How do you qualify for Italian dual citizenship?

 
 
 
Qualifying for Italian dual citizenship is as simple as meeting the requirements of Italian citizenship law. Before reading on in this section, click this link if you would like see more in-depth information about all possible ways to qualify and through which family members. Otherwise, read on for a general description of Italian nationality law and the steps to qualifying for Italian dual citizenship.

The basics of Italian nationality law


Italy is a country which passes on citizenship by way of jure sanguinis. That is a Latin term meaning "by right of the blood," and means that a child is an Italian citizen as long as s/he is born to a parent who is also an Italian citizen (there are other ways to obtain Italian citizenship but for the intents and purposes of this section, we will only discuss jure sanguinis). The United States, on the other hand, is a jure soli country. That is a Latin term meaning "by right of the soil," and means that anyone born in U.S. territory is automatically a United States Citizen at birth. Because Italian citizenship and American citizenship can co-exist due to the way they are passed on to children, people who are eligible for Italian dual citizenship can be both American citizens and Italian citizens at birth.

Qualifying for Italian dual citizenship


The law that the consulates use to determine who is eligible (and who is not) for Italian dual citizenship is Law no. 555 of 1912, with subsequent amendments and modifications (we are working on posting a translated version here soon).
When it comes down to it, you can qualify for Italian dual citizenship if:

1. You were born in a country which confers jure soli citizenship.
2. Your last Italian born ancestor was alive at any point after March 17, 1861 and had not yet become a citizen of another country.
3. Your last Italian born ancestor did not naturalize as a citizen of another country before the birth of his or her child.
4. Your last Italian born ancestor did not naturalize as a citizen of another country before July 1, 1912.
A special note on women:
Before January 1, 1948, women could not pass on Italian citizenship to their children. Before this date, Italian citizenship was conferred solely from father to child. Because of this rule, if you have any women in your family, you must make sure that any child born to that woman was born after January 1, 1948, in order for citizenship to have passed down to that child. Before January 1, 1948, women could, however receive citizenship from male parents/ancestors.
 

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