Joan and Frankie Grande, who are the mother and brother of American singer, songwriter and actress Ariana Grande, respectively, have become Italian citizens, under the claims they are descendants of Italian citizens.
More specifically, the maternal great-grandparents of Grande, Michele Antonio Grande and Filomena Lavandetti, were emigrants from Gildone, who moved to the United States, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“I am so proud of my mother and myself for finally getting these Italian passports. I love Italy so much and can’t wait to immerse myself even more in the culture and my heritage. What a great moment for us. Being able to then share it with my mother… priceless. I cry with happiness,” Frankie said on an Instagram post, in a picture posing alongside his mother, Joan.
On the other hand, people on social media have raised their concerns, with some of those calling the move “unfair” and some others raising questions about how the Italian State can allow citizenship to be obtained with such ease.
Another comment points out that there are people who were born in this country and had to wait 18 years to obtain citizenship, while the State is giving citizenship to fourth-generation Italians.
“An American who does not speak Italian, has never lived in Italy, has never attended Italian schools is considered more Italian than a person of Ghanaian origin born and raised in Italy only because the former has great-grandparents from Molise,” a comment reads.
People that are able to obtain Italian citizenship must fall into one of these categories; were born to an Italian parent, are married to an Italian citizen, have resided in Italy for almost ten years or for shorter periods if the applicant is a refugee, stateless or an EU citizen. In addition, those that have Italian ancestry up to the second degree, such as grandparents or great-grandparents and can be proven through relevant documents, are eligible to become Italian citizens.
EU citizens can apply for Italian citizenship if they have resided for four years legally or for ten years for non-EU citizens. Foreigners whose parents or grandparents were Italian by birth or foreigners who were born in Italy and hadn’t applied for Italian citizenship until they were mature are eligible to obtain citizenship even after three years of legal residency.
According to Italy’s national statistics agency, Istat, a total of 121,457 people received Italian citizenship in 2021, which is eight per cent below the previous years. The majority of applicants are from Albania (22,493), followed by Morocco (16,588), Romania (9,435) and Brazil (5,460).