Having an Italian passport has many advantages if you spend time in Europe. The passport provides positive identification of your citizenship, allowing you access to free public health care and higher education. Using an Italian passport when traveling to countries hostile to the U.S. can also provide a higher level of security and more freedom of movement. Having a foreign identity also eliminates significant amounts of red tape when starting a business or making investments within the European Union.
Traveling With an Italian Passport
If you're an Italian citizen residing in that country, an Italian identity card is all you need to travel between countries in the European Union. However, citizens living in the U.S. will want to get an Italian passport to serve as both proof of identity and a travel document. Modern Italian passports contain biometric chips that positively identify their owner. The chip's information includes your fingerprints or other personal biometric data as well as a digitized photo, your date of birth, nationality and passport number.
Who's Your Daddy?
The first step in applying for an Italian passport is having current citizenship. United States citizens may apply for dual citizenship under a variety of conditions. If you were originally an Italian citizen but automatically lost your citizenship by enlisting in the U.S. military or holding a government job, you may reapply for citizenship. If you are a child or grandchild of an Italian immigrant who never revoked his or her citizenship, you may also be a candidate for dual citizenship. Finally, if you live in Italy and meet certain residency requirements, you can apply for citizenship. Forms are available at the many Italian consulates found throughout the United States.
Getting Your Passport
Once you have citizenship, you'll need to apply for an Italian passport at an authorized Italian consulate. Bring documents showing your registration in the Registry of Italians Residing Abroad, or AIRE, along with current photo ID and two recent passport photos. The consulate will require you to fill out passport forms and pay a fee. If you're obtaining a passport for a child, you'll need a signed consent statement from your child's other parent to accompany the application.
Replacing a Lost Passport
If your passport is lost or stolen, file a report with the local police department to document its theft. Bring a copy of the police report with you when you visit the Italian consulate nearest to you to apply for a replacement document. Other documents you'll need to aid you in obtaining your new passport include two passport photos, your tax identification number such as a Social Security number or codice fiscale, driver's license, health service card or other government-issued photo ID.