Do You Qualify for Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis?

Filed under Genealogy

First part is here

attinascitaIn theory, if you meet the qualifications, you are already an Italian citizen and have been since birth.
In the jure sanguinis process, you are not applying for Italian citizenship per se, you are applying for recognition of a citizenship you already have.
However, you must submit the required documentation to the Italian Consulate proving that your ascendants were Italian citizens and transmitted citizenship down the line.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not you prove your case is theirs.

Below are the different categories that determine if you qualify for recognition.

Category n. 1: Your father was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth.
Category n. 2: Your mother was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, you were born after January 1st, 1948.
Category n. 3: Your father was born outside of Italy, your paternal grandfather was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth.
Category n. 4: Your mother was born outside of Italy, your maternal grandfather was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth, you were born after January 1, 1948.
Category n. 5: Your paternal or maternal grandfather was born outside of Italy, your paternal or maternal great grandfather was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your paternal or maternal grandfather’s birth.

The Disqualifiers

Unfortunately, there are some rules that prohibit some from being recognized as Italian citizens.

1. Prior to March 17, 1861, Italy was not a unified country. This means that before this date, there was no Italy and, therefore, there were no Italian citizens. In order to qualify, the Italian ancestor in your line must have been born after this date.

2. The 1912 Rule. The Consulate says, “Italian citizens naturalized before July 1, 1912 could not transmit citizenship to their children even if they were born before their naturalization.”

3. The 1948 Rule. “A person born before January 1, 1948 can claim Italian citizenship only from his/her father (who was not a naturalized citizen of another country before his/her child’s birth), and a woman can transfer citizenship only to her children born after January 1, 1948 if she was not a naturalized citizen of another country before her child’s birth.”

4. One of your ascendants formally renounced their Italian citizenship in front of an Italian Consular, diplomat or government official.

Some people have legally challenged these Rules, but I do not know their success rate. If you choose to challenge, you will likely need a lawyer.

Here’s an example of a typical case: Mary is applying for Italian citizenship. Her grandfather, Francesco, came to the U.S. from Italy in 1920 and in 1926 had a child, Luigi (Mary’s father). Francesco naturalized and became a U.S. citizen in 1930. Luigi is a U.S. citizen because he was born in the U.S. He is also an Italian citizen because Francesco was still an Italian citizen at the time of Luigi’s birth. Luigi did not lose his Italian citizenship when his father naturalized and he never renounced his Italian citizenship. Because Luigi was an Italian citizen at the time of Mary’s birth, it makes Mary eligible for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. If Francesco had had a child after he naturalized in 1930, the descendants of that child would not be eligible for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis.

If you fall within one of the categories and are not affected by any of the disqualifying rules, you may want to explore further.

Next, Taking the Plunge


63 Comments to “Do You Qualify for Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis?”
  1. Geraldine says:

    Hi Diane
    I just thought of something that could disqualify me and my sisters. Could you clarify if this is so:

    As my mother naturalised after our births we had retained our Italian rights but because she became an Australian citizenship, does that mean once we reached legal age, to keep our Italian citizenship we should have all formally applied for it? Is this right?

  2. Geraldine says:

    Hi Diane

    I think me and my sisters may qualify but I have recently heard about a 1992 Law that affects dual citizenship for ascendants who were naturalized before this date- I can’t see anything here about this law so wondering if you know what I’m referring to.
    My situation is this:

    My maternal grandfather born in Italy 1904. He moved to Chile in 1926, met and married my Chilean grandmother and had my mother in November 1948. He died in Chile in 1968 never naturalized. My mother moved to Australia in 1970 and had myself and two sisters between 1971-1978. She naturalized in 1984.
    I assumed from this lineage and that my mum naturalized after all our births we qualified, right?
    I know we have to prove my Nonno never naturalized which I am in the process of finding out with the Chilean Consulate in Sydney. I sent them my Nonno’s Chilean identity card ( which states his nationality as Italian) and they told me they had to send the information to Chile to try and (hopefully) find documents to prove he never naturalized.
    What’s concerned me is this 1992 Law if I understand it correctly, it may affect children of Italian ascendants who naturalised before this date. I am hoping I am wrong. What do you know about this?
    Thanks in advance .

