Do You Qualify for Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis?

So You Want to be an Italiano
March 5, 2013
ItalianSide: An Invitation to (Re)discover Our Roots
March 9, 2013

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


  1. Carol S. S. says:

    These comments are very helpful. I am just starting, but here are my questions, and then the list of my collected documents.

    Question # 1. I have sent for my parents birth and marriage certificates from the town where they were born and married. All are in New York State, where I am told by the Town Clerks, that I can only receive ‘geneological copies,’ because in NYS, no ‘public’/ official documents are permitted to be issued unless for anyone but the person, him or herself.

    Will these copies be allowed by the Italian Consulate in NY, when I go to have all my papers checked?

    Question # 2. My maternal grandmother has a Ceritificate of Citizenship, whereas both of my grandfathers had Naturalization certificates. Does this make a difference?

    Question # 3. There are discrepancies in the spelling of different names, and the translations of the names over the years. How do I resolve these for the Consulate? Here is an example.

    Question # 4. I have NO naturalization papers for Grandmother # 2. How do I prove that she was not naturalized, or find out if she was. Do I have to do this?

    Granfather # 2:
    He is Meo on his Comune birth record; di Meo on his Italian passport; DeMeo on his naturalization and American passport.

    Here are my documents so far. Please offer any comments that might help me move forward.

    Thank you! This will be invaluable.

    Carol S.S.

    If I go through my father’s family:

    My Father’s Father: Grandfather # 1
    Born in Italy in 1879. Have birth certificate from Comune.
    Married Grandmother # 1 in 1900. Have original marriage certificate.
    Traveled to USA 1901. Have Italian Passport; came w/o his wife
    My father born 1912 – have sent to NYS for birth certificate
    Naturalized 1915. Have original (although it is in 6 pieces)
    Traveled to Italy on US Passport in 1928, Have US Passport
    Died 1944. Have original death certificate

    My Father’s Mother: Grandmother # 1
    Born in Italy in 1881. Have birth certificate from Comune
    Married to Grandfather # 1 see above
    Her name and picture are in his US Passport in 1928, with no indication that she traveled with him, or that she was a citizen
    Died in NYS town, in 1941: have only bill from funeral home.

    ***How do I prove that Grandmother # 1 was never naturalized? Do I need to?

    If I go through my mother’s family:

    My mother’s father: Grandfather # 2
    Born in Italy 1885 – have birth record from Comune
    Married Grandmother # 2 in 1913 – have record from Comune
    My mother born 1914 – have written to NYS to get birth certificate
    Naturalized 1923
    Have Italian Passport 1913, and US Passport 1951
    Died in NYS 1959 – have death certificate

    My mother’s mother : Grandmother # 2
    Born in Italy 1891 – have original original birth certificate and doc. from Comune
    Married Grandfather # 2 in 1913
    My mother born in 1914
    Certificate of Citizenship in USA 1939
    Died 1979 – have original NYS death certificate

  2. frank says:

    My paternal grandparents emigrated from Sicily to the US in 1919. My grandfather became a citizen in 1925 but my father was born in 1928, so that seems to stop the lineage. However, my grandmother never became a citizen and in fact returned to Italy several times before finally settling in Philadelphia. I was born in 1948, so would I be able to make a claim through my grandmother’s lineage?

  3. Julie C. says:

    Hi, thank you so much for this useful information. Is it correct to assume that the Italian citizen if not a parent must be a man? I am still trying to collect the naturalization records on my other relatives, but am wondering which option I most likely qualify under:

    1) For example, would I not qualify through my father’s mother’s (b. US 1928) mother (b. Italy, naturalized in 1941) because it’s through the lineage of a woman?

    2) My father’s father’s (b. US 1925) father (b. Italy, naturalization date unknown), if I find out he naturalized after 1925. (Request for naturalization record pending.)

    3) My mother’s father’s father’s (b. US 1902) father (b. Italy 1843, died 1911), my great-great grandfather, assuming he did not naturalize before his death. Disqualified under #1? Would he not have become an Italian citizen in 1861?

    Thank you so so much for any info you can provide!

  4. mary says:

    my husbands great grand father and great grand mother were born and died in Isola del Liri near Sora in mid to late 1800s is my husband entitled to apply for an italian passport, if so what is the procedurem thank you for any info please, he is an irish citizen

  5. Mike says:

    My mother (who has since passed away) was not Italian born and lived in South Africa, was married to an Italian man (not my blood father). She was granted an Italian Passport, do I qualify through her for an Italian passport

  6. Jackie says:

    My great-grandfather and great-grandmother were born in Italy and moved to the USA in 1912 from Italy. He served in the US military during WW1, which I heard then renounces his Italian citizenship? Is this true?

