Frequently Asked Questions


The European Union

Q. What is the European Union?
Q. What is the euro?
Q. If I'm an Italian citizen, can I live and work in other countries of the EU?

Benefits of Italian Citizenship

Q. How will Italian citizenship improve my job prospects?
Q. How will Italian citizenship make me feel safer when I travel abroad?
Q. How will Italian citizenship allow me to qualify for free health care and tuition?
Q. How can Italian citizenship allow me to earn retirement benefits?
Q. Are there any other benefits?
Q. Can you recommend any other resources to learn more about the advantages of dual citizenship?

Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis - General

Q. I do not have Italian ancestors, but I am interested in immigrating to and/or finding a job in Italy. Can you advise me on immigration procedures and/or help me to get a visa?
Q. What does jure sanguinis mean?
Q. Will Italian citizenship jure sanguinis affect my current citizenship?
Q. How long does this process take?
Q. Can I acquire citizenship with other members of my family at the same time?
Q. How much will this cost?
Q. I'm in a hurry to get over to Italy/Europe. Can I do anything to expedite this process?
Q. If I work in Italy do I have to pay taxes in both my native country and Italy?
Q. Can I vote in Italy without losing my native citizenship?
Q. Has it always been possible to hold Italian citizenship in addition to a native citizenship?
Q. How will I know when I've obtained Italian citizenship?
Q. What is A.I.R.E.?
Q. Will I have military obligations to Italy?
Q. How soon can I move to Italy after I receive confirmation of citizenship from the Italian consulate in my area?
Q. How long will it take to get a passport once I obtain Italian citizenship?
Q. If I have two passports, which should I use when I travel?
Q. How can I find out which Italian authority covers my geographic area?
Q. I am not a citizen of the country in which I am currently living. Can I apply for Italian citizenship through the Italian consulate of the country in which I am living, or must I apply through a consulate in my country of citizenship?

Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis - Qualifying

Q. Do I have to speak Italian to become an Italian citizen?
Q. Is there a residency requirement to become an Italian citizen?
Q. I've read on other websites that Italian citizenship jure sanguinis is only available through grandparents. Your website says that there is no generational limit. Which is correct?
Q. I was born in Italy. Do I qualify for dual citizenship?
Q. If I acquire Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, is my spouse eligible to become an Italian citizen?
Q. If I acquire Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, will my children become Italian citizens?
Q. Is there a limit to the number of generations through which Italian citizenship jure sanguinis can be passed?
Q. What if my Italian ancestor was born prior to 1861?
Q. I've looked through all the categories on your Qualifying page, but I'm still not sure if I qualify.
Q. What does "renouncing one's right to Italian citizenship" mean?
Q. My Italian parent/grandparent/great grandparent was born in Italy, but was naturalized along with his or her parents as a minor. Does it still count as "renouncing one's right to Italian citizenship" if the child was too young to make a conscious choice?
Q. I've heard the law prohibiting women from passing citizenship to their children before January 1, 1948 has been overturned. Is this true?
Q. Can I qualify for citizenship jure sanguinis through my Italian great grandmother?
Q. I don't qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis OR I don't have Italian ancestors. How else can I acquire Italian citizenship?

Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis - Apostilles and Certificates

Q. What is an apostille?
Q. How can I find where to get an apostille in my state or province?
Q. Can I request an apostille from my state or province for a certificate from a different state or province?
Q. How do I know if apostilles are available in my country (i.e. if my country is a member of the Hague Convention)?
Q. What if my country is NOT a member of the Hague Convention?
Q. How do I know which certificates require apostilles?
Q. How do I know which certificates require translations into Italian?
Q. What if I have discrepancies in names or dates on birth, marriage or death certificates?
Q. What if I don't have an exact date of birth/marriage/death for my Italian ancestor?
Q. I have an old photocopy of a birth/death/marriage certificate. Is that acceptable?
Q. Will I be able to keep the original birth, marriage and death certificates I receive from my state or province?
Q. What about my ancestor's birth/marriage/or death certificates from Italy?
Q. What is an estratto di un atto di nascita/matrimonio/morte? Is it a photocopy of the original certificate?

Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis - Naturalization

Q. What is naturalization?
Q. How do I get a certificate of naturalization for my Italian ancestor?
Q. How do I find out what year my Italian ancestor was naturalized?
Q. What if my Italian ancestor was never naturalized?
Q. I have my Italian ancestor's original certificate of naturalization, which is required for my citizenship application. Will the Italian consulate need to keep this?

ICGS

Q. What services does ICGS provide?
Q. How much does ICGS charge for its services?
Q. How do I Pay?
Q. What documents can I download from your website?
Q. Will all embassies and consulates accept ICGS' Application for Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis?
Q. I'm a little confused by the supplementary forms of ICGS' Application. Could you clarify?
Q. Is ICGS affiliated with the Italian government?
Q. How long will it take ICGS to get my birth, marriage or death certificates from Italy?
Q.

What if my search takes longer than 12 weeks?

Q. Will my personal information be released to any third parties?



The European Union


Q.   What is the European Union?
 
A.   The European Union (EU) - previously known as the European Community (EC)- was founded after the Second World War to unite the nations of Europe economically and to help ensure peace in the region. Today, the EU boasts a fully integrated internal market in which citizens, as well as goods and services, can move freely across national borders. Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands were the six original member states. After five rounds of enlargement (Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom in 1973; Greece in 1981; Spain and Portugal in 1986; Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995; and the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria and Romania in 2004-7), the EU has twenty-seven member states. For more information, visit the EU website at http://europa.eu/.
 
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Q.   What is the euro?
 
A.   The Single European Act (1986) and the Treaty on European Union (1992) introduced the idea of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and laid the foundations for a single currency. On January 1, 1999, the euro was introduced when member states irrevocably fixed their exchange rates. EU citizens continued to use their national currency until euro bank notes and coins were put into circulation on January 1, 2002. The sixteen states in the euro area are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the Netherlands. For more information, visit the euro website at http://www.ecb.int/euro/intro/html/map.en.html.
 
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Q.   If I'm an Italian citizen, can I live and work in other countries of the EU?
 
A.   Yes, this is one of the greatest benefits of being an Italian citizen. Having an Italian passport is like having a passport to any EU country, allowing you to live and work anywhere. Under the terms of Article 17 (ex Article 8) of the Treaty on European Union, "any person holding the nationality of a member state is a citizen of the Union." "EU citizenship, which supplements national citizenship without replacing it, grants citizens the right to move freely and to reside on the territory of the member states" (Article 18).
 
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Benefits of Italian Citizenship


Q.   How will Italian citizenship improve my job prospects?
 
A.   If you apply to work for an international company, you have a huge advantage over your peers. You can be transferred to Europe without any hassle on the part of the company. Between two equally-qualified candidates, a company with offices in Europe is more likely to hire the one with Italian citizenship. Similarly, a company looking to promote a manager for an office abroad is more likely to choose the Italian citizen from among equally-qualified employees.
 
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Q.   How will Italian citizenship make me feel safer when I travel abroad?
 
A.   Citizens of certain western countries--and Americans in particular--are the main targets of terrorist attacks abroad. You may feel safer using an Italian passport when you travel to places where citizens of your native country are unpopular. Also, if your government restricts travel to certain countries that you may want (or need) to visit, you can use your Italian passport to enter and move around more freely.
 
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Q.   How will Italian citizenship allow me to qualify for free health care and tuition?
 
A.   Italian citizens enjoy access to free public health care and public education at all academic levels. Additional taxes may apply for those enrolled at universities.
 
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Q.   How can Italian citizenship allow me to earn retirement benefits?
 
A.   Italian and other EU governments provide generous pensions for citizens who have spent the requisite number of years in the workforce. If you have worked in your native country for most of your adult life and are considering spending your retirement abroad, being an Italian citizen makes living in Europe much easier, from buying a home to gaining access to public health care.
 
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Q.   Are there any other benefits?
 
A.   You can go into business with much greater ease. As a single economic zone with a common currency and a population greater than that of the United States, the European Union presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs. But the restrictions on non-EU citizens are formidable. Being an Italian citizen will allow you to avoid a lot of bureaucratic hassles. If you are an American, Italian citizenship will let you invest in offshore mutual funds and securities without restriction or hindrance. Very few foreign companies are registered to sell their securities in the United States. Foreign brokers will not sell unregistered securities for fear of running afoul of the SEC. If you want these securities, it is sometimes essential to have a foreign identity.

