Category: 1948 cases

The 1948 Case: what it is and how to win yours

We’ve discussed in a previous post how to qualify for Italian citizenship, so by now you are familiar with the rules. But as you apply for Italian dual citizenship, you may find yourself in a pickle.

What if you meet all requirements but have female Italian ancestors with children born before January 1, 1948? This would normally render you ineligible.

In fact, most online resources and even Italian consulates will tell you outright that you cannot apply. But don’t listen to them! You absolutely can apply… you just need to do so in a different way than everyone else.

When you have a female ancestor whose child was born before the cut-off, it means you may fall prey to the so-called 1948 rule. To gain recognition of Italian citizenship, you’ll need to file what we call a 1948 case.

We’ll explain how, where, and when to do it in this post.


What the 1948 rule is

Before Italy became a modern country, lots of its laws were discriminatory towards women (sorry, Italy! It’s true). But on January 1, 1948 Italy adopted its first modern constitution, hoping to remedy this. Before then, women faced an uphill battle in terms of equal rights before the law.

Until this date, Italian women could not pass on citizenship to their children. There were only few exceptions:

  • If the father was unknown or deceased at the time of the child’s birth.
  • If the father’s own foreign citizenship didn’t automatically pass down to the child at birth.


A practical example of a 1948 case

These cases can be confusing, so look at this example for how a 1948 case might play out in the real world.

Italian dual citizenship via maternal ancestry
Joanne was born in the US in 1950. Her mom Rose was born in the
US in 1925. Rose’s mom Ninetta was born in Italy in 1901. Even though Ninetta never became an American citizen, she didn’t pass down Italian citizenship to Rose (because Rose was born before January 1, 1948). And even though Joanne was born after January 1, 1948, she still didn’t receive Italian citizenship from Rose because Rose, in turn, didn’t receive Italian citizenship from Ninetta.

1948 case monkeys in a barrelRemember that in order for someone to qualify, each subsequent generation before them must qualify for Italian dual citizenship. Because Ninetta didn’t pass on citizenship to Rose, Rose couldn’t pass it on to Joanne. In this way, think of Italian citizenship as one big game of Monkeys in a Barrel. If one monkey slips, the whole chain breaks.


But what happens to a 1948 case when a male ancestor is thrown into the mix?

Well, it’s really the same thing.

Let’s use another hypothetical case:

Joanne has a brother Billy. Billy was born in the US in 1954 to Rose, born in 1925. Rose’s mom Ninetta was born in Italy in 1901. Even though Billy is male, he still did not receive citizenship at birth from Rose.

As long as there is a woman in your line, her child must have been born after January 1, 1948 in order for you to seek Italian citizenship through the normal channels such as the consulate or directly in Italy.

Fortunately for Billy and Joanne, their dad was born in Italy and he never became an American citizen. Remember that there are no restrictions on men passing down citizenship, so Billy and Joanne easily obtained citizenship from him.


Enter the 1948 case

In 2009, people got fed up. They were tired of seeing others apply for Italian dual citizenship and being left out in the cold due to mere happenstance of birthdates.

So, a pioneering attorney decided to take on a case of people of Italian descent seeking citizenship through their maternal ancestry. The attorney successfully argued in the Court of Rome that Italian citizenship laws were discriminatory towards women.

And he won. Judgement no. 4466/2009 was on the books. His clients were given Italian citizenship and today thousands of people follow every year.

These 1948 cases have a high degree of success. In fact, the Italian government no longer even defends itself against them.

But this doesn’t mean that they are yet enshrined into law. Unfortunately, the Ministry of the Interior has not yet changed the laws even though the Italian Supreme Court has ruled against the 1948 rule. That’s why Italian consulates still won’t allow applicants falling under the 1948 rule to apply.

Therefore, anyone who falls under the above category can hire an Italian attorney to represent them in court. If, with all other things considered, you are eligible you may obtain Italian citizenship this way.


What goes on behind the scenes of a 1948 case?


First, determine your eligibility

Before doing anything else, you have to be eligible in the first place. If you meet all other requirements except for the 1948 cutoff date, you can move on to the next step.

Then, you gather your documents

Once you determine eligibility, you have to gather your documents. This will also include Italian translations and legalizations (apostilles) on your vital records.

Finally, get ready for court

Then, your Italian attorney will file your case in the Civil Court of Rome against the Italian Ministry of the Interior. Now, the case is in Italy’s hands!


