Divorce and citizenship

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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manta
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Divorce and citizenship

Postby manta » 11 Oct 2010, 16:37

Hi

I have been married to an Italian citzen for 4 years, and we have been living in Italy for 3 years.

We are now going to start the paperwork for divorce. My question; is there any chance I can still apply for Italian citizenship, if not is there any way for me to stay in Italy after the divorce.

I am South-African.

Any help and advice.

Thank you

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mler
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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby mler » 11 Oct 2010, 16:51

As far as I know, you cannot apply for citizenship through marriage after a divorce. Is there a possibility that you can apply before the divorce becomes final? Other than that, it may be difficult for you to remain in Italy unless you have an Italian child. In that case, it may be possible for you to remain, although I'm not sure how. In any case, without citizenship, working in Italy will be difficult.

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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby johnnyonthespot » 11 Oct 2010, 18:19

Did I not read somewhere recently that a consulate, in a jus matrimoni case, required a statement from the court of residence that there was no pending divorce case in process? In other words, "don't try to pull a fast one on us!"

This is one of those questions which might be better answered in the ExpatsInItaly forum.
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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby johnnyonthespot » 11 Oct 2010, 18:56

mler wrote:As far as I know, you cannot apply for citizenship through marriage after a divorce. ...


For the record, I am not sure if this applies if the marriage took place on or before April 27, 1983. For those earlier marriages, a woman who married an Italian man immediately became an Italian citizen (did not apply to men marrying Italian women; only the other way around). And, that citizenship survived the death of the husband or divorce therefrom.

Since the woman became an Italian citizen automatically and citizenship survived divorce/death, I don't believe that the current status of her marriage would come into play if she were, for the first time, to apply for an Italian passport.

Pure guesswork on my part
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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby jennabet » 11 Oct 2010, 21:13

An American friend of mine was married to an Italian man prior to 1983. She never obtained an Italian passport and moved back to New York to get a divorce, leaving her two children with their father's family in Italy. 30 years have passed, she goes back to Italy twice a year to visit her kids and grand-kids but still cannot get an Italian passport. In her case, even though she married prior to 1983, she is not an Italian citizen as the divorce did affect her status. Her ex-husband, by the way, has dual citizenship and lives with his new wife in New York.

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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby johnnyonthespot » 11 Oct 2010, 21:58

jennabet wrote:An American friend of mine was married to an Italian man prior to 1983. She never obtained an Italian passport and moved back to New York to get a divorce, leaving her two children with their father's family in Italy. 30 years have passed, she goes back to Italy twice a year to visit her kids and grand-kids but still cannot get an Italian passport. In her case, even though she married prior to 1983, she is not an Italian citizen as the divorce did affect her status. Her ex-husband, by the way, has dual citizenship and lives with his new wife in New York.


I have to say that, on it's face, this makes no sense at all and I wonder exactly who told her that she cannot obtain a passport.

Let's suppose for a moment that she married in 1982, finally got around to obtaining her Italian passport in 1998 and then divorced in 2000. Who would know? And, even if they followed the rules and recorded the divorce with the Italian consulate/comune, do you believe that Italy would rescind her citizenship and make her turn in her passport?

My impression is that prior to April 28, 1983, a woman who married an Italian citizen was automatically granted citizenship just as surely as you and I inherited it on the day we were born and that there is no taking it away. The fact that she did not apply for a passport in a timely manner should not affect her citizenship any more than the fact that you and I were in our 50's (?) before we applied for ours.

I will have to look into this...
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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby mler » 11 Oct 2010, 22:11

I think you're right, Carmine. It seems that if a woman acquired citizenship automatically by marrying an Italian before 1983, she retains that citizenship even if he later dies, divorces or renounces his own citizenship. Several of our posters qualify in just that manner.

In Manta's case, however, the marriage is fairly recent (four years) so this aspect of the law would not apply.

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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby jennabet » 11 Oct 2010, 22:38

........My impression is that prior to April 28, 1983, a woman who married an Italian citizen was automatically granted citizenship just as surely as you and I inherited it on the day we were born and that there is no taking it away. The fact that she did not apply for a passport in a timely manner should not affect her citizenship any more than the fact that you and I were in our 50's (?) before we applied for ours.

I will have to look into this........

This was a non-Italian woman who INITIATED the divorce. Perhaps if it were the Italian man who initiated it, she would have kept her citizenship. Knowing what I know about the role of mothers in Italy, Italy might not have looked favorably on a foreign mother who deserted her children in order to divorce her husband. The reason she was granted automatic citizenship through marriage in the first place is because it was assumed she would be the mother of Italian children.

