How to Become an Italian Citizen Through Ancestry [2021]

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Americans and foreigners can obtain Italian Citizenship by descent through a relatively “simple” legal process. Learn how to get Italian citizenship by descent here.


How to Become an Italian Citizen Through Ancestry – Today Contents


How to Become an Italian Citizen Through Ancestry In 2021?

In the United States, more than 17 million Americans identify as being of Italian ancestry. More than 6 million of these people report that their ancestry is exclusively Italian. This means that Italian Americans are the fourth largest ethnic group in the country.

Read all the following article and find the best way to become an Italian Citizen through Ancestry.

While you may have known that you are of Italian ancestry, you might not have realized that this could qualify you for an Italian passport.

In fact, the Italian citizenship by descent program is one of the best-known citizenship by descent programs in the world.

Italian Passport is one of the most requested one- it’s ranked as the 4th Most powerful Passports worldwide.

In many countries, the number of generations that you can go back to claim your citizenship is limited. However, Italy allows you to go back three generations, if not more, if you can produce the documents necessary to connect you to that ancestor.

The process of obtaining Italian dual citizenship by descent is not something that happens overnight.

It requires quite a bit of documentation, research, and dealing with bureaucratic hold-ups. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about the process to help you determine whether or not this is something you want to pursue.

Italian Citizenship By Descent: Understanding Jure Sanguinis

Jure Sanguinis is the term for “blood right” or Italian citizenship by descent.

This is particularly true if you want to rekindle your ancestral ties to the beautiful country of Italy. This is a complicated topic, but it can be worth diving into.

Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis is the most requested service through the Italian Consulates.

Many countries worldwide apply the principle of the Jure Sanguinis as a part of their nationality laws. Under this law, the nationality of either one of an individual’s parents at the time of their birth determines the child’s citizenship.

If either parent — or both of them — have citizenship to a country at the time of birth, the child might automatically be a citizen.

Italy is one of these countries.

This means that is if one of your parents is Italian, you might automatically qualify for Italian citizenship. It is also possible that you qualify for Italian citizenship through ancestry if you have a lineage beyond your parents in the country.

How to Become an Italian Citizen Through Ancestry: the Italian Dual Citizenship By Descent

Do you have ancestors from Italy? Have you always dreamed of reconnecting with your roots? If so, you might consider applying for Italian citizenship by descent.

That being said, the process can be arduous and drawn-out, so it’s important to get all of your ducks in a row from the start.

How to Become an Italian Citizen Through Ancestry: The First Steps

Are you serious about obtaining Italian citizenship with Jure Sanguinis? If so, it is worth doing some research and preparation before you begin.

You will need to dig into your family’s history. Take note of important places of birth, marriages, and deaths, along with their dates for your Italian ancestors.

Italian Citizenship through ancestry is the best way to get your Italian Citizenship.

It will also be required that you know the exact dates when your Italian-born ancestors became naturalized citizens of the United States (if they ever naturalized).

Once you have collected all of this information and data, you will then take a serious look at whether or not you are eligible according to the criteria.

This process can be quite complicated. For this reason, it is a good idea to consult Italian citizenship experts like we are. We can help you understand whether or not it is worth going through the application process and your likelihood of eligibility.

Contact Us for free eligibility check of your case!

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How to Become an Italian Citizen Through Ancestry: The Eligibility Criteria

Consulting with an Italian citizenship expert can help you understand whether you are eligible for Italian citizenship. That being said, understanding the basic requirements is a good starting point for your research. These include:

  • Being of Italian descent or having been adopted by an individual of Italian descent when you were a minor
  • Your Italian-born ancestor was a citizen of Italy and still alive after 1861 when it was formed and unified.
  • Your Italian-born ancestor never lost their citizenship through naturalization in a different country. If they were naturalized, this occurred after the next person in the Italian lineage was born.

This is a good starting point for figuring out whether or not you might qualify to get Italian dual citizenship through ancestry.

Exceptions to above Criteria For Eligibility

You still might not be allowed to apply for Italian citizenship by descent even if you fulfill all of the above criteria. For instance, if you voluntarily renounced your citizenship to Italy before August 15, 1992, you are not eligible.

There are a number of other factors that will keep you from qualifying, including:

  • Your Italian parent is female, and you were born before 1948
  • Your Italian-born ancestor was naturalized before the date of June 14, 1912
  • If your lineage includes an Italian female whose child was born before 1948

For the last two points on this list, you can still pursue citizenship through the Italian court system.

What happens if you have a line before 1948? Check the “1948 Case” rule!

There is quite a bit of complexity in dealing with these qualification criteria and the exceptions.

For this reason, it is best to hire an attorney who specializes in helping people to get Italian citizenship. They can help you navigate the entire process and help you find other alternatives if you cannot apply through citizenship by ancestry.

Application Documents for your Italian Citizenship through Ancestry

Do you know that you are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship by descent? If so, you’ll want to start gathering the legal documents that are required. You’ll want to do this before you apply for your second passport.

What documents are needed for Dual Italian Citizenship? Here a recent article we wrote about.