This is what happens after your 1948 case is filed

  1. File the claim in court;
  2. The court appoints a judge who will oversee the case. This usually takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months;
  3. Based on his or her schedule, the appointed judge will schedule the hearing usually 6-8 months from the time your claim is submitted. However, sometimes a hearing can be scheduled for 10 or even 12 months from initial filing;
  4. During the first hearing, a number of different things may occur, such as:
    1. When the judge requires additional documents and/or corrections and amendments of records and then schedules a second hearing,
    2. Where a judge may challenge the claim, giving the parties enough time to write a final defense,
    3. When the judge determines that no further documents/corrections/amendments are needed and will keep the file in order to issue the judgement.
  5. The final judgement declaring the applicant an Italian citizen is issued 5 to 10 months after the last hearing.

Timelines between the filing of the claim and the final judgment may vary. This can be anywhere from 12 to 24 months, and does not include the time it takes applicants to put together their documents which can vary from 6 to 18 months.

Therefore, the entire process from start to finish can be between 18 to 42 months.


Are 1948 cases successful?

No attorney can guarantee a positive outcome, but the success rate of 1948 cases is very high. Thousands of individuals have obtained Italian citizenship this way.


Can I use a 1948 case even if I qualify through another ancestor?

No. You can only go through the courts for a 1948 case if you have exhausted all other possibilities and do not qualify through a male ancestor or a female ancestor whose child was born after January 1, 1948.

If you qualify through the “normal” channels, you must apply through the consulate or directly in Italy.


How much do 1948 cases cost?

Fees vary according to the level of service you desire. A full package containing all documentation, translations, legalizations, plus court and legal fees can run anywhere from $7,000 to $25,000 depending on number of generations, number of family members joining your suit, amendments and/or corrections to be made to your documents, etc.

It’s an excellent value for Italian dual citizenship which has many benefits.


Do I have to be physically present in Italy during a 1948 case?

No. In fact, this is one of the advantages of this type of case. You do not need to be physically present at any time during your 1948 case. Your Italian attorney will work on your behalf.


Can other family members join me?

Absolutely, as long as they too fall under the 1948 case umbrella. Minors are included at no additional cost.


Does the Italian consulate have anything to do with your case?

No. Italy will grant your citizenship and transcribes your vital records in your ancestral town. For this reason, your Italian consulate at home in the US has no say in this process, except when you present your transcribed Italian birth certificate to enroll in AIRE (Registry of Italians Abroad).


Would you like to obtain Italian dual citizenship? Do you have a 1948 case? Tell us about it! Our company has been helping applicants successfully obtain Italian dual citizenship since 2005. We can help you obtain your Italian dual citizenship, from start to finish. Contact us today!



Dual US Italian Citizenship

Dual U.S. – Italian Citizenship

European Passports for Americans of Italian Descent

If you are Italian American, you may qualify for dual US Italian citizenship. Italian citizenship law is based on the principle of jure sanguinis. This means that Italian parents pass on citizenship to their children regardless of the place of birth. This system was designed to strengthen the bond between children of the Italian diaspora abroad and their country of origin, Italy.

According to Article 7 of Law no. 555 of 1912, children born to Italians in a foreign country which follows the jure soli system can retain Italian citizenship acquired at birth, even if his or her parent subsequently loses his or her own citizenship.

Therefore, any child born in a jure soli country (such as the United States) to an Italian parent is both automatically an Italiancitizen and an American citizen at birth.

The conditions required for recognition of Italian citizenship are based on:

  1. Proof that they are descended from an Italian citizen; and
  2. Proof that the transmission of Italian citizenship from parent to child was not interrupted by naturalization as a citizen of another country (in this case, the United States) before the birth of the child.

As an Italian citizenship service provider, I assist Americans of Italian descent to obtain dual US Italian citizenship and can help you, too.

What Is Jure Sanguinis?

As I mentioned above, Italian citizenship law is based on the principle of jure sanguinis. This is a Latin term meaning “by right of blood,” to be contrasted with the American “jure soli” system (Latin for “by right of the soil”). Anyone with a qualifying Italian ancestor can seek recognition of Italian citizenship.

Under the principle of jure sanguinis, anyone of Italian descent can claim citizenship as long as they qualify. What’s more, the applicant is considered a citizen from birth. Therefore there is no language test and no pledge of allegiance. In fact, the applicant is not really “applying” at all. She or he is simply asking for legal recognition of a citizenship s/he has held since birth.

