Children born to an Italian mother prior to 1948: can you obtain Italian citizenship?

Jan 14, 2022

Italian citizenship law is based upon the principle of jure sanguinis (blood right), so any child born of Italian parents is also an Italian citizen.

Said that, if you or your ancestors were born to a mother of Italian origin before January 1, 1948, the process may not be so straightforward. Under the 1912 Citizenship law, only men were able to transfer their Italian lineage to children, while women could hold but not pass citizenship to their descendants.

The principles of gender equality were laid down only on January 1, 1948 when the Italian Constitution entered into force. Unfortunately, the new legislation was not retroactive and so children born to an Italian mother before 1948 are not automatically Italian.

If you think this is discriminating between women and men, don’t worry, the Italian Supreme Court agrees with you. In 2009, it established that it is unconstitutional to discriminate between women and men even in citizenship matters (judgment no. 4466/2009). All descendants born anytime from an Italian parent, father or mother, are Italian citizens by birth right.

Unfortunately, this judgement did not have any consequences on the Consular behaviour and if you fall into the “1948 cases” and submit a request of recognition of Italian citizenship Jure Sanguinis, Consulates will strictly apply the Italian nationality law and will reject your application. Consequently, you can only proceed through a legal proceeding at the Italian Court in Rome.

Descendant to Italian mother born before 1948 | ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP #01

Let’s look at some more details about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit must be filed before the Civil Court of Rome and the counterpart of the lawsuit will be the Italian Ministry of Interior. In any case, the Italian government is not representing itself in Court anymore. Even if there is no guarantee of winning, the number of positive decisions is high, provided that the transmission of the lineage is demonstrated.

The timeline is quite long, unfortunately, as with most of all Italian citizenship applications. Proceedings should be made at an initial hearing to present the case and one or two additional hearings to acquire a decision. Within two or three years from the initial application, you should be declared Italian.

Let’s beat the rule… there are also some advantages.

First of all, you can apply from wherever you want. You do not need to come to Italy, we will represent you in front of the Court and will follow all the bureaucratic matters after the Judge’s decision, including registering your citizenship with the Italian town hall of your ancestor.

Moreover, it is possible and advisable to make family applications. You can include several family members, who share the same Italian lineage and Italian ancestor. We can offer special reductions for any additional applicants and minors can be included for free.

Contact us for more information and to get started! We will be glad to assess your case.

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