Italian citizenship obtained by marriage: will you lose it if you divorce?

Italian citizenship obtained by marriage: will you lose it if you divorce?

According to art. 5, Law February 5, 1992, n. 91, the spouse (a foreigner or stateless person) of an Italian citizen can acquire Italian citizenship through marriage, provided that after the marriage he/she legally resides in the territory of the Republic for at least two years, or after three years from the date of marriage if he/she resides abroad.

The above terms (two years and three years) are reduced by half in the presence of children born or adopted by the spouses.

In order to obtain Italian citizenship, at the time of the adoption of the citizenship decree (the official act that at the end of the process recognizes the status of Italian citizen), the marriage must not have been dissolved or terminated (i.e. by separation, divorce or annulment). n1

Should you divorce your Italian husband/wife after you obtain Italian citizenship, you will not lose your Italian citizenship for this reason.

Thus, it is very important that you do not divorce before you obtain the citizenship decree. Once you obtain it, you can lose your citizenship for several reasons (if, for example, you enlist in an army at war with Italy), but not due to a divorce.

Starting from 2015, it is possible to apply for citizenship directly online.

We suggest asking an Italian professional for assistance because it is not easy to understand the entire procedure and all the documents you need to submit. A minor error could result in a denial of your citizenship request.





 n1 “Il coniuge, straniero o apolide, di cittadino italiano puo’ acquistare la cittadinanza italiana quando, dopo il matrimonio, risieda legalmente da almeno due anni nel territorio della Repubblica, oppure dopo tre anni dalla data del matrimonio se residente all’estero, qualora, al momento dell’adozione del decreto di cui all’articolo 7, comma 1, non sia intervenuto lo scioglimento, l’annullamento o la cessazione degli effetti civili del matrimonio e non sussista la separazione personale dei coniugi. 2. I termini di cui al comma 1 sono ridotti della meta’ in presenza di figli nati o adottati dai coniugi )).” (art. 5, Law February 5, 1992, n. 91).

  1. I was born in South America and my Italian parents registered my birth in Italy. At age 5, they decided to go live in Italy – we were there for 7 years – then we migrated to Australia. Went to school and I then obtained a Government position for which I needed to be naturalised and I did this, reluctantly. I eventually married an italian citizen in Australia and I automatically obtained Italian Citizenship. I had both Italian and Aussie passports then and we travelled to Italy. We had 2 children and divorced 11 years later – just before the new law of 1983.

    Now I’m wanting to get Italian Passport and they’ve told me I’m no longer Italian Citizen since my divorce…..

  2. I would simply like to say thank you for your work so far in expediting my citizenship application. Your communication is excellent and the fees are completely reasonable. (if anything your should probably charge more) A knowledgeable local representative who can prod a little at the Italian bureaucracy is indispensable in this type of undertaking.


    • Luke,
      Thank you for your nice comment.

      We took good note of your suggestion 🙂

      We will get back to you as soon as we have news.

      Thank you,

  3. David did a great job answering my questions regarding citizenship for myself and my children in light of changing personal circumstances. I would use this service again if need be.

  4. My name is Linda am from Nigeria but got married to an Italian in Italy torino city an we been married for 7years now but my husband said he doesn’t want to have children so we had an issue and then I left the house over a shot while I meet with someone in so how I got pregnant an I didn’t know how to go about it so later on my husband find out an ask me to keep the pregnancy in which I did an now the prefettura now is tell us that they can’t grant me the citizenship because I had a child for some one else. Please can any one help or talk to me because am almost going crazy thanks.

    • Hi Linda,
      Thank you for your call. As I told you a minute ago, we will get in touch with the expert and call you back tomorrow.


  5. HI David,
    I am american and I have been in Italy and married to an Italian for 3 years, but I haven’t applied for the citizenship yet.
    I had originally tried to get citizenship through jure sangunis, because my paternal side is Sicilian, but I was missing one document so I went the route of marriage.
    Is there a faster way of obtaining the citizenship than waiting for 2 years for the response to come back?
    If I get a divorce or seperation will I have to go back home to America? Here I have a contratto a tempo indeterminato , I am an English Teacher here.
    Thank you so much for your help

    • Hi Nathalie,
      Thank you for contacting Vademecum Italia.

      in order to give you a precise answer, we need more information. So, to protect your privacy, we will send you an email as soon as possible.


  6. Hello there,
    I am Yvonne living in Rome now for 6 months. I have a resident permit due to marriage from my husband who has asilo politico status.
    Now the issue is our marriage is breaking up even though we still live together. Now I want to move out of the marriage so my worry is will I able to renew my resident permit next year November when it expires? We got married in Nigeria January 2017. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks

    • Hi Yvonne,
      Thank you for contacting Vademecum Italia.

      In order to protect your privacy, we will send you an email as soon as possible.


  7. Hello sir David,
    My name is Erica I am from africa.
    I want to know of a divorce process in italy, I have been married to an italian man for 4 years now no child and as it is now we are both tired of each other and I want to give him some space… like self separation. So my question goes like this.. if I leave the house and he gets angry and give me devorce does it mean I will have to return home to my country?

    • Dear Erica,
      Please understand that you are asking for professional legal assistance, that I cannot provide in a comment.

      Therefore, I invite you to send me an email (

      Thank you.

  8. Hi David
    Am from Nigeria,l have a baby with ltalian man we stay together as family for more than 5years we are not married,have been working more than 3 years,is it possible for me to apply for citizenship

    • Dear Sandra,
      You need to be married to an Italian citizen to apply for Italian citizenship based on marriage.


  9. Hello I wonder if you can assist me. My name is Leanne. I was married officially for 7 years and the marriage was dissolved thereafter. My ex-spouse wants to get an Italian citizenship for my child. However, is there any way whatsoever that I can also obtain my Italian Citizenship as well seen as we co-parent our biological child? Would realy appreciate your assistance.

  10. Hello, I’m born in the USA and my father was born in Italy and passed away. He never renounced Italian citizenship or naturalized in America. I was adopted when I was young. Would this adoption make me ineligible for Jure Sanguinis?

  11. Good morning I am Linda from Ghana,i married to an Italian man for 17 years, if i divorce will my family reason soggiorno be revoked?. Please I need your help

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