    My grandfather was born in the USA in 1926. His daughter (my mother) was born in 1954 and I was born in 1974.

    I was hoping to apply for dual citizenship for me and my children through the above blood line but think I may not be qualified because my great-grandfather served in WW1, which is before my grandfather was born. And I can’t go through my great-grandmother since my grandfather was born before 1948. If I am disqualified because of these two factors, have you heard of exceptions?

    Also where can I reliably find out the date my grandfather may have renounced his Italian citizenship (e.g. became a US citizen)?

    Thank you in advance!

  7. Bob says:

    Diane – I am still confused (no surprise there). According to your replies, I seem to qualify as an Italian citizen, but have been told by the Detroit consulate that I do not. Simple set of facts. I was born in October 1948 in Italy. Mom was an Italian citizen, dad was a US citizen. Ergo I was a dual citizen. I came to the US with my mother in 1949, traveling on a US passport. Mom became naturalized in 1955. Per the consulate, since I was a minor at the time, by becoming a US citizen, mom also renounced my Italian citizenship. Is that true? Can I submit any form to state that I did not want her to renounce my Italian citizenship?

    • Diane H. says:

      Bob, the laws are very confusing and I am not an expert in the field. If the Consulate told you you did not qualify for citizenship through jure sanguinis, then that must be correct. However, since you were born in Italy, maybe there is a way you can have your citizenship reinstated through jure solis. You can check out the website and look for the section on citizenship for possible solutions. Buona fortuna.

      • Carlos says:

        There is no jure solis in Italy. Italian citizenship is only passed on based on the jure sanguinis principal; therefore, there can be no claim for Italian citizenship based solely on the fact of being born in Italian territory when the citizenship of the parents is known. Unfortunately, Italian law regarding citizenship worked against you during the dates of your mother’s naturalization. Minors and non-emancipated children used to lose their Italian citizenship when their last Italian parent naturalized. Had you been born in US soil (while mother italian and father american) you would be eligible for italian citizenship because italian law protected holders of Italian and another jure solis citizenship from losing their italian citizenship upon their parents’ naturalization. Yes, it is very ironic that children born in italian soil were not protected but children born in foreign-soil were (at least those born in countries based on jure solis).

  8. Angela says:

    My father was born in Italy and my mother was born in the US. None of my grandparents or great grandparents came to the US, only my father. He was naturalized in 1971 and I was born in 1977. Am I eligible through my grand parents or great grand parents for citizenship?
    Thank you!

    • frank says:

      if your parents were married before your father became a us citizen
      that would make your mother an italian citizen you should be able to
      file for that way good luck.

  9. Audra says:

    Hi Diane,

    I just wanted to point out a flaw in your information above. You said that an Italian born ancestor needs to be born after March 17, 1861 to be considered Italian.

    This is not true.

    The last Italian-born ancestor needs to have PASSED AWAY after that date. When Vittorio Emanuele was crowned king of Italy, all of the previous “subjects” of the land we now call Italy became de facto Italian citizens. Thus, a person’s Italian born ancestor could have been born at any time, but must have DIED an Italian citizen.

    • Diane H. says:

      Hi Audra,
      You bring up a very interesting point. True, the people living in the separate territories were politically united in 1861 and became regnicoli or sudditi italiani (Italian subjects) of Italy. While they died as Italian subjects/citizens and their children, born after 1861, were automatically deemed citizens of Italy, the country’s new citizenship laws were applied to those born after the country’s creation in 1861 and that is why I worded it that way.

  10. Gianmarco says:

    Good day. I’m Gianmarco and I’m 21 years of age. I’m currently residing in Rome for about 3 years now. I was wondering if it’s still possible for me to get an Italian citizen since I was born in Monte Mario, Roma but my residency was removed when I was moved by my parents to the Philippines when I was a kid. I have completed my italian documents to show if needed. If it still possible to get the citizenship, what are the requirements I need and for how many years of residency do I need to gain the citizenship? Thank you.

