Category: guides

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!

 

 

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!

The True Cost of Living in Italy

Italy is a large country with 60 million people. There are big cities like Rome, Milan, and Naples, but there are also tiny little hamlets desperate to attract new residents. (In some of these towns, you can even buy a home for 1 euro.) If you want to live in a city, you can—and likewise if you want to live isolated, there is plenty of space to live in the mountains or the countryside. Therefore, it’s difficult to answer the question “what’s the cost of living in Italy?” in one fell swoop.

With this in mind, you can expect that life in the historic center of Rome will be much more costly than, say, life in a small town in Liguria. Similarly, you can expect that a lavish lifestyle will cost a lot in Italy—but this is true with all other place in Europe, too. Therefore, you can also live very frugally in Italy, just like you can anywhere else.

In this post, we’ll try to provide a rundown of the general cost of living in Italy. Use this guide as a starting point from which to base your research about moving to and living in Italy.

Common Misconceptions about the Cost of Living in Italy

Suffice it to say, the cost of living isn’t the main reason people want to move to Italy (although for some people it can be quite attractive). Rather, it’s all about living la dolce vita—the sweet life. People feel an emotional pull to Italy because of its laid back lifestyle, excellent food, beautiful architecture, and the small pleasures which make every day in Italy a special one.

And you don’t need a lot of money to enjoy the simple pleasures! These little pleasures are often the most inexpensive ones. You don’t need overpriced wine or cheese to enjoy life in Italy. Believe me when I say that in Italy, even the cheap stuff is the good stuff.

Most visitors spend time in the tourist areas and assume that all of Italy is just as expensive. However, things are not always as they seem.

Calculating the Actual Cost of Living in Italy

It’s not easy to calculate the true cost of living in Italy because everyone’s lifestyle is different. However, if you can lead a life without luxuries all the time, life can be very affordable especially compared with large American cities or Northern European cities. Choose to live in a small town and the cost of living plummets even more. And the best part is that even though everything costs less, the cheese, meats, and wine still taste just as good!

Bottom line: if you step out of the tourist areas and live in the real Italy, the prices are significantly lower.

Ultimately, the cost of living in Italy will depend on your preferences which begin with where you choose to live and what type of accommodations you select.

Living in Italy Can Actually Be Affordable (But it Depends on Where You Live)

In terms of economics, Italy is a diverse country. There is a large disparity between the south and north and central Italy. Some places are far more affordable than the others. As you can expect, housing is generally more expensive in cities. It goes without saying that the decision of where to live will have the largest impact on your day to day expenses.

What about purchasing a house?

That, too, depends. In Italy, you can find everything from a $20,000 village home to a multi-million dollar villa outside Florence. Medium-size apartments tend to cost anywhere from $80,000-$150,000 in the average town. In larger cities, you can expect to pay upwards of $225,000.

If you decide to rent, these same apartments can be had anywhere from $500-$1,200 per month, while a village home can be as little as $350 a month.

Food, Entertainment and Other Costs

Food

Restaurant fare can be expensive, but groceries are extremely reasonable. While a lunchtime meal can set you back $15-$20 and a fancy restaurant as much as $100 for two, one liter of milk is $1.45, a loaf of bread is $1.15, and a bottle of supermarket wine just $8.

Entertainment

Entertainment is also surprisingly affordable but here again it depends on what you like to do. A night out in the big city can be costly, but movie tickets can be had in independent theaters for as little as $5. A cappuccino in a quiet neighborhood is less than $2.00 and the cost of cell phone and internet service is also quite low.

Getting Around

Here’s the bad news. Car prices are expensive in Italy, as is gas. For this reason, many Europeans forego owning a car and take the train or bus. But here’s the upside—public transportation is very affordable in Italy! It’s good for the environment and your wallet.

Utilities

Utilities in Italy can vary. I pay anywhere from $30-$40 a month for gas, and about the same for electric. With my new energy efficient induction stove, my electric bills are low. I pay under $30 a month for internet service which is important for me due to my work. Cold water is free, as it also was in New York before I moved to Italy!

Clothing

Clothing can be had at all price points in Italy. In Turin where I live, the Porta Palazzo market is the place to get affordable clothes to last you a few seasons. It’s also where I get really affordable and fresh produce. But there are also high end boutiques that will dazzle you! Ultimately, when it comes to clothing, the cost of living in Italy can vary as much as you want it to. You can buy market clothes or you can buy Gucci… it’s up to you.

Travel

Italy is an excellent springboard from which to visit other European countries! With new budget airlines, travel can be done super cheaply. Search at the right times, and you can buy a ticket to London or Paris for under $30. Can you say weekend trip?

