Italian Citizenship by Descent (Jure Sanguinis)
Many people of Italian ancestry are eligible for Italian citizenship under the rule of “jure sanguinis,” or “by right of blood.” All claims for citizenship by descent rest on a traceable Italian ancestor who had citizenship “jus soli” or “by the soil,” meaning they were born in Italy.
If you are of Italian descent, it is quite possible that you may be able to obtain Italian dual citizenship based on this principle, and enjoy the many benefits, which include an EU passport, access to education or high level jobs abroad, and the ability to purchase property in Italy.
Who Is Eligible for Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis?
By establishing an unbroken line from yourself to Italian ancestors who had the right to claim Italian citizenship and proving that right was transferred to you under Italian law, you may qualify for full Italian citizenship. Many countries, including the US, recognize the concept of jus sanguinis, or citizenship by bloodline, and similarly allow dual citizenship with Italy.
Some of the criteria that establish eligibility include:
- The legal concept that a male Italian ancestor who was alive on or after March 17, 1861 had the right to claim Italian citizenship, and unless they naturalized to another country before the birth of their descendant, that right of citizenship is passed down to the next generation.
- Children whose mother was an Italian citizen and were born after January 1, 1948 are also eligible.
- There is no limit to the number of interceding generations which would prevent someone from applying for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, as long as their ancestors each preserved the right to become an Italian citizen until the next generation was born.
Examples of Eligible Individuals
These specific scenarios are examples of individuals who would qualify for Italian citizenship:
- Your father was a citizen of Italy when you were born, and he was not a citizen of any other country at the time.
- Your mother was an Italian citizen when you were born, she was not a citizen of any other country, and you were born after January 1, 1948.
- Your paternal grandfather or grandmother was born in Italy and was a citizen or had the right to become one prior to the birth of your father. This would also apply if your mother meets these criteria, as long as you were born after January 1, 1948.
- Your great grandparents or great-great grandparents meet these same criteria and had the ability to pass on their right to Italian citizenship when their child was born, and this right passed in an unbroken chain to your generation.
How to Apply for Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis
You will need to put together a packet of time-sensitive materials, which may need to be gathered from US and international vital record departments. This information must be submitted to the correct Italian Consulate in the approved format.
Some of the documents needed will include:
- Birth certificates for your parents, yourself, and other ancestors’ if they exist
- Marriage certificates, documentation of legal divorces, and death certificates
- Certificates of naturalization, or official statements from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services which state these do not exist
- Documentation of an extended search by the National Archives for immigration, birth, and census records, or the lack thereof
- Notarized declarations that, to your knowledge, neither your ancestors nor you has renounced Italian citizenship
- A copy of your passport and proof of current residence
Many people find all this somewhat challenging; however, our program makes the application process much easier to complete. Our expert consultants can assist with apostille service, translation, Italian vital records, and all the other steps of this rewarding process.
At the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program, we offer a free 30-minute phone consultation to help you decide if the path to Italian citizenship is right for you and your descendants. If you do find that you are likely to be granted the benefits of citizenship, our team can help you at every step of the way to this exciting goal. Contact us today to get started and reconnect to a family legacy you can pass on to your own children.