Category: consulates

Do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?

If you’ve clicked on this post, you’ve probably asked yourself the question “Do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?”

The good news is that your grandparents may have passed down much more than just an awesome recipe for sauce. They may have actually passed down Italian dual citizenship to you!

But even if your Italian ancestry is more distant, you might still be eligible! As long as you can answer a few simple questions, you can determine whether or not you qualify.

In this post, I’ll walk you step by step through the process of qualifying. Since 2005, I’ve helped hundreds of people become Italian citizens –this is what I do day in and day out.

But first, I’ll explain what Italian dual citizenship actually is.

 

What is Italian dual citizenship?

It’s really as simple as it sounds. Italian dual citizenship means having your native-born citizenship (such as US) and Italian citizenship at the same time. The United States and Italy both allow dual citizenship, so you’re free to hold passports from both countries. If you’d like to know more about traveling on an Italian passport, I have a nifty page here chock full of good tidbits of information.

 

Do I have to be American to figure out if I’m eligible through this post?

Absolutely not. Our company helps people from all over the world qualify and apply for Italian dual citizenship. Australians can be Italian dual citizens. So can Canadians, Mexicans, Argentines, Brazilians, and anyone else born in a jure soli country. But don’t worry about that term just yet. I’ll explain it in the next two paragraphs.

Click here for a full list of jure soli countries

 

Italian citizenship is based on the principle of “jure sanguinis”

Jure sanguinis is a Latin term meaning “by right of the blood.” This means that Italian citizenship is passed from parent to child. In other words, any child born to an Italian parent is automatically an Italian citizen.

Compare this system to the one that we have in the US, jure soli. In Latin, jure soli means “by right of the soil.” Therefore, anyone born in the United States is automatically an American citizen regardless of who his or her parents are. Conversely, this is not the case for Italian citizenship. Simply being born in Italy is not enough to be an Italian citizen. As we discussed above, you must have at least one Italian parent to be entitled to Italian citizenship at birth.

 

Italian citizenship is passed down across generations

If you don’t have an Italian parent (but you have an Italian grandparent, great grandparent, or great great grandparent), you’re probably wondering “well, do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship or not?”

The good news is you probably do. Let me explain.

According to Italian law, Italian citizenship is passed down from one generation to another in a never-ending chain, as long as the chain is not broken and you meet all the requirements. And the only thing that could possibly break the chain is naturalization (becoming an American citizen).

So, if you have an Italian-born ancestor who was still an Italian citizen at the time of his or her child’s birth, you more than likely qualify through that Italian ancestor. Italian dual citizenship will have passed down from one generation to another, just waiting to be recognized. This is how people two, three, or even four generations removed from Italy qualify for Italian dual citizenship.

In fact, if you qualify you’ve actually been a citizen since birth. Going through the process of obtaining your citizenship is simply asking the Italian government to legalize a status you already possess.

A practical example of someone who qualifies
John was born in New York in 1989. His dad William was also born in New York in 1954. William’s dad Francesco (John’s grandfather) was born in Italy in 1920. Francesco became an American citizen in 1960, four years after William’s birth. Because Francesco was an Italian citizen at the time of William’s birth, both William and John qualify for Italian dual citizenship.
An example of someone who doesn't qualify
Marie is John’s cousin. She was born in New York in 1987. Her father James was born in New York in 1961, seven years after his brother William was born. Francesco (Marie’s and John’s grandfather) was born in Italy in 1920, and became an American citizen in 1960. Because Francesco lost his Italian citizenship and became American one year before James’ birth, neither James nor Marie qualify for Italian dual citizenship.

 

Before you ask–no, you don’t have to speak Italian. And no, you don’t have to be a certain percentage Italian to qualify.

If you are eligible, this is your birthright! You do not need to pass any Italian language exam. In the same vein, if you qualify, you qualify… no matter how much (or how little) Italian heritage you have. The law is very clear on this.

 

But wait, there are other rules to qualifying!

Depending on your family situation, qualifying for an Italian passport can be as simple as we described above. However, there are other rules to keep in mind when answering the question “do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?”

You’ll have to keep in mind the following factors before you can truly figure out your eligibility.

 

So do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship or not?

See if you can answer the below questions to figure out your eligibility.


Your Italian ancestor was alive anywhere in the world on or after March 17, 1861

On this date, Italy became a unified country. Before this time, there was no such thing as the country of Italy as we know it today. If your ancestor was born in most parts of what we now call Italy and was alive on this date, s/he automatically gained Italian citizenship. Therefore, if your Italian-born ancestor died before this date, s/he was never actually Italian and could not have passed on Italian citizenship.