    • Diane H. says:

      Gianmarco, If just your residency was changed and you did not become a citizen of the Philippines, then you should still be a citizen. If you did naturalize in the Philippines, then
      according the the Farnesina website (Ministero degli Affare Esteri) you should be able to naturalized since you have been living in Rome for three years. Under the naturalization category it says:

      “3 years for descendents of former Italian citizens up to the second degree and for foreigners born on Italian soil”

  11. Paola says:

    I was born in Usa on 1942.
    Mr mother was born in Italy but born in 1903, came to the usa with her parents in about 09,

    She became a citizen of us in 1976..on her own..

    Neither of her parents became citizens ever. They were both alive when I was born.

    My father was born in italy but became a citizen before I was born. and before he was married to my mother. I don’t believe either of his parents became citizens.

    Might I not be eligible due to my maternal grandmother.??

    • Diane H. says:

      Paola, Because your father naturalized before you were born, you cannot go through your paternal line. And, unfortunately, because you were born before 1948, you cannot apply through your mother’s line. See #3 above.

  12. John says:

    If I have my Mother’s Italian Passport in my possession (she passed away many years ago), can I acquire my Italian Passport without sourcing my Grandfather’s birth certificate.

    He was born in Sicily in 1895, but the Comune there cannot locate it. He did not naturalise and I have proof thereof. That is how my Mom obtained her Italian Citizenship.

    My Mother was born in South Africa and I was born when she was a South African citizen. She acquired her Italian Passport through her Father, my Grandfather in 1989.

    My Grandmother, also born in Sicily naturalised.

    I was born after 1948.

    Could anyone throw any light as to whether I will be able to acquire my Italian Citizenship through my Mother who was an Italian citizen and I have her Passport.

    I have been informed I need to source my Grandfathre’s birth certificate, but my Mother obtained her citizenship without her Dad’s birth certificate (she simply had proof he did not naturalise).

    If not, do I go to a Parish, or where can I source my Grandfather’s birth certificate.

    Thanks for any assistance.

    • Diane H. says:

      John, your mother’s passport may be sufficient, but possibly only if she was born after 1948. If she were born before 1948, then she could not pass on her citizenship status. (See #3 above) If the 1948 rule does not affect you, you should call your local Italian Consulate to see if her passport is sufficient and what other documents they might require.

      • Audra says:

        Diane, with all due respect I have to tell you that you gave the wrong information and I fear that you may have scared John out of applying! 😉

        Whether or not John’s mother was born before 1948 is completely irrelevant because she obtained *her* citizenship from her Italian born *father.*

        The 1948 rule applies when a woman passes along citizenship to her child, not a man. Since John was born after January 1, 1948, he is completely eligible.

  13. Anna says:

    Hi, this is very helpful, thank you. I would really appreciate a little extra info – if my grandfather was born in Italy in 1881 and was an Italian citizen and he and his non-italian girlfriend had my mother in another country in 1934. He was not naturalised until after my mother was born. Her birth certificate says Italian even if she was not born there but she has never been to Italy and never applied for a passport from any country. We’re assuming they weren’t married because we can’t find any certificate of marriage. Will my mother’s illegitimacy – even though on her birth certificate it says she’s legitimate – be an issue in her receiving Italian citizenship?

    • Diane H. says:

      Anna, I believe that if your grandfather was listed on your mother’s birth certificate, it should not be a problem.

  14. Dom says:

    The more research I do, the more confused I become. Here are the facts:

    My father was born in Italy in 1950 to Italian parents.

    1955- they move to US.

    1967- My grandfather naturalizes.

    1973- My grandmother naturalizes.

    1980- I am born.

    1997- My father naturalized.

    Here’s the issue- I have read according to Italian law, if you were born in Italy and your father naturalized while you were a minor, you also lose your italian citizenship. However, the US government did not confer citizenship to my father until 1997 (in the 60’s and 70’s, both parents had to become US citizens for their parents to pass it onto their kids. My father was older than 21 when my grandmother naturalized so it didn’t “pass” to him.).

    I will be applying in the NY consulate.

    Has anyone heard of a similar case and what was the outcome?

    • Diane H. says:

      Dom, you may be referring to the 1912 Rule, but that would not apply to your situation. As long as your father naturalized after you were born, you should be good to go.

    • Audra says:


      Based on the information you have given, you are 100% eligible. As Diane says you are confusing the information with the 1912 rule which does not apply here.

