Italian citizenship and delays caused by the Consulate: what can be done?

Mar 05, 2021

The Court of Rome has recently established that in those cases where the Italian consulate has not ensured a response in a reasonable time, it becomes possible to obtain the recognition of the citizenship directly from the judge in Italy.

An interesting path has been opened for those individuals who are seeking to obtain the Italian citizenship by “iure sanguinis” that are currently living in countries where the application numbers are high (such as Brazil and USA) and therefore, the processing time of their applications are very long.

The Court of Rome, by judgement of December 10th 2020, while addressing the issue of the unreasonable waiting time required by some Consulates, upheld the action brought by some Brazilian citizens for the obtainment of the citizenship, even though it hasn’t even passed 2 years since the submission of the application to the Embassy.

This judgement is particularly relevant for those subjects that live under the jurisdiction of Consulates affected by major temporal dysfunctions in the definition of citizenship applications, as they will now be able to obtain their citizenship in about 2 years.

Facts of the case

In 2017, a family composed by Brazilian citizens had applied for the recognition of the Italian citizenship by “iure sanguinis” to the Italian Consulate in Curitiba, which is competent for the family’s place of residency.

All the applicants where descendants from an Italian man who had emigrated to Brazil, died there, and he had never given up to his Italian citizenship, therefore he has never been naturalised as a Brazilian citizen.

In accordance with art. 3 D.P.R 362/1994, the Consulate has 2 years to process the case and to give an answer.  

Instead of waiting the 2-year-period within which the Consulate would have had to decide either by approving or rejecting their request, the Brazilian family has requested the Court of Rome to process their citizenship application by alleging that they had filed their application to the Italian Consulate in Curitiba, a diplomatic representation that normally takes around 10 years to process such applications.

Court’s findings

The Court of Rome, following a previously consolidated path, has deemed the Consulates’ unreasonable response time a denial of justice and it has acknowledged the request of the claimants necessity to resort to the judge, and it declared them Italian citizens.

When appealing to the judge, it presupposes an accurate and meticulous preparation of the allegations and the documents on which these are based.

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