Italian nationality law
is the law of Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...
governing the acquisition, transmission and loss of Italian citizenship. Like many continental European countries it is largely based on jus sanguinis
Ius sanguinis is a social policy by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having a parent who are citizens of the nation...
. It also incorporates many elements that are seen as favourable to the Italian diaspora
The term Italian diaspora refers to the large-scale migration of Italians away from Italy in the period roughly beginning with the unification of Italy in 1861 and ending with the Italian economic miracle in the 1960s...
. The Italian Parliament's most recent major update of Italian nationality law is Law no. 91 of 1992, which came into force on August 15, 1992. Presidential decrees and ministerial directives, including several issued by the Ministry of the Interior
This is a list of Italian Ministers of the Interior since 1861.-Kingdom of Italy:-Italian Republic:...
, instruct the civil service how to apply Italy's citizenship-related laws.
Acquisition of citizenship
Italian citizenship can be automatically acquired:
- By filiation
In law, paternity is the legal acknowledgment of the parental relationship between a man and a child usually based on several factors.At common law, a child born to the wife during a marriage is the husband's child under the "presumption of legitimacy", and the husband is assigned complete rights,...
(birth to an Italian parent); this is consistent with the principle of jus sanguinis.
- By birth on Italian territory to stateless parents or to unknown parents or to parents who cannot transmit their nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....
; this is partially consistent with the principle of jus soli
Jus soli , also known as birthright citizenship, is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state...
- With the acknowledgment or legitimation of an Italian mother or father.
Through special application:
- For those of Italian origin up to the second degree, the applicant must have served in the Italian military
The Italian armed forces are the military of Italy, they are under the command of the Italian Supreme Council of Defence, presided over by the President of the Italian Republic. The total number of active military personnel is 293,202...
or civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....
or have resided for two years in Italy after reaching the age of majority
The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as it is conceptualized in law. It is the chronological moment when minors cease to legally be considered children and assume control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of...
- If Italian-born, the applicant must have resided in Italy continuously from birth to adulthood.
- Foreign women who married an Italian citizen before April 27, 1983, were automatically granted Italian citizenship. (Foreign men who married Italian women were not granted this privilege.) Note that children born to Italian mothers before January 1, 1948, were not born Italian citizens unless they had an Italian father.
- After 2 years legal residence
Definitions of residence for tax purposes vary considerably from state to state. For individuals, physical presence in a state is an important factor. Some states also determine residency of an individual by reference to a variety of other factors, such as the ownership of a home or availability...
in Italy, or 3 years living abroad. This time will be reduced by half if the couple has children (natural or adopted). The spouse of an Italian citizen can apply for Italian citizenship through naturalization
Naturalization is the acquisition of citizenship and nationality by somebody who was not a citizen of that country at the time of birth....
- After 10 years of legal residence in Italy, in the absence of a criminal record, and with sufficient financial resources, a foreigner may naturalize as an Italian citizen. The residence requirement is reduced to three years for descendants of Italian citizens up to the second degree and for aliens born on Italian territory, four years for nationals of EU member states, five years for refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...
s or stateless persons, and seven years for the adoptee of an Italian national.
Special acquisition of citizenship through jure sanguinis
Citizens of other countries descended from an ancestor (parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc.) born in Italy may have a claim to Italian citizenship by descent.
One must apply through the Italian consulate that has jurisdiction over their place of residence. Each consulate has slightly different procedures, requirements, and waiting times. However, the legal criteria for jure sanguinis citizenship are the same.
Basic Criteria for Acquisition of Citizenship jus sanguinis:
- There were no Italian citizens prior to March 17, 1861, because Italy did not exist as a nation. Thus the oldest Italian ancestor in any jus sanguinis citizenship application must have been still alive on or after that date.
- Any child born to an Italian citizen-parent (or parent also with the right to Italian citizenship jus sanguinis) is ordinarily born an Italian citizen, with the following caveats:
- If the child was born before August 15, 1992, the Italian parent must not have naturalized as a citizen of another country before the child's birth.
- If the Italian parent naturalized as a citizen of another country on or after July 1, 1912, and prior to August 15, 1992, and if the child did not acquire the citizenship of that country automatically at birth, then the child must have reached legal adulthood (age 21 prior to March 10, 1975; age 18 thereafter) prior to the parent's naturalization.
- If the child's Italian father naturalized as a citizen of another country prior to July 1, 1912, the child must have reached legal adulthood (age 21) by the time the father naturalized.
- If the child had an Italian mother and a foreign father, the child must have been born on or after January 1, 1948.
- The child must not have renounced Italian citizenship. Most commonly, renunciation occurred if the child naturalized as the citizen of another country voluntarily, as an adult, and prior to August 15, 1992.
All conditions above must be met by every person in a direct lineage. There is no generational limit, except in respect to the March 17, 1861, date. Note that if the Italian parent naturalized as a citizen of another country independently, and prior to reaching legal Italian adulthood (age 21 prior to March 10, 1975, and age 18 otherwise), then often that parent retained Italian citizenship and could still pass citizenship on to children. Also, a single, qualifying Italian parent (father only before January 1, 1948) is sufficient to pass on citizenship, even if the other Italian parent naturalized or otherwise became unable to pass on citizenship. Sometimes that qualifying parent is the "foreign" mother, because foreign women who married Italian men prior to April 27, 1983, automatically became Italian citizens and, in many cases, retained that citizenship even if their Italian husbands later naturalized.
Common Sample Cases:
- Your father was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your mother was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, you were born on or after January 1, 1948, and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your father was born in a country other than Italy, your paternal grandfather was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, and neither you nor your father ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your mother was born in a country other than Italy, your maternal grandfather was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, you were born on or after January 1, 1948, and neither you nor your mother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
- Your paternal or maternal grandfather was born in a country other than Italy, your paternal great grandfather was officially recognized as an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, and neither you nor your father nor your grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
Please be aware that you may still be eligible even if your case cannot be found above. Please use the basic criteria above to follow your situation in detail in any case.
Basic Documents Required:
- Your application with sworn affidavit you never renounced your Italian citizenship.
- A photocopy of your current passport and proof of residency ID.
- Your Birth Certificate
A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the circumstances of the birth or to a certified copy of or representation of the ensuing registration of that birth...
, with apostille attached and translated into Italian.
- Your Parents' Marriage Certificate
In some jurisdictions a marriage certificate is the official record that two people have undertaken a marriage ceremony. This does include jurisdictions where marriage licenses do not exist...
with apostille attached and translated into Italian.
- Your Parents' Birth Certificates with apostilles attached and translated into Italian (if not from Italy).
- Your Grandparents' Birth Certificates with apostille attached and translated into Italian (if not from Italy).
- Continue this process back to the ancestor who emigrated from Italy.
- If you are claiming through a grandparent you will need your grandparents' marriage certificate(s) with apostille(s) attached and translated into Italian (if not from Italy) .
- For an Ancestor who emigrated to the US, you will need his/her naturalization records from USCIS that show that s/he did not become a US Citizen
Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution expressly gives the United States Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The Immigration and Naturalization Act sets forth the legal requirements for the acquisition of, and divestiture from, citizenship of...
before his/her child was born.
- If USCIS responds with "No Records Found" you will have to contact NARA
Nara can refer to:Geography* Nara, Attock, a village in Attock, Pakistan* Nara, Jhelum, a village in Jhelum, Pakistan* Nara, NWFP, Union Council of Abbottabad, Pakistan* Nara, Nara, capital city of Nara Prefecture, Japan...
for the information.
- If NARA responds with "No Records Found" you will have to contact the United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...
Department and ask for the census that took place before and after your Italian ancestor's child was born with the field report from the street they lived on.
- If the United States Census responds with "No Records Found" it will be assumed your Ancestor never became a US citizen and retained his/her Italian citizenship and passed it on to his/her child.
- If there were any divorces in the line between you and your Italian ancestor, you will have to obtain all divorce records with apostilles attached and translated into Italian. You will also need a "Certificate of Clerk - No Appeal."
- If any of the people mentioned above are deceased you will need their Death Certificates
The phrase death certificate can describe either a document issued by a medical practitioner certifying the deceased state of a person or popularly to a document issued by a person such as a registrar of vital statistics that declares the date, location and cause of a person's death as later...
with apostilles attached and translated into Italian (if not from Italy). NOTE: Some consulates only require death certificates for those born in Italy.
- All documents with errors must be corrected before being submitted. For example, if your Italian ancestor emigrated to the U.S. and took on an "Americanized" name (for example, Italian name: Giulia / American name: Julia), and the Americanized name was used on any previously mentioned certificates, the name will have to be corrected to match the name on their Italian Birth Certificate.
These "basic documents required" are not written by a Consular Citizenship Officer. Many of the guidelines above may not reflect the guidelines that your consulate may follow. Please check with your consulate directly before taking the information here as what every consulate expects and requires.
According to Italian law, multiple citizenship
Multiple citizenship is a status in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen under the laws of more than one state. Multiple citizenships exist because different countries use different, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, citizenship requirements...
is explicitly permitted under certain conditions if acquired on or after August 15, 1992. (Prior to that date it was tolerated, but not explicitly acknowledged, under certain conditions, including Italian citizens with jus solis
citizenship elsewhere.) Those who acquired another citizenship after that date but before January 23, 2001, have three months to inform their local records office or the Italian consulate in their country of residence. Failure to do so carries a fine. Those who acquired another citizenship on or after January 23, 2001 can send an auto-declaration of acquisition of a foreign citizenship by mail to the Italian consulate in their country of residence. On or after March 31, 2001, notification of any kind is no longer necessary.
- Luigi Paiano Law firm in Bologna, Italy, Italian citizenship attorneys
- Where to apply for a visa in your country, Ministero degli Affari Esteri
- Embassy of Italy, Washington D.C.
- Italian Citizenship Eligibility Jure Sanguinis Questionnaire
- Embassy of Italy, Ottawa, Canada
- Embassy of Italy, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Spanish and Italian)
- Embassy of Italy, Santiago de Chile
- Embassy of Italy, London, U.K.
- Embassy of Italy, Canberra, Australia
- Consulate General of Italy, Sydney, Australia
- Embassy of Italy, Caracas, Venezuela