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Italian Nationality Law
Nationality law in Italy, like that of many European countries, favors ''jus sanguinis''. However, unlike the law of many traditionally emigrant-sending countries, Italian law incorporates elements that are seen as favourable to the Italian diaspora. Italian nationality law is based on legislation, especially the Law (n°91 of 1992) presidential decree and Ministry of the Interior circulars.
Acquisition of citizenship
Italian citizenship can be automatically acquired:
*By filiation (birth to an Italian parent); this is consistent with the principle of ''jus sanguinis''.
*By birth on Italian territory to stateless parents or to unknown parents or to parents who cannot transmit their nationality; this is partially consistent with the principle of ''jus soli''.
*By paternal/maternal acknowledgment or legitimation.
Through special application:
*For those of Italian origin up to the second degree, the applicant must have served in the Italian military or civil service or have resided for two years in Italy after reaching the age of majority.
*If Italian-born, the applicant must have resided in Italy continuously from birth to adulthood.
*Foreign women who married an Italian citizen before April 27, 1983, were automatically granted Italian citizenship, while foreign men who married Italian women weren't granted this privilege, and neither their children were granted Italian citizenship if born before January 1, 1948.
*After six months legal residence in Italy, the spouse of an Italian citizen can acquire Italian citizenship through naturalization; that was before August 8, 2009. Now, it has been extended to two years or after three years of marriage (if overseas), those periods are reduced respectively to one year and one and a half year if the couple has a child (natural or adopted) provided a lack of criminal record and lack of national security concerns.
*After 10 years of legal residence, absence of criminal record, and sufficient financial resources, a foreigner may naturalize (three years for former Italian citizens up to the second degree and for aliens born on Italian territory, four years for nationals of EU member states, five years for refugees or stateless persons and seven years for the adoptee of an Italian national.)
Special acquisition of citizenship through ''jure sanguinis''
U.S. citizens, Argentinians, Chileans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Brazilians, Venezuelans or others who are descended from an ancestor (parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc.) born in Italy may have a claim to Italian citizenship by descent.
One must apply through the Italian consulate that has jurisdiction over their place of residence. Each consulate has slightly different procedures, requirements and wait time. Most importantly the criteria for jure sanguinis citizenship is the same.
'''Basic Criteria for Acquisition of Citizenship ''jus sanguinis'':'''
* A child is born to an Italian citizen parent or a parent with the right to Italian citizenship ''"jure sanguinis"''. Henceforth this parent will be known as the Italian parent.
* If the child was born before August 16, 1992, the Italian parent must not have taken another citizenship by naturalization at the time of the child's birth.
* If the mother is the Italian parent, the child must have been born on or after January 1, 1948.
* Ancestors naturalized before June 14, 1912, cannot transmit citizenship (even to children born before their naturalization).
All conditions above must be met by every person in a direct lineage. There is no generational limit. However, while there is no generational limit to claiming Italian citizenship through "jus sanguinis" the ancestor who immigrated from Italy must have died in the Italian Peninsula or abroad after March 17, 1861, according to Italian Ministry of Interior. Any person who died prior to that date was not a citizen of Italy, because this was before the unified nation of Italy was formed. Subsequently, that person had no ability to pass on Italian citizenship.
Common Sample Cases:
* Your father was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to the Italian citizenship.
* Your mother was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, you were born on or after January 1, 1948 and you never renounced your right to the Italian citizenship.
* Your father was born in a country other than Italy, your paternal grandfather was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, neither you nor your father ever renounced your right to the Italian citizenship.
* Your mother was born in a country other than Italy, your maternal grandfather was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, you were born on or after January 1, 1948 and neither you nor your mother ever renounced your right to the Italian citizenship.
* Your paternal or maternal grandfather was born in a country other than Italy, your paternal great grandfather was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, neither you nor your father nor your grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
NOTE: Please be aware that you may still be eligible even if your case cannot be found above. Please use the basic criteria above to follow your situation in detail in any case.
Basic Documents Required:
* Your application with sworn affidavit you never renounced your Italian Citizenship.
* A Photocopy of your current passport and ID
* Your Birth Certificate, with apostille attached and translated into Italian
* Your Parents Marriage Certificate with apostille attached and translated into Italian.
* Your Parents Birth Certificates with apostille attached and translated into Italian (if not from Italy)
* Your Grandparents Birth Certificates with apostille attached and translated into Italian (if not from Italy)
** Continue this process back to the ancestor who immigrated from Italy.
* If you are claiming through a grandparent you will need your grandparent's marriage certificates with apostille attached and translated into Italian (if not from Italy)
* For an Ancestor who immigrated to the US, you will need his/her naturalization records from the USCIS that shows that s/he did not become a US Citizen before their child was born.
** If USCIS responds with "No Records Found" you will have to contact NARA for the information.
*** If NARA responds with "No Records Found" you will have to contact United States Census Department and ask for the census that took place before and after your Italian ancestor's child was born with the field report from the street they lived on.
**** If the United States Census responds with "No Records Found" it will be assumed your Ancestor never became a US citizen and retained his/her Italian citizenship and passed it on to their child.
* If there were any divorces in the line between you and your Italian ancestor, you will have to obtain all divorce records with apostille attached and translated into Italian. You will also need a "Certificate of Clerk - No Appeal"
* If any of the people mentioned above are deceased you will need their Death Certificates with apostille attached and translated into Italian (if not from Italy) NOTE: Some Consulates only require death certificates for those born in Italy.
* All documents with errors must be corrected before being submitted. For example, if your Italian ancestor immigrated to the US and took on an "Americanized" name (Italian name: Giulia / American Name: Julia) and the Americanized name was used on any previously mentioned certificates the name will have to be corrected to match the name on their Italian Birth Certificate.
NOTE: These "basic documents required" are not written by a Consular Citizenship Officer. Many of the guidelines above may not reflect the guidelines that your Consulate may follow. Please check with your Consulate directly before taking the information here as what every Consulate expects and requires.
According to Italian law, multiple citizenship is permitted under certain conditions if acquired on or after August 15, 1992. Those who acquired another citizenship after that date but before January 23, 2001 have three months to inform their local records office or the Italian consulate in their country of residence. Failure to do so carries a fine. Those who acquired another citizenship on or after January 23, 2001 can send an auto-declaration of acquisition of a foreign citizenship by mail to the Italian consulate in their country of residence. On or After March 31, 2001, notification of any kind is no longer necessary.