No Generational Limits to Italian Citizenship

The interesting thing about Italian citizenship is that it passes down uninterrupted across generations. As long as your last Italian-born ancestor had not yet become an American citizen by the time his/her child was born, then the citizenship gets passed down forever. This is why there are no generational limits and you can claim Italian citizenship even if you are 2, 3, or even 4 (or more) generations removed.

Also, each intermediate ancestor does not have to claim citizenship before you can. For example, if you are applying for dual US Italian citizenship based on your Italian grandfather, your parent does not have to claim Italian citizenship before you do. Any descendant can claim citizenship at any time, as long as they qualify.

Proving Your Claim to Dual US Italian Citizenship

In order to claim your citizenship you must prove you are eligible to the satisfaction of the Italian government. To do this, you must provide birth, marriage, death, and naturalization records to reconstruct your family tree.

You will also need to translate your records into Italian and get them legalized with an apostille certification.

You may do this on your own or you can hire a firm like ours to help. Our fees for document procurement range from $3,000 to $7,500. The more generations you go back, the more expensive your application.

4 Rules to Qualify for Italian Citizenship

There are four main rules to remember. You must meet all of them in order to qualify:

  1. Your last Italian-born ancestor must have been alive, anywhere in the world, after March 17, 1861—the date of Italian unification.
  2. If your ancestor ever became an American citizen it must have been both after July 1, 1912 and after the birth of his/her child. However, if your ancestor never became an American citizen, you should normally automatically qualify.
  3. If you have women in your direct line, their children must have been born after January 1, 1948.
  4. If your ancestor came from Trentino Alto Adige, s/he must have emigrated after July 16, 1920.

Paths to Claiming Italian Citizenship

The most common paths to dual US Italian citizenship are as follows:

Italian Citizenship through Parents

Case #1: Your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to claim Italian citizenship.

Case #2: Your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to claim Italian citizenship.

Italian Citizenship through Grandparents

Case #3: Your parent was born in the United States after January 1, 1948, your grandmother was an Italian citizen at the time of his or her birth, and neither you nor your parent renounced the right to claim Italian citizenship.

Case #4: Your parent was born in the United States, your grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his or her birth, and neither you nor your parent renounced the right to claim Italian citizenship.

Italian Citizenship through Great Grandparents

Case #5: Your grandfather was born in the United States, your great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, and neither you nor your father or your grandfather ever renounced the right to have Italian citizenship.

The “1948 Rule”

You will notice above that I specified the date January 1, 1948. This is a watershed moment in Italian history because it’s the date Italy’s modern constitution came into effect.

Before this date, women could not pass on Italian citizenship to their children unless the father was unknown, missing, stateless, or his own foreign citizenship did not pass on automatically to the children.

Therefore if you have women in your direct line, their children must have been born on or after January 1, 1948 for you to claim dual US Italian citizenship through the normal channels, i.e. at the consulate or directly in Italy.

If you have women in your direct line whose children were born before this date, you must file what is known as a “1948 case.” This involves an Italian attorney petitioning the government on the basis that this law is discriminatory towards women. Since 2009, thousands of people have successfully obtained Italian citizenship through 1948 cases.

Important Dates

Before August 15, 1992, all Italian citizens that naturalized as U.S. citizens automatically lost their Italian citizenship without formally renouncing it.

Gathering Documents

Once you are sure you are eligible you will need to prove it. This involves collecting a number of documents (vital records such as birth, marriage, death, and other records) to recreate your family tree. Then, you hand these documents into your local Italian consulate. After that, they have up to 24 months to process your application though timeframes for Italian citizenship vary.

Most consulates will require:

For You

Your birth, marriage, and divorce records translated into Italian and apostilled. For your children under 18 (if applicable), get their birth certificates as well (plus translations and apostille).

For Your Parents

Your parents’ birth, marriage, divorce records translated into Italian and apostilled. If your parent(s) has/have died, obtain death records plus translation and apostille as well.

For Your Grandparents

Your birth, marriage, and divorce records translated into Italian and apostilled. Fort those whose grandparent was born in Italy, you’ll also need his/her naturalization record.

If you go back more generations, you simply have to repeat the document process for each one.

Getting the Appointment

For a few years now, the Italian consulates have used an online system called “Prenota.” You can sign up on the your consulate’s website. There, you will put in all of your information and consult a calendar with open dates.

