First of all I would like to say that I am not a law expert but I spent some time reading many legal websites and forums and have a basic understanding of the legal requirements, so you should always enquire at your consulate or seek legal help.
Donna wrote a wonderful article about dual citizenship, including all the paper work involved including where to look for information. You can read her experience here.
This page includes general guidelines for acquiring Italian citizenship, vital records from Italy, etc, as well as links to topics of discussion on our forum.
- How to obtain vital records from Italy
- Do I qualify?
- What if nobody lost the Italian citizenship but a woman in my Italian blood chain gave birth before 1948?
- What if I want to apply for Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis while in Italy?
- What if my ancestor was born in the ex Austro-Hungarian Territories?
- All about Apostilles
- How to find out the comune where my ancestor was born
- Letter for Church records
Note: If the vital records you are requesting are dated prior to 1866, there are chances that you won't find them at the comunes but in the churches instead, if this is the case send the letter (nr. 9) requesting the records to the church, you may find the church's address here: http://www.parrocchie.it
In case you are not sure in which comune your ancestor was born, please read "Nr 8".
The best way to answer this question is to contact the consulate that corresponds to the city/town where you live, but in general the guidelines are the following:
You need an unbroken chain of Italian descendants starting with your ancestor who emigrated from Italy, unbroken means if all the people in the chain are males that none of them lost the Italian citizenship before the next one in line was born, and if any of the descendants is a woman, there is one additional requirement: that her descendant was born after 1948 to receive the citizenship from her.
For instance, if your ancestor was born in Italy and married a person born outside of Italy, if the person born outside of Italy was a woman and the marriage happened before 1983 then she automatically acquired via jure matrimonis the Italian citizenship because of being a woman marrying an Italian citizen. The descendants from this union could acquire the Italian citizenship via blood from the father if he was still Italian (not naturalized) at the time of birth. If he naturalized before the next one in the line was born then the descendants are not eligible to obtain the citizenship jure sanguinis from him, but could still acquire the citizenship from the mother (the wife of the italian emigrant that obtained without requesting it the italian citizenship jure matrimonis because of being a woman marrying an italian man -not naturalized at the time of marriage- before 1983, this with the following considerations: the husband didn't acquire another citizenship before May 1975, the husband didn´t die or divorced before April 1983- ).This always if the descendant was born after 1948. So, an italian woman transmits the italian citizenship to the descendants born after 1948 (not before that year).
When a man marries an Italian woman at any time (born in Italy or outside of Italy), then he has to voluntarily request the italian citizenship jure matrimonis to acquire it from her, and the italian woman has to still be an italian by blood at the time that he is requesting the citizenship (but it used to be different in the case of women marrying italian men before 1983 since they were considered Italians without having to request it that same day of the wedding, nowadays both women and men have to request the citizenship jure matrimonis if they are interestedm and if living outside of Italy have to have been married for at least 3 years).
So to acquire the Citizenship Jure Sanguinis an unbroken chain of Italian descendants starting with the one who emigrated from Italy is required. A Man/Woman is considered Italian if He/She was born to Italian parents, if He/She was born in Italy to unknown parents, if He/She was adopted by Italian parents, if He/She was born out of Italy to an unbroken chain of Italian descendants starting with the Italian who emigrated from Italy (and any woman in the chain gave birth after 1948, and additionaly in the case of a woman, if she married an Italian citizen before 1983 (it doesn't matter that later on the italian husband naturalized, she won't loose her citizenship jure matrimonis).
There is no limit of generations for the citizenship via blood but and this is very important, your Italian ancestor born in Italian territories before 1861 had to die after 1861 anywhere (in Italian territory or abroad) but without loosing the Italian citizenship before death in order to being able to continue the jure sanguinis chain, this is required because 1861 is the year that the Unification of the Italian territory took place.
The Italian citizen which renounced to the Italian Citizenship voluntarily or lost the citizenship by naturalizing before 1992 (if naturalized afterwards doesn't loose it), could reacquire the citizenship by living one year in Italy.
For more detailed information (about the consulate's appointment, court documents, etc) please read Donna's article.
Last year the first Italian citizenship via blood was granted to a person born abroad to an Italian mother before 1948. If this is your case and you wish to follow the legal way please read this post 1948 Ruling
- Some comunes never heard of the Circolare K.28, please print it and take it with you and they will have to accept it (or if not they will enquire at Anusca, as you can see here: Link to Quesito 1, and here: Link to Quesito 2).
- All the documents issued out of Italy must be apostilled and translated into Italian (even the apostille). Few comunes require that the translations into Italian are done by a certified translator from Italy, for these few comunes, an out of Italy translation along with the stamp of "valid translation" from the Italian consulate will suffice.
- Italy is a La Hague convention signatory country and therefore a document bearing an apostille has to be accepted without further notarizations. Read more about Apostilles here and HERE
What sometimes happens is that a comune requires that a translation which was done out of Italy has an "OK" from the consulate of the country in which the translator is registered. That can be obtained for a fee at the Consulate.
In case the comune has doubts about the authencity of the documentation, then THEY (not the applicant) may send it to the Consulate for an OK, but that is not very usual.
If your ancestor was born in the following regions: Veneto, Friuli V.Giulia, Trentino, to apply for the Italian citizenship you need to prove that He/She left Italy after July 16th 1920 according to LEGGE 379, 14 DICEMBRE 2000
At the age of 19-20 Italian men had military obligations to Italy performed at the province where your ancestor's comune was located, so you may request a registro di leva and from there you will know the comune he was from, then you go back to "1" and request the Vital Records.
You have to run an internet search for " Archivio di Stato di (Province)" and from there you will obtain the address.
Then send the following letter with a self addressed envelope and an IRC (international reply coupon from Universal Postal Union / Unione Postale Universale that you buy at any postal office of the world for less than 2 dollars) the person requesting it should be the descendant of the Italian emigrant)