How to Obtain Dual Citizenship in Italy for American Born People of Italian Ancestry 
An Interview With Monica Zontelli - An American Citizen Who Completed the Process
MI:  Why do (did) you plan to seek citizenship in Italy?
Zontelli: (I received my Dual Citizenship in 2015)
My desire to become an Italian Citizen first and foremost was based upon my love for my family.
My Italian ancestors left their beloved country to provide a better life for their children.
They brought their cultural beliefs and traditions with them when they immigrated .  These ideas were passed down to me along  with a strong sense of family and determination. It is out of honor and respect to my bisnonno and bisnonna .

MI: Do you travel to Italy? 
Zontelli: Yes, I have traveled to Italy three times.  My family is from the Trentino-Alto Adige region in northern Italy bordering Switzerland and Austria.  The region encompasses part of the Dolomites, a section of the Italian Alps.  Trento, is the region's capital. My paternal family is from a small village called Livo. (Zanotelli)  My maternal family is also from a small village called Cagno. (de Pretis) 

MI: Have you met others with dual citizenship? 
Zontelli: Fifteen of my family members from Minnesota applied to become a duel citizen at the same time.  I was the first to receive mine.

MI: Is a lawyer necessary?
Zontelli: To obtain a duel US/Italy citizenship an attorney is not necessary however I would recommend utilizing an attorney as there are many documents and information which require correct and proper execution.  I hired an immigration attorney out of New York who happens to be a 2nd cousin.

MI: Are there any benefits?
Zontelli:  The biggest benefit for me is knowing that I completed the circle and now can pass this to my children and grandchildren.  Other Benefits:To be able to work, reside and study in Italy and the other 26 EU countries. Access to health care services and a pension that are both necessary and provided by the state. As an Italian citizen, you are entitled to study at any EU university under the same conditions as nationals. The tuitions are moderately priced or require no tuition fees. Spouses may apply for an Italian Citizenship and receive the same benefits.

MI: Do you need to speak Italian?  
Zontelli: You do not need to speak Italian.

MI: Is it an expensive process? 
Zontelli: It cost me approx. $2,500. It was done right the first time.

MI: How much Italian ancestry do you need to apply?
Zontelli: - jure sanguinis – acquisition of Italian citizenship through birth from an Italian mother or father, regardless the place of birth. This right applies to the child born of a legal union or natural one and is also valid for minor children who are adopted. There is no status of limitation regarding the recognition of Italian citizenship through birth and it is possible to request Italian citizenship if: a) the Italian ancestor was alive on March 17, 1861 and maintained the Italian citizenship within June 30, 1912; b) through maternal line if you were born after January 1st, 1948.- jure soli - Italian citizenship is bestowed to the child born in the Italian national territory when his/her parents are unknown, stateless or they do not transmit their citizenship to the child in accordance with their nationality’s legislation. This is also true in the event the child is found abandoned in Italy and for whom it is impossible to determine status civitatis (citizenship); - ope legis, the categories indicated in the art. 4, section 1 and 2 of the Law 91/1992 (foreigner/stateless whose father or mother or one ancestor was an Italian citizen or foreigners born in Italy). These benefits are extended to those born in the territory of the ex Austro-Hungarian Empire and to their descendents as well (Law 379/2000 which expires on December 31st ,2010) and the law n. 124/2006. - naturalization by marriage (art. 5, Act No. 91/1992): the foreign spouse of an Italian citizen may apply for Italian citizenship under two conditions:
1) after 2 years from the date of marriage if residing in Italy, or
2) after 3 years from the date of marriage if residing abroad.
These terms are halved if the couple has children under the age of 18.

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