It’s no secret that gender inequality has existed throughout the centuries around the globe. And this holds true even for the rights of citizenship. One example is the so-called 1948 cases in Italy that refer to a time when Italian women couldn’t legally pass their nationality to their offspring.
These cases create a challenge for some people who are pursuing dual citizenship with Italy. The experts at Get Italian Citizenship can help, however. If you want to learn if you’re eligible for double nationality, reach out today.
Why Is 1948 Significant for Italian Citizenship?
In most instances, people obtain Italian citizenship through jus sanguinis. This “right of blood” allows individuals to claim citizenship by descent. And it is the reason dual Italian nationality is one of the easiest to gain.
Jus sanguinis is relatively straightforward. Generally, if you have even one ancestor who was an Italian citizen, no matter how far back, you may be eligible for citizenship in Italy.
But here’s the catch. If that ancestor was a woman who had children before January 1, 1948, those children could not claim Italian nationality unless their father was a citizen. This law was on the books from 1912 until the legislature changed it in 1948.
Italian women could not pass their citizenship to their children before 1948.
When the Italian legislature changed the statute, they did not make it retroactive. So, children born on or after January 1, 1948, could inherit their Italian mother’s citizenship. But the law did not change the status for those born before that date.
Also, prior to the 1922 Cable Act, Italian women marrying American citizens automatically lost their Italian citizenship. The same was true for Italian women whose Italian husbands became US citizens during their marriage and before the Cable Act. Italian courts ruled this unconstitutional in the 1970s, so you may still qualify for a 1948 case even if your female Italian ancestor lost her citizenship this way.
Thanks to these outdated laws, obtaining dual citizenship can be trickier for some people. Anyone wanting to prove citizenship through a female ancestor’s bloodline from before 1948 must do so through the Italian courts.
Thus, the 1948 cases in Italy are actual court cases to establish citizenship.
How Do 1948 Cases Impact Dual Italian Citizenship?
For American citizens to obtain double nationality with Italy, they must prove that they have an Italian-born ancestor. This person must have had a child in the United States before naturalizing here.
If this ancestor was a male, then the establishment of jus sanguinis is fairly straightforward. Italian men have always held the right to pass citizenship to their children.
If the ancestor was a woman born before 1948 or whose children were born before then, things get sticky. The outdated laws make this situation more complicated, but not impossible.
Applying for citizenship through the Italian consulate does not work in these circumstances. Instead, individuals in these circumstances must file a motion to appeal the 1948 rule with the Italian courts.
How Does a 1948 Case Work?
To submit a motion to appeal for birthright citizenship, you must retain an attorney registered with the Italian Bar Association. They will be the one to present your complaint to the court.
As of 2017, a 1948 case is considered a “complaint” rather than a “petition.” This distinction benefits you because the filing fees are less for a complaint.
Before the lawyer can submit your case for approval, you must secure all the necessary documentation, including:
- Birth Certificates – Depending on multiple factors, you may need proof of birthdates for your Italian-born ancestor and her child from whom you descended.
- Marriage Certificate – If your ancestor lost her citizenship due to marrying a foreigner before 1948, you need to secure the marriage certificate.
- Naturalization Information – Your Italian relative must not have naturalized to the United States before giving birth to the US-born child whose bloodline you are in.
American records will require an apostille from the US State Department and professional Italian translation.
When your attorney has all the documents from you, they can submit your motion to the Italian courts. Typically, you will not have to appear in court for anything unless the judge requests your presence. This situation is unlikely.
The 1948 cases are “paper” proceedings. That is, the judge simply needs to examine the documents. Witnesses and testimony are not part of these court cases.
Highly Successful Option
Thanks to the Italian Supreme Court’s precedence, 1948 cases in Italy are usually successful. Most of the time, lower courts follow the Supreme Court’s decision, and the petitioner receives their birthright citizenship.
It is not a fast process, lasting about a year. But more often than not, it gives you the outcome you seek. You can help expedite the proceedings by producing documents as quickly as possible and ensuring they are accurate.
It’s also crucial to pay attention to whether or not you need items notarized before submitting them. These details can create hang-ups that slow down the proceedings.
If your case ends successfully, you will receive dual Italian citizenship and all its benefits. You will have the luxury of holding two passports and the rights of two nationalities.
Although pursuing a 1948 case can feel arduous, it is well worth it when it works in your favor. And it most often does just that.
No Need to Do It Alone
For most people, the idea of hiring an Italian lawyer and petitioning a foreign court is enough to stop them in their tracks. But there is help available.
Utilizing a citizenship assistance service will give you peace of mind and will simplify the process. You can have an expert guide who helps you in the United States and Italy to provide you with the best chance possible.
A professional dual citizenship service can help with:
- Genealogical Research
- Accurate Translations
- Notarization and Apostille Support
- Power of Attorney
- Securing Vital Records
Be sure to choose a service that uses professional translators and approved attorneys. The goal is to remove all obstacles possible so that your case can move through the courts quickly.
The reliable team at Get Italian Citizenship has you covered. Our experts do the work while you wait for your turn to become a citizen. Assuming the documentation shows that you are eligible for Italian dual citizenship, we can help. Let’s get started today.