Jure Sanguinis Eligibility


 

 

 

 

Each Consular Office seems to have a different way to describe the various eligibility scenarios for jure sanguinis, and all of them are kind of confusing.  If you want some super in-depth legal jargon, I highly recommend checking out this Wiki page.  If not, keep reading, and I will first give you the general guidelines, explained as clearly as I can manage, and then I will go into more specific scenarios (these scenarios can be found on the Philadelphia Consulate’s website).

The (Very) General Rules

Broadly speaking, you can claim Italian citizenship if you can prove a documented, unbroken descendancy from Italy and if you can demonstrate that the line of Italian citizenship was transmitted down the generations to you without interruption. In other words, the way the Italian government views jure sanguinis is that if you are eligible for citizenship through jure sanguinis, you were in fact born an Italian citizen and you only need to have this citizenship officially recognized.

Although Italian citizenship was exclusive (meaning, no dual citizenship could exist) until 1992, people who passively acquired a non-Italian citizenship can still be considered citizens of Italy. One can passively acquire citizenship by simply being born in a country other than Italy.

The ways that the line of Italian citizenship can be broken are many.  I detail a few of these ways below (this is not a comprehensive list!)  You are not eligible for Italian citizenship via jure sanguinis if:

1. Your Italian-born ancestor became a naturalized United States citizen before his or her child (the next person in the line of your ascendancy) was born, prior to August 15, 1992. If your Italian-born great-grandfather, for instance, naturalized before your American-born grandfather was born, then your grandfather was not born an Italian citizen through bloodline. This is because to gain citizenship to the United States, your great-grandfather had to subsequently renounce his Italian citizenship. Thus, the line of citizenship was broken, and cannot be transmitted through your ancestors.

If your Italian ancestor naturalized after August 1, 1992 but before his/her child was born, whether or not the child was born an Italian citizen depends on whether or not the Italian-born ancestor renounced his/her Italian citizenship when he/she became a US citizen.

2. Any of your American-born ancestors in your direct and relevant lineage, for any reason, renounced their Italian citizenship. Let’s say the lineage you are applying through is your Italian-born grandfather -> your father -> you. If your American-born father renounced his Italian citizenship so that he could run for political office, you are not eligible for jure sanguinis.  This is the case even if your father renounced his citizenship after you were born.

3. You renounced your Italian citizenship, for any reason. If you ever personally renounced your Italian citizenship, you can reapply for citizenship, but not through jure sanguinis.

Please note that there is NO generational restriction, per se, for jure sanguinis to apply to you. You can go back to your great-great-great-grandfather if need be, as long as your ascendancy follows the aforementioned general rules, and stays within the parameters of the exceptions that I am about to explain.

The Exceptions

Are you with me so far? Great! Unfortunately, we are not done yet. There are several exceptions to the above rules that can make you ineligible for citizenship via jure sanguinis.

1. Women could not pass on citizenship until 1948. Prior to 1948, all Italian citizenship was passed on via paternal bloodlines. This is because Italian women did not have the right to transmit citizenship to their children until 1948. Therefore, if there is a woman in your ancestry whom you are using to claim jure sanguinis, her children must be born after 1948 for Italian citizenship to have been transmitted to her children. This is why applying through maternal lines can be tricky.

Examples. Let us say that your Italian-born ancestor is your great-grandmother and your line of ascendancy is your great-grandmother, grandfather, father, yourself. Unless your grandfather was born after 1948 (which is possible with quick generation succession), you are not eligible for citizenship. If your Italian-born ancestor is your grandmother, and your line of ascendancy is your grandmother, mother, and yourself, your mother must be born after 1948 for you to be eligible for Italian citizenship. In this scenario, if your mother was born before 1948, Italian citizenship could not have been transmitted to her through her mother.

In summary: locate the first female ancestor in your line of ascendancy who you intend to use for jure sanguinis. Were her children born after 1948? If so, you are in the clear. If her children were born before 1948, however, Italian citizenship was not transmitted to her children from her.

**UPDATE** Please note that in recent years, some people have had some success overturning this 1948 ruling in Italian courts.  See this video above for more information :)

2. Your Italian-born ancestor naturalized before July 1, 1912. According to the jure sanguinis law, even if your Italian-born ancestor had children before he/she naturalized, those children were not eligible for citizenship if the Italian-born person naturalized before July 1, 1912. If this is the case, the line of Italian citizenship was broken, and cannot be transmitted through descendancy

3. Your Italian-born was not alive on or after March 17th, 1861. The Kingdom of Italy was founded on March 17th, 1861. Your Italian-born ancestor must have been alive on this date or afterwards, or else he/she would not be considered an Italian citizen.