Your Italian ancestor was still an Italian citizen at the time of his/her child's birth

As long as your ancestor was still an Italian citizen when his or her child was born, you may qualify. This means that it’s okay if your ancestor became an American citizen; it just must have occurred sometime after the birth of his or her child.


If your ancestor ever did become an American citizen, it must have been after July 1, 1912

This is an important date to remember. On July 1, 1912, Italy’s modern citizenship laws came into effect. If your ancestor became an American before this date and lost Italian citizenship, s/he would not have been able to pass it down to a child, even if the child was born before the loss of Italian citizenship. This is a hard cut off date, so be sure to look carefully when checking naturalization records.


If there are any women in your direct line of ancestry, their children must have been born on or after January 1, 1948

On January 1, 1948, Italy adopted its modern Constitution. Before this date, women could not pass on citizenship to their children. There are two exceptions: 1) when the father was missing, deceased, or unknown, and 2) when the father’s own foreign citizenship did not automatically pass down to the children. Therefore, if you have any women in your direct line between you and your last Italian-born ancestor, you cannot apply for citizenship through the normal channels. More about this below.


 

What if my ancestor never became an American citizen?

If your Italian ancestor never became an American citizen, it’s almost certain that you qualify. As long as you meet the other established criteria (and can prove no naturalization occurred), you’re eligible.

 

What if my female ancestor had her child before January 1, 1948?

Not to worry. There’s hope for you if you fall into this category!

Even though you don’t technically qualify under current Italian law, you can still apply. The reason is because since 2009, Italian courts have ruled the law barring women from passing down citizenship before 1948 unconstitutional. That means it can be challenged (and won) in court. Thousands of people have done this and continue to do this every year.

To do this, you must hire an Italian attorney (or a firm like ours) to represent you. The good news is that you do not need to be present in Italy. And even better, an unlimited number of family members can join your case at the same time.

For more information about these so-called 1948 cases, click here.

 

I figured out that I qualify. How do I apply?

You’ll either have to apply at an Italian consulate in the country where you live or directly in Italy.

Essentially, Italy wants you to apply where you have your permanent residence. If that’s in the US, find the Italian consulate which services your location. If that’s in Italy, it’ll be at the comune (town) where you officially live.

Applying at an Italian consulate
If you wish to apply at your consulate, you must first obtain an appointment. Consulates use a system called “Prenota Online” where you can sign up and pick a date on a calendar right on their website. Note that Italian dual citizenship is very popular so dates go by very quickly. It is not unheard of to book an appointment 3-5 years in advance. In the meantime, you can spend your time gathering documents.
Applying in Italy
You can apply in Italy as long as you are residing in Italy. You will file your application at the “ufficio di stato civile” after the comune confirms your residency.

 

What documents will I need?

In order to apply, you have to recreate your family tree. This involves various documents such as birth, death, marriage, and naturalization records.

You must obtain certified copies of the following vital records:

  • Your Italian ancestor’s birth certificate.
  • Your Italian ancestor’s marriage certificate.
  • Birth certificates for you, your parents, and everyone in a direct line between you and your Italian ancestor.
  • Marriage certificates for you, your parents, and everyone else in a direct line between you and your Italian ancestor.
  • Death records for anyone in your direct line, if applicable (inclusive of your Italian ancestor).
  • Naturalization records for your Italian ancestor and/or proof of non-naturalization.
  • Divorce decrees, if applicable.
  • Name change documents and/or amendments if your documents show discrepancies in names, place, and dates.

Additionally, all non-Italian documents must be translated into Italian. Finally, every non-Italian document must be legalized with an apostille.

Note: if you apply in Italy, you most likely will not need divorce records and death records. When you apply at a consulate, they will most likely require these records. Italian consulates have a lot of leeway over what documents they accept, so they may require more documentation than the ones stated above. Some consulates will require both direct line and non-direct line documents, i.e. if your Italian ancestor is your dad, they may also require your mom’s birth certificate.

 

How long does it take to get Italian dual citizenship?

It depends. It may take anywhere from 3-5 years to obtain a consular appointment (sometimes longer). Once your application is handed in, it can take up to 24 months for processing. If you apply in Italy, timeframes are drastically reduced and you can expect to be done with everything in 12 months or less (assuming everything goes right, of course!).

 

I don’t qualify. What do I do if I still want Italian dual citizenship?

If you don’t qualify but still have Italian ancestry, there are other options for you.

