Descendants of Italian Women
Until recently, those who had a female Italian ancestor born before January 1, 1948 were generally unable to obtain Italian citizenship through ancestry. Seeking Italian citizenship by descent from a grandmother or great-grandmother was a difficult and sometimes impossible task, based solely on her date of birth.
However, in 2009, this law came under question, and the High Court of Rome went against precedent and granted Italian citizenship to the descendant of an Italian woman born before 1948. This is great news and a forward-looking step on the part of the court to end what many view as a discriminatory and antiquated law that prevented women from becoming an Italian citizen through great-grandparents who happened to be female.
Changing Views on Italian Citizenship Through Descent
Since 2009, many Italian American women and men have succeeded in becoming an Italian citizen by ancestry based on a female Italian ancestor born prior to 1948. You can take action to secure the benefits of dual citizenship on your own, or with our help, keeping these factors in mind:
- If you live in the United States and your grandparent or great-grandparent was born in Italy, you do not need to travel to Italy to apply for Italian citizenship or participate in a trial to establish your right to citizenship. Additionally, several family members may join the same legal action. You will apply through the Italian consulate that has jurisdiction over the region where you live.
- You will need to supply vital records to become an Italian citizen, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other documents to support your claim for citizenship by descent.
- As of 2017, you may file a legal appeal (ricorso) rather than the more costly legal petition (atto di citazione) to petition for dual citizenship based on your female ancestor who was a citizen at the time of their death.
- While the decision of the Italian Court cannot be guaranteed, many female-based, pre-1984 Italian citizenship applications are being granted through ancestry, and the Italian government is reportedly no longer sending legal representatives to oppose applications where the applicant’s grandmother was born before 1948.
Is It Time to Revisit Your Italian Citizenship Application?
If you have tried to obtain Italian citizenship through great-grandparents in the past and been denied, or even if our team at the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program was unable to help you in the past, the situation may have changed. You can become an Italian citizen through great-grandparents whether or not they were born after January 1948. If your female grandparent was born before 1948 and moved to a country other than Italy without giving up their Italian citizenship, you may qualify.
Contact us for more information on how you may still obtain Italian citizenship for yourself and your own children.