Healthcare

It goes without saying that healthcare in Italy is extremely affordable. Put simply, you will never ever go bankrupt over healthcare costs in Italy. It just doesn’t happen.

cost of living in Italy breakdown

cost of living in Italy

Eight Facts About the Cost of Living in Italy

  1. It costs about $445 to buy a 40” flat screen TV in Italy. Depending on the brand, that’s higher than the cost of a 40” flat screen TV in the U.S.
  2. Big Macs cost about $9.40 in Italy. That’s just about $4 more than the cost in the U.S.
  3. Just like in the U.S., the cost of living in Italy greatly depends on where you live. An apartment in the center of Milan can cost double that an apartment in Naples.
  4. In U.S. dollars, on average, the monthly rent for a 900-square foot apartment in Italy is $1,079. A 480-square foot apartment in a cheaper area is about $732 per month.
  5. It’s cheaper to buy locally in Italy! This isn’t only good for your wallet, it also supports local businesses.
  6. One medicine that’s more expensive in Italy is ibuprofen (so stock up when you come from the U.S.). One pill costs around $1.18, meaning that it costs around $28.32 to get a 24-count bottle. In the U.S., name brand 24-count ibuprofen sells for as low as just $3.48.
  7. Healthcare is free to people living in Italy. Citizens can pay extra for private healthcare, but it’s not required.
  8. When it comes to traveling, remember that there are tolls to pay when traveling by vehicle. This, combined with the cost of fuel, makes for expensive automobile trips.

Want to Live in a Post-Brexit EU? Try this Citizenship “Loophole”

According to the latest 2015 UN global migration database figures, there are around 1.24 million Brits living in Europe. But with a looming Brexit, what are they to do if they wish to remain in the EU? While many scramble to legalize their immigration status, there exists a little-known citizenship loophole that allows some Brits to live in a post-Brexit EU with relative ease: Italian citizenship by descent.

If eligible, these potential Italian dual citizens can obtain an Italian passport and regularize their status as EU citizens without much fanfare. In these cases, it is just a matter of proving eligibility. There is no monetary investment involved, no background investigation, no requirement for residency, and no language proficiency test. If you qualify and want to remain in the EU, post-Brexit you should get started ASAP.

The Legal Background

Italian citizenship law is based on the principle of jure sanguinis. This is a Latin term meaning “by right of the blood.” Therefore, Italian citizenship is passed down from parent to child no matter where a child is born. Conversely, if a child is born in Italy to foreign national parents, that child is not automatically an Italian citizen.

This is in contrast with the principle of jure sanguinis (Latin for “by right of the soil”). In jure soli countries such as the United States, any child born on local territory is an automatic citizen by birth. Even if his or her parents are foreign nationals, any child born in the United States is granted citizenship by birth.

Law no. 555 of 1912

Where these concepts get interesting is Italian Law no. 555 of 1912. This law states that any child born in a jure soli country to an Italian citizen parent is an automatic Italian citizen. And since jure soli laws do not interfere with jure sanguinis laws, it follows that a child can be born an American citizen jure soli and an Italian citizen jure sanguinis. In essence, Italy operates on the principle of birthright citizenship and anyone who qualifies is not actually applyingfor citizenship, but instead seeking formal recognition of a status that he or she has maintained since birth.

Additionally, Italian law places no limit to generations. Once Italian citizenship is successfully passed from parent to child, that child can pass it on to his children and so on. Rinse and repeat across a perpetual number of generations until someone seeks formal recognition and this person gets to stay in the EU post-Brexit.

This also means that each single generationdoes not need to ask for recognition in order for the citizenship to exist. Since the citizenship is passed down latently, you can seek recognition at any time even if the generations before you don’t.

In other words, Italian dual citizenship can get passed down indefinitely just waiting for someone in your family to be recognized. That someone may be you.

How to Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship in Order to Stay in the EU Post-Brexit

In order to apply for Italian citizenship by descent, you must do two things:

  • Prove your viable claim to citizenship
  • Reconstruct your family tree

You do this by collecting various vital records such as birth, marriage, death, naturalization, etc., translating them, legalizing them with an apostille, and handing them in to the competent Italian authority.

Where to Apply

According to Italian Circolare k. 28 del 1991, where you seek recognition of Italian dual citizenship depends on where you are currently residing.

If you live outside Italy, you must file your application at the Italian consulate or embassy with jurisdiction over your location. If you live in Italy, you must file your application at the comune level.

Keep in mind that if you intend to apply in Italy, you’ll need to be establishing residence there first. This involves renting a house or apartment in your own name or having a landlord, friend, or family member file a declaration of hospitality showing that you will be their guest throughout the process.

What Are the Italian Dual Citizenship Requirements?

In order to be eligible for Italian citizenship by descent, you need to meet all of the following requirements:

Your Italian ancestor:

  • Must have been alive anywhere in the world on March 17, 1861. This was the date of Italian unification. If your ancestor died before this date, s/he was never actually an Italian citizen and thus could not pass on Italian citizenship.
  • Must not have been a naturalized citizen of another country by March 17, 1861.
  • Eithernevernaturalized as a citizen of another country or naturalized after July 1, 1912.
  • If your ancestor did naturalize after July 1, 1912, it must have also been after the birth of his or her child.

