The acquisition of citizenship by foreigners or stateless persons who have contracted marriage with Italian citizens is governed by articles 5 and 6 of law 91/1992.

A foreign or stateless spouse of an Italian citizen can acquire Italian citizenship when, after marriage, he or she has been legally residing for at least two years in the territory of the Republic, or after three years from the date of the marriage if resident abroad, if, at the moment of the adoption of the decree referred to in article 7, paragraph 1, there is no dissolution, annulment or cessation of the civil effects of the marriage and there is no personal separation of the spouses.

The time limits are reduced by half in the presence of children born or adopted by the spouses.

The prefects are empowered to adopt measures regarding the granting or denial of citizenship in relation to foreign citizens who are married to Italian citizens residing in Italy.

The competence is, instead, of the Head of the Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration, if the foreign spouse resides abroad, and of the Minister of the Interior if there are reasons relating to the security of the Republic.

The conversion law 1 December 2018 n. 132 of the D.L. 4 October 2018, n. 113, provides for the requirement of knowledge of the italian language for applicants for Italian citizenship by marriage.

The maximum term for the conclusion of the procedure for the recognition of Italian citizenship by marriage is 24 months, which can be extended up to 36. In fact, article 9-ter of law n. 91/1992, introduced by D.L. n. 113 of 2018, was recently amended by virtue of law n. 173 of conversion of the decree-law 21 October 2020 n. 130.

This regulatory provision is applied to applications for citizenship by marriage presented on the date of entry into force of the conversion law published in the Official Gazette General Series N. 314 of 19.12.2020.