Italian Citizenship by Descent

Aug 02, 2018

This post is also available in: itItaliano

Italian citizenship(cittadinanza italiana) is based upon the principle of jure sanguinis (blood right), meaning the child born of an Italian father or mother is also an Italian citizen.



 

People whose ancestors were Italian may be able to acquire citizenship, depending on a number of factors such as the date and place of birth of their parents, grandparents, and even of their great-grandparents. Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation, on the condition that none of the ancestors has ever renounced their citizenship. When a person claims to be of Italian parentage or ancestry but no proof of the fact can be found in Italian registers (i.e. citizenship claimed by great-grandparents), it is necessary to provide proof that all ancestors have maintained, and thereby passed on, their Italian citizenship. The acquisition of Italian citizenship does not bring any tax obligations, which are instead linked to moving residency in Italy.

If any one of the below scenario applies, a foreign citizen may be entitled to Italian citizenship (exceptions may apply depending on various factors):

 

 


The applicant’s father was born in Italy

and

  • was an Italian citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth, and
  • the applicant never renounced his/her right to Italian citizenship

Example: Italian ancestor, Michele, was born in Naples on May 16th 1936. He moves to London in 1954. His son, Emiliano, was born in London on November 28th, 1960. Emiliano is born an Italian citizen as his father never renounced his Italian citizenship.

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The applicant’s mother was born in Italy

and

  • was an Italian citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth
  • the applicant was born after January 1st, 1948 and
  • the applicant never renounced his/her right to Italian citizenship.

Example: Italian ancestor, Gloria, was born in Milan on February 11th, 1930 and she became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1971. Her son, Andrew, was born in Canada in 1952. Andrew is able to apply for Italian citizenship, as his mother was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, and Andrew never renounced his right to Italian citizenship.

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The applicant’s father was born in a foreign Country, his/her paternal grandfather or grandmother was born in Italy

and was an Italian citizen at the time of the applicant’s father’s birth neither the applicant nor the applicant’s father ever renounced the right to Italian citizenship

Example: Italian ancestor, Pietro, was born in Florence on September 9th 1880, he emigrated to Argentina in 1910 and became a naturalized Argentinian citizen in 1940. His son, Raffaele, was born in Argentina in 1921. His grandchild, Tarcisio, was born in Argentina in 1952. Tarcisio is eligible to apply for Italian citizenship, proving that Raffaele and Tarcisio have never renounced Italian citizenship. If Tarcisio legally resides in Italy, he can apply for Italian citizenship at the relevant Town Hall where he has established his residency. If Tarcisio resides abroad, he can apply for Italian citizenship at the relevant Italian Consulate abroad.

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The applicant’s mother was born in a foreign Country, his/her maternal grandfather or grandmother was born in Italy

and

  • was an Italian citizen at the time of the applicant’s mother’s birth
  • the applicant was born after January 1, 1948, and
  • neither the applicant nor the applicant’s mother ever renounced the right to Italian citizenship

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The applicant’s paternal or maternal grandfather was born in a foreign Country, his/her paternal or maternal great-grandfather was born in Italy

and

  • was an Italian citizen at the time of the applicant’s paternal or maternal grandfather’s birth
  • neither the applicant nor the applicant’s father/mother or grandfather/grandmother ever renounced the right to Italian citizenship.

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Ancestry applications must be supported by vital records certificates (birth, marriage, death certificates) proving the relationship between the applicant and the Italian ancestors.

The eligibility assessment is also grounded on the consistency of the information contained in those certificates, where discrepancies within names, dates, and places of birth may be an issue for the Italian authorities. Ancestry applications can either be filed at the Italian Consulate of your jurisdiction or directly in Italy with a fast-track process, provided that the applicant takes Legal residency in Italy.


FAQs

Questions Answers Explanations
Can I apply even if residing abroad? YES The application for Italian citizenship by descent (through bloodline) should be submitted to the relevant local Italian authority over the place of residence. If residing abroad, the application will be handled by the Italian Consulate.
Is there a generation limit? NO Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation, on the condition that neither the Italian parent nor the Italian ancestors ever renounced their citizenship.
Can I apply if my Italian ancestor naturalized to a foreign citizenship before the birth of his child? NO Usually the transmission of the Italian citizenship is interrupted if the Italian ancestor naturalised before the birth of his child. Anyway, some exemptions may occur, so please feel free to contact us for an evaluation free of charge.
Can the process may take years? YES Process timeline depends on the local Italian authorities. In any case, it can take several months to obtain an appointment and around 2-3 years is the standard timeframe to have a decision. Delays may occur.
Can my children apply with me? YES Minor children can apply with the parent if sharing the same residence address.
Can my spouse apply with me? NO You should first obtain the recognition of your Italian citizenship and only then your spouse can submit her/his application for citizenship through marriage – please check our web page for more information on this matter.
Will the Consulate interview me? YES On the day of the actual appointment you will need to submit all original documents in person and most likely will have an interview with the Consular officer.
Is there a way to expedite the process? YES You can take residency in Italy and proceed with the fast track process – standard timeline is 6-8 months, up to one year.
Can I come to Italy for the fast track process without changing my residency? NO The fast track process is allowed only if you take residency in Italy and maintain it until the end of the process. The application should be submitted at the relevant Italian town hall.
If choosing for the fast track process, should I take residency in the city of my ancestor? NO You can choose the Italian city where you prefer to take residency and apply for the fast track process.
Do I need a permit of stay? YES If you are a Non-EU citizen, you need a permit of stay to reside in Italy. During the fast track process, we will guide you through the process of obtaining an Italian permit of stay while the citizenship process is on-going.
Can my family come with me to Italy? YES In case of Non-EU family members, they can come with you and apply for a permit of stay for family reasons.
Can I apply from a female ancestor? YES Please contact us and we will assess your eligibility free of charge and confirm the available options based on your case.
Can Mazzeschi assist in case of descendant from a female mother before 1948 – “1948 rule”? YES The Mazzeschi Citizenship Department has vast experience in lawsuits at the Court of Rome, which may be the only available route in case of descendant from a female mother before 1948.
Is the lawsuit against the “1948 rule” a long process? YES The lawsuit may take 2-3 years. It usually consists of 2-3 court hearings, in which the Judge reviews the application and will then make a decision.
Do I need to have all documents ready before the application? YES All documents should be ready before the application. This applies to all processes when requesting Italian citizenship.

Do you think you may qualify for Italian citizenship by Descent / through ancestry? Contact us for an initial assessment by filling out an online form, or send us via email to citizenship@mazzeschi.it .

This post was written by Content Manager
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