The vital records that are issued by the United States government, such as birth, marriage, and death certificates, need to be certified long-form copies of these records. They also need to have the date when they were filed in the official seal of the registrar’s office. Photocopies of these documents will not do, and they will all need to be translated into Italian.

The documents that you will need in order to apply for Italian citizenship by descent include:

  • Birth certificate
  • A copy of driver’s license and passport
  • A birth certificate of your Italian-born ancestor that was issued by an Italian comune
  • Death certificates
  • Your birth certificate
  • Marriage certificates
  • Proof of residency
  • An application form
  • Divorce judgment as applicable
  • Naturalization certificate if your ancestor was naturalized in the United States
  • Birth certificate of every relevant ancestor
  • A copy of the Declaration of Petition for Naturalization by the National Archive

There are additional documents you will need to provide if your ancestors were never naturalized in the United States.

This includes a copy of the census from immediately after the direct descendent was born in the US, as well as the original certificate that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued.

Photo courtesy by NARA Archives website.

As you can see, collecting all of the necessary documents can be a time-consuming process.

The approval status of your application can be impacted by even the smallest omission or error. For this reason, hiring an Italian citizenship attorney means that you can have an expert who deals with this process all the time working on your behalf. This means that you can have certainty that your process will go as smoothly as possible and reduce the stress and time input in the whole process.

The Application Process

Applying for Italian citizenship by descent can be a very slow process. Once you finally have collected all of the records and documents you need, you can set up an appointment at the nearest Italian consulate. The wait for an appointment can be as long as a year, if not more.

To help speed up the process, if you’re interested in obtaining citizenship more quickly, you could travel to Italy and apply once you’re inside the country. This also means that you can set up a legal residence in Italy while the process of applying is ongoing.

This also can be beneficial as it can make your transition to Italian citizenship easier if you’re planning on permanently or temporarily residing in the country.

Why Would You Want Italian Dual Citizenship By Descent?

Some people might find that the process of obtaining Italian citizenship by ancestry might be too long, complicated, and stressful. However, many others feel that it is worth the effort.

Every more people, year by year, are filing their Italian Citizenship through Ancestry.

There are a number of benefits to obtaining Italian citizenship in addition to the ability to live in the land of your ancestors and reclaim your roots. These include:

  • You will be able to travel through the European Union without a visa, meaning that you can avoid the complicated and long process no matter where you are planning to travel within the EU
  • You obtain the right to live and work in Italy as well as in all of the other countries in the European Union, which can open up career opportunities and much more
  • You will be able to access the affordable, high-quality education system in Italy as well as other universities in the European Union, some of which even offer free tuition for citizens of the European Union
  • You will have access to one of the best and most affordable healthcare systems in the entire world, allowing you to no longer stress about insurance or expensive treatments
  • It will be much more straightforward to accept the inheritance or buy property in Italy once you have received citizenship
  • Your future generations will be able to benefit from your citizenship, which passes automatically to them
  • You will have the right to vote in your region for the Italian Parliament representative
  • You will have access to tax-free vehicle imports from the United States to Italy

Many people with dual citizenship feel that the ability to travel, work, and live in any of the EU countries is one of the most significant benefits of having an Italian passport. This means that you no longer have to deal with getting a visa when you want to visit, study, or work in another EU country.

There are also employment benefits to having Italian dual citizenship. This is because employers see it as advantageous to hire people who have dual citizenship. For companies, it makes it easier for them to send employees on trips to other countries without having to deal with applying and paying for a work visa.

More and more Americans are looking to Italian Citizenship by Descent.

Having Italian dual citizenship could end up opening a lot of doors for you in your career. Many entrepreneurs also find it beneficial to have dual citizenship.

If you’re an investor, having an Italian passport means that there aren’t any restrictions on buying foreign securities such as real estate, unit trusts, investment funds, and Eurobonds.

For people who are hoping to further their education, an Italian dual citizenship can help with that too. The education system in Italy is very affordable. Compared to the US, the tuition rate in the EU makes it much more possible for you or your children to study where they want to.

When you become a dual citizen, it also means that you can pass that citizenship on to your children. That means that not only do you get to receive the gift of Italian dual citizenship, but you can also pass it on to your children, and they can pass it on to theirs.

florence, firenze, italy-5208579.jpg
Firenze is one of the most chosen Italian destinations for who is applying for Italian Citizenship.

You also might find that you feel a lot more secure when you are traveling abroad with dual citizenship. You have the ability to ask for guidance or help from two different consulates when you are traveling. Even if you are in a region that doesn’t have government representation from Italy, holding an EU passport means that you can access any of the embassies of EU member states.

When you are traveling in any country in the EU, and you hold EU citizenship, it means that you are guaranteed protection under the ECHR (the European Convention on Human Rights).

If you are planning on spending time in Italy regardless of citizenship status, you also might want to know that having dual citizenship will make both buying and renting property easier.

