Well, hello there, Samantha here, and welcome to our weekly segment of the 5 in 10 where our experts answer five of your questions in ten minutes or less to help clear up all that misinformation out there and keep you on track.
Well, hello there, Samantha here, and welcome to this episode of the 5 in 10. Today’s special guest is one of my favorite people in all of Italy: Citizenship Lawyer Arturo Grasso from My Lawyer in Italy. Arturo specializes in citizenship cases, specifically 1948 petitions, and the new no-appointment cases.
And he is the lawyer that we appoint for all of our clients’ cases here in Italy. And he is so dedicated to each and every one of his clients, and it really shows through every stage of this really long process.
Getting Italian citizenship is life-changing. Not only does it give you all of the benefits of citizenship, like freedom of movement or special tax rates or free health care, if you’re a resident, but it connects you to your ancestors. It brings your roots back home.
On today’s show, I’m asking Arturo Grasso your questions about Italian citizenship; how to get it, what happens when things go wrong, and a whole lot more.
Well, welcome to the show, Arturo. Maybe you can take some time and introduce yourself and let our listeners know what it is that you do.
Thank you, Samantha. Thank you for inviting me. My name is Arturo Grasso. I’m an attorney. My place of practice is Rome. We have an office in Rome and an office in Orvieto. The majority of our business is with citizenship by descent.
We also deal with inheritance cases. And we are very happy to bring back as more Italians as possible to become Italian citizens.
Right. And I know that you work with a lot of our clients and your clients as well. So you’re very busy and you’re very knowledgeable in the whole area of Italian citizenship, which I’ve always, I always say to our clients that if you qualify for Italian citizenship, it is, it’s almost like winning the lottery, because there are so many incredible benefits to it. And it is a really long process and there’s a lot of questions and a lot of misinformation out there.
So I want to take these next five questions that we have from our listeners and see if you can answer them at a time so that they can help them along their pathway. Are you ready?
Yes, I’m ready.
OK. Question number one, what are the benefits to becoming an Italian citizen?
Well, becoming an Italian citizen. First of all, you can vote for Italian politics, so you can vote for Italy. But on top of that, the real benefit is that you have a passport that you can come and go anytime you want, to Italy, without time limits and you can travel all over Europe so you can go to Italian schools if you want to and you can, when you live in Italy, you can count on the Italian welfare, health care system. And this is really, I believe, a good thing when you can enjoy the Italian beauty, going around all over Italy and not be afraid of what’s going on and what happens to you for your security too.
Right. And I think that what people tend to focus sometimes on is they say, ‘Well, you know what, I don’t know if I qualify for Italian citizenship, but I don’t plan on moving to Italy. And you know, why do I need my citizenship?’
And we always explain to them that it gives you all of those benefits that you said. But it also opens up the entire Schengen region, not just to, you know, to you, but also to your children and their children.
So, which means that they can work and live and go to school in any of the European countries. Is that true?
That’s correct. A client of mine told me once, a passport, an additional passport, can save your life. He was talking about the Second World War, but you never know, you know, life, you can need a passport, an additional passport, any time.
Right? Yeah. Well, here’s a question that we get from people who are questioning whether or not they should get their Italian citizenship.
The question is, once I become an Italian, do I have to pay taxes in Italy even if I don’t live there?
Not at all. Only if you move to Italy and live in Italy more than six months per year, then you have to. But if you don’t, then if you live in the U.S. and your permanent residence or domicile is in the U.S. or elsewhere outside of Italy, you don’t pay taxes.
Right. So just getting a passport doesn’t mean all of a sudden you’re now paying all your taxes into the Italian economy at all. It just gives you the rights as a citizen of Italy.
OK. Question number three, I want to apply for my citizenship in Italy, directly in Italy. How long does that normally take?
I can estimate an average of six months. However, it really depends on the single municipality where the person is going to apply. I’ve seen cases of people who did everything in three months, because they were in a rush and the person was going to be in the Olympics as an Italian competitor and in a situation where people spent nine months or over nine months.
It really depends on the single declared, that the reason, one of the reason to get speedy is to choose the proper commune in Italy, where to apply, somewhere that you know how the clerk’s index processes your citizenship case.
Right, and you have a choice, you can apply in any commune that you prefer. And it really depends, as you said, and investigating where the best one is, where the easiest one is, and maybe the one that isn’t quite as busy will help you along that path.
So question number four, do I need to speak Italian to get citizenship?
No, this is a good advantage for Italian citizenship by descent. Other kinds of citizenship there require the person to speak Italian, not the one by descent. So if you’re part of a lineage of an Italian immigrant, if you are descent of an Italian immigrant, you are not required to speak Italian to get citizenship.
OK, that’s, I’m sure that’s a relief for a lot of people. I think they worry that they have to learn Italian to get their citizenship, so that’s a really good relief.
OK. Question number five, can I move to Italy before I get my citizenship approved?
Yes, if you apply to the commune. If you’re applying to an Italian municipality and not at the consulate abroad, then you can move to Italy. You are permitted. The law provides for you to come to Italy to register with the police department and stay as long as the process goes on.
Right, but if you apply through your local consulate in, let’s say, the U.S., you have to actually wait till your entire citizenship has been approved and you have your documents in order to move to Italy and live full time.
That is correct. Citizenship, the jurisdiction, is driven by the permanent domicile. So if your permanent domicile is in, say, in the U.S., you must apply at an Italian consulate and the process must be completed by an Italian consulate.
If you move to Italy in the middle of the process, the consulate will tell you that he has no jurisdiction anymore. And the same is, if you move from one consulate district to another consulate district, your consulate, your previous consulate, may tell you that he has no jurisdiction to decide on your case.
Hmm. OK, well, that was five questions Arturo. It goes so fast, these 5 in 10’s, but there was still a lot of information to understand, and I’m sure our listeners have a good idea of the answers to those questions.
If all of our listeners want to get a hold of Arturo, we will have his contact details* at the end of this episode in our show notes.
Thank you, Arturo, for coming to the show.
Grazie mille, Samantha! Thank you. Thank you to everyone.
Well, my friends, our time is up. But remember, if you’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers. All you have to do is ask. Go to smartmoveitaly.com/5in10 and send us yours.
Maybe your Italian and don’t even know it? Take our 2 minute quiz and find out!
Until next month, ciao for now!
*My Lawyer in Italy
U.S. & Canada +1 888 772 7661
Global +06 9972 8485
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