Dual US Italian citizenship is very popular, so the dates you want may not be available. Don’t worry! If you can’t find dates you can keep checking until you get the ones you want. Alternatively, if you find the wait too long you can skip the consulate altogether and apply for dual Italian citizenship in Italy. If you can’t make the trip, there are ways to speed up your Italian citizenship processing times.

Want to obtain dual US Italian citizenship but don’t know where to start? Not to worry… we can help! Get Italian Citizenship has assisted people in obtaining Italian passports since 2005. We offer comprehensive a la carte and full service packages. Don’t hesitate; contact us today!

The Consular Appointment: What Happens If You Can’t Get One?

If you are thinking of obtaining Italian dual citizenship, it is an inevitability: at some point you’ll have to deal with your local Italian consulate. But with wait times exceeding more than 10 years in some jurisdictions, it may be incredibly difficult to snag a consular appointment. 

Today, Italian dual citizenship is more popular than ever. Each consulate processes approximately 2,500 applications per year. With 10 Italian consulates and embassies in the U.S., that’s almost 30 applications. Therefore, it’s no wonder that people snatch up appointments the minute they go online. As a result, some people seeking Italian citizenship have reported trying frustratedly for multiple weeks to get a spot on the calendar.

In this post, we’ll explain what happens if you can’t manage to get an appointment and what options you have.

You Can Hire a Company to Get You an Appointment

There are companies that specialize in acquiring consular appointments, and not just for Italian citizenship. These companies have staff that snag open appointments the second they go online and then resell them to people. I’m still not quite sure how they do it, though I suspect they write scripts to trawl the websites at the right time.

My advice? Don’t use them unless you are in an absolute jam and need the appointment ASAP. 

Frankly, consular appointments are free if you go straight to the source and they should stay that way. Ethically, I can’t recommend any company that takes a free resource and then resells it for a markup.

In any case, these services will run you about $400 per appointment so if absolutely necessary, be sure to include that in your budget.

You Can Sue the Italian Government

Did you know that if you’re unable to get an appointment or if your appointment was rejected, you have recourse? That’s right, you can sue the Italian government for recognition of your Italian dual citizenship. 

Here are five ways resorting to the Courts can help you obtain your Italian passport:

When a Consulate Takes over 2 Years to Act on Your Submitted Italian Citizenship Application

If the consulate takes over 2 years to process your application, you can hire us to take it to court. As per Italian law, the application process should normally be completed within this time frame. 

If Wait Times Are Unreasonably Long

If your wait time to get an Italian citizenship appointment is more than two years long, you can sue the Italian government. This is ideal for people in consular jurisdictions such as Boston, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

When You Have a 1948 Case

Before January 1, 1948, Italian women could not pass on citizenship to their children. When your case involves a child born before this date to an Italian woman, you can petition the courts to obtain your Italian dual citizenship.

If Your Italian Female Ancestor Lost Her Citizenship Due to Marriage with a Foreigner

In the United States, Italian women marrying a foreigner lost their citizenship before the Cable Act of September 1922. If your female Italian ancestor lost her citizenship under these circumstances, you can petition the courts. 

When a Consulate Rejects Your Application

You have the right to fight this decision in Italian courts.

What Happens When There Is No Consular Appointment Available at All?

Sometimes consulates like San Francisco show no appointments at all. What is a potential applicant to do in cases like these?

According to Italian law, action can be brought against the court only if the consulate has either rejected an application or has not finished/decided an application within two years. In these cases, the appellant shows the judge either the denial or the booking receipt of an appointment that is more than two years out.

But when you have no booking receiptat all, there is no actual proof of rejection by the consulate. However, by following the right procedures, attempting to get an appointment, and by attempting to contact the consulate, we can sustain the existence of proper contact with the consulate and show that the unavailability of an appointment date is equivalent to a consular rejection.

Thus, the complete lack of an appointment is tantamount to a rejection and entitles the applicant to a judicial remedy. 

What Happens in Court Applications for Italian Dual Citizenship?

Proceedings start when a write of summons is filed with the Civil Court in Rome. You, the applicant, are the plaintiff and the Italian Ministry of the Interior is the defendant. Then, the court sets the hearing date by decree.

Your legal representative serves the writ and the decree to the Ministry of the Interior. In turn, the Ministry files a reply before appearing. You do not need to be present.

At the hearing, the judge will hear the case and check the paperwork. If more paperwork is needed, the judge adjourns. If not, the judge closes the hearing and decides on the case through an ordinance.

When one hearing is enough, Italian citizenship may be granted within 12-18 months.

