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How do I start correctly my research for Italian Citizenship?

This is the question that all applicants should well consider. What are the relevant information I have to bear in mind? Citizenship by descendant can be a tricky path, depending on the case. An essential check on the lineage and on the Italian Ascendant needs to be carried out to understand the feasibility of the application. Understand if all the requirements are matched. There is the wrong misconception that an Italian ancestor gives the right to citizenship no matter what.

Recognition of Italian citizenship is based on the criterion of "ius sanguinis", so on the basis of which the child of Italian parents is an Italian citizen, wherever the birth took place in the world. There is currently no limit in the generations on which an applicant can recur to see its citizenship recognized. At the moment, the laws in force for this kind of citizenship are the following:

1. Law 13 June 1912, n. 555 - "Italian Citizenship"

2. Law 2 May 1992, n. 91 - "New Rules for Italian Citizenship"

3. Circular from the Ministry of the Interior K 28.1 of 04.08.1991

In the process of understanding the path to becoming a citizen, it is crucial to evaluate the line, the ancestor and its context.

The following factors should be considered:


Not all the territories that are Italy became part of Italy at the same time. So not all the ancestors can be considered Italian, despite they were born in what now is considered to be Italy. The Kingdom of Italy unified on March 17, 1861.

When going back to many generations, it is relevant the place of birth and the date of birth of the ancestor. So, if the ancestor who emigrated abroad was born before the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy in one of the pre-unification states, it will be considered Italian. It is an essential condition for the recognition that the ancestor, born in pre-unified states, did not die before 17 March 1861 and that did not naturalize as a foreigner before that date. In regard to the documentation, if the ancestor was born before 1866, the date from which the Civil Status registers in Italy were established (and from which it is possible to obtain a birth certificate of the ancestor), it can be used a baptismal certificate, from the Church's Records, issued by the parish where the birth took place, legalized by the Episcopal Curia.


Not all the territories that are Italy became part of Italy at the same time. So not all the ancestors can be considered Italian, despite they were born in what now is considered to be Italy.

The same attention and the same criteria should be applied to birds born in the current provinces of Mantua, Verona, Vicenza, Rovigo, Padua, Venice, Treviso, Belluno and Udine (only a few municipalities of these last two provinces) and Pordenone, which were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy from 19 October 1866.

For ancestors born in the provinces of Rome, Latina, Frosinone and Viterbo, the reference date is 20 September 1870. It is always advisable to carry out a specific search to understand the exact area in which the ancestor was born at the time. Over the years, the provinces have often changed shape and territories. A specific historical study is therefore crucial.

The current provinces of Trento, Bolzano, Trieste, Gorizia and some municipalities in the provinces of Belluno and Udine have become Italian territory since 16 July 1920 (date of ratification of the Treaty of Saint Germain en Laye). Therefore, the ancestors originating from these territories, who died or emigrated before that date, are not holders of Italian citizenship and the descendants will therefore not be able to obtain recognition of Italian citizenship.


Another crucial factor to consider is the ancestor's gender. If he was a man and in the lineage, before 1.1.1948, were born only men, then the application can be done before the Consulate or the Comune. However, if in the Italian lineage, before 1.1.1948, a woman was present, then the application will have to be done judicially. The right exists, however, will have to be done a different path to see citizenship recognized.


In accordance with art. 7 of Law n.555/1912, the child of an Italian citizen born abroad, holding the citizenship of that country on which the birth took place, would not lose the right to Italian Citizenship, although the parent would naturalize and lose the Italian Citizenship when he was a minor. This concept was in force with the above-mentioned law from the 1st of July 1912, in the cases before that date all the minors in the same situation would have lost the Italian citizenship, in accordance with art. 36 of Law n. 23/1901.


In the lineage, all the births need to be declared by the Italian parent, unless the parents are married. In that case, Italian law allows the declaration of the other parent as the child would have been legitimate in the marriage.

So, it is always important to prepare properly the documentation. A professional analysis to understand the issues, errors or discrepancies in the application, is crucial. If documentation is not sufficient, further documentation could be required by the authority. Usually, if further documentation is requested the Italian authority gives 10 days to provide the documentation, and then they could proceed, in accordance with art. 7 del D.P.R. 396/2000, to refuse the application.

Contact Us. We will be delighted to guide you through the application.


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