Italian Citizenship and Name discrepancies

Nov 24, 2021

In 2009 a Swedish couple started their honeymoon with an adventure. They mispelled the name Carpi (instead of CAPRI) on their GPS and the system sent them 650km (400 miles) off course to Carpi, an industrial town in the north. The couple asked at Carpi’s tourist office where they could find Capri’s famous Blue Grotto.

“Capri is an island. They did not even wonder why they didn’t cross any bridge or take any boat!”

Many celebrities change their names for various reasons

For example, “Katy Perry and Emma Stone opted for a change to avoid clashing with stars who shared their birth names. Others, like Bruno Mars and Michael Caine, were simply inspired. Some stars, including Halsey and G-Eazy, didn’t like their birth names”.

The famous Italian actor and Latin Loved, RODOLFO VALENTINO changed his name because it was definitively too long and difficult to pronounce.

His screen name became a bit of a conundrum. The hard-to-remember “Guglielmi” was shed in favor of “di Valentini,” but that was put through a veritable wringer of different spellings: “di Valentina,” “De Valentina,” “Volantino,” “Valentine” and “De Valentine,” all of which might be paired with “Rodolfo,” “Rudolpho,” “Rodolph,” or “Rudolf” with careless abandon. Eventually he settled on “Rudolph Valentino,” which certainly had flair–and asked that his friends call him Rudy. (*)

Emigrants had more serious reasons to change their name

Adopting names that could sound more “friendly” in the new country could help them to speed assimilation, avoid detection, deter discrimination or just be better for the businesses they hoped to start in their new homeland (*)

But what can be the impact of a name change or discrepancy in a citizenship application?

Individuals who are applying for Italian citizenship by descent are required to produce many documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates.

In fact, they need to prove that the ancestor who expatriated and his/her direct descendants maintained their right to Italian citizenship (aka never renounced Italian citizenship) and — in the event that their Italian parent was a naturalized citizen — were born before that parent renounced Italian citizenship via naturalization.

These vital records have often names or dates discrepancies, not only because many immigrants changed their names but also because their name was mistakenly recorded.

In many cases, the mistake was done not upon arrival but at the shipping line’s station in Europe, by clerk who wrote the passenger’s name in the ship’s manifest. (*)


Italian law is quite formal and does not leave much flexibility or discretion to the the Office that need to decide upon the adjudication, in case submitted documents have discrepancies or mistakes.

In fact, any documents containing:

  • errors (misspellings, incorrect dates, incorrect boxes checked, etc), must be corrected/amended BEFORE submitting the citizenship application
  • discrepancies on ancestral documents — discrepancies should be corrected when and where possible so that the documents reflect the same information on the ancestor’s birth certificate.
  • discrepancies on applicant’s documents — applicant’s vital records (marriages and births of any children under 18) must reflect his/her information (first name, any middle names, last name, and date of birth) as it appears on his/her original birth certificate. Any discrepancies or errors must be corrected BEFORE submitting documentation.


Procedure to obtain the correction of a certificate or vital record change from country to country.

Italian offices generally do not accept affidavits or sworn self-declarations. In some cases, correction can be done directly by the Office of Vital Statistics but when this is not doable the correction shall be obtained through a Court proceeding, which can be lengthy and the outcome unpredictable.


Consulates suggest the applicant to obtain a written statement from the vital records office where the certificate was requested stating that the document does not exist. The statement must clearly explain the reason why the record does not exist. The office where application is filed will discretionary assess whether the statement can be taken into account and be considered as validly replacing the missing certificate.


I fthere were no registries in existence at the time of your ancestors’ birth, applicant can submit:

  • a baptismal certificate issued by the Parish with the authentication of the pastor’s signature by the authorised bishop’s office;
  • the written response from the town hall (Comune) in Italy confirming the non-existence of a registry office on the date in question.

When you are preparing documents to request your Italian citizenship, you will need to translate some of them to Italian. Even though you will delegate this work to a professional translator or agencies, it is a good practice to always check the spelling of your name and all your general informacion that has been translated. Errors actually happen in some cases, and the best way to avoid them is to check them carefully by yourself.


The information provided on this article (i) does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; (ii) are for general informational purposes only and may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information (iii) contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader; (iv) readers should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.

  • Contact us

    To request an initial assessment or to arrange a consultation call with one of our consultants, please provide us with your contact details and we will get back to you within the next 24 (working) hours.

    Get in touch →
  • MAZZESCHI S.r.l. - C.F e P.IVA 01200160529 - Cap.Soc. 10.000 € I.V. - Reg. Imp. Siena 01200160529 - REA SI-128403 - Privacy Notice - Cookies Policy
    Copyright © 2019 by Mazzeschi - Web Designer Alessio Piazzini Creazione siti web Firenze
  • Mazzeschi S.r.l. | Operazione/Progetto finanziato nel quadro del POR FESR Toscana 2014-2020
    Il progetto ITACA (ITaly Attract ChinA) è un investimento nei paesi/mercati a lingua cinese, in particolare Taiwan con l’obiettivo di accrescere le quote di mercato dell'azienda. Tramite ITACA la Mazzeschi Srl ha aperto un ufficio a Taiwan con assunzione di personale di lingua cinese, creato un sito internet in lingua cinese e partecipato a fiere e varie attività di promozione a Taiwan.

    Mazzeschi S.r.l. | Project co-financed under Tuscany POR FESR 2014-2020
    The ITACA project (ITaly Attract ChinA) is a fund to invest in Chinese-speaking countries/markets, in particular Taiwan with the aim of increasing the company's market shares. With the help of ITACA project, Mazzeschi Srl has opened an office in Taiwan and has hired a Chinese-speaking staff, created a Chinese website and participated in fairs and various promotional activities in Taiwan.