      Go forth and get thine Italian passport, young man! 😛

  15. Tim G says:

    My grandparents and father were born in Italy, as were my great and great-great paternal grandparents. My grandparents were born in 1874 and 1875 and my father in 1906. All 3 were together in the U.S. by 1909. My father married my non Italian mother in 1934 and became naturalized in 1937. My grandfather was naturalized in 1944 but my grandmother was never naturalized. I was born in the US in 1950.
    my father died in 1993, mother in 2012, grandmother in 1958 and grandfather in 1967. Would I qualify for Italian citizenship under these circumstances/

    • Maria says:

      no because your father was naturalized before you were born making him (and you) a US citizen

    • Carlos says:

      Base on Italian law, foreign women contracting marriage with Italian men before 27 April 1983 automatically became Italian citizens. If you mother is an italian citizen, then she could pass it on to you. Now, because italian law also indicates that a wife follows the citizenship of her husband, it is possible that your mother ‘lost’ her italian citizenship before you were born in 1937, when you father naturalized. It may be argued, however, that this may not be entirely a fact following the creation of the italian republic (and its Constitution, which changed a few things regarding nationality) in 1948 because “An Italian woman’s [] husband’s loss of Italian citizenship, has not caused the woman’s Italian citizenship to change if the [] husband’s naturalization came on or after 1 January 1948. If the same event were prior to 1 January 1948, the Italian consulates and municipalities may not deem her citizenship uninterrupted. In the latter case, the possibility remains that the matter of her continued holding of Italian citizenship will be confirmed in court.” So, you may be entitled to Italian citizenship by your mother’s line if she is confirmed in italian court that the loss of your father’s italian citizenship did not affect her own acquired italian citizenship.

  16. John says:

    Do I have an Issue…

    My Great Grandfather came to the USA from Italy in 1915 (Never Naturalized). My Grandfather was born in 1922. My mom in 1947 me in 1969…

    Can I use My Mom – Grandfather – Great Grandfather…. The 1948 rule doesnt apply right since its the father right?

    • Diane says:

      I would check directly with the Consulate, but I think the 1948 rule would still apply.

      • Alf says:

        John, you are correct, because you were born in 1969 the 1948 rule does not apply. It doesn’t matter when your mother was born as long as she inherited Italian citizenship from her father.

  17. Sam says:

    My grandfather was an Italian immigrant and wasn’t naturalized until after my dads birth in 1939. My parents weren’t married at the time of my birth, but got married a year later and stayed married until my dad passed away. Do I still qualify?

  18. Joe M says:

    I’m going through this process right now, thanks for posting! Could you help clarify if I would be eligible?

    My mom’s dad (maternal grandfather) and my mom’s mom (maternal grandmother) were born in Italy in 1923 and 1930, respectively.

    My maternal grandfather immigrated from Italy and became an American citizen 1 month before my mother’s birth in 1958. On the other hand, my maternal grandmother became a US citizen in 1961, 3 years after my mother’s birth. I was born in the US in 1994.

    Does this make me eligible for citizenship? If so, which lineage should I follow?

    I appreciate your help!

    • Al F says:

      It looks to me like you would qualify via your maternal grandmother since your mother was born after 1948. It may be worthwhile to talk to somebody about it before you go around collecting everything though. It is a strange case where a married couple naturalized at different times. But if the date on your grandmother’s naturalization record is 3 years after your mom’s birth, I see no reason why that wouldn’t work.

      • Anna says:


        I am in the same situation. I have read that I need to first prove that my mother is an Italian citizen. Does this mean she would have to fill out applications as well and go to the interview, or only that I need to prove that she has Italian citizenship as she was born to an Italian mother and never renounced citizenship? So, in short, can I gather all documents up the lineage and apply myself and they will see that my mother has Italian citizenship based on the docs?

        Any clarification you could give me would be much appreciated!


        • Diane says:

          Anna, if your grandmother was born after 1948, she could pass on her Italian citizenship to your mother. If she was born before 1948, she could not pass her citizenship status to her children.

          Your mother would not have to fill out any applications or attend the interview if she is not applying for recognition.

          • Alf says:

            Diane, you’re a bit confused about a woman’s ability to pass on citizenship. It doesn’t matter when the woman was born, as long as her father was an Italian citizen when she was born. What matters is when that woman’s CHILDREN were born. If after January 1, 1948, they are Italian. If before that date, they are not.