  3. Katie says:

    I would qualify for number 5 but my great grandfather’s father naturalized his family before 1912 when my great grandfather was a minor. Does anyone know if I would be able to apply through my great grandmother? My grandfather was born after 1948 and women were allowed to pass their citizenship after 1948.

    • Diane says:

      If she was still an Italian citizen at the time of your grandfather’s birth, you should be able to apply through her line.

  4. Jenifer says:

    My father was naturalized before I was born, however my father married my mother before he was naturalized and they were married in 1973. Will I qualify through my mother since she became an automatic Italian citizen by marrying my father before he was naturalized. Thank you

  5. Jessica says:

    My maternal Great, Great Grandparents were Italian citizens.
    My Great, Great Grandfather was born in 1879 in Italy and my Great Grandmother was born in 1888 (estimate) in Italy
    My Great, Great Grandfather Naturalized on Nov 20, 1916

    My Great Grandfather was born in the us April 19, 1915 (Did he automatically naturalize at birth or when my great, great grandfather naturalized?)
    My Grandmother was born in 1937 in the US (Full Italian)
    My mother was born in 1955 in the US
    I was born in 1975 in the US

    No one in my family has ever renounced their Italian citizenship.
    I’m was planning (hoping) to use the following lineage to apply: Great Grandfather ->Grandfather->Mother->Me. If that doesn’t work, can I qualify if my mother gets her dual citizenship, even if I am 39 years old?

    • Diane H. says:

      You can apply for citizenship at any age. In fact, you and your mother could probably apply at the same time. Your Great-grandfather did not lose his citizenship because he was born before his father naturalized (and it was after 1912).

  6. Phil says:

    Can you please give an example to rule #2 please? For some reason it doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Diane H. says:

      If an Italian citizen naturalized in another country before July 1, 1912, he gave up not only his own Italian citizenship, but also that of his minor children. If naturalized after that date, their minor children did not automatically lose their Italian citizenship. It’s confusing, but I hope this clears it up.

      • Phil says:

        Yes that makes sense now :D I hope I don’t fall under that category! I am guessing a minor would be considered under 18 then?

        I’m having a hard time finding my Great Grandfathers birth certificate. He claims he was born in chicago around 1900. Many documents are conflicting though. One birth certificate of his son says he was born in Italy. The other says he was born in Chicago. Any recommendations on how I can get further records? I also contacted Ponte Buganesse today! I’m positive that’s where my ancestors are from! It’s a very small town so I’m quite sure I can get at least my great uncles birth information! THis is very exciting!

        Also, let’s say my Great grandfather came to the US and his mom (born in Italy) emigrated alone (for whatever reason) and she naturalized before he was born. Let’s say his father did stay in Italy. Would he still have dual citizenship?

        • Phil says:

          If my Grandfather served in the US military does that mean he automatically loses his italian citizenship? Is that something they look into or can I just keep quiet about it.

  7. Hector M says:

    Hello Diane
    Thank you for your very informative blog.
    We applied for for our Italian citizenship over seven years ago, in Colombia ,we gathered all the paperwork required, countless visits to the embassy, several trips to Italy. Everything was in complete order.
    A few days ago,our claim for Italian citizenship “Juris Sanguinoius”was denied by the embassy of Italy in Colombia. Reason being that my father never applied for his Italian citizenship in 1944.
    Brief story
    My grandfather was born in Italy, moved to Colombia 1910, never renounced his Italian citizenship,met my grandmother( Colombian) lived together, had 4 children, including my father. They got married when my father was 23, only then my grandfather legitimated all of his kids.
    The embassy claims that my father had one year only from the moment he was legitimized by my grandfather to apply for his Italian citizenship. This makes no sense to me. I would really like to hear your comments. We are considering hiring a lawyer and take this matter to an Italian court. I’m in Canada now.
    Thank you

    • Diane H. says:

      Hi Hector,

      I found this information and I’m sorry but it seems the law is not on your side:

      “With the sentence n. 7472 of March 21st, 2014, the Rome Court confirmed that the right to apply for the Italian citizenship is extended to illegitimate children (children born by unmarried parents), provided that some requirements are met.
      In particular, children younger than 18 years old born by Italian unmarried parents are automatically granted Italian citizenship, while children older than 18 must apply for the citizenship within one year from the spontaneous legitimation or the recognition by the Court.”

