a compact guide: SPECIAL RESIDENCE CARD KEY. If you want to have it for free, ask for it and I will send it to you shortly by email.
Special Residence Card Key
Hi, I am a UK citizen and will be marrying my partner (an Italian Citizen) in April.
We current live and work in the Netherlands, where I have a temporary residency permit.
We plan to move to Italy in July and am not sure the best way to apply for my residency permit. Do I need to do this before we move or after we arrive?
When we arrive, neither of us will have a job. But I do have rental income from a house in the UK (currently £9700 / year which is approx. €11800). I also have large savings (circa €400k). Is this sufficient to meet the income requirements?
Congratulations are in order!
You need no visa to Italy, even after Brexit. Within 8 days, you will report your arrival to the local police quarter. Within 90 days you will submit your application to the Immigration office of the police headquarter (“Questura”, in every province).
In order to submit your application as a family member and obtain a non-temporary residence permit, you need to show a marriage certificate. There is no family permit for unmarried partners according to Italian law.
If you or your wife do not have active sources of income (income from work, business…), rather savings and passive income, you may be refused a 5-year residence card. Since the law leaves the police some room of appreciation, it is worth trying to obtain it by insisting on a “carta di soggiorno per familiari non comunitari di cittadini italiani”.
If that does not work, you may consider that the law gives Italian citizens a right to live in Italy with their lawful spouse, irrespective of the income requirement. You are entitled to a “permesso di soggiorno per motivo di famiglia”. It is a 2-year renewable residence permit that still gives you a right to perform any work activity, study and access to Italy anytime.
Hello Lara, my name is Macdonald. I have 5 years permesso di Soggiorno through my mom who is italian. But she relocated to the Uk 3 years ago. Am about to renew the document, Since she hasn’t worked in Italy for a long time I cannot provide proof of her work. Can I renew it with my working document as i am self employed and I bought my own apartment recently. Please I’d really appreciate your response. Thanks
If you have a 5-year “carta di soggiorno” for family members of Italian citizens (and not a “permesso di soggiorno per motivo di famiglia”) chances are that you will be granted a long-term residence card, that is a “carta di soggiorno permanente”. After five years of stay, your status upgrades to independency from the Italian family member.
On the other hand, legally speaking, for the first five years your position is one of dependency on your Italian family member. If she leaves the country, you are not entitled to your “carta di soggiorno” or “permesso di soggiorno per motivo di famiglia” any longer. The police may withdraw it. So there is a chance that the police deny your right to prolong your stay in Italy. That fact that you have a business and own an apartment may not be regarded as sufficient ground for continued stay.
In order to maximize your chances and minimize risks, I suggest that you submit your application for “carta di soggiorno permanent” asap with the assistance of an expert lawyer in immigration law. Good luck!
Thank you for all the above information, I appreciate it so much after days of scrolling.
I will be applying for family cohesion soon. I was wandering If I happen to find a job in another Comuna, different from that of my family, will it effect my residency permit here.
You can work in any municipality of your convenience. That does not affect your residence permit/card application based on family grounds.
Hello kids under 10 should be present in police headquarter while we are doing the permisso of serggiono
All children should be present at the main appointment at the Immigration police office
Please send me your SPECIAL RESIDENCE CARD KEY.