  19. Paul M says:

    My father was born in Italy in 1953. His family then moved to Australia in 1956, where his parents (my grand parents) acquired Australian citizenship and also Australian citizenship for all of the children (my father was a minor). I was born in Australia in 1981, my father was Australian citizen, however, he was made an Australian citizen when he was a minor and had no say in matter as he was only about 3 years old. Can he regain his Italian citizenship? Can I can Italian citizenship through him given that he has never renounced his Italian citizenship?

    • Diane H. says:

      Paul, as I understand the Italian law, your father would have retained his Italian citizenship. As long as his parents naturalized between July 1912 and August 1992 (which they did) and he was already born (he was), then he would have managed to keep his rights to Italian citizenship. However, I would encourage you to check directly with your Italian Consulate to be sure.

  20. Giana says:

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve found that I am qualified, however I have one important question. The way I would qualify would be via my paternal great-grandfather. He was born in Italy, came to the US but was never naturalized. His wife, however, was born in the US. I’m not sure what that makes my grandfather, their son – if he is automatically a US citizen at birth because of his mother (my great-grandmother) or if that even matters because his father (my great-grandfather) was still an Italian citizen at the time? Please let me know if my Great-grandmother’s citizenship will affect my chances, thank you!

    Oh! Also, will it matter that my grandfather never became a US citizen? Pretty sure he lived here without ever naturalizing, I don’t know if that made him an “illegal” or what, but that’s what he did.

    Thanks again 🙂

    • Giana says:

      Sorrry, I mean for that last question, will it matter that my *Great-grandfather* never became a US citizen? Thank you!

    • Alf says:

      What matters is whether your grandfather was born while your great-grandfather was still an Italian citizen. If so, your grandfather was an Italian citizen. Then, your parent became an Italian citizen, as did you if it’s your father that’s Italian, or your mother IF you were born after January 1, 1948. To see whether your great-grandfather naturalized, you can look at old census returns. They often indicate whether a person is naturalized or an alien.

  21. Maria Lorena Ramirez says:

    I would like to inquire if i am qualified to claim my italian citizenship. I was born in Naples Italy on May 27 1981. My father was from US navy and my mom was working as domestic helper at that. When i was 1 year 6 months, my mom decided to send me here in the Philippines. I was reregistered here 1985 and used my grandparents last name. I am just wondering if i am qualified for an italian citizenship.

    • Diane says:

      Maria, if your mother was an Italian citizen, then I think you would qualify. Unfortunately, being born in Italy to foreign residents will not qualify you for citizenship.

  22. Francesca says:

    Can you please tell me if I qualify? My father’s mother’s father (my great-grandfather) was born in Italy, and was naturalized AFTER my grandmother was born. My grandmother then had my father AFTER 1948. I still need to find all of the paperwork, some from Italy. Can you please let me know if this works for me to claim Italian citizenship?

  23. TIna says:

    Good Morning,

    My Grandfather and all his family were born in Italy, he came to Canada with his family in the early part of the 20th century and they settled in Ontario.
    I am sure that he didn’t renounce his citizenship. My mother and I were both born in Canada, do I qualify for an Italian citizenship?

  24. Mark says:

    Hello, After looking into attaining Italian citizenship and gathering most of the documents, I find that I am unsure what category I actually fall into. I’m like half of category #1 and half of category #3. So my Father was born in Italy, as was the rest of his whole family, but was naturalized before my birth. So my situation satisfies the my Father being born in Italy part but not the Italian citizenship at my birth part. And if I look at category #3, my grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of my Father’s birth but it was in Italy, so it doesn’t satisfy that category. Does all this somehow disqualify me from obtaining Italian citizenship? I have like all the documentation one could possibly need, even my Father’s first communion certificate! If anyone has any useful information about this I would be most grateful. Thanks.

    • Karl says:

      Please did you find out anything on your situation ?mine is exactly the same as yours .

      • Maria says:

        I also am in the same situation… Any infos would be appreciated.

        • Diane says:

          Mark, Karl and Maria,

          As I understand the rules, your father’s naturalization before your birth would disqualify you. If your mother is Italian, perhaps you can still qualify through her line.

  25. Cecilia says:


    I’m wondering if someone might know the answer to my question: I qualify through my paternal side for dual Italian citizenship. BUT, my grandmother (italian) got married before she was with my grandfather when she was 15. I Don’t think my grandparents ever married. I saw that they applied for a marriage license, but the certificate was never returned by the US priest. It is possible that my grandmother annulled her previous marriage or couldn’t do anything and therefore could not legally marry my grandfather even though they lived as man and wife. Do you think this will be an issue with the consulate in NYC? I appreciate your thoughts.–Cecilia.

