How to get Italian Citizenship? – Guide to Becoming a Citizen of Italy by Descent

florence, firenze, italy

The idea of settling in Europe is an alluring one for Americans who want to experience a new and different lifestyle. When it comes to the most popular immigration destinations in this part of the world, Italy is the clear winner.

The country offers a blend of scenic beauty, a peaceful lifestyle, a vibrant culture, and immense growth opportunities. Another factor contributing to its popularity is that thousands of Americans can trace their roots back to Italy. The country gives the option of citizenship by descent, so settling there is a tad easier if you have ancestral connections. 

But there’s a lot you need to understand about Italian citizenship by descent before you make your first move. You cannot expect things to happen effortlessly only because you had ancestors in the country. There is much you will need to validate with evidence. Moreover, eligibility can be more complex than you imagine.

It makes sense to have your facts clear before applying. Even better, you can seek the guidance of a citizenship expert to ensure things work smoothly. Let us explain all that you need to know. 

Jure Sanguinis – Italian citizenship by descent

Jure Sanguinis refers to the transfer of citizenship through the bloodline. Italian citizenship by descent is granted by birth through your male ancestors in the country, whether father, grandfather or great-grandfather. When Italy legalized dual citizenship in 1992, a large number of Italian-Americans acquired the right. Nearly 6% of the American population has Italian roots, which makes us a whopping 15.7 million.

If you claim the citizenship of Italy, you get all the rights at par with other citizens of the country. You can travel visa-free across the EU, live and work there, and get access to the health and medical systems of the country.

Moreover, the right automatically passes on to your next generations. While everything about Jure Sanguinis sounds so impressive, the caveat is that you must qualify and demonstrate this legal right. It is crucial to know the eligibility norms for qualifying before you take the next steps.

Who is eligible?

Even before you get on with the application, assessing your eligibility is the key. It is not as straightforward as having ancestral roots because there are several dates and facts you need to be aware of. The best way to assess it is by getting assistance from an Italian citizenship expert.  Here are the eligibility requirements you need to fulfil to qualify for Jure Sanguinis.

  • You are born to or adopted by at least one parent of Italian descent. If adopted, you must be a minor at the time of adoption. An age of 18 if born after 1975 and 21 if born before 1975 is regarded as the criteria for being a minor.
  • At least one of the ancestors born in Italy was alive and a citizen of the country after its unification in 1861.
  • Neither the ancestor nor the other ascendants in your Italian heritage became a citizen of another country by naturalization before the next person in the Italian line was born.

Who is not eligible?

While fulfilling these criteria makes you eligible to apply through Jure Sanguinis, some exceptions keep you qualifying despite your lineage. Here are the exceptions you should know about.

  • You have voluntary renounced your Italian citizenship prior to August 15, 1992
  • Your Italian ascendant got naturalized before June 14, 1912
  • You were born to an Italian mother before 1948, and your father is non-Italian
  • Your ascendant is a female who had her child before January 1, 1948

Jure Sanguinis does not apply to people with a female lineage (those born before 1948), but it does not mean you cannot claim your right. You can still get citizenship through a maternal line, but the process will differ.

Instead of the administrative process in the Italian Consulate, you will have to apply through the court under the 1948 Rule. It is a special rule passed by the government to eliminate bias against females.

Steps for acquiring Italian citizenship by descent

Once you are sure that you are eligible to apply through Jure Sanguinis, you can get started with the process. Here we found a great article by Bersani Law Firm&Partners, but we will explain the steps in short. At the same time, the best way to apply is with professional assistance because the process is long and complicated.

There is a lot you will need to validate. So experts can ensure that you do not miss out on any step. Let us list the steps for you. 

Step #1- Get started with research 

You will have to research and gather facts about the Italian ancestor you want to make a claim through. Find details about their birthplace and date and check if and when they naturalized. Also, research all the other individuals in your bloodline, including their names and dates of births, deaths, and marriages.

 Step #2- Confirm your eligibility 

The next step involves confirming your eligibility because it is the cornerstone of the approval of your application. The information you collect about your ancestors in the country will help you decide whether you qualify. For example, you will have to skip the administrative process and apply through the Italian court if you have a maternal bloodline in the country. 

Step #3- Gather the documents to prove eligibility

Your claim to Italian citizenship by descent is valid only if you have relevant documents to prove the facts. You will need to gather a list of documents specifically for this purpose, in addition to others required for the process. Typically, the list of eligibility-related includes:

  • Birth certificate of your Italian-born ancestor
  • Their residency status within the US
  • Proof  of the person next in the line

You will have to get these documents from Italy, which can take time and cost money as you have to travel to the country. Alternatively, you can have local citizenship experts doing it for you.

Hiring expert assistance makes sense because they will have the right kind of local connections to speed up the process. Once you have these documents in hand, get an appointment with the Italian consulate right away. 

Step #4- Prepare with other documents 

Apart from the eligibility documents, you will also require more relevant documents, including certificates of birth, death, marriage, divorce, and name changes of everyone in the Italian line. Next, you will have to get all non-Italian records certified, legalized, and translated to ensure that they are valid for the process.

It will require official translations and apostille stamps for the documents to authenticate them. 

Step #5- Show up for the appointment 

At this stage, you will have to wait for your appointment at the consulate and show up for it. The officials will check your documents thoroughly and decide whether you need to provide further documentation to support the evidence. Ensure that everything is in place, right from having the required documents to getting them translated and authorized.

Step #6- Wait for a reply

Now is the most challenging part as you will have to wait for an answer about your citizenship status. It may seem like the hardest aspect of the process because you cannot do anything to expedite it. The timelines depend on the number of applications in process at your local consulate.

Although they may suggest that the waiting period will be around a year, it often takes much longer. But the wait is worthwhile when you get an Italian passport at the end of the process. It is an opportunity to make a new beginning in the country of your origin.

Why is it worth having assistance?

The process for claiming Italian citizenship by descent has a long list of steps to follow. They sound daunting, which they can be if you pursue them on your own. Fortunately, there is an easier alternative to handle things. You can collaborate with local Italian citizenship experts to help you with the process. The strategy pays because it cuts down your stress and ensures that you do everything right. 

These experts can get you a head start by determining your eligibility and ensuring you apply through the right means. They can also offer assistance with gathering local documents and ensuring that the rest of the papers are in order.

There is hardly a chance of any error and omission, so the process will complete smoothly from start to end. You can expect to complete it within reasonable timelines and eliminate any delays and stresses from the entire journey.

Reclaiming your roots in Italy is a great idea if you want to start life afresh in an incredible place. Luckily, your heritage empowers you to claim this right and pass it on to your children and grandchildren too. But you need to understand your rights and the process thoroughly before getting started.

Having Italian citizenship assistance takes you one step closer to successful completion. Make sure you do your research and find an expert you can trust to help you close your application successfully and at the earliest.

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