Naturalizing as an Italian citizen
If you have an Italian parent or grandparent, you can still obtain Italian dual citizenship rather easily. After living in Italy legally for three years, you are eligible for naturalization. People without Italian ancestry normally have to wait for ten years to apply, but your wait time is cut by seven years.
Marriage to an Italian citizen
If you marry an Italian citizen, you are eligible for Italian dual citizenship. If you live in Italy, you must be married for 2 years before applying but if you live abroad, you must wait for 3 years before applying. When you have children under 18, these wait times are cut in half. It takes 48 months to process a citizenship by marriage application, and applicants must speak Italian at a B1 level according to the Common European Framework for languages.

Still confused and can’t answer the question, “do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?” Not to worry. We can help! At Get Italian Citizenship, Inc., we’ve helped hundreds of clients obtain their Italian passports and we can help you too! Simply contact us today for assistance. 

What Is the Best Italian Dual Citizenship Service?

Want to find the best Italian dual citizenship service but don’t know where to start? Look no further!

As an Italian citizenship company, we’ve been in business since 2005. During that time we’ve seen many companies come and go but one thing remains: those who provide a good service at a reasonable price stick around.

In this post, we’ll share what we’ve learned during the course of our time in this industry. We’ll tell you what to look out for, what are some red flags, and what even no service provider can promise. In the end, whether or not you choose our services or someone else’s we hope you’ll at least come away from this post as an educated consumer.

In no particular order here are the things you need to be aware of when looking for the best Italian dual citizenship service.

Does their staff speak Italian?

It may seem obvious but this is really important. A lot of what we do deals with things that require knowledge of Italian. We conduct genealogical research, we talk to Italian government officials, we provide translations into Italian, etc. Sometimes, we have to decipher (very difficult) Italian handwriting from the 1800s. And perhaps most importantly, we have to know Italian citizenship laws. 

If your service provider cannot read or speak Italian, there is no real way they can be sure to know about Italian law. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best Italian dual citizenship service make absolutely sure they speak Italian.

Does their staff have Italian dual citizenship?

There’s no better teacher than DIYing! Those who have been through the process firsthand tend to know the most about it. No amount of reading from a book can replace actually being on the other side of an Italian government official when you’re trying to get your citizenship.

Their services are either too expensive… or too cheap

When looking for Italian citizenship services, you may find firms that charge upwards of $35,000 for an application. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are firms charging $2,000. How is it possible there is such a wide discrepancy? There are a number of factors including location of the service provider, overhead, years of experience, etc. But be advised that the vast majority of companies operate somewhere in the middle. Companies that charge too much may have too much bloated overhead which really doesn’t help the client in the long run, and companies that charge too little may be in over their heads and not able to provide you the personalized services you need. Find the sweet spot!

What is their success rate?

Denials can sometimes happen. But they should be few and far between. What is your company’s success rate? Ultimately, no company can be responsible for the decisions of the Italian government, but if they do their job correctly they should have more successes than failures.

What no service can promise you

Remember how we said we would tell you what no service can promise? Here it is: no service can guarantee that you will get your citizenship or that it will happen in a certain amount of time. Why? Simply because the final decision rests with the Italian government. And only the Italian government has the power to process your application. Additionally, consulates are given a wide degree of latitude when it comes to your application. They may choose to accept certain documents and reject others and there is little you can do about it except comply with their requirements.

Furthermore, it may take the Italian government time to process your application. And Italy works on its own schedule – simply put, it will take as long as Italy says it will take for you to be recognized, and no service provider can predict that. Timeframes for Italian dual citizenship always vary, and the government reserves the right to take as long as it wants (within reason).

 

 

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!

Do You Have All the Documents Needed for Italian Citizenship? A Handy Checklist You Can Use

Dreaming of becoming an Italian citizen?

I’m sure you are, what with all the perks and benefits that come with it.

To realize your dream, you have to first put in a little hard work. One of the most difficult parts of the journey is to collect all the documents needed for Italian citizenship. WIthout knowing exactly what you need, you may waste time and money.

That’s where we come in.

With our handy checklist, you can achieve Italian dual citizenship without you losing your mind. However, before you look at the documents needed, let’s look at some of the requirements you need to fulfill.

