Do you qualify for Italian dual citizenship?

Italian Citizenship FAQ
Italian dual citizenship FAQ
March 3, 2016

Step 1: Select the relationship between you and your ancestor.



There are many ways through which you can qualify for Italian citizenship, with few exceptions. Look for the category which best suits you (paternal vs. maternal line) and then choose the tab that fits your situation to determine your eligibility. For each category, all conditions must be met.
Father
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your dad was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth

2. Neither you nor your father has ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Mother
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your mom was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth

2. You were born on or after January 1, 1948 (until this date, Italian women could not pass on citizenship to their children)

3. Neither you nor your mom ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Father > Grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your dad was born in your native country

2. Your grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father's birth

3. Neither you, your father, nor your grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Father > Grandfather > Great grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your paternal grandfather was born in your native country

2. Your paternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your grandfather's birth

3. Neither you nor your father nor your grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Father > Grandfather > Great grandfather > Great great grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your paternal great-grandfather was born in your native country

2. Your paternal great-great-grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth

3. Neither you nor your father nor your paternal grandfather nor your paternal great-grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Father > Grandmother
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your father was born after January 1st, 1948 in your native country

2. Your paternal grandmother was an Italian citizen at the time of your father's birth

3. Neither you nor your father ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Father > Grandmother > Great grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your paternal grandmother was born in your native country

2. Your paternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth

3. Your father was born after January 1st, 1948

4. Neither you nor your father nor your grandmother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Father > Grandmother > Great grandfather > Great great grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your paternal great-grandfather was born in your native country

2. Your paternal great-great-grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth

3. Your father was born after January 1st, 1948

4. Neither you nor your father nor your paternal grandmother nor your paternal great-grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Mother > Grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your mother was born in your native country

2. Your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth

3. You were born after January 1, 1948

4. Neither you nor your mother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Mother > Grandfather > Great grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your maternal grandfather was born in your native country

2. Your maternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth

3. You were born after January 1st, 1948

4. Neither you nor your mother nor your grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Mother > Grandfather > Great grandfather > Great great grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your maternal great-grandfather was born in your native country

2. Your maternal great-great-grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth

3. You were born after January 1st, 1948

4. Neither you nor your mother nor your maternal grandfather nor your maternal great-grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Mother > Grandmother
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your mother was born after January 1st, 1948 in your native country

2. Your maternal grandmother was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth

3. Neither you nor your mother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Mother > Grandmother > Great grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your maternal grandmother was born in your native country

2. Your maternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth

3. Your mother was born after January 1st, 1948

4. Neither you nor your mother nor your grandmother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship
Mother > Grandmother > Great grandfather > Great great grandfather
You may qualify for Italian citizenship if:

1. Your maternal great-grandfather was born in your native country

2. Your maternal great-great-grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth

3. Your mother was born after January 1st, 1948

4. Neither you nor your mother nor your maternal grandmother nor your maternal great-grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship

Step 2: Dates and names.



To precisely determine if you qualify in any of the above situations, you need to know:

1. The year of birth of every family member in direct line between you and your Italian Ancestor who was born in Italy
2. The year when your Ancestor who was born in Italy and migrated to your country, became a naturalized citizen of your country

Step 3. Compile your application

I qualify! What documents do I need?
Each application and family story is different, and so every person will need different documents. As a general rule, you will need all birth, marriage, death and divorce documents in a line of succession going back to your last Italian born ancestor, as well as his/her certificate of naturalization and/or certificate of no record.

Certain consulates only require Italian line documents, not documents pertaining to spouses and other family members. Contact me for more information regarding your special case, and check back often as I will be adding more information to this website.
I am not sure I qualify. Can you help me determine if I do?
Absolutely. Please contact us and we can schedule a consultation.
I don't seem to qualify. What can I do?
If you do not qualify for Italian dual citizenship jure sanguinis because your Italian parent was naturalized before your birth, there may be another way for you to qualify jure sanguinis. For example, let's assume your mother is Italian (though this example would be true for your father as well). If your mother married your non-Italian father when she was still an Italian citizen (i.e. not yet naturalized) and she remained an Italian citizen for at least the first three years of their marriage, then your father became an Italian citizen through marriage. Though your mother was naturalized before your birth, you may be able to claim Italian citizenship through your father(!), who presumably never renounced his right to Italian citizenship.

Though this may seem odd, a Canadian citizen claimed he had been told this was possible by his Italian consulate of jurisdiction in Canada. I have not been able to confirm this with any Italian authority. If you think you may qualify under this "loophole," check with the nearest Italian embassy or consulate.

That said, there are other ways of acquiring Italian citizenship, but none of them nearly as easy as being recognized jure sanguinis.

If your goal is to spend a few years living and working in Europe but you don't qualify through ancestry, your best bet is to take the traditional route and look for an employer that can sponsor your visa. However, if you are committed to becoming an Italian citizen and do not qualify through the above categories, you may do so after legally living in Italy (with a visa or permit to stay) for the following time periods:

- one year if you are have formerly held Italian citizenship
three years if you are a foreigner with native-born Italian parents or grandparents
four years if you are a citizen of another EU country
ten years if you are a citizen of a non-EU country

Note: While being recognized as an Italian citizen jure sanguinis does not affect your current citizenship in most cases (since it was your birthright), becoming an Italian citizen through residence or naturalization may affect your native citizenship. Check with the nearest Italian authority for more information.

