How to Get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent: An Ultimate Guide

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How to get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent?
It’s a general question, especially for American Citizens with an Italian heritage.

Did you know that about 74% of Italians emigrate from the country?

That’s a ton of people who move away from their home country! 

If one or both of your parents emigrated from Italy, you could be eligible for Italian dual citizenship by descent. 


Are you ready to learn more about dual citizenship in Italy?
Let’s look at how to get Italian citizenship by descent and everything it requires. 

How to get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent: The Eligibility.

If you’re planning to get dual citizenship in Italy, you’ll need first to make sure you’re eligible.
There are a few different situations that could qualify you for Italian dual citizenship:

  • Your mother or father was an Italian citizen of Italy
  • Your paternal or maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen
  • Your paternal or maternal great-grandfather was an Italian citizen

What’s interesting is that there are a lot of Americans who meet these requirements.
Many people don’t realize that just having a paternal or maternal grandparent or great grandparent who was an Italian citizen can get citizenship too!

It’s estimated that there are about 17 million Americans who could be eligible for this type of dual Italian citizenship.
They have to fill out their application to start getting the benefits!

– Quick Facts –
What is the current processing time for Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent?

The processing time to get Italian Dual Citizenship by descent is different.
It depends on which application path you will take.
Going through an Italian Consulate (if you can ever reserve your Italian Consulate citizenship appointment) takes not less than 3-4 years.
Going through the Italian Court (when applicable), takes not less than 1 year.

How to get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent: The Requirements.

Now, just because you meet these eligibility requirements doesn’t mean that you’re automatically an Italian citizen.
There are a few other requirements that you’ll need to meet. 

Unification of Italy: pay attention to it.

For one thing, your Italian ancestor should have been alive once Italy was unified.
It means that the ancestor cannot have been born before March 17, 1861.

The Italian Dual Citizenship requirements on Naturalization.

Secondly, your Italian ancestor cannot have received US citizenship before 1912.
If they did, you won’t be eligible for Italian citizenship by descent. 

On top of this naturalization requirement, your Italian ancestor would have had to become naturalized after the next person in the ascendancy was naturalized. 

For instance, let’s say that your grandfather moved to the US.
After your father was born, your grandfather became a US citizen. In this case, you’ll be able to receive Italian citizenship. 

You’ll have to prove this with official paperwork for those who have Italian ancestors who never became naturalized citizens.
You can do this with the ancestor’s alien file, a certified census report, or a certificate of the non-existence of naturalization records. 

Paternal Lineage requirements and exceptions.

If you have a female Italian ancestor who was born before 1948, she will only be able to give citizenship to kids born after 1948 and their descendants.

The reason for this is that Italy’s citizenship by descent laws is done by paternal lineage.
This law limits maternal lineage from getting citizenship by descent. 

It doesn’t mean you cannot apply if you have a maternal lineage.
Or, if you have a female (i.e., great-grandmother) on your Italian bloodline.
In these cases, you may be eligible to apply for your Italian Dual Citizenship by descent as a “1948 Case“.

Check if you fall under “State Restrictions”.

There are a couple of restrictions on Italian states and the laws surrounding citizenship by descent. 

You will have to prove your ancestor was born after July 16th, 1920, if they were born in: 

  • Veneto
  • Friuli-Venezia-Guilia
  • Trentino Alto-Adige

You can do this with your ancestor’s birth certificate, although not everyone has access to these types of documents. 

Minor Children and the application for Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis.

Another law surrounding Italian citizenship by descent relates to minor children.
If minor children moved to the US with their parents and received US citizenship as a result, they cannot pass their Italian citizenship onto their kids. 

Indeed, by the Italian Law 555/1912, if a minor (born in Italy) moved abroad together with the parents, the naturalization of the parents affected also the minor.

Are you interested in applying?

Write us!

Get a tailored consultation on your case.
An attorney will advise you on how to get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent.

How to Get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent?

If you meet these requirements, then congratulations!
You may be able to take the first steps to get Italian citizenship through descent.
Let’s take a look at these steps. 

Step One: Visit the Italian Consulate.

The first step to getting Italian citizenship by descent is to head to the Italian Consulate in their area.

In some cases, you may have to attend a court case.
When that happens, you don’t need to visit the consulate. 

However, if you do have to visit the consulate first, you’ll need to ask them about their requirements.
Each Italian consulate has different rules, regulations, and requirements, so it’s important to verify with your local agency. 

Right now, it may be pretty impossible to apply through the local Italian Consulate.
If that’s your case, don’t worry – we can file your application through the Italian Court.

Step Two: Fill Out Your Application for Italian Dual Citizenship by descent.

After you’ve spoken with the Italian consulate, you’re ready to start filling out your application.
Remember, even though requirements may change from place to place, the basic eligibility requirements are the same. 

The documents you’ll need to provide include: 

  • A copy of your passport and ID
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your ancestor’s Italian birth certificate
  • A background check

The exact documents you’ll need will vary depending on which Italian Consulate you visit.
Make sure to ask for specific details on what you need to provide to help keep your application moving along quickly. 