      Although it is dated 2014 and you applied seven years ago, this is probably an interpretation of the established law.

      • Hector M says:

        Thank you do much Diane. It makes me very sad that after so many years of hard work we have to arrive to this decision.. I will hope that one day the law may change. Thank you again

        • Hector M says:

          Diane, Someone suggested that my grandmorher might hold the key to this situation. I don’t know much about the law, but it’s my understanding that my grandmother became Italian when she married my grandfather. Could this be a window of opportunity?

          • Diane H. says:

            Hector, it is true that a woman who married an Italian citizen before April 27, 1983 automatically acquired Italian citizenship; however, I do not know if she could pass it along to her children and grandchildren. The 1948 Rule states that a woman whose father was born in Italy can only transfer citizenship to her children born after January 1, 1948 as long as she was not a naturalized citizen of another country before her child’s birth. Even if your father was born after 1948, your grandmother was a citizen of Columbia and her father was not born in Italy. Therefore, I’m not sure if her citizenship could be passed down. Because citizenship is based on jure sanguinis, I have my doubts, but I am not a Consular official. Since this is a bit complicated, you should definitely ask your Consulate. Good luck and please let us know what the Consulate tells you.

          • Hector M says:

            Thank you Diane, I have contacted a lawyer in Rome, I’m waiting for a reponse . I will be posting any new developments on my case . Thank you again

  8. Sara says:

    Just to clarify, my father was born in Italy but became a Canadian citizen before I was born. Would mean I do not qualify even though my grand parents remained Italian citizens?

    • Diane H. says:

      You are correct. There can be no breaks in citizenship. If, by becoming a Canadian citizen, your father gave up his Italian citizenship, then you would not qualify.

      • Peter says:

        My wife is in the same situation. Born in Italy but became a Canadian citizen in 1975. She did not formally renounce her Italian citizenship, but I guess lost it, unknowingly, through the operation of Italian law at the time. Would her loss of Italian citizenship this way be a ‘renunciation’ which disqualifies her and our children from now claiming Italian citizenship.


  9. Mark says:

    Hello Diane. Can you please help to see if I would qualify? My maternal great-grandfather was born in Italy between 1863-1865, immigrated to US in the mid-1880′s, married a US citizen in late-1880′s, had my grandfather who was born in the US in 1898 or 1899. My great-grandfather might have naturalized in 1901-1903, after my grandfather was born. My mother was born in the US in 1942. Do you think I would I qualify under category #5? Drum roll, please…

    • Diane H. says:

      Hi Mark. Unfortunately, since your great-grandfather naturalized before 1912, it seems like the 1912 Rule will apply (see #2 under the Disqualifiers). The rules may not be fair, but they were the law at the time they were established. Some people challenge these rules but I don’t know how successful they have been. Just remember, not qualifying for whatever reason doesn’t make us any less Italian.

      • Mark says:

        Hi Diane. Thank you so much for responding to my email. Yes, I realize that the disqualifiers don’t make me any less Italian, but I sure would like to eventually get my Italian citizenship and passport, nonetheless. If I were to challenge the Rule 1912 in my case, how would you recommend I go about doing that, and to whom and where would I make that challenge? I’m in the US.

        • Diane H. says:

          Mark, sorry it took so long to respond–I did not see your question. To challenge any of the rules, you would need to hire a dual citizenship attorney, some of whom practice in the major US cities.