Documents You Need for Italian Citizenship – Some Requirements You Need to Know

Don’t assume that any document will be the right one. You will have to make sure that they are the correct type and meet all the necessary requirements. Some of those requirements include:

  • Certification. When submitting copies of documents, they have to be certified. This means that they must be official copies released by the government, state, or local bodies that have the legal power to do so. You’ll know they’re official because they have a signature on them from someone important in the issuing office.
  • Apostilles. Every document you hand in for your Italian citizenship application must be accompanied by an apostille. The purpose of an apostille is to make your non-Italian documents legal for use in Italy. An apostille is a separate certification attached your original record. You can get an apostille from the Secretary of State which issues each single document.
  • Format. Make sure to request “long form” or “extended form” for all your non-Italian documents.
  • Translations. Make sure to translate all your non-Italian documents into Italian. It’s only logical—Italian officials will look at them so they have to understand what they’re reading!

Documents You Need for Italian Citizenship

To ensure the success of your citizenship application, you need to have all your documents ready to go. Each consulate in the US processes approximately 2,500 applications per year so you don’t want to give them any excuse to bin your application. 

Missing one or failing to meet the requirements for any document can delay your citizenship. Even worse, it can cause a rejection.

So what documents do you need to process your Italian citizenship application?

1. Birth Certificates

If you’re applying for Italian citizenship by descent, you need proof that your parent was born in Italy. You prove this by showing his or her Italian birth certificate.

(Note: make sure to request the “certificato dell’atto di nascita” from their hometown. This is the correct format you’ll need.)

The same applies if you are applying for your Italian citizenship via your grandparents.

Or, if you have to go back farter it also applies to your great grandparents. No matter how many generations back you go to get your Italian citizenship, you will need to provide the birth certificates for your ancestors in each generation. Thus, the more generations back, the more birth certificates you need to procure. 

2. Your Parents’ Marriage Certificate

Just like birth certificates, you’ll need to obtain marriage certificates.

If your parents got married in the U.S., you need to get a certified copy of the marriage license and certificate. You will also need to translate these certificates into Italian and apostille them.

If they married in Italy, simply obtain the “estratto per riassunto dell’atto di matrimonio.”

If your heritage goes back further than parents, not to worry. Simply repeat the birth certificate and marriage certificate process for each generation. You cannot skip generations, either, so be sure to get them for for each generation.

3. Certificate of Naturalization

In the event that your parent(s) naturalized, you will have to include the certificate of naturalization in your Italian citizenship application. If you have them, you can also use an Italian passport and permanent resident card in place of the naturalization certificate if your parent never naturalized. 

If your parents or ancestors never naturalized, you will need to provide the following:

  • USCIS Certificate of Non-existence of a Record
  • NARA Letter of No Record Found
  • Letter from the county clerks’ offices in the counties your ancestors lived stating that there are no naturalization records on file

4. Death Certificates

If one or both of your parents (or grandparents if applying via them) are deceased, then you will need to provide a certified copy of the death certificate(s). As always, don’t skip generations here. Each single generation of ancestors’ must be corroborated with the accompanying death certificates.

5. Ancestry Records

What do you do if you want to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinisin the case that your closest Italian relative is a couple of generations away? In this case, you will need to dig into your family history and pull out any documents that can link you to that ancestor. Simple documents such as postcards and letters can be of great help to bolster your application.

Once you’ve established your ancestry, find a paper trail that connects you to your ancestor. To do this, you may have to travel to the municipality in which your ancestor was born to dig up the evidence that they indeed are your relative (or hire someone to help).

When you’ve narrowed down names, places, and dates, you can obtain the necessary documents such as birth, marriage, and death records.

6. Your own civil records 

Naturally, your collection of documents will, of course, be incomplete without your own civil records. These include: 

  • Your birth certificate 
  • Marriage certificate 
  • Your children’s birth certificates

Make sure to include any other appropriate records too, such as a divorce certificate if applicable. 

How to Ensure You Have All the Documents Needed for Italian Citizenship

While the list above is not a definitive list of documents needed for Italian citizenship processing, it gives you an idea of all the documents you need to collect. To know exactly which documents you need, you will have to enquire with your local consulate or Italian town hall.

As with all things Italy, minor document requirements may differ from place to place.

Need Help With Your Document Collection?

It’s critical that you pay attention to detail when it comes to putting together the documents needed for Italian citizenship processing. Omitting to include a document or apostille could result in your application being delayed or even rejected. 

It is for this reason that it is advisable to work with someone who knows exactly what is needed and how to go about collecting every individual document. Not only will this help you submit your application faster, but it also increases the chances of your application being approved.

Need help with assembling your documents?

Get Italian Citizenship has successfully helped hundreds of applicants collect the necessary documents and process their Italian citizenship applications. If you need help, reach out to our citizenship experts and book a consultation. Here’s to the realization of your Italian citizenship dream.