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REVEALED: How much it really costs to get Italian citizenship via ancestry

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
REVEALED: How much it really costs to get Italian citizenship via ancestry
How much will an Italian citizenship application set you back? Photo by LAURENT EMMANUEL / AFP.

The fee for applying for recognition of Italian citizenship via ancestry is a few hundred euros, but other expenses can quickly mount into the thousands, as The Local’s readers explain.

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If you're looking into applying for Italian citizenship through ancestry, it's worth knowing how much money you should expect to spend.

The Local asked readers who have been through the process to tell us about their experiences - in particular, how much you spent and how long you had to wait.

READ ALSO: An expert guide to getting Italian citizenship via ancestry

The vast majority of readers had applied for citizenship by ancestry (the other two routes being naturalisation via residency or marriage).

Filing the application for recognition of Italian citizenship via ancestry currently comes with a consular fee of 300 euros - but the costs don't end there.

Readers told us this application isn't cheap to put together, sometimes costing up to many thousands of euros, and the wait is typically a matter of years rather than months - but most respondents seemed to think it was ultimately worth the investment.

Average application costs

The average amount spent by readers on putting together an ancestral Italian citizenship application was $1,500-$3,000 (most applicants were based in the US), though the figure ranged all the way from a few hundred euros at the bottom end to $25,000 at the top.

This covered the basic costs involved in obtaining the required documents, which include marriage, birth and death certificates; sworn translations and apostilles; consular fees; shipping and postage; and travel expenses.

The more generations there are separating you from the Italian ancestor who forms the basis of your application, the more you can expect these costs to rise - and vice versa.

FACT CHECK: Is Italy tightening the requirements for citizenship via ancestry?

41-year-old Amy Cornelius in Atlanta, Georgia, whose application went back four generations, says she spent around $1,500 between document translations and certifications and travel to and from her local consulate.

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The cost of legal services

Where costs really start to balloon, however, is with the involvement of lawyers or professional agencies.

47-year-old Debi Holland in Chicago says she spent around $20,000 in total, with "the primary cost being the consultancy that helped with the paperwork" - though notes that she also spent a significant sum of money on travel to Italy in order to speed up the process.

READ ALSO: 'Next to impossible': How backlogs are delaying applications for Italian citizenship

"You REALLY have to want it for all the difficulty, documents, and cost," says 70-year-old Kenneth Bishop, who estimates that he's spent $5,500 on an Italian attorney, a US court hearing relating to a name change, and document fees.

Even with the extra expense, many respondents who paid for these services said that they had a positive experience overall and would advise others to do the same.

"The attorney I used was very good and made the process very smooth," says US resident Chris LaVigna, 60, who says he spent €3,700 on legal fees.

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"Hiring an attorney is a great idea," agrees 43-year-old Johathan Pitre in Naples, who spent a total of $25,000 on his application.

READ ALSO: What a law from 1912 means for your claim for Italian citizenship via ancestry

And one anonymous reader in Veneto who spent £6,500 on their application said the process could have been "very difficult" if they hadn't found a good lawyer, advising others to do the same "even if a good one is expensive".

Despite these success stories, several readers cautioned others to do their research before shelling out for professional services.

"Don’t throw money away on scams that promise that they can get you an appointment," said Joe Gluck, 48, in the US.

"Use care when hiring service providers, attorneys, etc. Ask for recommendations and do your research," said an anonymous reader in Boston.

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Comments (3)

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Tony Tarone 2023/10/22 01:13
I'm in process now as a "1948" case using an Italian law firm. I opted for the full-service package. Aside from signing a few document, they are handling everything. I have monthly checkpoint meetings and email progress with scans of documents they obtained. Knowledgeable and professional all the way. It's expected to take roughly 2-years in total. I'm about 6-months into it now. Final cost will be $12-$15K USD for the full service program. For me, that's absolutely worth it.
Chris Russo 2023/10/19 14:57
I just received my Italian Citizenship through my great grandparents a week ago. I decided to come to Italy and do it through the Comune. I came from the US and there are not many Americans getting citizenship in my Comune (why I picked it) and the process took about 2 years. I agree you should find an attorney and definitely if you do it in Italy and don't speak the language well. Total cost for me was about 5000 EUR. Just learn the phrase "piano piano".
Jonathan Ciccarone 2023/10/18 20:51
I'm almost done with the process after starting 3 years ago and I'll be at $11,000 when it's all said and done.

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