  10. Shauna says:

    I have collected all my Italian doc’s but haven’t collected my US doc’s yet. Let me run my scenario past you and see how or if I should proceed. My my maternal great-grandfather and grandmother were born and married in Italy. They immigrated to the US in 1904 but never became US citizens. My maternal grandfather was born in the US in 1907. My mother was born in the US in 1939. I was born in the US in 1960. From what I understand,
    1. My Italian great grandparents never became US citizens and so my grandfather when he was born inherited Italian citizenship.
    2. My mother was born in 1939 and inherited citizenship through her father.
    3. Since I was born in 1960 I can inherit through my mother.

    Am I correct?

    • Diane says:

      Yes. You will have to prove that your GGF never naturalized. “No records” letters from USCIS and/or NARA and census records are usually accepted by most Consulates.

      • Shauna says:

        Thank you! I do have the letters from USCIS and NARA. Do I have to apply from my home state California. I have been living and working in Saudi Arabia for the past 10 years, can I apply from there? If I bought a house in Italy and established residency there would it be easier?

        Thank you again,

        • Diane says:

          Prego, Shauna. You must file where you have permanent residency. You will be asked to show proof of residence, such as your driver’s license and utility bills bills that have been mailed to your home. If Saudi Arabia is your permanent residence but you are not a citizen, you will be asked to show proof that you are in that country legally–such as proof of employment or a visa. The same goes for Italy, if you were to establish residency there. If you are nearly ready with all your documents and your permanent residence is in Saudi Arabia, file there. Buona fortuna!

  11. Lisa says:

    Both my grandmother and grandfather were born in Italy(maternal)My grandfather came to America in 1923 and applied for his SS# in 1937. My mother was born in 1932 in the US and I was born in the US in 1966. Would I fall under catagory #4?

    Thank you so much.

    • Diane says:

      It depends on when your grandfather naturalized. While he applied for his SS # in 1937, he may have been naturalized before 1932. If he was naturalized after your mother was born, then, yes, you would qualify under #4.

  12. Rob W. says:

    Hello…really great site with great information.

    OK…my mother, like many Italian women, married an American GI after WWII. She is from Cormons in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. My sister qualifies for dual citizenship as she was born in 1954 and my mother obtained her American citizenship after that date. I however was born in 1967 so don’t qualify due to being born after she obtained her citizenship here in the states. Disappointing because I think that would be awesome. I had read that possibly my father would have been considered an Italian citizen through marriage and there could be a small chance I could obtain dual citizenship on his behalf?? Sounds like a longshot…maybe not even a valid path. Have you ever heard of anything like that?

    Rob W

  13. Jean Christensen says:

    My italian grandparents immigrated to the US between 1902 and 1905. They both were born in italy around 1885. My father was born in 1912 in Dawson NM and I was born in 1947. My dad briefly served in the military during WWll prior to my birth. Will his military service affect my claiming italan dual citizenship since I was born after his service?

    • Diane says:

      His military service will have no bearing on your eligibility.

      • Andrea says:

        Diane – I’ve read in a couple of different places that service in a foreign army (e.g. in the US Army) is an automatic renunciation of citizenship. However, your comment above from 2013 indicates it’s not. Could you confirm? My situation is that my Great-grandfather was born in Italy in 1867 and came to US in 1899 but never naturalized. My grandfather was born in the US in 1905 and served in the US Army in 1942. My mother was born in 1949, and I was born in 1972. From other things I’ve read, since my GF served in the US Army and allegedly automatically lost his Italian citizenship at that time–and prior to my mother’s birth–I cannot claim my Italian citizenship through him….is that correct, or does the US military service not matter? Any clarifying information would be appreciated. Thanks.

        • Andrea says:

          Or am I completely reading things incorrectly and I’m still OK because my GREAT-grandfather never served in the US military, i.e. as the one born in Italy, he’s the one who would have lost citizenship by serving, but my grandfather–having been born here and a US citizen–didn’t affect the eligibility of any of his descendants by serving?

          • Diane H. says:

            As I understand it, the law about losing citizenship only applies to Italian-born citizens who serve in foreign armies, so you are still OK. You can double-check with your Italian Consulate.

