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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Citizenship Saturday: Do I Qualify?

Anyone who wishes to apply for dual citizenship asks themselves this question in the beginning - do I qualify? Here I will provide the most simple ways to help you learn whether you qualify to apply or not.


Unlike many other countries, Italian citizenship is not passed down based on where you are born, but by blood, through your lineage. There are countless amounts of immigrants who have come to Italy, birthing their children on Italian soil. However, their children are not granted citizenship upon their births. Upon first hearing, I thought it was quite odd, and after telling others of how its acquired, they too think it is odd, but it's the Italian way.

You must meet the following requirements:


1.  A child is born to an Italian citizen parent, or a parent with the right to Italian citizenship, known as "jure sanguinis". Therefore, this parent will be known as an Italian parent.

2. If the child was born before August 16, 1992, the parent must not have taken another citizenship by naturalization at the time of the child's birth.

3. Ancestors naturalized before June 14, 1912 cannot transmit citizenship, even if the child was born before the naturalization occurred. However, this is not enforced by all consulates.

4. Your ancestor must have passed away after March 17, 1861 either in Italy or abroad, due to Italy's unification. Anyone who passed away before this date was not considered an Italian citizen. This is inspite of the 'no generational limitations'.


The best route to go for applying is through a male relative. Why? Up until January 1, 1948, women were not able to pass down Italian citizenship, therefore it could only be passed down through men. Don't feel defeated just yet if your relative is/was a female. I will explain this later.

The easiest way to apply is through a parent:

1. Your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, and you have never renounced your citizenship.

You will find that your relative being a citizen at the time of your birth is the key element in all cases. If your relative naturalized before your birth, the citizenship line ceased upon his/her naturalization to you and all other generations there after. So, qualification does not pertain to you. However, if the naturalization occurred after your birth, you do qualify. Another obstacle, is when the naturalization occurred. If the naturalization occurred before July 1, 1912, your relative caused the children to lose their Italian citizenship. If the naturalization occurred after the aforementioned date, and it occurred after the birth of the child you are applying through, then you qualify.


If you are applying through your father, you will need the following documents:

(1.) your father's birth certificate
(2.) your mother's birth certificate
(3.) your parents' marriage certificate
(4.) your birth certificate
(5.) your father's naturalization records or Italian passport and green card
*(6). a parent's divorce certificate
*(7.) a parent's death certificate
(8.) your US passport and driver's license

* Those will asterisk are optional depending on whether a divorce or death occurred.

According to the Newark Italian Consulate, any Italian birth certificate (those acquired through Italy from births in Italy) must be in either formato internazionale, international format, or in estratto per riassunto, basically a summarization of the act, and must show both the father's and mother's names. The marriage certificate must be a certified copy of both the license and certificate, if acquired in the United States, and must have an apostille.

Your birth certificate must be presented in long form, and must be a certified copy with an apostille.

2. Your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, and you were born after January 1, 1948.

As mentioned before, mothers could not pass down citizenship until January 1, 1948. This does not depend on the birth of the mother, but on the birth of her child. If you were born before the above date, you do not qualify, even if your mother was still a citizen at the time of your birth.

To apply, you must produce the above-mentioned documents but in regards to your mother.


With the addition of more and more generations, there are more obstacles, and everything must fall in place just so.

Paternal (maternal) grandfather/ grandmother

1. Your father was born in your native country, your paternal grandfather was a citizen at the time of his birth, and neither you nor your father have renounced your rights to Italian citizenship.

When applying, you must provide the following documents:

(1) your paternal grandfather's birth certificate
(2) your paternal grandmother's birth certificate
(3) your paternal grandparents' marriage certificate
(4) your paternal grandparents' death certificates (if this applies)
(5) your grandfather's naturalization records or  Italian passport and green card
(6) your father's birth certificate
(7) your mother's birth certificate
(8) your parents' marriage certificate
(9) your parents' death certificates (if applicable)
(10) your birth certificate

2. Your mother was born in your native country, your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen upon her birth, you were born after January 1, 1948, and neither you nor your mother ever renounced your right to citizenship.

You must obtain the above listed documents, but in regards to your mother.



Please stay tuned for more information on 'Do I Qualify'? If you have any questions about this post, please feel free to comment below or e-mail me at PassagetoItaly@gmail.com. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability.


For more information on appointments, documents, and other requirements on applying, please consult your nearest consulate's website or call during their scheduled times to receive calls. For information on scheduled times to receive calls from the public, contact their answering service, or consult the website. The best way to receive this information, however, is to consult the website. The consult may not answer your message left on their answering system. Welcome to dealing with the Italian consulate!


Sources of acquired information: Newark Italian Consulate, Italian Dual Citizenship

1 comment:

  1. "3. Ancestors naturalized before June 14, 1912 cannot transmit citizenship, even if the child was born before the naturalization occurred."

    This is not quite true: The child would lose his Italian citizenship when his father naturalized before July 1, 1912 (the date on which the law took effect), only if the child was still an unemancipated minor (i.e., under 21 years old) at that time. Moreover, I believe the child would have had to have been living abroad (i.e., not in Italy), too. This is in the 1865 Civil Code.

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