As you can see, there are many good reasons you might want to obtain dual citizenship in Italy. While establishing your citizenship by descent is one way to go, you can also use other avenues if you aren’t eligible. An experienced Italian citizenship lawyer can help you determine what the best avenue is for you.

How to Become an Italian Citizen Through Ancestry?


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How to Become an Italian Citizen Through Ancestry if you have an “Italian Citizenship 1948 Case

The current law regarding Italian citizenship by descent states that women couldn’t pass citizenship to offspring born before 1948, though they could hold citizenship. January 1, 1948, is the day that Italy became a republic.

When you have a 1948 Case? Read more about it

According to the citizenship law from 1912, men were the only people that could transfer Italian citizenship to their children. This disqualifies many people for citizenship that they would otherwise be granted if their ancestors were male.

Under this same law, it means that some children might be able to qualify for citizenship, while others cannot simply because they were born before 1948.

Recently, the Italian Supreme Court found that this rule is not congruent with the principle of equality between the sexes. Therefore, children who were born to an Italian mother before 1948 are able to file a motion to appeal this rule. This means that it is still possible to gain Italian citizenship even if you wouldn’t qualify under the original law.

The current law hasn’t yet gotten amended or modified. However, challenging the law has been successful in many instances.


A New Rule in force from June 2022.
It’ll be valid for 1948 cases of Italian Citizenship. 

And for all Italian Citizenship applications through the Italian Tribunal.

You can apply for the 1948 Case through the local Immigration Court.

Based on where your Italian ancestor was born.

The Italian Government introduced this new rule in November 2021.

Law 26 November 2021, n. 206, has provided (with art. 1, paragraph

37) the following new rule.

When the plaintiff resides abroad, disputes regarding the ascertainment of the status of Italian Citizenship are assigned having regard to the municipality of birth of the father, mother, or ancestor of Italian citizens.

The provisions apply to proceedings initiated from one hundred and the eightieth day following the date of entry into force of this law “.

It means that all Italian Citizenship by descent applications won’t pass through the Court of Rome. 

As it happened until today.  

It may also be beneficial for new applicants. 

Indeed, the processing time may be lower than before.

Italian consulates outside of Italy, including US Italian Consulates, adhere to the law strictly as it stands. Many experts expect that they will continue this unless they change or amend the law. This means that the only way to obtain citizenship for people affected by this law is to file legal action at the courthouse in Rome.

How Else Can You Establish Italian Dual Citizenship?

Achieving citizenship by descent is not the only way to become an Italian citizen if this is not a viable path for you. Two other methods include securing Italian citizenship by marriage and securing Italian citizenship by naturalization.

If you happen to fall in love and marry an Italian, you can also become an Italian citizen through marriage. You can do this after two years of marriage while living in Italy or after three years of marriage if you are not living in the country. Either way, though, you will have to apply for citizenship as it does not just happen automatically.

How to get Italian Citizenship by Marriage? Read the dedicate page.

To secure Italian citizenship by naturalization, you will first have to be living in Italy with a visa. This is probably the most complicated way to become an Italian citizen.

To apply through this method, you will have to live in Italy for at least ten years before applying. For people who have been living in Italy for this long anyway, the process might be worth it. However, your application can end up getting rejected for several reasons, including if they deem you to be a security risk of any kind.

How Long Does It Take to Get Italian Dual Citizenship?

Once you have all of your documents and paperwork in order, you will need to set up an appointment with an Italian consulate. Once the consulate accepts the application, it can take as much as 2 years for a decision to be made regarding the outcome.

Once approved, you can then apply to receive an Italian passport. Overall, it can take up to two or three years total to get Italian dual citizenship.

What to Know About Dual Citizenship

Whether or not dual citizenship is an option for you depends on the country that you are coming from. Not all countries allow dual citizenship.

You will not have to deny your former country of origin according to the Italian citizenship law. However, your country might not allow you to also be an Italian citizen. You’ll want to do some research ahead of time and see if your country allows dual citizenship.

One of the pros of dual citizenship is that you can have an Italian passport without having to pay taxes on any of the income that you earn outside of Italy. However, if your parents became US citizens before the year 1992, it means that both your parents and you have lost your rights to dual citizenship. There might be paperwork necessary to prove that you have the right to apply as a dual citizen.

If you live in the United States, it is worth knowing that dual citizenship is not legally recognized. At the same time, however, there is no law in the United States against having dual citizenship in another country. This means that you do not have to renounce your right to citizenship in the United States to apply for Italian dual citizenship by descent.

Italian Citizenship Assistance

As you can see, obtaining Italian citizenship by descent is a process that can be time-consuming and lengthy. For that reason, it’s a good idea to hire a qualified Italian immigration lawyer. They can help your process of getting citizenship go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

At Bersani Law Firm, our mission is to help people solve all of the issues they have with Italian citizenship or visa applications. We are located in Verona, Italy, with secondary representative offices in London, Madrid, Los Angeles, NYC, and Dubai. It is our specialty to help people during the Italian citizenship process.

Is it time for you to reconnect with your ancestry, your roots, and your homeland?

If so, contact us today to discuss your eligibility and the process.

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