Common Examples of Eligibility

Still confused? The Italian Consulate in Philadelphia has published a list of the 10 most common categories of citizenship via jure sanguinis. Maybe your application falls into one of these categories. Please note that even if your specific lineage does not appear in this categorized list, you may still be eligible for jure sanguinis. This is only a list of common application types – the source document can be found here.

Category 1: Your father was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth or was born in the United States but he is now Italian and registered at the AIRE.

Category 2: Your mother was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth or was born in the United States but he is now Italian and registered at the AIRE, you were born after January 1st, 1948.

Category 3: Your father was born in the United States, your paternal grandfather was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth.

Category 4: Your mother was born in the United States, 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 5: Your father was born in the United States, your paternal grandmother was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth, your father was born after January 1, 1948.

Category 6: Your mother was born in the United States, your maternal grandmother was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth, your mother was born after January 1, 1948.

Category 7: Your father was born in the United States, your paternal grandmother was born in the United States, your paternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your paternal grandmother’s birth, your father was born after January 1, 1948.

Category 8: Your mother was born in the United States, your maternal grandmother was born in the United States, your maternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your maternal grandmother’s birth, your mother was born after January 1, 1948.

Category 9: Your father was born in the United States, your paternal grandfather was born in the United States, your paternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your paternal grandfather’s birth.

Category 10: Your mother was born in the United States, your maternal grandfather was born in the United States, your maternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your maternal grandfather’s birth, you were born after January 1, 1948.

Eligibility FAQ

Eligibility requirements questions are, by far, the most common types of questions that I receive from people. I have compiled a list of the most helpful and informative eligibility FAQ and answers that can be found on various Consular websites.  Please note that I personally did not ask or answer these questions – this is just a collection of the most helpful Consulate-published FAQ’s I could find.

Philadelphia

Q. I was born in the United States, my father was an Italian citizen at the time of my birth and I have never renounced my Italian citizenship. Am I entitled to Italian citizenship?
A. Yes.

Q.I was born in the United States after January 1, 1948, I have never renounced m yItalian citizenship, and my mother was an Italian citizen at the time of my birth. Am I entitled to Italian citizenship?
A. Yes.

Q. My father was born in the U.S. and my paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of my father’s birth and neither I nor my father ever renounced Italian citizenship. Am I entitled to Italian citizenship?
A. Yes.

Q. I was born after January 1, 1948, my mother was born in the United States and my maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of my mother’s birth and neither I nor my mother ever renounced Italian citizenship. Am I entitled to Italian citizenship?
A. Yes.

San Francisco

Q. I do not qualify for citizenship because my Italian-born ascendant naturalized before the birth of his or her children. What can I do?
A. If you are the child or grand-child of an ex-citizen, you can obtain Italian citizenship by residing in Italy for a period of three years. Great-grandchildren (and beyond) are treated no differently than people of purely non-Italian ancestry, and can only acquire citizenship by residence in Italy for a period of ten years. People who do not qualify for citizenship by descent can still acquire citizenship by marriage or by service to the government.

Q. My Italian-born ascendant was native to a town which is no longer part of Italy, or which was not part of Italy when he or she emigrated from Italy. Can I qualify for citizenship?
A. Due to the many exchanges of territory between Italy and other nations and the resulting patchwork of citizenship laws, your situation is likely to be too complex to be covered by this guide. Contact the citizenship department, specifying your ascendant’s place and date of birth as well as his or her date of emigration from Italy (or what was by then another nation’s territory).

Q. My Italian-born ascendant emigrated to a country other than the United States (such as Canada or Argentina); then my ascendant and/or subsequent generations of my family emigrated to the United States. Are there differences in the procedure?
A. First, double-check that you still qualify. If an intermediate ascendant acquired U.S. citizenship prior to 15 August 1992, then even if that ascendant had inherited Italian citizenship from your Italian-born ascendant, the intermediate ascendant could not pass on citizenship to his or her children born after the acquisition of U.S. citizenship. Secondly, you will in many cases need to provide naturalization records from the country to which your ascendant originally emigrated. The Italian Consulate or Embassy located in that country will be able to tell you what documents you need to provide. Please contact the citizenship department at cittadinanza.sanfrancisco@esteri.it with the specifics of your case if you have any further questions.

Q. I was adopted by Italian citizens. Can I still qualify for citizenship through my adoptive Italian parents?
A. Yes. If you were adopted as a minor, we will ask for the adoption decree (with Apostille and translation) in addition to the usual requirements. If you were adopted as an adult, you must reside in Italy for five years before applying.

Still have questions?

Check out this handy dandy eligibility flow chart.

30 Comments

  1. hi , i have been trying to book an appointment at my consulate (new york city) and was told the soonest is in May 2019!!!!!! as this is an exorbitant and inconvenient amoutn of time to wait, I am trying to explore if i have other options or not. Someone told me if I were to apply IN Italy, it would be possible and I’d have to live there for 3-4 weeks for this to be considered. Can you tell me if you’ve heard this before, and how I can find out more / if it’s true? Thank you, looking forward to your response!
    Elizabeth

    1. Hi Elizabeth – Sorry for the reply delay, I took a hiatus! As I understand it, you can only apply to the Consulate jurisdiction where you have legal residence. So, unless you establish legal residence in Italy ASAP, I’m not sure that you will be able to apply directly to Italy. Please let me know if you do find a loophole!

  2. Hello, I am looking to apply for citizenship. I have an appointment in February of 2019 in san francisco. My Great Grandfather was born in Italy ( as was my great grandmother), My Grandfather and mother were both born in USA. My Great grandfather was NEVER naturalized as far as I know (through census research) but I have requested the official naturalization records from the government. Also neither my grandfather or mother ever renounced their citizenship.

    I am trying to understand what documents I need in order to apply. I have about two years until my appointment so lots of time to gather. The SF consulate and other webpages have conflicting lists of required docs.

    My understanding so far is that I need (with apostilles + translations for US docs):
    1. great grandfathers birth certificate from italy
    2. great grandfathers marriage certificate
    3. great grandfathers death certificate
    4. great grandfathers naturalization record
    5. great grandmothers birth certificate from Italy
    6. great grandmothers death certificate
    7. grandfathers birth certificate
    8. grandfathers death certificate
    9. grandfathers marriage certificate
    10. grandmothers birth certificate
    11. mothers birth certificate
    12. mothers marriage certificate
    13. fathers birth certificate
    14. my birth certificate.

    1. Hi, Lauren.

      My situation is almost exactly like yours, however my great-grandfather was naturalized 11 years after the birth of my grandfather. I am awaiting an opening with at the SF consulate, however I’m having trouble with the online scheduling system. I’m been trying on and off for two months. Do you have any tips or tricks?

      Might you enjoy having a citizenship buddy to exchange info with and to encourage you along the way? If so, please drop me a line kayt(at)defever.org. I would like one, too. :-)

      P.S. I have been advised by a Italian citizenship consultant that the only documents list you need to follow is the one for the consulate at which you’re applying– and you must follow it to the tee. Every consulate has its own requirements. Such is Italian bureaucracy! Good luck!

  3. I have an interesting scenario. My great grandfather moved to the USA and naturalized while my grandfather was still a child in Italy. My grandfather officially became a US citizen at that time. He later moved to the USA while still carrying an Italian passport. Essentially he was a dual citizen as best I can tell. He was a US citizen before my father’s birth in the USA but never renounced his Italian citizenship. Would I qualify under him?

  4. Hi! I have dual citizenhip Brazilian and Italian, this last one I received from my father, who was born in Italy and moved to Brazil when he was 15 years old. I have two sons, 19 and 17 years old. Do they qualify under myself? If yes, what documents I need for the process?
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you so much

  5. Hello: I am in the process of obtaining the documents needed for my dual citizenship. My father’s father was born in Sicily and had my father after he naturalized. I have a copy of his official naturalization paper. Do I still need to write to US Home Land Security to obtain an “Official” document? My other question relates to my husband. Is he able to get dual-citizenship through me?

    1. 1. If it’s the original naturalization document, you *should be OK :)
      2. Yes, but not at the same time. You’ll need to check with your consulate office to see when he will be able to apply.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. I’m curious if my father had to renounce his Italian citizenship when he enlisted in the Army in 1942? Any suggestions as to where to find this out?
    (The lineage is that my grandfather was born in Sicily in 1884, my father was born in NY in 1913, grandfather was naturalized in 1918. So everything seems good, except that one “if”)

    1. Hi Carlotta – I have a lot of military men in my family as well :) I think the only time they would have had to explicitly renounce their Italian citizenship is if they were Italian-born. It’s a possibility that your father would have had to renounce his citizenship, but an unlikely one. You’re probably good to go!

  7. Good Day! My father was born in Italy in 1936, the son of a long line of Italians. He moved to the US in 1967, I was born in 1971 and he became a citizen of the US in 1972. Can you please tell me how and where I can apply for dual citizenship? I live in South Carolina. Thank you in advance!

      1. No worries. Thanks.

        It looks like you can only make appointments 90 days or less in advance. I have heard others saying it is 1-2 years wait time.

        Would it pay to try to contact one of the Honorary Consuls that are in my area?

        1. While the Honorary Consuls are amazing, they’re usually not incredibly involved in the dual citizenship application process. They might be able to help you determine whether you are eligible, though! You can certainly give it a shot. FYI: Here is more information on how to book an appointment: http://diyitaliancitizenship.com/book-italian-citizenship-appointment/

          There is also an option to apply directly in Italy, but I must admit I do not know much about that. You can join this facebook group and find out more information here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/23386646249/ . There are people on this group who actually provide this service… but it’ll cost ya.

  8. I have an interesting one. My father was born in Sardegna in 1936. His father traced to and from America to support his family and naturalized around 1928. As a result my father was born with dual citizenship. My father came to America when he was 15 and obtained a formal US Citizenship certificate when he was 18. I was born 4 years later. My grandmother never left Sardegna. Any chance that I can obtain dual citizenship?

    1. Whoa yeah this is a good one :) In this case, your father would be the person of Italian descent in your lineage, as he was the last person in your line to leave Italy. The fact that he naturalized before you were born would mean that he effectively broke the succession of Italian citizenship. HOWEVER. There is hope!

      The (really awesome) Wiki page says this:

      Note that if an Italian ancestor naturalised as a citizen of another country independently from his or her parents, and prior to reaching legal Italian adulthood (age 21 prior to 10 March 1975, and age 18 otherwise), then often that ancestor retained Italian citizenship even after the naturalisation and could still pass citizenship on to children.

      I would check with a lawyer, actually, to see what can be done in this case as there is a possibility that your father still retained his Italian citizenship, having naturalised as a minor. Please PM me if you need any good lawyer recommendations.

  9. I believe there is an exception to the 1912 rule:
    “Your Italian-born ancestor naturalized before July 1, 1912. According to the jure sanguinis law, even if your Italian-born ancestor had children before he/she naturalized, those children were not eligible for citizenship if the Italian-born person naturalized before July 1, 1912. If this is the case, the line of Italian citizenship was broken, and cannot be transmitted through descendancy” I believe the exception is: unless the children had reached their majority (i.e. were not minors) before the naturalization took place. My US born grandfather was 22 when his Italian born father naturalized in 1909. Can you comment?

  10. Thanks….that Facebook group is an awesome resource, but it is overwhelming to try to figure out where to start! Let me ask you…. Does the fact that my father became a citizen (after I was born) automatically mean he renounced his Italian citizenship by becoming an American citizen? Or does “renouncing” require an actual statement in addition to becoming a citizen?

  11. My appointment is in SanFrancisco next May, and I have everything but one more apostille coming from NY. I think. Someone said that for this consulate I need a copy of a census with my Grandfather’s status (1910).
    Also. Is there a recommended translation service in the area, and does anyone know the format of the necessary cover letter for the application?
    Grazie

  12. He did Naturalize.
    There is so much anecdotal information being circulated, sometimes I don’t know what’s true.

  13. Hi folks, wondering what others experiences are with timing of birth certificates from Italy. I used the instructions from this site (very helpful, thanks!) and sent in my request (directly to the comune) at the end of December (so it’s been almost 8 weeks). I imagine this takes some time, but was wondering what other people’s experience has been, and if you needed to follow up, when did you do that? Thanks!

  14. Hello there,

    My grandmother was the last person in my family to be born Italian before 1948. My grandfather was born before her and was also Italian.

    They moved to Belgium and my father and his siblings were born. Once they were all born, they naturalised in Belgium and my father and my grandparents became Belgian citizens. This was in 1960.

    I was then born in 1988 and have Belgian citizenship. Does this mean as my father naturalised before my birth, that I am unable to apply for jure sanguis citizenship?

    1. Hiya – you’ll have to check the Belgian dual citizenship laws of the time. I know in the states before 1992, dual citizenship was not allowed, so to become a US citizen you’d have to renounce your Italian citizenship. Belgium may not have had this restriction, so becoming Belgium may not have necessitated renouncing Italian citizenship… So it’s possible you’re still an Italian citizen, but you’ll have to check :)

  15. I am wondering for documents such as my own birth certificate- I have my original birth certificate but am wondering is it safe to use that/send it to an Italian lawyer who would be processing this for me? Or should I pay my State to give me a copy to send so I don’t lose the original?
    Thanks!

    1. I usually just order a new certificate, as the Consul will keep the certs that you submit (except your ancestor’s original birth certificate and/or naturalisation documents.) There can also be an issue getting older certs Apostilled. Less hassle to just request a new one :)

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