Article 9 of the Law envisages the possibility of granting Italian citizenship by means of a Decree by the President of the Republic, providing for differentiated ways considering the specific requirements of the applicants and graduating the period of legal residence needed to legitimize the submission of the related application.
At least 10 years of legal residence in the territory of the State are ordinarily required for non-EU foreign nationals (art. 9, subparagraph f), but there are numerous cases for which the period of residence required is shorter:
– 3 years of legal residence for the foreign national whose father, mother or any second-degree direct ascendants were Italian by birth or for the foreign national born in Italy and living there;
– 4 years of legal residence for the citizen of a country adhering to the European Communities;
– 5 years of legal residence following adoption for the foreign national of age; following the recognition of stateless person or political refugee status.
There is no residence requirement for a foreign national who served also abroad for the Italian State for at least five years (art. 9, subparagraph c).
With regard to cases that apply only to the Italian territory, reference shall be made to the Interior Ministry’s relevant regulations.
The second paragraph of art. 9 lays down that Italian citizenship may be granted by Decree of the President of the Republic after consultation with the Council of State and after deliberation by the Council of Ministers, upon the proposal of the Interior Minister, jointly with the Foreign Minister, to a foreign national who has performed outstanding work and services for Italy, or when there is an exceptional interest of the State.
The procedure does not require to be initiated by the person concerned, but requires a proposal put forward by entities, public figures, associations, etc., which proves the existence of the legal requirements to be met by the possible beneficiary.
The procedure requires the acquisition of the opinions of the Security Agencies and, for residents in Italy, of the Prefecture of the place of residence.
It is anyway necessary to acquire the declaration of consent of the person interested in the acquisition of citizenship.
Even in this case of acquisition, the Presidential Decree granting Italian citizenship is ineffective if the person concerned, where resident abroad, does not take – before the competent consular Office – the oath of allegiance to the Republic required by Article 10 of the Law.
Italian citizenship will take effect from the day following that of the oath.