People at a demonstration in Rome, Italy, in November 2017, demanding that anyone born in Italy should be able to get the Italian citizenship | Photo: ANSA/Giuseppe Lami
People at a demonstration in Rome, Italy, in November 2017, demanding that anyone born in Italy should be able to get the Italian citizenship | Photo: ANSA/Giuseppe Lami

In Italy, the state can take four years to process a citizenship requests. That time is necessary, given an increase in requests, according to Michele Di Bari, the head of the interior ministry's immigration department.

In Italy, the time officially required to grant citizenship was raised from two years to four when the Salvini decree was passed in the fall of 2018. Those four years are still "necessary" for all the complex checks that the Interior ministry must carry out prior to issuing a response, Prefect Michele Di Bari said on Tuesday. 

Di Bari is the head of the civil liberties and immigration department of the interior ministry. He made this statement during a hearing at the constitutional affairs committee of the chamber of representatives, which is debating draft laws on the issue. 

'Closer examination of requests' 

Di Bari noted that "faced with a progressive increase in citizenship requests, there is a need for greater attentiveness in the examination, in part due to a greater risk of terrorism and the counterfeiting of documents from countries of origin." 

Thus, he continued, "the system of the administration considers it necessary to maintain the four-year term. Every request is assessed through examining requirements, residency, the lack of impediments from the national security point of view, and checks on documents pertaining to specific situations to prevent marriages of convenience. We need this amount of time." 

150,000 citizenship cases in 2019

The prefect nevertheless noted that "in 2019, we started the largest number of cases, 150,000, and we made huge steps forward in shortening the examination time for the requests."

What took more time, he added, is the fact that "there are also new judicial elements, such as the introduction of the income requirement. That is, citizens that enter Italy must take part in the state budget." 

If the parliament were to pass a law to shorten the timeline for granting citizenship, Di Bari said, "personnel and resources will be needed for the digitalisation of the system."
 

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