Citizenship when purchasing real estate in Italy

Ten years of waiting

An ordinary immigrant can apply for Italian citizenship only after ten years of residence in Italy and passing two standard “steps” on the way to the cherished goal: five years of residence permit and five years of permanent residence.

The purchase of real estate in Italy in itself is not the basis even for obtaining a residence permit, and this issue will be resolved on the spot by the police, for whom the financial security of the applicant, his law-abidingness and the absence of diseases dangerous to society are important.

Large investors who invest money in the development of the local economy will have to wait the same ten years (at least a million euros in shares of an Italian company or in the restoration of historical or cultural heritage, two million euros in government bonds or five hundred thousand in an innovative startup that can bring real benefit, and not a means of pumping out money).

In a number of countries – Cyprus, Malta, many island states, such amounts are a guarantee of an expedited procedure for obtaining a second passport. In contrast, there is no Golden Visa program in Italy as such, although real estate prices here are incomparably higher than in Spain or Portugal.

In the Apennines, neither the amount of investment nor the value of the purchased property can speed up the process of obtaining citizenship. From time to time, the country proposes to conduct an audit of this issue, citing obvious benefits for the country’s economy, but last fall the so-called security level 113 was introduced.

The opportunities for foreigners to obtain Italian citizenship remain the same, but the implementation of some of them has become even more difficult.

How to obtain Italian citizenship


At the moment, there are the following ways to obtain Italian citizenship for representatives of foreign countries:

  • marriage with an Italian citizen, with whom you must live in Italy for at least two years;
  • have an EU passport and have resided in Italy for four years;
  • obtain a residence permit for employment, which is initially an extremely difficult task due to existing quotas for foreign representatives of a particular profession, and then go through the standard procedure (renewal of the residence permit plus obtaining permanent residence);
  • enroll in an Italian university, although without subsequent employment, the right to a residence permit and subsequently higher statuses are automatically lost;
  • propose an adequate business plan that can convince members of the migration department of its effectiveness, as well as demonstrate sufficient funds for its implementation.

In this case, no matter how large the investment, it will not be possible to obtain Italian citizenship right away or even in a shorter period of time – a large investor opening his own business (lavoro autonomo) also cannot avoid a ten-year waiting period. At the beginning of the decade, a bill was developed to reduce this period for business immigrants by half, but after the change of government it was put on hold.

All other paths to Italian citizenship are only suitable for children of Italian or mixed couples by birth, Italians by origin (even in the case of loss of supporting documents) and immediate family members reuniting – provided that the resident of the country has a certain level of income.

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