Finally, if you don't seem to qualify based on any of the above information, you might be able to qualify by contacting an Italian lawyer specialized in Italian dual citizenship. There have been numerous success stories of people falling under the 1948 and 1912 rulings petitioning the Italian courts and winning. Contact us if you would like to explore this option.
I am married to an Italian citizen. Can I obtain Italian dual citizenship?
Yes!

The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen may apply for Italian citizenship after 2 years of marriage if the couple resides in Italy or after 3 years of marriage if it resides abroad. These time frames are reduced by half if there are children born or adopted by the married couple. If legal separation, divorce or death of the Italian spouse takes place before the issue of the Italian Ministry of Interior decree conferring the Italian citizenship, applicant lose his/her right to acquire nationality. ​

There are a few other cases in which Italian citizenship may be granted to a foreigner, such as outstanding service to Italy or civil or military service. For further information, contact the nearest Italian authority.
Examples and further information on qualifying for Italian dual citizenship jure sanguinis
You may be eligible for Italian dual citizenship through your paternal line if:

You were born any time and:

Your last Italian-born ancestor did not naturalize as an American citizen before his child was born.
Your last Italian-born ancestor died anywhere in the world after March 17, 1861 (the date of Italian unification).
Your last Italian-born ancestor did not naturalize as a citizen of the United States before June 14, 1912.*
Your last Italian-born ancestor or anyone between him and you in your ancestral line did not formally renounce Italian citizenship at any time. ​

*If your last-Italian born ancestor naturalized before June 14, 1912 but his son was over the age of 21 at the time, certain consulates may determine that this does not affect eligibility. Applying in Italy may also prove to be useful in this case, as the rules are interpreted more leniently there.

You may be eligible for Italian dual citizenship through your maternal line if:

You or your direct female ancestor were born any time after January 1, 1948
Your last Italian-born ancestor did not naturalize as an American citizen before her child was born.
Your last Italian-born ancestor died anywhere in the world after March 17, 1861 (the date of Italian unification).
Your last Italian-born ancestor or anyone between her and you in your ancestral line did not formally renounce Italian citizenship at any time.

Before January 1, 1948, Italian women could not pass on citizenship to their children. For example:

Example 1: Anna’s grandmother was born in Sicily in 1900, and she immigrated to New York in 1922. In 1924, Anna’s grandmother had Maria, Anna’s mother. Unless Maria’s father was also an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, she is not considered an Italian citizen by way of her mother, and would instead only be considered a United States citizen. Under this circumstance, neither Anna nor her mother Maria are eligible for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis.

Example 2: John was born in New Jersey in 1940. His mother Francesca was born in Milan in 1919. Despite being a first generation American on his mother’s side, John is not eligible through his maternal line since he was born before January 1, 1948.

Example 3: Josie’s great grandfather Antonio was born in Florence in 1880. Antonio and his wife had a daughter Sofia in California in 1920. Sofia gave birth to two daughters in California: Jane in January of 1947 and Jennifer in January of 1948. Josie is Jane’s daughter. Despite having the same ancestry, Jane’s daughters are not eligible through their maternal line because Jane was born before January 1, 1948, while Jennifer’s daughters are eligible.

The 1948 rule has been successfully argued in Italian court. You cannot apply for Italian dual citizenship at the consulate if you are ineligible; in this case, you must hire an Italian lawyer.
What are the basic rules and exceptions for qualifying for Italian dual citizenship?
Qualifying for Italian dual citizenship is relatively easy. The basic "rules" governing how Italian citizenship is passed on are as follows:

1. Your Italian ancestor could be born at any time, but must have been alive after March 17, 1861 (the date of Italian unification) AND not have naturalized as a citizen of another country by that time. Before this date, there was no such country as Italy. Residents of the territory we now call Italy automatically became Italian citizens upon the unification of the country. Thus, people who immigrated before that date were not considered Italian citizens.

2. Your Italian ancestor must have naturalized as a citizen of another country after his or her child was born. Otherwise, your Italian ancestor would not have passed on his or her Italian citizenship to his or her child.

3. If female, your Italian ancestor must have had her child after January 1, 1948. Before this date Italian women could not pass on citizenship to their children. If your female ancestor had her child before this date, you can still apply for citizenship but must use an Italian lawyer who will argue the unconstitutionality of this law before the Italian courts. Alternatively, said in another way, this rule means the following: a person born before January 1, 1948 can claim Italian citizenship only from his/her father (who was not a naturalized citizen of another country before his/her child’s birth), and a woman can transfer citizenship only to her children born after January 1, 1948 if she was not a naturalized citizen of another country before her child’s birth.

4. Your Italian ancestor must have naturalized - if s/he did indeed naturalized - after July 1, 1912. Italian law changed on that date in a very important way: prior to that date, when a native-born Italian naturalized in another country, he gave up not only his own Italian citizenship but also that of all of his minor children, regardless of where they were born. However, if his children were not minors, they did retain their father's Italian citizenship.

Contact Us to find out if you qualify.

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