Last week, the announcement of the increase in the rate of consular services in Italian citizenship cases by almost 100% rekindled the debate on changes in immigration law, a recurring issue in Italy. However, some questions need to be clarified regarding the difficulties of acquiring the benefit and about who, in fact, is entitled to it, as well as possible changes in the future.
First, keep in mind that Italian citizenship is the most permissive in the world. Unlike in other places in Europe, all you have to do is prove that you are related to an ancestor, without having a generation limit, in order for someone to be eligible for the process. Having the certificate that proves this bond, the right to Italian citizenship is already effective.
For this reason, discussions about the law and possible revisions occur every year. Some come true, some don’t. In September 2019, the Italian premier stated that some of these laws needed to be revised, but without specifying what and when it would be re-studied. If these changes occur, what should happen to the descendant entitled to the red passport?
Well, there are two strands in this case: one that understands that change does not affect those who are born and only those who are yet to be born, but another that argues that it will be necessary to change the constitution to affect everyone. As we prepare processes and deal with the procedures for obtaining Italian citizenship all the time, we understand that the law is really vague on some issues, and that, depending on how they happen, certain changes are necessary, since we are talking about a old procedure from 1982.
Here in Brazil, for example, each Italian consulate treats citizenship in one way. In this case, the documentation you bring to the consulate of Rio de Janeiro is different from that required in Sao Paulo and Brasilia, and all of them are different from the communes, given to the Italian prefectures where the descendant was born. And even among these, the rules are very different. Revision could be beneficial in this case, to make the whole process more effective and faster.
The fact is that, slowly, the government seems to be trying to limit the process of Italian citizenship. In São Paulo, for example, there are 160,000 people in line for documentation. And the rising rate of consular services has a lot to do with it. It is a way of restricting the benefit and reducing possible swelling in these lines. In short, if this change does occur, Italian citizenship tends to be limited in Brazil to an elite and many entitled people tend to avoid the process because of the cost.
In this case, one way to reduce the cost and enable more democratic access to Italian citizenship is through the courts, alleging illegal consulate queues. This requires neither the government-imposed consular service fee nor the two-year statutory period.