Italian Citizenship

Experts designed this website to answer all questions related to recognition of Italian citizenship via maternal lineage to determine if an individual is eligible. If so, Italian citizenship can be awarded through court cases.

How will I know if I am an Italian citizen?

If in your direct lineage there is a great-great grandmother, great grandmother, grandmother, or mother of Italian descent, there has been discrimination as they have not been able to pass down their Italian citizenship. In a clear and transparent manner we can help you overcome this previous injustice.

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Legal Route

Verify that your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, or great-great-grandmother were Italians or of Italian heritage. If these descendants were born in Italy before 1948, according to the Civil Code of 1865 and Statute 555 of 1912, Italian citizenship could not be passed down.

Therefore, you are the grandchild, great-grandchild, or descendant of an Italian citizen no matter how many generations ago. How can I know if I am Italian?

IT IS VERY EASY! Scroll down to the tab below to find out if you have a case for Italian citizenship.

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Please provide us with your email address so that we can inform you whether or not you have the right to Italian citizenship through a legal or administrative process.

The Solution

Since 2009, our team of lawyers has been the best option for obtaining Italian citizenship for cases of maternal ancestry prior to 1948 through the court system in Italy.
Why do we believe we are the best choice for your family?

# 1

We have won cases for over 2,200 clients around the world. Thus, we are constantly up-to-date with changes to the laws in Italy.

# 2

We have dedicated ourselves exclusively to court proceedings since 2009.

# 3

We are equipped with a highly organized and professional team that works between two continents. Learn more about us here!

# 4

We are located directly in Italy and the Americas, so we know the local laws and customs.

# 5

We are aware of the social responsibility we have as lawyers. For that reason, we work to eliminate discrimination against women and as such, we offer legal services free of charge to one family each year.

# 6

We offer flexible payment plans.

The Team

Our professionals work together in various jurisdictions.

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YOUR ANCESTRY

WOULD YOU LIKE TO LOOK FOR YOUR ITALIAN ANCESTORS’ BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR FREE?

On the official Ministry of Cultural Goods, Activities, and Tourism website, you can find records (birth, marriage, and death certificates) without any charge. The site is: http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/?lang=es

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FAQS
When is it necessary to start a legal process to obtain Italian citizenship?

If your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, or great-great-grandmother was of Italian descent, it is probable that you will need to start legal proceedings in order to obtain Italian citizenship. Let us know about your family tree through our Genealogical Questionnaire in order to determine if you are entitled to Italian citizenship. We will analyze your case without any charge and advise you of your rights and the best path to take in order to acquire Italian citizenship through the courts. Any information you provide is treated as confidential and will only be shared if it is required for your Italian citizenship case.

Why in cases of maternal lineage can Italian citizenship only be obtained through the courts?

Until 1948, when the Constitution of the Italian Republic came into force, Italian laws regarding citizenship had contained clear and evident gender discrimination. Sons and daughters of Italian men were considered to be Italian, but not those of Italian women. Although these laws today have been considered unconstitutional (particularly Law 555 of 1912 and under extensive interpretation the Civil Code of 1865), they continue to present problems. Thus, the descendants of Italian women who were born before 1948 do not have the right to obtain Italian citizenship through an Italian Consulate on foreign soil.  A judicial process is required in these cases to reverse the discrimination brought about by these specific cases, and a ruling in favor of citizenship will write the previous wrongs for those who have suffered as a result of these unjust laws.

Would you like to know more regarding the subject Italian maternal ancestry?

You can find the legal context by clicking on the following links:
Artículo Universidad del Rosario (in Spanish)

The Italian Community Journal in Chile (In Spanish) – Presenza April and May.

National Italian American Bar Association Newsletter (English) 

Who is required to participate in the legal proceedings?

The living descendant(s) of the Italian emigrant.

Can spouses of applicants in the Italian citizenship process solicit Italian citizenship as well?

Italian citizenship can be obtained in many ways, among them through direct lineage (ius sanguinis) or by marriage to an Italian citizen (ius matrimonii). In principle, court proceedings via the maternal route seek to recognize a bloodline exclusively, thus spouses cannot participate directly. However, if the marriage was held prior to April 27th of 1983, spouses may be included in the judicial process. If there is a ruling in favor of citizenship, they will be granted Italian citizenship at the same time as the other applicants. In all other cases, we recommend that you make inquiries regarding administrative processes for the recognition of Italian citizenship by marriage at an Italian Consulate.

Is it necessary that the first Italian descendants who have passed away to have been recognized as Italian citizens to be eligible for citizenship?

It is not necessary, owing to the fact that Italian citizenship is an unalienable right, which is linked directly through lineage.

Is it necessary to go to the Italian Consulate prior to starting the legal process?

In cases of maternal lineage, it is not necessary. However, court proceedings may also be used to resolve cases in which it is not possible to obtain citizenship due to a lack of documentation, such as the recognition of a child born out of wedlock. In these cases, before the trial it is vital to obtain a consular refusal for Italian citizenship as it is a requirement to proceed with a court case in Italy.

Is it necessary to travel to Italy to participate in the process?

No. However, the interested parties have to grant a legal representative power of attorney to take action on their behalf in the court proceedings in Italy.

What documents are necessary to start the process in Italy?

Before an Italian judge, it has to be proven that the applicants are direct descendants of an Italian citizen, and that the right to pass the citizenship to the next generations was not lost. To this end, the births, and if applicable the marriages and death certificates of the people in the direct bloodline must be verified with appropriate documentation demonstrating a direct relationship. In addition, a document stating that the first Italian direct descendant or emigrant did not renounce their right to Italian citizenship or acquire foreign citizenship must be provided. Let us know about your family tree by completing our Genealogical Questionnaire and we will provide you with a list of the documents required for your specific case.

