There are 17 million people of Italian origin living in the United States alone. By sheer coincidence, the vast majority of them qualify for Italian citizenship for Americans. And without even knowing it, you may be one of them. According to Italian law, if you qualify for Italian citizenship by descent, you have actually been an Italian citizen since birth. It’s just a matter of getting Italy to formally recognize you as one.
Italian Law no. 555 of 1912 states that any child born to an Italian citizen parent is he himself a citizen. It also states that there is no limit to generations and that each single generation passes it on. Therefore, once a child is born to an Italian parent, that child is not only an Italian citizen automatically, but he or she also passes down that Italian citizenship to their child. Yes, even without knowing it and even without formally requesting recognition. Rinse and repeat for each generation.
In other words, Italian citizenship by descent gets passed down from generation to generation just waiting to be recognized. Even if you never get your Italian citizenship formally recognized, Italy still considers you a citizen – just one waiting for recognition.
In order to apply for Italian citizenship for Americans, you must do two things:
You do this by collecting various vital records (birth, marriage, death, naturalization, etc.), translating them, legalizing them, and handing them in to the competent Italian authority. Applicants can seek recognition at their local Italian consulate or directly in Italy.
Italian law states you must apply where you have residency. Therefore, if you are living in the United States you apply at your local consulate of jurisdiction. If you are living in Italy, you apply at the comune (town) where you live.
According to Italian Circolare k. 28 del 1991, you can seek recognition of Italian dual citizenship either at your local consulate or directly in Italy. Here is a list of Italian consulates in the United States. But pay special attention to this list: you may find you have a consulate that is physically close to you, but you are under the actual jurisdiction of another one.
Our firm is knowledgeable about both types of applications (in Italy or at your consulate), so please contact us for more information.
In order to be eligible for Italian citizenship for Americans, you need to meet the following requirements:
Your Italian ancestor:
You and your intermediate ancestors:
There are special rules governing female Italian ancestors and Italian citizenship via maternal ancestry, which we cover here.
Before you can do anything else, you must determine eligibility for Italian dual citizenship. This involves finding your Italian-born ancestor’s naturalization and birth records. Then you work backwards all the way to you, making sure not to skip any generations.
Then, you must gather all the documents needed for Italian citizenship. Depending on where you apply – consulate vs. Italy – this list may vary. The general list of documents can be found in Italian by consulting Circolare k. 28 del 1991.
After gathering everything, you file your application either in Italy or at your local Italian consulate, then wait for recognition.
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.
Our company offers a suite of services for those seeking Italian citizenship for Americans. Hire us to help you determine eligibility for Italian dual citizenship, gather a professionally-prepared Italian citizenship application, obtain court orders to release or amend records, or even apply in Italy.
With hundreds of clients helped since 2005, we are the industry leader in Italian dual citizenship.