You and your intermediate ancestors:

  • Must never have renounced your right to obtain Italian dual citizenship. Renunciation of the right to have Italian dual citizenship is a formal process wherein you must formally swear your intention to never obtain Italian citizenship in front of a consular officer and an Italian flag.

There are special rules governing female Italian ancestors and Italian citizenship via maternal ancestry. These are as follows:

Italian Dual Citizenship via Maternal Descent

  • Any women in your direct line of descent must have had their child on or after January 1, 1948.

Before January 1, 1948, Italian women could not pass on Italian citizenship to their children. However, there were very few exceptions to these rules:

  • When the children were born to an unknown father
  • When the children were born to a stateless father
  • If father’s own foreign citizenship did not pass on automatically to the children

If you have a female ancestors whose child was born before this date, you are what is colloquially known as a “1948 case.” Applicants with a 1948 case can still apply for recognition of Italian dual citizenship but cannot do so at the consulate or directly in Italy. Instead, these applicants must hire an Italian attorney to petition the court in Rome for their citizenship on the basis of the discriminatory nature of these laws. Note, however, that these cases take anywhere from a year to 18 months and you may not be able to stay in the EU post-Brexit the entire time.

Practical Examples

  1. John was born in the UK in 1989. His dad William was born in the UK in 1954. His grandfather Salvatore was born in the UK in 1921. Salvatore’s dad Vito was born in Italy in 1890 and became an American citizen in 1944, 23 years after Salvatore’s birth. Because of this, Salvatore, William, and John are all Italian dual citizens and can seek formal recognition.
  2. James was born on February 12, 1947 in the UK to Elena, an Italian citizen. James also has a younger sister Kay who was born on November 10, 1950. Because James was born before January 1, 1948 to an Italian woman he cannot apply for citizenship at the consulate or in Italy. He must hire an Italian attorney to file his case in the Court of Rome. Kay, however, was born after the cutoff so she can apply through the normal consulate and/or Italy channels.
  3. Brian was born in the UK in 1970. His father Donald was born in the UK in 1940. His grandfather Vincenzo was born in Italy and moved to the UK in 1930, becoming a citizen in 1933. Because Vincenzo became a citizen before Donald’s birth, Donald and Brian are both ineligible for Italian dual citizenship through him.

What Does Becoming an Italian Dual Citizen Involve?

Determining eligibility

Before you can do anything else, you must determine eligibility for Italian dual citizenship. We recommend looking for your last Italian-born ancestor’s naturalization records as this date is key for determining eligibility. If you are from the United States, you can start your search by ordering records from the National Archives and Records Administrationand the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Gathering documents

Once you have established an eligible claim, you must gather all the documents needed for Italian citizenship. Depending on where you apply – consulate vs. Italy – this list may vary. However, the general list of documents you’ll need for a post-Brexit Italian dual citizenship application is as follows:

For your last Italian-born ancestor:

  • Italian birth certificate (“estratto dell’atto di nascita”)
  • Marriage certificate (“estratto dell’atto di matrimonio” if married in Italy), with translation into Italian and apostille if marriage occurred outside Italy
  • Naturalization records with translation into Italian and apostille
  • Death records
  • If your ancestor never naturalized, you will need proof of non-naturalization an official government body

For you and your intermediate ancestors:

  • Birth certificates with translation into Italian and apostille
  • Marriage certificates with translation into Italian and apostille
  • Death certificates with translation into Italian and apostille

How to Handle Discrepancies on Documents

It is inevitable that with so many documents to procure you may find date, name or place discrepancies. In these cases, the severity of the discrepancy will determine how you must react. If, for example, your last Italian-born ancestor’s birth name was Francesco but he used Frank on all his UK documents, it is likely that the consular officer will allow your application to go through without incident.

However, if you have more severe discrepancies such as Francesco becoming David, you’ll need to rectify them. Depending on where your document is from, you may be able to amend it without a court order. However, to do this you must show ample evidence.

We recommend that if you have multiple severe discrepancies across multiple documents you obtain what is known as an Order of One and the Same Person or the UK equivalent. A judge can look over all of your documents and evidence and issue an order rectifying the discrepancies one and for all in one single document. All Italian consulates and comuni accepted these document game changers for your post-Brexit needs.

Filing the Italian citizenship application

Once you have gathered everything that you need for your recognition of Italian citizenship to remain in the EU post-Brexit, it is time to make an appointment. There are dozens of Italian consulates and most handle about 2,500 cases per year, with some handling up to 9,000.

The consulates use the “Prenota Online” calendar system to book appointments. Be sure to check every day at 12 am Rome time for new appointments as they do go fast. If you cannot find an appointment right away, keep trying.

Your appointment

At your appointment, you will meet with the consular officer who will start a file in your name. The officer will look over all of your documents to make sure you have everything. If everything looks good, they’ll send your application for processing. If you need documents, the officer will tell you in writing what’s missing so that you may cure any deficiencies.

After they send your application for processing the consulate will check that neither you nor your intermediate ancestors renounced the right to have dual citizenship. If nothing turns up, the highest ranking officer will sign your citizenship into effect. Then, a consular officer will contact to inform you of your application’s acceptance.