Is it necessary to have an Italian birth certificate for the first direct Italian descendant to start a case?

Yes, it is necessary. Proof of the birth of the first Italian ancestor constitutes the starting point and gives the applicant the right to solicit Italian citizenship. If you know the definitive birthplace and the approximate date, our team will be able to obtain the document directly for you in Italy.

Are church documents valid for the authentication of births, marriages, and deaths?

In principle, the Italian Courts accept as evidence documents from churches (i.e., birth, marriage and death certificates) if they can be shown to be legal in the jurisdiction from which they originated. For example, proof can come from a child born in Chile in 1890 who was baptized, as long as it was considered a legal document under Chilean law at that time. In any case, church documents are required to be legalized before the proper authorities and have a stamp of official authentication.

What documents pertaining to non-naturalization and to not having renounced Italian citizenship are required? And what purpose do they have?

The document of non-naturalization is a certificate expedited by appropriate authorities (usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) that demonstrates that the first Italian citizen has not given up or relinquished their citizenship abroad. If this is the case (according to Italian laws up until 1992), the person has forfeited their Italian citizenship and does not have the right to pass it down to future generations. The certificate proving that their Italian citizenship has not been renounced is issued by the Italian diplomatic authority in the country of emigration of the Italian citizen. This certifies that the individual has never voluntarily renounced their Italian citizenship.

What are the rules for translating original documents to Italian?

Standards can vary from country to country. The best way to ensure that the translations are legitimate is to have them carried out by an official translator registered with a nearby Italian Consulate and that they are legalized before the same consulate.

Do precedents of cases won exist?

Since 2009, hundreds of cases have been won in Italian courts. Check out some of our success stories, and you will surely find one very similar to your family’s situation.

Does the recognition of Italian citizenship imply tax obligations in Italy?

The Italian tax system is based on the worldwide tax principle. Taxpayers are considered to be only those persons who are fiscal residents of Italy. Speaking in general terms, an individual is considered to be a fiscal resident in Italy if they have spent at least half of the year there. Therefore, merely acquiring Italian citizenship does not make one a fiscal residence in Italy, and thus does not imply tax obligations for dual citizens.

Are there other obligations?

The main obligation is to enroll in the A.I.R.E. at an Italian Consulate, and notify the consular authority of any change of residence and/or marital status.

What are the benefits of obtaining Italian citizenship via court proceedings?

Citizenship obtained in a court of law is equal to that given by being born in Italy to Italian parents. Therefore, you will be able to enjoy the same political, labor, study and freedom of movement rights as an Italian citizen. Political rights consist of the right to vote in national elections and the election of European Parliament. Labor rights consist of being able to compete on an equal basis with other European citizens for jobs within the European Union. The right to study consists of being able to freely apply to undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Italian and European universities. Freedom of movement is clearly stated in the fact that the Italian passport is considered to be one of the best received by nations throughout the world.

Once a ruling has been obtained recognizing Italian citizenship, what must be done?

The ruling in your favor must be carried out before the authorities in Italy and abroad. Although there are only minor differences in the administrative procedures adopted by different countries, it is necessary to transcribe the enforced ruling and civil birth records of the applicants before the appropriate Italian city hall. This must be in accordance with the last address of the first Italian descendant. Once this is done, the Italian Consulate will enter the interested party’s information into their databases and issue Italian passports.

Does Italian law permit dual citizenship?

Yes, since 1992 it has not been necessary to renounce your original citizenship in order to obtain Italian citizenship.

Is it necessary to speak Italian to obtain Italian citizenship in a court of law?

From a legal standpoint, the answer is no. From our point of view, we considered it to be a moral obligation, since it will allow a person to have access to one of the most refined cultures in the world in nearly all aspects of intellect and art, including: literature, architecture, engineering, figurative art, philosophy, law, and sports just to name a few.

Can I get a free consultation regarding the legal process for Italian citizenship?

Of course, you can email:m.castellari@studioandino.com, a.somma@studioandino.com or call us during office hours at +57 1 236 61 69 and speak to Massimiliano Castellari or Agostino Somma. If you call from Chile, you can talk directly with Jaimeé Terán Garcia by calling her cell phone at +56 9 4673 5976.

What does a ruling in favor of Italian citizenship consist of?

The ruling consists of three parts. The first contains the indication that the parties to the process wish to initiate the proceedings (the petitioners on one side and the Italian Ministry of Interior Affairs on the other side) and of the three judges who will form the judicial body.

The second part consists of the legal reasoning behind the judge’s ruling used to reach the verdict that the plaintiffs are Italian citizens based on “iure sanguinis”. To this day, 10 years after the first historic ruling, judges continue to apply the same legal and logical reasoning behind the judgment passed down in Cassation Court Case No. 4466/2009. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have obtained recognition of their dual citizenship.

The last part of the judgment consists of the court’s decision in a tribunal. In 99% of cases, provided that the body of evidence is perfect, the judge accepts the claim and recognizes the Italian citizenship of the applicant(s).

 

As of 2018, the courts in Rome have had a section (no. 18) specialized in Italian citizenship. Since then, rulings have been issued by a single judge.

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ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP

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DID YOU KNOW?

Since 1861 there are documents on Italian emigration and there are at least 30 million names of Italian citizens who emigrated to every corner of the earth. The destinations have changed according to the times, however they have been concentrated in America, Canada, South America and Europe.
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