  14. Pat Nesland says:

    Both of my grandparents were born in Jelsi/Compabasso, Italy in 1878 and came to the US in 1902 and 1905. My mother Maria Carolina was born in the US in 1906 and my grandfather naturalized around 1930. I have no proof that my grandmother ever naturalized. I was born in the US in 1943. will I qualify for Italian citizenship?

    • Diane says:

      Unfortunately, I think the 1948 rule may apply in your case. It states any child born before Jan. 1, 1948 can only inherit Italian citizenship through her father. If your father was Italian, you could go through his line.

  15. Kerri Simmons says:

    First, thank you for taking the time to assist me; it is greatly appreciated. If my maternal and paternal great granparents were all born and raised in Rionero and Maddaloni, (my grandparents and parents born in USA)does that qualify me and my mother or just my mother for Italian citizenship?

    Thank you for your time,

    • Diane says:

      Whether or not you qualify will depend on many factors. Start with locating your great-grandparents naturalization records if they exist. You will also have to know whether the 1912 or 1948 rules apply to your grandparents/parents. The more generations you have to trace back to Italy, the more complicated it becomes. But while it may be complicated, it is by no means impossible. Luckily, you have both maternal and paternal sides through which to qualify. If the paternal side does not work out, try going through the maternal side. Good luck.

  16. Don Martinelli says:

    My father was born in Lucca, Italy. His mother, my grandmother, was an Italian American who went to Italy and married an Italian. The family emigrated to the United States when my father was 3 years old (around 1923). His father, my grandfather, intended to become naturalized but died before he became a citizen. My grandmother said that she lost her American citizenship when she married an Italian, but I’m not sure if she had to be naturalized or if my father was naturalized. Do you think I may qualify?

    • Diane says:

      If your father was born in Italy and never naturalized, you will likely qualify. Just carefully go through the information in this article and the website of the Italian Consulate in your area and start collecting your documents from Italy. The ItalianSide community has templates in Italian for requesting those documents.

      It’s crazy, but many women, like your grandmother and mine, were told they would lose their American citizenship by marrying Italian citizens. Some had to “naturalize” to maintain their American citizenship status. It will have no bearing on your application for citizenship.

  17. RWalker says:

    my Great Great grandfather, Celestino, was born 1864 in Rosazza, he moved to Australia and naturalized in 1904, (2 years after the birth of my great grand-mother, Hellinor), do i qualify for citizenship or would i fall under both the 1912 and 1948 exceptions. :(

    • Diane H. says:

      Yes, unfortunately, it seems that both rules affect you. However, there is always the naturalization process if you can find a way to live in Italy legally for 10 years (3 years for descendants of Italian citizen grandparents).

  18. John J Sparacio Jr. says:

    My Great,Grt,Grt grandmother was born 1846 in Belmonte Mezzagno.Sense she was born before 1861 and her son my great,grt grandfather Guiseppi Sparacio born 1888 Belmonte.And my grandfather was born 1914 in USA.So am I eligible to be a Dual citizen?

    • Diane H. says:

      You must find out if your great-grandfather naturalized and if he did, was it before or after your grandfather was born. Also, if he naturalized before July 1, 1912, you would not qualify.

  19. Pascual Alberto Ruggiero says:

    Mi Padre naciò en Italia,SERINO-AVELINO.Muriò en Argentina y nunca cambiò su Nacionalidad.Yo resido en Mina Clavero Cba.Arg.y deseo obtener la Ciudadanìa Italiana, toda vez que siempre me sentì màs Italiano que Argentino.Como debo hacer ??

  20. Steve N. says:

    I was going to apply for Category 4.
    How do you prove that your paternal grandfather from Italy did not renounce his Italian citizenship at time of your mothers birth?? Mothers birth is on US. Also if my paternal grandfather served in WWI – he would have had to be a naturalized citizen with an oath taken to US but not in front of an Italian consulate.
    I have his birth certificate but not sure about above point??