Another benefit of Italian citizenship is that you can pass it on to your children, giving them the possibility to migrate to any country in the European Union, as needed or desired.

 
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Q.   Can you recommend any other resources to learn more about the advantages of dual citizenship?
 
A.   How to Legally Obtain A Second Citizenship And Passport - And Why You Want To by Adam Starchild (© 1999, Breakout Productions, Inc.) is an excellent resource for learning more about dual citizenship.
 
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Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis - General


Q.   I do not have Italian ancestors, but I am interested in immigrating to and/or finding a job in Italy. Can you advise me on immigration procedures and/or help me to get a visa?
 
A.   No! This website offers services to people of Italian ancestry who are interested in obtaining Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (through ancestry). These services include obtaining birth, marriage and death certificates from Italy; and translating foreign certificates from English into Italian. Services for people who seek visa or immigration information are undertaken by a particular country's Italian embassy and consulates. Visit the website of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs at http://www.esteri.it/visti/rilascio_eng.asp to contact the Italian embassy and consulates in your country for more information.
 
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Q.   What does jure sanguinis mean?
 
A.   Sometimes referred to as jus sanguinis, it is Latin for "by the right of blood." In this case, it means the right to citizenship through one's bloodline or ancestry.
 
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Q.   Will Italian citizenship jure sanguinis affect my current citizenship?
 
A.   According to the principle of jure sanguinis, you have actually been an Italian citizen since birth (if you qualify). Obtaining dual citizenship through ancestry is much different than obtaining it through naturalization, which in many cases can result in the loss of your native citizenship. In Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, being recognized as an Italian citizen jure sanguinis will not affect your current citizenship. If you are a citizen of any other country, ICGS strongly recommends you verify this with the nearest Italian authority.
 
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Q.   How long does this process take?
 
A.   Assuming you start the process today, it generally takes 6 to 8 weeks for ICGS to obtain your ancestor's birth, marriage or death certificate. The time it takes to procure birth, marriage and death certificates in your state or province varies, but in one case it took the state of California five months to respond to ten certificate requests. Some vital statistics offices do allow you to expedite your requests. You can request your certificates from Italy (through ICGS) and from your state or province (through the appropriate authority) simultaneously, allowing the waiting periods to overlap. As soon as all the certificates from your state or province have arrived, you may have to wait another few weeks for the apostilles or legalizations, though you can usually save time if you go in person. You will need to translate your coutry's certificates into Italian, though this may also be done while you are waiting for the apostilles or legalizations. You can complete the actual application for citizenship jure sanguinis and get it notarized in a day. The biggest question is how long it will take the Italian embassy or consulate to process your application. Experience has shown that it may take anywhere from two weeks to a year. ICGS recommends planning at least six months to a year in advance from the day you start requesting certificates until the day you get confirmation of your citizenship.
 
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Q.   Can I acquire citizenship with other members of my family at the same time?
 
A.   Certainly! In fact, all living ancestors--your Italian parent, your Italian grandparent--in the direct line between you and your ancestor from Italy are going to be recognized as Italian citizens anyway. (This is not optional!) Applying with siblings and/or first cousins requires very little additional work and is a great way to divide up costs. Another benefit of applying with other members of your family is that you need only ONE set of certificates for your entire family's application. For example, if I apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis with my two sisters and my mother, the certificates I must present with my application are the same as those I would have had to present if I were applying on my own, with the exception of my sisters' birth certificates.
 
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Q.   How much will this cost?
 
A.   It will vary based on the number of generations between you and your Italian ancestor (and thus, the number of certificates you must procure) and the cost of certificates and apostilles in your state or province. If you are an American, the prices of certificates and apostilles in all fifty states are listed on Links Page 2: Vital Records and Apostille Offices. Your only costs will be acquiring certificates from Italy, acquiring certificates from your state or province, acquiring apostilles and translating your documents into Italian. ICGS recommends budgeting at least a few hundred USD for the entire process, but remember that this cost can be split among parents and/or siblings who apply simultaneously. The fee for an Italian passport is approximately $30 USD for one year and $145 USD for five years, though these prices may vary from country to country.
 
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Q.   I'm in a hurry to get over to Italy/Europe. Can I do anything to expedite this process?
 
