Anger in Italy over ‘fast-tracked’ citizenship process for Suarez

Anger in Italy over 'fast-tracked' citizenship process for Suarez
On the fast track to Italian citizenship? Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez. File photo: AFP
While the application process for citizenship usually takes two to four years in Italy, that has reportedly been shortened to just a few weeks for footballer Luis Suarez - provoking anger among other applicants.
Uruguay and Barcelona forward Suarez flew to the city of Perugia by private jet on Thursday to take an Italian language exam at the city's University for Foreigners, as he sought to gain Italian citizenship.
Suarez is married to an Italian citizen and therefore eligible to apply.
Though he had to take the B1 language exam like everyone else, there have been complaints that not only were his exam results reportedly expediated, but so was the rest of the citizenship application process, according to Italian media reports.
It usually takes between one and three months for those taking the B1 language exam to get their results back, though Suarez reportedly obtained his within hours.
And many reports suggest the footballer could have his citizenship approved within just 15 days.
Most people applying for Italian citizenship through marriage have to wait two to four years for their application to be processed – a timeframe lengthened by a law change by former interior minister Matteo Salvini in 2018, as part of a raft of measures making the process more difficult.
There was widespread anger on social media following the news, with other applicants infuriated by the alleged special treatment for the footballer.
The fact that Suarez could obtain citizenship within 15 days “teaches us that this is the time needed to make the required checks and complete the process. And that the decision to take 4 years is a political choice,” wrote  Fatjona Lamçe who, despite having been resident in Italy for over 20 years, being married to an Italian citizen and the mother of two Italian children, has been unable to obtain citizenship.
Uruguayan national Suarez has fallen out of favour at Barcelona and has agreed terms to move to Juventus, Italian news agecy Ansa reports.
But the Turin club, which has reportedly exhausted the number of non-EU citizens that can be registered as players, needs him to apply for an Italian citizenship so he can be classified as an EU player.




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