How to?

Did you know you might already be an Italian citizen?

That’s right! If you qualify, you’ll be asking the Italian government to recognize a status you’ve had since birth.

Figuring out your eligibility for Italian dual citizenship (aka Italian citizenship by descent) is simple if you know what to look for. Follow the guidelines below to discern whether you are able to get an Italian passport by descent. If you have any questions, you can always contact us.

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You may qualify for Italian dual citizenship if ...

Your ancestor was alive after March 17, 1861.

Before this date, Italy was not a country. And no Italy means no Italian citizenship! So in order for your ancestor to have passed it down, s/he must have been alive – anywhere in the world – at some point after this date.

Did your ancestor ever become American? If so, check the dates.

For you to qualify, your ancestor’s naturalization must meet the following conditions:

  • Naturalized after July 1, 1912.
  • Naturalized after the birth of his or her child.

If your ancestor never naturalized and you meet all of the other requirements, you automatically qualify.

Do you have women in your direct line? Pay attention to the year 1948.

With few exceptions, women could not pass on Italian citizenship to children until January 1, 1948. Therefore, if you have any women in your direct line, pay attention to the date her child was born.

  • If you meet all of the requirements above, but the child was born before January 1, 1948, you can still have dual citizenship. However, you are a 1948 case and must file your application via the courts in Italy.
  • If you meet all of the requirements above, and the child was born after January 1, 1948, you can proceed as normal via the consulates or directly in Italy.

Practical Examples

  • Child born in US, father born in Italy

    You were born in the United States, and your father was still an Italian citizen at the time of your birth. You would qualify for Italian dual citizenship.

  • Child born in US, father born in Italy

    You were born in the United States after January 1, 1948, and your mother was still an Italian citizen at the time of your birth. You would qualify for Italian dual citizenship.

  • Child born in US, father born in US, grandfather born in Italy

    You were born in the United States, your father was born in the US, and your grandfather was still an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth. You and your father would qualify for Italian dual citizenship.

  • Child born in US, mother born in US, grandmother born in Italy

    You were born in the United States After January 1, 1948, your mother was born in the US after January 1, 1948, and your grandmother was still an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth. You and your mother would qualify for Italian dual citizenship via the consulates.

    If you fall under the 1948 rule, you can still qualify. More info here.

  • Woman married to an Italian citizen man before April 27, 1983

    Before April 27, 1983 foreign women who married Italian men (and men eligible for Italian dual citizenship themselves) automatically became Italian citizens. If you married before this date, you are entitled to Italian dual citizenship.

  • Great grandparents and further

    There are no generational limits on Italian dual citizenship. As long as you meet the above criteria, you can qualify no matter how many generations you go back.