ICA: The benefits of acquiring Italian citizenship by descent
- WTI Magazine #139 May 22, 2021
Our previous articles have analysed the rising tide of applications for Italian citizenship by descent and the reasons that have driven such a surge in recent years. They have also examined the various paths to acquiring citizenship, the eligibility requirements and the documents needed to apply.
This article instead will focus on the benefits of acquiring Italian citizenship, such as the possibility of travelling to a number of countries without any restrictions, working, studying and residing anywhere in the Europe Union, and accessing Italy’s high-quality universal healthcare service, affordable higher education system and competitive real estate market. However, before we dig deeper into the benefits of acquiring Italian citizenship, it is worth mentioning that one of the most important aspects related to becoming an Italian citizen is the ability to pass citizenship by right of blood.
In other words, if you apply for Italian citizenship and your children are minors, they will automatically become Italian citizens when you are granted citizenship, therefore, they will not need to go through the entire process of filing an application individually, and they will be able to pass on citizenship to their children provided that they register their children’s births in Italy through the AIRE (Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad). But what other benefits are there to acquiring Italian citizenship?
Travelling outside and within Europe
Italy has one of the world’s most useful passports, which allows its holders to access a number of countries without applying for a visa in advance. In particular, the 2020 Henley Passport Index, which is the original and authoritative ranking of all the world’s passports, ranked Italy’s passport fourth. Notably, Italy’s passport has been in the top five since the index began in 2006, ranking higher than the UK and US passports. The ability to travel without any restrictions applies even more in the European Union. In particular, if you hold an Italian passport no visa is required to travel to any of the EU’s member states (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden). This has enabled people to travel freely across national boundaries, making trade and tourism easier and cheaper.
Working, studying and living anywhere in the European Union
Aside from the ability to travel within the European Union without a visa, being an Italian citizen, and consequently an EU citizen, enables you to work, study or retire in any EU member state. As far as education is concerned, many of the world’s best universities are located in Europe, and they offer thousands of study programs in English. Compared to the United States, Canada and the U.K., the tuition fees at most universities in Europe are very low and the quality of education is very high. Furthermore, thanks to the Bologna process of reforms, the higher education systems of all European countries have been aligned and therefore, a Bachelor or Master degree in Europe will be recognized by any EU member state. The ability to study in the European Union also extends to the ability to work in any EU member state. In particular, in recent years Europe has attracted many workers thanks to its leading companies worldwide and innovative corporations, which offer a better work-life balance and a number of employment benefits and social security schemes. Finally, if you are married to an Italian citizen, you can live in any European country provided that you apply for a residency permit for spouses of EU citizens.
Italy’s healthcare system
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of acquiring Italian citizenship is the ability to access Italy’s low-cost, high-quality universal health care service. According to the World Health Organization, Italy has one of the best health care systems in the word. The result is based on its overall quality, life expectancy and equity of access. Unlike the U.S. where healthcare can be very expensive, medical treatments in Italy are covered by the public system. In other words, Italy has a public-based health care system that is supported by tax income, and health expenses are on average much lower compared to other states. More specifically, if you are an Italian citizen and you reside in Italy, you will be assigned to a general practitioner through the local health authority, and you will receive a tessera sanitaria (“health card”), which will allow you to access medical care on a national level. On the other hand, if you want to apply for Italian citizenship to then be able to live in another EU member state, it will be worth applying for a European Health Insurance Card, which will cover medical expenses in other EU countries.
Education in Italy
Many universities in Italy have an excellent reputation and rank high on an international scale. There are state universities such as The University of Bologna, for instance, which is one of the oldest universities in the world, but there are also private universities such as Università Bocconi in Milan or Luiss Guido Carli in Rome which might be considered more prestigious in some specific disciplines but have higher tuition fees than state universities. Generally speaking, state universities are very affordable, they offer high standards of quality education and in some cases students may even be exempt from paying their tuition fees depending on their academic performance and financial situation. Furthermore, if you want to study in Italy and have the opportunity to study abroad, many universities participate in the Erasmus Programme, which is a European Union student exchange programme that allows students to study in another European country as part of their degree.
Italy’s affordable real estate market
It is fair to say that compared to many northern European countries and to North America, the Italian real estate market is very accessible. Prices for an average property such as a semi- detached house with a small yard could vary between €50,000 and €100,000. On average, prices in northern Italy are higher, but this is proportionate to the cost of living. On the other hand, properties in southern Italy - where the cost of living is lower than in the north - tend to be cheaper. However, this also depends on where the property is located (i.e. in the city centre or on the outskirts). It is also worth mentioning that there are also many properties that need refurbishing and renovation works and whose asking price could range between €10,000 and €30,000. Aside from affordable prices, it should also be said that Italy has a great variety of choice of properties, ranging from small apartments to villas, farm houses, bungalows and detached houses.
Finally, one of the advantages to applying for Italian citizenship by descent is that you do not need to speak Italian because, de facto, from the Italian government’s perspective you are Italian by birth-right, and you are only formally applying for the recognition of your right to Italian citizenship. On the contrary, if you are applying for citizenship by marriage or by residency you need to speak Italian. More specifically, applying for citizenship by marriage or by residency requires passing a B1 language test, which according to the Common European Framework of References for Languages is intermediate level.
In conclusion, whether your dream is to move to Italy with your family to live a quieter life, allow your children to study in some of the best universities in Italy or in Europe, or whether it is to or enjoy the country’s lifestyle, Italian citizenship will definitely open the doors to a lifelong investment and a number of benefits.
For more information on the benefits of acquiring Italian citizenship and for useful tips on the dual citizenship application process be sure to check ICA’s YouTube channel here.
If you are considering applying for Italian citizenship and you need information or help with determining whether you are eligible, please do not hesitate to contact ICA at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at 1-323-892-0861. If you need further details please visit italiancitizenshipassistance.com. We are offering a 5% discount to all We the Italians readers, which is valid until May 31 and can be redeemed by quoting the code ICAWTI2021