It is also possible to consult this page in Spanish.
It is also possible to consult this page in Spanish: Italian citizenship behind blood: requirements, procedures and times

How is it acquired? Italian citizenship by blood? How to get the recognition of Italian citizenship if you are a descendant of an Italian? Let's see what the requirements are and what the procedure is to obtain Italian citizenship.

Riconoscimento cittadinanza italiana iure sanguinis

Principle of Ius Sanguinis

There law 5 February 1992, n. 91, regulates the methods of acquiring Italian citizenship and constitutes the foundation of the recognition of Italian citizenship for jure sanguinis (which contrasts with the ius soli, which is the right to acquire citizenship by birth on state soil).

More precisely, the ius sanguinis establishes that the child of parents who are Italian citizens acquires Italian citizenship by birth. This principle also extends to the descendants of Italian emigrants, allowing the descendants of subsequent generations to acquire Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. Indeed, The descendants of Italian emigrants, even if born and raised abroad and without generational limits, can become Italian citizens if they demonstrate their Italian descent.

For several decades this legislation has allowed descendants of Italian emigrant ancestors to acquire Italian citizenship especially in the countries mainly where Italians emigrated, such as Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Australia, USA etc.

Equalization between Man and Woman

The Constitutional Court, with sentence no. 30 of 9 February 1983, declared the art. unconstitutional. 1 of Law no. 555/1912, in the part in which it did not provide that the child of a citizen mother was an Italian citizen by birth, in violation of the articles. 3 and 29 of the Constitution, paving the way for equality between men and women in matters of citizenship.

This equality between men and women in matters of citizenship was affirmed at a regulatory level first with Law no. 123 of 21 April 1983, art. 5 (“A minor child, including an adopted one, of a citizen father or citizen mother is an Italian citizen”), and subsequently Law no. 91/1992 further consolidated this principle, establishing that "the child of a citizen father or mother is an Italian citizen by birth".

Based on the principle of ius sanguinis, Italian citizenship can be transmitted to the descendants of an Italian mother, provided that they were born after 1 January 1948, the date of entry into force of the Constitution, and provided that the mother was an Italian citizen at moment of their birth.

This is the rule currently in force, according to the orientation followed by the Ministry of the Interior. However, the Court of Cassation, with a 2009 ruling, recognized the right to Italian citizenship also for maternal descendants born before 1948, who can request it in court.

Requirements for the recognition of Italian citizenship:

  1. Descent from an Italian subject: The applicant must demonstrate descent from an Italian subject, usually the emigrant ancestor, without generational limits, with small differences if a descendant of a woman born before 1948.
  2. Absence of Interruptions in the Transmission of Citizenship: It is necessary to demonstrate that there were no interruptions in the transmission of citizenship, i.e. no foreign naturalization of the ancestor or his descendants before the birth of the applicant.

Procedure for Submitting the Application for Recognition of Iure Sanguinis Citizenship

The request of recognition of Italian citizenship jure sanguinis can be formulated in two distinctive ways:

1. Administrative Route:

  • Residence Abroad: If the applicant resides abroad, the application must be submitted to the Italian consular authority competent for the territory.
  • Residence in Italy: If the applicant resides in Italy, the application can be presented to the Mayor of the Municipality of residence. In this circumstance, to obtain registration in the registry office necessary for submitting the application, the interested party is not required to have a residence permit. The declaration of presence is sufficient, as established by the Ministry of the Interior Circular no. 32 of 13 June 2007.

2. Judicial route:

The recognition of Italian citizenship by descent of Italian emigrants can be carried out judicially through an appeal presented before the competent Court (the Court of reference in the place of birth of the Italian father, mother or ancestor in Italy), with the necessary legal support of a lawyer, in the cases of maternal lineage descendants born before 1 January 1948.