Remember, you can also get citizenship if you currently live in Italy.
If that happens, you’ll also need to provide documents that prove your Italian residence. 

Step Three: Book Your Italian Consulate Citizenship Appointment

After you fill out your application, provide the necessary documentation, and pay your application fees, you’re ready to book an appointment for Italian Citizenship by descent.

During this appointment, you’ll get a chance to speak with the Italian consulate and go over your application. 

If your application is approved, you’ll be issued your citizenship within four months.
If it’s rejected, you’ll need to fix any documentation or application errors in order to get your citizenship granted. 

– Quick Facts –
What if it’s literally impossible to book my Italian Citizenship appointment at the Italian Consulate?

Right now, it may be pretty impossible to apply through the local Italian Consulate.
If that’s your case, don’t worry – we can file your application through the Italian Court.

It’s a common issue that is affecting almost all applicants all around the world.

If you fall under these circumstances, there’s a solution.
We can represent your case through the Italian Court, and the Judge may recognize your Italian Dual Citizenship by descent.

Other Key Information About Italian Citizenship to Know

Once you go through the process, you’ll have your Italian Dual citizenship by descent!
However, there are still a few key pieces of information that you should be aware of.
Let’s take a look. 

How Do I Know If My Application Was Approved?

After you submit your citizenship application, your local Italian authority will contact you.
Typically they’ll send either an email or give you a phone call to let you know that your application was accepted. 

If they accept your application, they’ll register you in the Registry of Italian Residents Abroad.
This Government database helps keep track of Italian citizens living outside of Italy.

Can I Have Dual Citizenship in Italy? 

If you’ve just gotten approved for Italian citizenship by descent, you might be thinking you’ll have to give up your US citizenship.
The good news is, you don’t!

Italy allows individuals to hold citizenship in two countries.
It is great because you can get the benefits of Italian citizenship without sacrificing the benefits of being a US citizen. 

What About Adoption?

If Italian citizens adopted you, you’re still able to become an Italian citizen by descent.
This is a special way for you to live into your heritage and embrace your family background. 

Just like with any other child, you’ll still need to provide all the right documentation.
This is true regardless of whether your ancestor is a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent. 

Getting Italian Dual Citizenship Without an Appointment

Although you are required to book an appointment with the Italian consulate to get your dual citizenship application approved, there may be circumstances in which that’s not possible. 

If that happens, don’t panic! You can still apply for dual citizenship by descent.
In this case, you’ll have to go through your local municipality instead of the Italian Court (Tribunal) in Rome.

Here’s how this works.

Step One: Gather Your Evidence 

You need to locate your emails from the Italian Consulate stating that your appointment is canceled.
You’ll need to take screenshots of these emails and of the canceled calendar appointment. 

Step Two: Get a Lawyer

Next, you’ll need to find a good lawyer.
Your lawyer will help you file your application to the Italian Court in Rome. 

Just remember that a new rule comes into effect in 2022 that will allow you to apply for a case of Italian Citizenship through your local Immigration Court. 

Step Three: Get a Judge

Your lawyer will now send all your documents and your application to the Court in Rome.
From there, the Court Clerk will register the case and a judge will get assigned to your case. 

Step Four: Court Hearing

Within a timeframe of 14 to 18 months, there will be a hearing for your application.
During the hearing, the judge will review your Italian heritage documents and determine whether your citizenship will be granted. 

If you are granted Italian citizenship, you’ll get your answer on your application in just a couple of weeks. 

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent.

Can I get dual citizenship in Italy if my grandfather was born there?

You may get Dual Italian Citizenship if your grandfather was born there, yes.
But it’s not the only requirement.
The most important thing to check is IF your grandfather ever took a foreign Citizenship, or not.
For example: your grandfather emigrated to the US in 1915.
Your father was born in 1920.
Did you grandfather naturalized as American Citizen?
If not, you can get Dual Italian American Citizenship through your grandfather.

Do I qualify for Italian dual citizenship?

You qualify for Italian Dual Citizenship if you have Italian ancestors who never took a foreign Citizenship.
So, if they never renounce to their Italian Citizenships because of another Citizenship.
Don’t worry – we know it seems complicated.
It’s why we can check your eligibility for free by contacting us.

Can I get Italian citizenship if my great-grandparents were Italian?

You can get Italian Citizenship by Jure Sanguinis if your great-grandparents were born there, yes.
But it’s not the only requirement.
The most important thing to check is IF they ever took a foreign Citizenship, or not.

Can you apply for Italian citizenship by descent in Italy?

Yes, you may get Dual Italian Citizenship if your great-grandparents were born there.
But it’s not the only requirement.
The most important thing to check is IF your great-grandparents ever took a foreign Citizenship, or not.

Get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent

With this guide, you should have a clear idea of how to get Italian dual citizenship by descent.
And, although it sounds like a big step, it can be pretty simple and straightforward. 

So, what do you say?
Are you ready to become an Italian citizen?
 Get in touch with our team and we’ll help guide you through the process. 

Are you interested in applying?

Write us!

Get a tailored consultation on your case.
An attorney will advise you on how to get Italian Dual Citizenship by Descent.

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