Processing may take anywhere from 1 to 2 years so be prepared for a wait. Though you might not be recognized in time to stay through post-Brexit, when you are recognized you can use your EU passport to once again live in the EU.

AIRE and your passport

Once you are recognized, you must either enroll in AIRE (Registry of Italians Abroad) to obtain your passport if living outside Italy, or you can then obtain your passport from your local police precinct (questura) if living in Italy. In a post-Brexit world, your Italian passport will come in extremely handy.

Costs for Italian Dual Citizenship

Besides the cost of gathering all your documents, translating, and legalizing them, there is a fee for your application. If you apply at the consulate, prepare to pay 300 euros. If you apply in Italy, the application fee is usually waived. This fee is nonrefundable even if your application is unsuccessful.

Additionally, there may be costs if you choose to hire an Italian dual citizenship service provider. An Italian dual citizenship service provider can handle all of your documents professionally. Additionally, they can assist on the ground with an application in Italy.

Would you like to remain in the EU, Post-Brexit?

Since 2005,  Get Italian Citizenship, Inc. has helped hundreds of clients obtain Italian passports. We offer a suite of Italian dual citizenship services. Hire us to help you determine eligibility for Italian dual citizenship, gather a professionally-prepared Italian citizenship application, or even apply in Italy.

 

Qualify for Italian Citizenship by Descent in 4 Easy Steps

how to qualify for Italian citizenship by descentYou might be Italian citizen right now and not even know it. According to Italian law, any person born to an Italian parent automatically enjoys Italian citizenship by descent at birth. Even if this citizenship is never formally recognized, it’s still there. This is known as the principle of jure sanguinis (Latin for “right of the blood”).

Now, if a child is born in the US (a jure solicountry) to an Italian parent, he will automatically obtain US citizenship by birth as well. Jure soli is a Latin term meaning “right of the soil.” Therefore, in jure soli countries, citizenship is awarded based on location of birth and not the citizenship of a child’s parents.

However, the two systems—jure soli and jure sanguinis–do not cancel each other out. Thus, a child born in the US to an Italian parent has both Italian citizenship by descent (jure sanguinis) and American citizenship jure soli.

In this post, we’ll discuss how you can figure out if you qualify for Italian citizenship by descent as well as loopholes and what to do if you’re not eligible.

There Are No Generational Limits

The best thing about Italian citizenship by descent is that there are no generational limits. Italian citizenship can lie “dormant” and unclaimed but will still pass on no matter what. Therefore, even if you 3 or 4 generations removed from your last qualifying Italian born ancestor, you will still be eligible.

Italy is perhaps one of the only countries in the world that allows generation-less citizenship, so this is an excellent opportunity.

How to Qualify for Italian Citizenship by Descent: 4 Rules

There are four rules to qualifying. You must meet all of them in order to be eligible. They are, in no particular order:

1. Your ancestor must have been alive after March 17, 1861

Italian citizenship by descent

Before this date, there was no such thing as Italy. The modern country of Italy became a unified country on March 17, 1861. Therefore, before this date there was no such thing as Italian citizenship. If your ancestor was not alive at any time on or after this date, s/he never actually was an Italian citizen and thus could not pass it on.

2. Your ancestor must have either never become a citizen of another country, or only did so after July 1, 1912

Italian citizenship for Americans

If your ancestor never gained a foreign citizenship, then congratulations—you are most likely eligible!

However, if your ancestor did become a citizen of another country pay close attention to the dates. Your ancestor must have done so only after July 1, 1912, the date Italy’s modern citizenship law came into effect.

Pre-July 1, 1912 naturalizations will—in most cases—disqualify you and you must look for another qualifying ancestor.

3. If your ancestor became a citizen of another country, it must have been after his or her child’s birth

Italian citizenship for Americans

According to the principle of Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, the parent must be an Italian citizen when a child is born in order to pass his or her citizenship to that child.

Therefore, if your ancestor lost Italian citizenship (by naturalization or other means) before the birth of his/her child, citizenship never got passed down.

4. If there are women in your direct line, their child(ren) must have been born after January 1, 1948

Italian citizenship for descendants of women

January 1, 1948 was the date Italy’s modern constitution came into effect. Before this date, women could not pass on citizenship to their children. However, there were a few exceptions:

– When the father was missing, unknown or stateless.

– When the father’s own foreign citizenship did not automatically pass on to his children.

The Italian Citizenship Loophole Nobody Knows About (But Now You Do!)

If you have looked through your entire family history and don’t qualify, don’t give up yet! Here’s a loophole you may not have considered.

Women marrying Italian men before April 27, 1983 automatically obtained Italian citizenship at the moment of the marriage. Even if the husband loses Italian citizenship at a later date, the wife’s citizenship (gained by marriage) survives this loss!

Therefore, if there are any men in your family who married non-Italian (or American-born) women, check to see if:

A) He was an Italian citizen at the time of their marriage; and

B) If they got married before April 27, 1983.