  26. Talisa says:

    Hello, I was hoping you could shed some like on my situation.
    My grandfather was born in Italy and has never renounced his Italian citizenship. He had my father to an Australian woman and they were married in Australia. My mother and father had me when they weren’t married. My grandfather still has never been naturalised or ever given up his Italian citizenship. Do I qualify?

    • Talisa says:

      I should also add that my father has never done anything to do with trying to acquire Italian citizenship as he has no interest in going to Italy. although I have read that he would have automatically become an Italian citizen having being born to an Italian father.

      • Diane says:

        Talisa, your father need not pursue his Italian citizenship for you to be recognized. And as long as your father’s name is on your birth certificate, and his father’s name is on his, you should have no problem. This assumes that you meet all the other qualifications. Good luck.

  27. Antonio says:

    My Nonna born in 1920, Italy moved to Australia in 1954, was naturalized in 1973, my father was born in 1961. In this case does citizenship pass from my Nonna –> Father –> Myself?

    • Alf says:

      Yes, because your father was born after 1948 to a woman who was an Italian citizen when he was born, he became an Italian citizen. He passed that status on to you.

  28. 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?

    • Diane says:

      Hi Geraldine,

      I would have to see exactly which law you are referring to, but I suspect you may be reading about a law that does not concern those acquiring citizenship through jure sanguinis. If you search Italian Citizenship- Ministero degli Affari Esteri, their website lists different citizenship scenarios, but only the jure sanguinis rules would concern you. This, plus the information from your local Italian Consulate, should help guide you.

      As I see it, since your grandfather never naturalized, your mother was born after Jan. 1, 1948 and naturalized after you were born, and no one ever renounced their Italian citizenship, you should qualify. Buona fortuna.


      • Geraldine says:

        Thanks Diane- so when someone naturalised ( in my case my mother becoming australian citizen) it doesn’t mean they renounced their Italian citizenship? I thought it did which is what confused me. So can my mother get Italian citizenship too via jure sanguini?

        • Diane says:

          I was only referring to your and your sisters’ eligibility. Since your mother naturalized after you were born, her naturalization would not affect you. Whether your mother can also apply would be a question for your Italian Consulate to answer.

  29. 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 .

    • Alf says:

      If your grandfather didn’t naturalize before your mother’s birth, and your mother didn’t naturalize before your births (which occurred after 1948), then you and your sisters are Italian citizens.

  30. 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.

      • Katie says:

        Thank you, at the time I wrote this I somehow got my dates mixed up. It wasn’t possible that my grandfather was born so late but along with this rule I can look at my grandmother’s father.

        • Katie says:

          Is naturalizing considered the same as renouncing citizenship? My great grandfather naturalized in 1927 and my grandmother was born in 1931. I’m fairly sure that his citizenship didn’t carry on but I just want to be certain. Thanks in advance.

          • Alf says:

            By naturalizing as a citizen of another country, a person lost his Italian citizenship. That’s what’s important: did the ancestor naturalize before or after his/her children were born.

  31. 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

    • Diane says:

      I believe that the only way your mother would have acquired citizenship through her marriage would be if they were married in Italy and/or lived in Italy after their marriage. If you search Italian Citizenship – Ministero degli Affair Esteri, it should bring you to the page with information you need under “Citizenship by Marriage to an Italian”.

      • Alf says:

        As I understand it, it is not necessary to marry or live in Italy for a spouse to acquire Italian citizenship. After the couple has been married for a certain period of time (I think it is 3 years), the spouse can apply for citizenship thru the consulate.

  32. 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).

  33. 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 😀 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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.


  36. 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.

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. 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

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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).

  45. 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.

  46. 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 ??

    • Diane H. says:

      Pascual, sono spiacente, ma non parlo espanol. Parlo un po’ italiano e penso che tu capirai.
      Non so tutte le cose che il Consolato Argentino richiederà per la cittadinanza, quindi io suggerisco che visiti il website del Consolato Generale d’Italia di Cordoba alla sezione di cittadinanza qui:
      Qui puoi trovare l’informazione. Se non trovi tutta l’informazione cui tu hai bisogno di, puoi inviare a loro una email con le tue domande. Buona Pasqua–è il tuo onomastico.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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?

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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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