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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby mler » 12 Oct 2010, 10:43

It may be possible that the consulate is deliberately creating a roadblock that legally does not exist or the person with whom she spoke may have been unaware of this law. It may be worth her while to try again if she is seriously interested in obtaining citizenship.

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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby johnnyonthespot » 12 Oct 2010, 11:16

Along these lines is this interesting thread at ExpatsInItaly http://expatsinitaly.com/phpbbforum/vie ... =7&t=13176

In brief, the protagonists, an Italian citizen woman and her non-Italian citizen husband were married in Australia where they lived far together in excess of three years and have a child. The woman was registered in the local AIRE database.

They moved to Italy and wished to file for citizenship jus matrimoni for the husband.

Now, Italian law is quite clear in such matters: it says that before a jus matrimoni case can be presented, the couple must have been wed for two years if residing in Italy or for three years if outside Italy. This couple far exceeds the latter requirement. However, the stato civile officer in their Italian comune is insisting that no, they must now reside in Italy for two years before proceeding with his jus matrimoni application.

It seems very clear that the official is incorrect; once again, the "rule" as proposed by the official simply makes no sense.
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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby jennabet » 12 Oct 2010, 20:27

The husband could have easily applied for citizenship through a consulate in Australia, having met the three year requirement, which is also a residency requirement. The fact that the couple moved to Italy means the husband must now meet a two year residency requirement before he can apply in the Comune. Makes perfect sense to me.

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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby jennabet » 12 Oct 2010, 20:35

Actually, it's the Italian citizen (the wife) who must meet the two year residency requirement in Italy due to the fact that she was listed in the AIRE database.

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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby johnnyonthespot » 12 Oct 2010, 21:39

Sorry, makes no sense at all to me.

The point of these two or three year rules is to ensure that the marriage is not a sham solely for the purpose of gaining citizenship. This couple has in fact been married for over ten years and has a child together. Clearly, they have met the burden of proof regarding the legitimacy of their marriage.

As you pointed out, had they simply applied in Australia, there would not be an issue now.

I know that Wikipedia is not an official organ of the Italian government, but:

After six months legal residence in Italy, the spouse of an Italian citizen can acquire Italian citizenship through naturalization; that was before August 8, 2009. Now, it has been extended to two years or after three years of marriage (if overseas), those periods are reduced respectively to one year and one and a half year if the couple has a child (natural or adopted) provided a lack of criminal record and lack of national security concerns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_nationality_law


I am sure that given some effort I could find a copy of the relavant Italian law.
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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby jennabet » 12 Oct 2010, 22:33

......After six months legal residence in Italy, the spouse of an Italian citizen can acquire Italian citizenship through naturalization; that was before August 8, 2009. Now, it has been extended to two years.......

Carmine, you didn't specify but I assume the Italian citizen (wife) had never lived in Italy prior to her marriage and that she was recognized as an Italian citizen in Australia. This means she and her family are not known to the Comune and she must meet her own residency requirement before she can file a petition to have her husband naturalized through jus matrimoniali.

When a marriage takes place in Italy, bans of marriage are posted in the jurisdiction of the Comune so that anyone who knows anything about this couple can come forward if one or both are not free to marry or if there is some sort of security, criminal impediment with the non-Italian spouse. If the Italian spouse never lived in the Comune, there is no way to make this determination and this is why the Italian citizen must establish her own residency in the Comune.

Also, not ALL spouses of Italian citizens can acquire citizenship after living in Italy for two years. I know of three cases where the Italian citizens married spouses from Santo Domingo and Mexico and it has taken at least six years for those spouses to acquire citizenship.

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Re: Divorce and citizenship

Postby jennabet » 12 Oct 2010, 22:34

......After six months legal residence in Italy, the spouse of an Italian citizen can acquire Italian citizenship through naturalization; that was before August 8, 2009. Now, it has been extended to two years.......

Carmine, you didn't specify but I assume the Italian citizen (wife) had never lived in Italy prior to her marriage and that she was recognized as an Italian citizen in Australia. This means she and her family are not known to the Comune and she must meet her own residency requirement before she can file a petition to have her husband naturalized through jus matrimoniali.

When a marriage takes place in Italy, bans of marriage are posted in the jurisdiction of the Comune so that anyone who knows anything about this couple can come forward if one or both are not free to marry or if there is some sort of security, criminal impediment with the non-Italian spouse. If the Italian spouse never lived in the Comune, there is no way to make this determination and this is why the Italian citizen must establish her own residency in the Comune.

Also, not ALL spouses of Italian citizens can acquire citizenship after living in Italy for two years. I know of three cases where the Italian citizens married spouses from Santo Domingo and Mexico and it has taken at least six years for those spouses to acquire citizenship.


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