If you meet those two key criteria, you may find out that you are eligible through this little-known loophole!

But What If You Don’t Qualify?

If you don’t meet any of the above categories, there is still hope for getting your passport. You may be able to obtain Italian dual citizenship in any of the three following ways.

Italian Citizenship by Marriage

If you marry an Italian citizen (or a person entitled to Italian citizenship by descent) you may be eligible.

As we stated above, women who married Italian men before April 27, 1983 automatically obtained Italian citizenship upon marriage. Men marrying Italian women or women marrying Italian men after April 27, 1983 will have to file their own application for citizenship.

You may file an application for Italian citizenship by marriage after 3 years of marriage if you live outside Italy, or 2 years if you live in Italy. Those waiting times are cut in half if you have children under the age of 18.

It takes 48 months to process an Italian citizenship by marriage application. Male spouses and women who married Italian men after April 27, 1983 must speak Italian at a B1 level in order to obtain Italian citizenship by marriage. You must also include a number of documents in your application which we explain here.

Italian Citizenship by Naturalization

If you are not of Italian descent and live in Italy legally, you may be able to naturalize as an Italian citizen. After ten years of living in Italy you are eligible to file for Italian citizenship.

Italian Citizenship for Descendants of Former Italian Citizens

If you are of Italian descent and otherwise don’t meet the four rules above, you may still qualify for Italian citizenship by descent.

In these cases, wait times for naturalization are cut down to just 3 years. You must live in Italy legally for this time and then file for citizenship. Note that this option is only available to those going back 2 generations (i.e. to their grandparents).

Further Resources

Italian Circular k.28 of 1991 (in Italian)

Italian Law no. 555 of 1912 (in Italian)

Italian Circular no. 32 of June 13, 2007 (in Italian)

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

National Archives and Records Administration

Do you need help figuring out if you’re eligible for Italian citizenship by descent? We’re here to help.

Get Italian Citizenship is leading industry expert. Since 2005, we’ve put Italian passports in the hands of hundreds of clients. Whether you need Italian translation or genealogical services, want to figure out if you’re eligible for Italian citizenship by descent, or you’d like a full service application at your consulate or in Italy, you can trust us to treat your case with discretion and a knowing eye. Contact us today to get started!

Dual U.S.-Italian Citizenship: All You Need to Know

European Passports for Americans of Italian Descent

dual U.S.-Italian citizenshipIf you are Italian American, you may qualify for dual U.S.-Italian citizenship and not even know it.

Italian citizenship law is based on the principle of jure sanguinis. This means that Italian parents pass on citizenship to their children regardless of where said children are born. 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 the Italian citizenship acquired at birth from their parents, 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 Italian citizen and an American citizen at birth without even realizing it.

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

One: Proof that they are descended from an Italian citizen; and

Two: 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 U.S.-Italian citizenship.

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 Dual U.S.-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.

Italian Ancestors

Also, each intermediate ancestor does not have to claim citizenship before you can. For example, if you are applying 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 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. For more about the costs of Italian dual citizenship, click here.

4 Rules to Qualify for Dual U.S.-Italian Citizenship

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

qualifying for dual U.S. Italian citizenship

One: Your last Italian-born ancestor must have been alive, anywhere in the world, after March 17, 1861—the date of Italian unification.

Two: 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. If your ancestor never became an American citizen, you should normally automatically qualify.

Three: Where you have women in your direct line, their children must have been born after January 1, 1948.

Four: If your ancestor came from Trentino Alto Adige, s/he must have emigrated after July 16, 1920.

Paths to Claiming Dual U.S.-Italian Citizenship

The most common paths to citizenship people use 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 dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

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

The “1948 Rule”

Italian citizenship via maternal descentYou 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 U.S.-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.

Can I Skip Generations?

Unfortunately, no. You can only qualify as long as each single generation qualifies in succession. If for example your grandfather lost Italian citizenship, you can’t go back to your great grandfather to claim it. There are no exceptions to this rule.

People that qualify for dual U.S.-Italian citizenship are at an incredible advantage. Those who are not of Italian descent must live in Italy for 10 years and meet many requirements to become an Italian citizen. Americans of Italian descent just have to make an appointment, hand in documents, pay a 300 euro fee and wait for processing.

Do I Need to Speak Italian?

No. Italian citizenship is your birthright; therefore you have already been a citizen since birth. There is no language requirement. There is, however, a language requirement for those seeking Italian citizenship by marriage.

Must I Be 100% Italian to Qualify?

Absolutely not. You need to have just one single qualifying Italian ancestor. You don’t have to be 1/2, 1/4 or even 1/8th Italian, nor do you need to have an Italian last name.

Does the U.S. Allow Dual Citizenship?

United States law neither formally allows nor prohibits dual citizenship. Federal law doesn’t mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship over another. Remember that when you leave the United States and enter Italy, you should show your Italian passport.

Does Italy Allow Dual Citizenship?

Since August 15, 1992, Italy allows dual citizenship with the United States. When you leave Italy and return to the United States, you should show your American passport.