    • Diane H. says:

      Steve, your mother would have had to been born before your grandfather naturalized. I imagine that to serve in the military, he had to have naturalized before signing up. At the time of naturalization, Italian citizenship was given up, so you will qualify only if your mother was born before before that date. You will need her birth certificate and your grandfather’s naturalization papers to be sure. If she never renounced her Italian citizenship and you were born after 1948, you should qualify. However, if your grandfather naturalized before July 1, 1912, he could not transfer citizenship to his children, regardless of when they were born.

  21. Nik says:

    I have just begun the process of applying by getting all my documents together. I spoke with an employee of the Italian consulate in my state and they told me that I am eligible, however, since my family came to the USA and changed their name without going through the proper channels, I need to prove that they are the same people. She told me that first names are no big deal, but if the last name is changed it could be a problem. I am writing my letter to the commune in Termini Imerese now to obtain his birth certificate, but I am trying to think of ways I can prove that the person on the birth certificate is the same person on the other US documents even though the last name is different. I am thinking if he is the only person with that name born that day then it would be proof enough, but I have no idea. Any thoughts on the issue??

    • Diane H. says:

      Nik, try to track down when the change occurred. Many people made official name changes when they naturalized and if your ancestor changed his/her name at that time, the document would be with the naturalization records. Before contacting the Comune, it would be best to collect all pertinent documents so you know how many discrepancies you are dealing with; you may also have birth date discrepancies and perhaps one statement from the Comune may be able to address those as well. Some people take a legal route and get the courts (US in your case) to declare a person “one and the same” . If it is a minor discrepancy, like and “e” changing to an “i”, perhaps you can just get the records amended to match the birth certificate. Some death certificates (NYC, for example) have a line that says “Other Names by which the Decedent was Known” and if you have the documentation to back it up, you can add the other name to the death certificate.

  22. Jo Tedesco says:

    I was born in Italy in 1952 and then came to Australia in 1955. My parents took out Australian citzenship in 1958 … I was included in the naturalisation process. I was told that I was not eligible for dual nationality unless I went to live in Italy and applied there after getting residence. Do you think I could get dual nationality?

  23. christofaro montalti says:

    i was born in licodia eubea in 16 .05.1949 my parentes giusseppe e gaetana montalti came to australia in 1956. i have australian citizen ship but would love to obtain italian citiship could you please help me thankyou

    • Diane H. says:

      You probably already have dual citizenship since you were born in Italy. You should write to the Stato Civile there and ask for a copy of your birth certificate. Then you need to contact the Italian Consulate where you live to see what steps to take.

  24. Andrew Miranda says:

    I believe I may be qualified for dual citizenship.
    My paternal grandfather Guiseppe(Joseph)Miranda was born in Italy(1890)
    (He arrived in this country in 1899).
    His father had been working in the United States (1885)
    Great Grandpa Arcangelo did not live long enough to apply for US citizenship.
    (Arcangelo returned to the US in 1897.)
    Arcangelo passed away in 1912 in New Haven, CT at the age of 55.
    I have the documentation for Great Grandpa Arcangelo Miranda and for
    Grandpa Joseph Miranda.
    This is like a jigsaw puzzle.
    Is there any assistance available to sort this out?
    Thank you for any assistance that you can provide to me in this matter.
    Andrew Miranda

    • Diane H. says:

      Andrew, yes, it is like a jigsaw puzzle and can be very confusing. I believe that if your GF was born in Italy, you should not have to be concerned with your GGF’s records. Now you have to find out whether or not your GF naturalized, and if so, was it before or after your father’s birth.

  25. Dominic Magliocco says:

    Ok. My nonno was born in Ireland but the family went back to Casalattico when he was still a baby. To the best of my knowledge he was registered with the comune on their return. He later returned to Belfast but never renounced his Italian citizenship as he had already dual nationality. How do you think I stand on the matter :)

    • Diane H. says:

      I would surmise that if his birth certificate is on file at the Stato Civile in Casalattico, then he is an Italian citizen and, provided that you meet the other criteria of the Italian Consulate, you should qualify. You should write to the Stato Civile in Casalattico and request a copy of the birth certificate. ItalianSide Community has templates for letters in Italian that you can adapt for your use. Buona fortuna!

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