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How to Apply for Italian Citizenship by Descent?

How to Apply for Italian Citizenship by Descent

If you are interested in obtaining Italian citizenship, you may be eligible to do so by descent. One of the benefits of obtaining Italian citizenship by descent is that it can lead to dual citizenship, allowing you to hold both Italian and the citizenship of another country.

To qualify for Italian citizenship by descent, you must have an Italian ancestor who was born in Italy as an Italian citizen and therefore emigrated abroad. You may qualify for Italian citizenship regardless of where you were born but on the condition that neither your Italian ancestor nor any of his/her descendants spontaneously requested and obtained foreign citizenship (so-called “naturalisation”) before the birth of his/her descendant (son or daughter).

If you do qualify for Italian citizenship by descent, you can apply for Italian citizenship and obtain an Italian passport. This can be useful for travel, work, or simply as a connection to your heritage. It is important to note that if you are already a citizen of another country, obtaining Italian citizenship may not affect your status in that country, as many countries allow for dual citizenship.

To begin the process of getting Italian citizenship by descent, you will need to gather and submit various documents, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, and naturalization certificates for your Italian ancestor. These documents must be obtained from the relevant Italian authorities or consulates, translated into Italian, and authenticated before they can be submitted with your application.

Once you have gathered all of the necessary documents, you can apply for Italian citizenship by descent at the Italian consulate in your area. The application process can take several months or even years, depending on the complexity of your case and the backlog of applications at the consulate.

It is also important to note that Italian citizenship law has undergone various changes throughout history. Therefore, it is recommended that you seek the guidance of an experienced Italian citizenship lawyer to assist you in navigating the process of claiming Italian citizenship by descent.

In this article, we will answer some common questions about how to obtain an Italian passport by descent.

Can I apply for Italian citizenship by descent if my grandparents were born in Italy?

Indeed, if one or both of your grandparents were Italian citizens at the time of your parent’s birth, you may qualify for Italian citizenship by descent. This would entitle you to an Italian passport, provided you satisfy the additional criteria for citizenship. Italian citizenship by descent, or “jure sanguinis,” is based on the principle of citizenship being passed down through bloodline, meaning that if you have Italian ancestry, you may have the right to claim Italian citizenship.

Can I obtain Italian citizenship if my great-grandparents were Italian?

The answer to this question is not straightforward and varies based on certain conditions. As a general rule, If your great-grandfather was an Italian citizen and did not renounce his Italian citizenship, and neither he nor his descendants renounced their citizenship, you might qualify for Italian citizenship by descent. It is important to note that your great-grandfather must have been alive AFTER March 17, 1861. Moreover, if they naturalised before June 14th, 1912, they could not transfer their citizenship even to children born before they naturalised.

What are the Italian citizenship through descent requirements?

In addition to meeting the criteria for Italian citizenship by descent, there are several other requirements that you must meet to apply for an Italian passport. These include:

  • Being at least 18 years old (or 16 years old with the consent of a parent or legal guardian)
  • Not being a threat to national security or public order
  • Not having a criminal record

It is also important to note that Italian citizenship by descent can be a complex process, and it may be helpful to seek assistance from a lawyer or a company that specializes in Italian citizenship applications.

If you are uncertain about your eligibility for Italian citizenship by descent, it is advisable to seek the advice of a lawyer or a firm specializing in Italian citizenship applications. Moreover, Italian citizenship law can be intricate, and in some instances, it may be necessary to go through an Italian court to settle any questions concerning your entitlement to Italian citizenship.

How to apply for Italian citizenship by descent?

If you are of Italian descent, you may be eligible for an Italian passport. Italy allows individuals to obtain citizenship and a passport through jus sanguinis, or “right of blood,” which means that citizenship is determined by the nationality of one’s ancestors. In this article, we will explain the process of applying for Italian citizenship by descent.

  1. Determine your eligibility: To apply for an Italian passport by descent, you must have an Italian ancestor who was alive and maintained his or her Italian citizenship at the time of your birth. You can book a free consultation and our team will review and help you determine whether you are eligible for Italian citizenship by descent. We can review your family tree and ancestry to determine whether you have any Italian ancestors who may qualify you for citizenship. Additionally, there are certain restrictions based on gender and the dates of certain events, so it’s important to thoroughly research your eligibility.
  2. Obtain necessary documents: To apply for an Italian passport by descent, you will need to obtain several documents. These may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and naturalization documents for all relevant ancestors. You will also need to obtain your own birth certificate, as well as any necessary translations and apostilles.
  3. Prepare and submit your application: We can assist with preparing and submitting your application for Italian citizenship by descent. Our team will ensure that all of the required documents are included and that your application meets all of the necessary requirements.
  4. Provide ongoing support: If you have any questions or concerns throughout the process, our team is available to provide ongoing support and guidance. We can assist with any additional requirements or requests from the Italian authorities and help you navigate any potential issues or complications.

It’s important to note that the processing time for Italian citizenship applications can vary greatly depending on various factors, such as the complexity of your case, the workload of the Italian embassy or consulate handling your application, and more. If you’re interested in learning more about the processing time for Italian citizenship applications, check out our article here. 


If you’re considering applying for Italian citizenship or have encountered challenges with your current application, we invite you to book a free 10-minute consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized and effective legal solutions to meet your needs, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.


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