What Are the Benefits of Dual Italian Citizenship?

I’ve talked about the benefits of Italian dual citizenship before. Put simply, here are some of the reasons you might want to have your birthright citizenship recognized:

European Union

Travel: Visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 175 countries, making the Italian passport an exceptional one in terms of travel freedom.

Circulation: The right to live, work, and study anywhere in the European Union.

Education and healthcare: Access to affordable education and world class healthcare. In Europe, college costs are on average far more affordable than those in the United States. The same goes for healthcare services, even though the Italian healthcare system was ranked second best in the world.

Jobs: Business and employment opportunities within the EU and abroad.

The gift that keeps on giving: You can pass it on to your children. They, in turn can pass it on to theirs and so on.

Having Italian citizenship is like an insurance plan. If anything ever goes wrong in the United States, you can relocate anywhere in the European Union. Additionally, if you are traveling abroad and find yourself in trouble you may seek assistance from two countries rather than one.

Taxation and Other Practical Matters

taxation and financial matters

One of the questions I get most regards taxation. Even though I am not a tax expert, I can say that simply obtaining Italian dual citizenship should not have tax implications. Unlike the United States, Italy does not tax its citizens based on worldwide income. If you don’t reside in Italy or earn money in Italy, you will not pay taxes to the Italian government. Italy and the United States enjoy a treaty to avoid double taxation, but if you work in Italy and earn over a certain threshold set by the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, you may be subject to Italian taxes.

Another question I receive often regards the draft in Italy. Italy has not had the draft since 2001 and is highly unlikely to reinstate it.

Other Helpful Links

How to Move to Italy – the Complete Relocation Guide

3 Ways to Get Italian Citizenship (Including when You’re not of Italian Descent)

How to Pick a Service Provider That’s Right for You

The Best Place to Apply in Italy for Italian Dual Citizenship

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

How Long Does It Take to Get Italian Dual Citizenship?

Ready to Get Italian Citizenship?

Get Italian Citizenship is an Italian dual citizenship service provider. Since 2005, we’ve put passports into hundreds of clients’ hands. Our firm can help you determine eligibility for Italian citizenship, complete a full service application, and even help you apply in Italy. Need assistance getting your passport? Contact us to get started.

Pros and Cons of Living in Italy

Guys, I had to do it. I’ve been writing on this blog about Italian citizenship for quite some time. But what about the actual act of living in Italy? Or even the pros and cons of living in Italy, for starters? Surely many of my readers (and clients) would like to one day leave the U.S. and pack up for Il Bel Paese, the beautiful country.

If you’ve vacationed in Italy you’ve seen the country at its best: extensive public transportation, food that’s to die for, the most UNESCO sites in the world, fashionable people and–hello?–did I mention the food!? But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that actually living in Italy is nothing like visiting as a tourist. Italy is a modern country facing modern issues and if you want to move here, you should probably be aware of that.

I can’t really say which country is better. They are too different to make a fair comparison and, honestly, both countries could learn a lot from each other. I have days in Italy where I throw my hands up and say, “Why can’t they do things like in New York?” and other days when I’m in New York and I wish for some Italian things. If I had to make up my own country it would have Swiss banks, German cars, Malaysian and Korean chefs, Italian architects, Scandinavian environmentalists, American entrepreneurs, Caribbean beaches, South American rainforests, Dutch bike lanes, and the tourists would always be Canadian… hah.

So without further ado, here’s my very personal (and very subjective!) list of the pros and cons of living in Italy as someone who’s been here on and off since 2008.

The Food

Pros and cons of living in Italy - food

Let’s start with the big one. Italian food is famous throughout the world for its freshness and simplicity. You rarely ever feel guilty after eating a huge meal here because Italian food is healthy and because it’s just so damn good that it’s worth it even if your pant buttons feel tight.

Italians believe their food is the best in the wrold and won’t accept any arguments to the contrary. And while I agree that Italian food is absolutely divine, I have to say that it’s not my favorite cuisine. Not even by a mile! My favorite cuisine is Malaysian, but that’s a whole different blog post.

Without a doubt, Italians have some of the finest ingredients in the world with which to cook their food. You haven’t really tried a tomato or a blood orange until you’ve eaten one here. That said, Italy is lacking in variety. You just won’t find excellent Indian, Chinese, or Peruvian food in Italy, for example. Italians like their cuisine so much that they tend to be skeptical of others. And when “ethnic” restaurants do pop up, they overwhelmingly cater to the Italian palate to the detriment of their own. For example, it’s not uncommon to find spicy tuna on a sushi restaurant menu in Italy… only the tuna is cooked!

Another interesting note about variety is that regional cooking tends to stay in its own region. Italy is comprised of 20 very different regions, all unified into the country we now call Italy just 150 years ago. Each cuisine is different from the next, but they tend to stay in their “home court.” So if you’re in Turin you’ll most likely find Piedmontese food, Neapolitan in Naples, etc. While Italy’s cuisine is regionally diverse, it’s also kind of segregated. And that makes me sad!