This method is also valid for paternal descendants when the competent Consulate, responsible for receiving the administrative application, has an excessive waiting queue which takes a considerable amount of time to summon the applicants and process the request for recognition of Italian citizenship. This wait effectively "freezes" the applicant's right, legitimizing him to contact the Judicial Authority to obtain Italian citizenship incredibly more quickly. A common example is the Consulate of São Paulo, which currently takes around 12 years to summon applicants.

These two routes, administrative and judicial, offer different options for applicants, allowing them to choose the method best suited to their situation and needs. The choice between the two methods can be guided by the residence of the applicant, the specific situation of the descendants, and the practicability of the procedures at the competent Consulates.

Documents necessary for the recognition of Italian citizenship for Iure Sanguinis

To obtain Italian citizenship by descent from an Italian citizen, it is necessary to present a series of documents attesting to the applicant's Italian descent.

These documents are as follows:

  • Full copy of the birth certificate of the Italian ancestor who emigrated abroad, issued by the Italian municipality in which he was born.
  • Complete birth certificates of all his descendants in a straight line, including that of the person applying for Italian citizenship.
  • Complete death certificate of the Italian ancestor.
  • Marriage certificate of the Italian ancestor who emigrated abroad.
  • Marriage records of his lineal descendants, including that of the parents of the person applying for Italian citizenship.
  • Certificate issued by the competent authorities of the foreign country of emigration, certifying that the Italian ancestor did not acquire the citizenship of the foreign country of emigration before the birth of the ascendant of the interested party.
  • Authentic copies of any sentences or documents of separation or divorce, exclusively of the people requesting citizenship.
  • In the presence of children born out of wedlock, whose birth was registered only by the parent who does not transmit Italian citizenship, a public writing is required with which the other parent, i.e. the one of Italian blood, declares and confirms that she is the mother/ biological father of the child born out of wedlock.
  • In case of administrative application presented in Italy: certificate of residence.
  • Any others, to be evaluated based on the specific and individual case of the applicant.

All the documents listed above that have been drawn up abroad must be translated into Italian and provided with consular legalization (or Apostille, if the State in question adheres to the 1961 Hague Convention).

How long does it take to obtain Iure Sanguinis citizenship by descent from an Italian citizen?

The times for obtaining Italian citizenship by descent vary depending on the method of submitting the application.

Administratively, the times vary depending on the Municipality or Consulate where the application is submitted.

THEn Italy, the times vary depending on the municipality where the practice has been decided. These times essentially depend on how long it takes for the Municipality to receive from the competent Consulates the certificate of non-renunciation of citizenship by the descendants of the Italian ancestor.

Abroad, the times vary depending on the Consulate where the application is submitted, but in all cases it takes a long time. For example, at the Consulate of São Paulo, you currently have to wait 12 years just to be summoned. Even in other Consulates in Brazil or Argentina the times are unlikely.

In these cases, the applicant has a full interest in taking action before the competent Court in Italy to have his Italian citizenship recognized by the judge in much quicker times.

In fact, the procedure for recognizing Italian citizenship Iure Sanguinis through an appeal before the Court in Italy today represents the fastest procedure, and in the case of applicants for Italian citizenship in the cases of descendants from the maternal line born before 1 January 1948, the judicial procedure is mandatory. Descendants of an Italian male ancestor can also request recognition of citizenship administratively from the Italian Municipality of Residence or the competent Consulate, but the processing times of the procedure make the judicial route decidedly preferable.

Lawyer Jawad Asmahi deals with the recognition of Italian citizenship due to descent from an emigrant Italian citizen, and has assisted many citizens who have obtained Italian citizenship in a very short and certain time through the judicial procedure throughout the national territory. If you want to obtain your citizenship without having to wait endless times, don't hesitate to contact the Asmahi Law Firm, they will also be able to assist you in Spanish.

Legal advice

If you want more information you can to contact the Asmahi Law Firm, or alternatively request one legal advice also online by clicking here.

Discover the other legal areas of the Asmahi Law Firm: