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Can You Lose Your Citizenship Claim From Your Italian Ancestor?
There can be many reasons for how you can lose your citizenship and may not qualify for dual Italian citizenship because of your Italian ancestor. One reason is directly related to the citizenship laws in effect at the time your ancestor immigrated to the United States or another country. Other reasons could include:
Reason #1: U.S. Citizenship Naturalization
Your ancestor decided to go through the process of U.S. citizenship naturalization. This was common in the early 1900s and mid-1900s when many Italians immigrated to the U.S. Your ancestor could have given up their Italian citizenship through naturalization to become a citizen of the U.S. or another country. If they did, then you may no longer qualify for dual citizenship status.
Reason #2: Your Ancestor Was a Minor Born in Italy Before Immigrating
Another reason you may not qualify for dual Italian citizenship is if your ancestor was a minor born in Italy before immigrating to the U.S. The laws surrounding the naturalization of minors not born in the U.S. is rather complex. Yet, if they were naturalized when their parents were, then they may have given up their claim on Italian citizenship.
However, if your ancestor was born in the U.S. after their parent immigrated AND their parents were not yet naturalized, then your ancestor would qualify for dual citizenship status. As a result, you would also qualify for dual citizenship status.
Reason #3: Your Ancestor Was Female
Before January 1, 1948, any female ancestor born before this time could not transfer the right to dual citizenship status to her descendants. However, there are certain exceptions depending on the family lineage.
For instance, your grandmother was born in Italy. Her father was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth. Your mother was born after January 1, 1948. Both your mother and grandmother never naturalized and gave up their Italian citizenship. Since your grandmother descended from a male ancestor, then you could qualify for dual status through what is called jure sanguinis.
Reason #4: Your Ancestor Naturalized in a Different Country
It was not uncommon for Italian immigrants to immigrate to Canada or another country first, and then immigrate to the U.S. later. If your ancestor was naturalized in Canada, and then immigrated to the U.S. later, you may no longer be able to claim dual Italian citizenship status. It will largely depend on the laws in that country in effect at the time of their naturalization.
How Can I Regain My Right to Italian Citizenship?
In 1992, the Italian government passed a new law regarding dual Italian citizenship status. Part of this law allowed descendants the right to Italian citizenship through jure sanguinis.
Another part of this law allowed those that naturalized to reacquire their citizenship status. If you qualify for the latter, then all you must do is live in Italy for at least one year. After one year, you can apply for your dual citizenship status.
However, if your ancestor immigrated to the U.S. after 1992, then they may have already been granted dual Italian citizenship status. In this case, all you may have to do is apply for your dual citizenship status.
For further information and help qualifying for dual Italian citizenship assistance, please feel free to contact the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program at (305) 812-5512 today! We offer a FREE 30-minute preliminary telephone consultation.