What Italy lacks in variety it certainly makes up for in qualify. But while it’s difficult to find quality ingredients in the U.S., it’s not impossible. If you want to eat like an Italian in the United States, you absolutely can. But if you want a little more variety in Italy, it’s exceedingly difficult.

Point awarded to: Don’t hate me for this but… it’s a tie.

Pros and Cons of living in Italy - pace of lifePace of Life

When people talk about living in Italy, this is one of the pros and cons always mentioned. There’s even a saying regarding pace of life in Italy: la dolce vita (the sweet life) or dolce far niente (the beauty of doing nothing). Like in most of Southern Europe, the pace of life in Italy is on the slower side.

As a New Yorker, I was always rushing. Catch this bus, get this job before someone else, sign on this apartment before it’s gone. It’s exhausting! And while it’s nice to get things done quickly, it really does affect our lives in ways we don’t realize (like for example how fast we eat). In Italy, a 2 or 3 hour dinner is perfectly acceptable. The food is prepared with care and the waiter isn’t trying to make you leave so he can turn over tables for tips (tipping isn’t a thing in Italy, but we’ll get to that on another post). In America, the waiter would bring you the check while you’re halfway through dessert!

Point awarded to: Italy. Slow down, America!

Practical Matters

While I do appreciate a slower pace, there is one aspect of life where I don’t: bureaucracy. Out of the pros and cons of living in Italy, this one is definitely a con.

Pros and Cons of Living in Italy - BureaucracyYou guys, bureaucracy in Italy is awful. I can’t even put into words in English or Italian just how soul-sucking dealing with Italian bureaucracy is. Going into a government office, no matter how small your task, will absolutely raise your blood pressure. You will leave questioning everything you have ever known in your life and all the choices you’ve taken to bring you this far. And it’s not even just the government. It’s everything.

Things that would be so simple in the U.S. like opening a bank account, getting internet service, or even returning an item to a store are sources of stress here. It’s a nightmare. In the U.S. if you want to start your own business, you can go to the chamber of commerce, fill out some forms, pay for some permits, get a bank loan and then it’s time to open! Or, if you’re a freelancer you can literally start doing business under your own name at any moment without any of that stuff.

In Italy, nope. Want to start a business? First go to this office where they tell you you’re in the wrong place. Then, go to the second place where they send you back to the first office. There, you talk to someone who is having a bad day and refuses to help. You come back on another day and this time, they’re in a good mood so they stamp your paperwork, take your money, and send you to another office only to be rejected by a bank. Then there are courses you have to take and maybe–JUST MAYBE–you can open your business within the year. Then once you’re open, the government will take 60% in taxes to pay for all those useless offices.

Point awarded to: The U.S. by a long shot!

Health

Italians walk or bike everywhere, eat healthier food, and take public transportation. On the other hand, Italians smoke. A lot. It’s hard to walk anywhere without smelling smoke. Buuuut, Italy’s healthcare system is ranked second best in the world. It’s affordable, efficient, and probably one of the best things about living in Italy.

Point awarded to: Italy.

Crime and Safety

I’m not going to really go there on this topic except to say that I never feel unsafe in Italy, ever. There’s a lot of petty crime in Italy but overall Italy is far safer than the US. Even though New York is very safe, I would never walk alone at night. In Italy, I do it without thinking twice.

Point awarded to: Italy.

Fashion

Italian fashion

Without a doubt, Italians are way more fashionable than Americans. In Italy, I would never dream of wearing athleisure to go to the grocery store. In New York, I do it all the time. Italians care about the bella figura, which means making a good impression. However, the bella figura can be stifling. Italy is very much about the status quo–people follow rigid rules for dressing here that just don’t apply in the U.S. In New York if you want to wear the wackiest outfit, you can do it and nobody bats an eye (there is a lot of freedom in personal expression). In Italy, if you pay attention to the trends you’ll notice that people can be slaves to them.

There is one thing that really cracks me up that Italians do, though! Italians dress for the season and not the weather. So if it happens to be a very sunny, mild day in November, you’ll still find Italians all bundled up in huge coats, scarves, and boots.

Point awarded to: Tie. Italians dress better and are way more well-kept, but nothing beats the American ability to wear whatever the heck you want.

Public Transportation

I happen to come from an American city with a very extensive public transportation system which runs 24/7, 365 days a week. But New York is one of the exceptions. In Italy, even small to mid-sized cities have an affordable option for public transportation. Many people here take buses, trains, and bicycles and overall Italy is not as dependent on cars as the United States is. I find it so refreshing.

Point awarded to: Italy, for sure.

 

How Long Does It Take to Get Italian Citizenship?

One of the things that client asks me most is: how long does it take to get Italian citizenship? The truth is—like with many things Italian—that answer is not as easy as it seems!

Therefore it’s no surprise that when it comes to Italian citizenship, there are a ton of variables. Many of these variables are not under your control, either. You may have done everything right and still find yourself waiting for a decision that’s out of your hands. But while it is frustrating, there are certain things you can do to speed up the process.