After that, the ordinance is served to the Ministry to become final within 30 days if the Ministry does not appeal. Once final, the court will release an executable ordinance that will be served to the comune(town) of your ancestor’s birth to recognize you as a citizen. This last step may take another couple of months.

Thinking about obtaining Italian dual citizenship but don’t know where to start? Contact us! The experts at Get Italian Citizenship can help you become an Italian citizen without breaking a sweat.

Italian Dual Citizenship: What Is a “1948 Case”?

If you’re applying for Italian citizenship through a female ancestor, you may fall into the category of those who do not qualify. There is a significant subset of people who, with all things being equal, normally should qualify for Italian citizenship but are “iced out” due to a peculiarity in Italian law regarding women.

Italian women: 1948 cases

If you fall into this category, there’s a way out. Let’s explore how.

First Things First: What Is the 1948 Law?

Many Italian consulates publish blunt (and scary!) statements like this on their websites:

“A person born before January 1, 1948 can only claim Italian citizenship from his/her father.”

That’s simply not true. Officials and Italian citizenship enthusiasts alike spread these innacurate statements. Then, misinformed but well-meaning people pass them on as truth. This misinformation appears designed to discourage applicants from even considering Italian dual citizenship. 

This misinformation stems from how Italian citizenship law has long been discriminatory towards women. Before January 1st, 1948 women could not pass citizenship to her children.

Under these laws, there were only few exceptions where Italian women could pass on citizenship. They included:

  • An unknown father
  • A stateless father
  • Children born to a foreign father whose country doesn’t automatically pass down citizenship

It seems barbaric to our modern eyes, but Italian citizenship law used to be heavily discriminatory towards women. Thus, anyone who descends from a woman affected by these laws can file a 1948 case.

So, if you descend from an Italian woman whose child was born before January 1, 1948 you may have a 1948 case.

Can I Automatically File a 1948 Case?


If you have other potential lines through male ancestors, you must exhaust those options first. This may be problematic if you have male lines for which paperwork is hard to find, but you will not be able to file your 1948 case until you have proved lack of eligibility through male lines first. 

How Does the Law View These Cases?

In short, if you fall into the above category you do have a right to Italian citizenship

How you apply is dictated by the date the woman in question had her child. 

  • If the child was born on or after January 1, 1948, you can apply normally at either your consulate or directly in Italy.
  • If the child was born before January 1, 1948 and you otherwise qualify, you can obtain Italian citizenship by filing a case with the Rome Tribunal. 

How Does Filing One Work?

Even though in 2009, the discriminatory nature of this law was challenged in accordance with the principle of equality between men and women, the Italian government has not yet chosen to modify current law. 

Because jure sanguinis citizenship involves Italian (and not US) law, courts in the US have no jurisdiction over the matter. 

Therefore, since you cannot apply at your consulate or directly in Italy, you must hire a lawyer to represent you in the Rome Tribunal. You do not need to be present in Italy to file your case. 

Is There Precedent?


The Italian Supreme Court has established since 2009 that it’s forbidden to discriminate between men and women in citizenship matters (Judgment no. 4466/2009).

Thus, all descendants born anytime to an Italian parent—whether father or mother—are Italian citizens by birthright.

Sadly, this has not convinced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Italian consulates. They still refuse to process 1948 cases on an administrative basis, so you’ll need to hire an attorney to fight your case in Rome. 

We hope that one day the Ministry and the consulates will catch up with the Supreme Court, but for now you do have recourse. This has become a routine practice in more than 10 years, with 1,000s of people having had success.

How Do I Know if I Have a 1948 Case?

Think back to your last Italian-born ancestor. Now, follow the direct line back to you (not including spouses). 

Is there a woman in there? If so, was her child born before January 1, 1948?

If all other qualification parameters are met, then you should have a 1948 case. 

Do These Cases Result in the Same Citizenship?

Yes. You will obtain full-fledged Italian dual citizenship, exactly the same as if you applied at a consulate or directly in Italy. 

How Much Does it Cost?

Costs may vary. You can expect to spend anywhere from €3,000-€6,000 if you have already collected your documents for your application, and anywhere from €6,000-€15,000 if you have a firm take care of both your application and documentation from start to finish, depending on how many generations you go back and how many people are included in your case.

If you think you qualify for Italian citizenship but have a 1948 case, we can help. Whether you need confirmation of your options from an expert, or a full start-to-finish 1948 application, we’re here to help. Contact us today for more information and assistance.