Dual Citizenship

The European Union presently consists of 28 countries click here for a complete list. Each country has its own laws and requirements to be able to apply for Dual Citizenship. Some countries can process these passports within 90 days after the application; some countries can take up to three years. The first step to see if you are eligible is first look at the requirements for dual citizenship from your respective country. Remember, you can apply for a Visa simultaneously with your Dual Citizenship, just be sure to get two original copies of the documents.

Warning: Be weary of third party companies that “assist” in this process. They tend to charge you $200 for a document you can get on your own for $20. They can be helpful when it comes to retrieving documents from your ancestors country of birth, but when it comes to documents state-side, you can attain those easy and cheap.

Personally, I applied for dual citizenship through Italy. I was able to apply through my great grandfather, Giovanni Innocenti. Thanks John! This process was intense! I started out going through a third part company to assist me with this quickly to learn that they were charging me insane amounts of money for things I could do on my own. The one place this company came in handy was in order to retrieve my great grandfathers birth certificate from Italy.

For dual citizenship for Italy, I was required to retrieve birth, marriage, and death certificates for everyone down the line from Giovanni to me to prove the blood line. With all of these certificates (except the ones from Italy) I was required to retrieve whats called an Apostille. In additional to all of these I had to get copies of my great grandfathers naturalization documents to show that my grandmother was born prior to the U.S. naturalization of my great grandfather. Your not done yet! For all of these documents (except the Italian ones) I had to get it translated into Italian.

This process takes a lot of time and money to complete and I submitted my application a year ago at the Washington D.C. Italian embassy and I still have not received my passport (I have since applied for a student visa through a teach abroad program). However, this was something I did alongside my family members which was a lot of fun and I know it will all be worth it once we receive our passports from Italy!

Here is a Q & A regarding some concerns I had about pursuing Italian Citizenship with an Italian Attorney:

Q & A from an Italian Attorney:

RE: Ramifications of Dual Citizenship – Italian/American

As per your request for a consult regarding Italian Citizenship please find herewith a response to your questions:

1) In what circumstances would Military service be mandatory for an Italian American Citizen? What law guarantee’s this?

Up until 2001 mandatory military service was obligatory for all Italian citizens – living within in the country and living abroad.  With the law “Art.7 D.lgs. 8 maggio 2001 n.215” – the draft was completely removed for all males born after 1985. The law initially removed mandatory military service for all those born after 1985. However as of the 31st od December 2004 it was removed completely for everyone. The Italian armed forces are now entirely composed of professional volunteer troops, both male or female, except in the case of war or serious international military crisis, when conscription can be implemented. It is important to note that serious international military crisis would mean something similar to World War III. It would obviously be very difficult for the Italian government to draft its dual citizens especially if they are living abroad, so the risk is extremely remote for a dual citizen who lives in the U.S.

2) Is there any foreseeable circumstance where an Italian-American dual citizen would have to serve in the Italian military?

Again as per the explanation above, there are no foreseeable circumstances with regards to this point, unless such dual citizen would want to voluntarily serve in the Italian army.

3) What are the tax implications of dual citizenship?

If a dual citizen would actively work in Europe for a period over 183 days, such taxes would be paid to the Italian government – or European government in the country that said dual citizen is working. As a general rule, tax you owe the Us on foreign income can be substantially reduced or even zero if you have already been taxed on said income in your country of residence. You can claim these paid taxes either as credits on your Federal return or claim each amount as an itemized deduction. In such a case, due to a Tax Treaty between the American government and the Italian government, once taxes are paid to the country where said citizen is working, they would be granted a tax credit from the American government in order to avoid Dual Taxation (Please see copy of Tax Treaty attached to this email).

4) What forms will need to be filled out to ensure no dual taxation?

Just as if you were living in the US, you will need to fill out a 1040 form. The forms specifically applicable to life as an expat (dual citizen working abroad) are 2555 and 1116. These are forms by which you declare your foreign earned income and qualify for the Foreign Tax Credit. If you will have a foreign bank account you would also need to complete informational forms TDF 90-  221(FBAR) and form 8938.

5) Are there any potential negative consequences to holding an Italian-America dual citizenship?

As a holder of Dual citizenship I can tell you that I have not had any negative consequences with regards to holding dual citizenship.  The benefits are positive due to the fact that holding Italian citizenship opens opportunities for work in 28 different countries in the European Union, as well it makes things easier to travel when holding dual citizenship.  For the simple reason that if you travel around the world on a regular basis sometimes there are difficulties obtaining visas for certain third world countries when holding an American passport – whereas with an Italian passport it would be simpler.

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