In this post, I’ll explain everything that goes into becoming an Italian citizen by descent and finally answer the question, how long does it take to get Italian citizenship?

Figuring Out Eligibility

The first thing you need to do is figure out if you’re eligible! You can’t apply for recognition of Italian citizenship unless you’re actually entitled to it. So, this is the first step for everyone, no matter how many generations removed you are from your Italian ancestor.

Some people get lucky and know if they qualify right away. Others might have an idea they qualify and know the information they need to find out. Finally, others will have very little idea of their Italian ancestors’ names, dates of birth, and places of birth… and will need to do some digging.

This step may take some time because you’ll have to dig up old records and/or locate new copies if you don’t have them. You’ll be spending most of your time obtaining naturalization records from USCIS, NARA, and your local county clerks’ offices.

About a year ago, USCIS had a backlog of 12+ months! But things have gotten much better. Now, these timeframes can vary but it usually only takes a few months to get the naturalization records you need and determine eligibility.

Total time: A few months.

Gathering the Rest of Your Documents

This is the meat and potatoes of your application. During this phase, you’ll gather all the birth, marriage, death, and other records you’ll need for your Italian dual citizenship application. This is when the question “how long does it take to get Italian citizenship?” starts to become clearer.

Timeframes will vary depending on the states which hold your records. Some states are very quick and have turnaround times of mere days.

Others like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania can have you waiting months. Right now (August 2019) New York is facing a huge backlog of requests from New Yorkers around the country for their vital records in order to comply with new Real ID laws. These are things that you have to anticipate and are unfortunately out of your control.

Total time: Days to months.

Getting Translations and Apostilles

Translations shouldn’t take too long. If you hire a professional, you could potentially have yours done within two weeks or sooner.

Apostilles as well shouldn’t take too long. Most states will issue them and return them to you within weeks.

Total time: A few weeks.

Waiting for the Appointment

Italian dual citizenship appointment
Here’s what the application screen looks like for New York. As you can see it’s a 2 year wait just for an appointment. That is.. if you can snag one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is likely going to be the longest wait. Currently, each Italian consulate processes roughly 2,500 applications yearly. If you do the math, that’s 25,000 applications a year (there are 10 Italian consulates in the United States).

Now, consider that on top of all these applications consulates must help Italian citizens in trouble, issue visas, repatriate remains, etc. Consular workers are overworked, and Italian consulates are chronically understaffed.

Therefore, each consulate puts out a certain number of applications at any time to limit the flow of applicants. Depending on your consulate, it may take you up to 10 years just for your application to be seen. However, there are some consulates which will see you in one year or less.

In Argentina and Brazil, people routinely wait 15 or even 20 years for an appointment. So, the motto here is: sit back, relax, and keep refreshing the calendar to see if new appointments open up!

Total time: Up to 10 years.

Wait Times for Processing

certificate of citizenship
This is a certificate of citizenship. You receive this from the comune if you apply there. Otherwise, it will come from the consulate.

Once you go to your Italian dual citizenship appointment and hand everything in, you’ll have to wait for processing. A whole bunch of things happen here, such as:

The consulate starts a file for you, and double checks to make sure you’re eligible.

Once they check your eligibility again, the consular officer prepares an official statement explaining your path to eligibility.

The consulate will check to make sure neither you, nor your family members have renounced their right to Italian citizenship.

The consul general will sign your citizenship into effect.

This portion of the process can take anywhere from 1-2 years. Remember that consulates are busy and have to juggle many things on a daily basis! Just be patient and they’ll get to you.

Total time: Up to 2 years.

Issuance of the Passport

Once you’re a citizen, your consulate may request you wait a little while before obtaining a passport appointment. Usually, however, you can obtain your passport within 6-8 weeks after you are recognized.

Total time: 6 to 8 weeks.

Conclusion: How Long Does It Take to Get Italian Citizenship?

Now that you know all the variables that go into your application for Italian dual citizenship, you have a better idea of how long the process takes.

While many of these steps rely on factors outside of your control, there are ways to speed up the process, such as:

  • Hiring a professional firm to figure out if you’re eligible. An Italian dual citizenship service provider will know what to look for right away to save you time and money.
  • Going with a professional translator for your documents. Hiring a friend or amateur translator may cost you time and money, as the translations may need to be redone.
  • Potentially applying in Italy. By applying in Italy and skipping the consulate, you can cut out the wait time for the initial appointment. For those in a rush, this is a huge time saver!

Total Time for Italian Dual Citizenship

All in all, you may be looking at a few years to obtain Italian dual citizenship at a minimum. Remember that this process is a multi-stepped on, where you must figure out eligibility, obtain required documents, attend your citizenship appointment, and wait for recognition. Therefore, obtaining Italian dual citizenship is not an automatic process and there is always a wait involved.

Would You Like to Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship?

Want to apply for recognition of your birthright as an Italian citizen? Or perhaps you have some questions and want to speak to the experts? Reach out to us anytime for more information. We’re glad to help!