A.   Request the certificates from Italy and the certificates from your own country IMMEDIATELY! Don't delay at any point in this process. Be prepared for the appointment with the nearest Italian embassy or consulate to submit your application, and be sure you have all your certificates, apostilles and translations into Italian in order. Tell the representative of the Italian authority that you are anxious to move abroad and ask (politely!) if there is any way to expedite the process. By arriving with all his documents in order and simply asking if it were possible to expedite the process, the founder of this website was able to acquire citizenship two weeks after submitting his application to the Consulate General of Italy, San Francisco.
 
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Q.   If I work in Italy do I have to pay taxes in both my native country and Italy?
 
A.   The United States is one of the few countries in the world that taxes its citizens no matter where they live. However, you can qualify for a tax exclusion for all income earned in Italy or elsewhere in the European Union up to $70,000 USD per year. This is called the "70,000 exclusion," and in order to qualify for it you must establish a tax home outside of the US and pass either the "physical-presence test" or the "foreign-residence test." The "physical-presence test" is the more objective and straightforward of the two. To pass, you must be outside the US for at least 330 days over a consecutive twelve month period. The "foreign-residence test" is more subjective and probably easier for most Americans to pass. You must convince the IRS that you have been a bona fide resident of Italy or other EU country for an entire taxable year and that you plan to live there indefinitely. The IRS considers a number of factors to determine whether or not you pass this test. Being an Italian citizen and living in Europe will certainly work in your favor. Remember that you need to pass only one of these two tests to qualify for the "$70,000 exclusion." You must file IRS forms 1040 and 2555 or 2555-EZ to claim your exclusion!

If you are an American who doesn't qualify for the "$70,000 exclusion" or who earns more than $70,000 USD per year, don't worry! Italy and the United States have tax treaties to protect their citizens from dual taxation. The general rule is that you don't pay US tax on foreign-earned income if the foreign tax rate is higher than the US rate. If the foreign rate is lower, you will have to pay US taxes on the difference between these rates. In any case, be sure to file your tax returns every year even if all your income is earned outside of the US!

If you are not a US citizen, it is likely you won't be taxed for any income earned abroad. Check with the nearest Italian authority or a tax attorney for more information.

 
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Q.   Can I vote in Italy without losing my native citizenship?
 
A.   Yes. Voting is one of your rights as an Italian citizen.
 
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Q.   Has it always been possible to hold Italian citizenship in addition to a native citizenship?
 
A.   Only since 1992. On February 5, 1992, the Italian government passed a law (no. 91, art. 11) stating that any Italian citizen who acquired or reacquired a foreign citizenship after August 15, 1992 would not lose his or her Italian citizenship.
 
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Q.   How will I know when I've obtained Italian citizenship?
 
A.   You will be contacted by the Italian authority through which you submitted your application for citizenship. Though this may vary from country to country, you will probably receive a package at your home address including a cover letter stating that you have been recognized as an Italian citizen, an application for an Italian passport and an application for A.I.R.E. If you are a male under the age of forty-five, you will also be sent a document relieving you of your military obligations to Italy. (Read on if you are a male under the age of twenty-seven!)
 
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Q.   What is A.I.R.E.?
 
A.   In every city in Italy, there is a general registry office or anagrafe that keeps track of the changes in citizenship status, address, marriage, birth and death of Italian citizens. Italians living abroad are registered in a special anagrafe called A.I.R.E. By law, all Italian citizens, whether living in Italy or abroad, must notify their anagrafe concerning any change in their status. Italians abroad do so through the consular office in whose jurisdiction they reside.
 
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Q.   Will I have military obligations to Italy?
 
A.   On May 8, 2001, the Italian government passed a law (Art. 7 del D. Lgs. 8 maggio 2001 n. 215) making military service completely voluntary as of January 1, 2007.
 
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Q.   How soon can I move to Italy after I receive confirmation of citizenship from the Italian consulate in my area?
 
A.   Even if you're in a rush to move to Europe, ICGS strongly recommends you wait until you get an Italian passport before you go, especially if you're planning a move to a country other than Italy.
 
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Q.   How long will it take to get a passport once I obtain Italian citizenship?
 
A.   It depends how quickly your embassy or consulate processes passport requests. From the moment you submit your passport application, it could take anywhere from one to six weeks. Check with the nearest Italian authority for more information.
 
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Q.   If I have two passports, which should I use when I travel?
 
A.   If you plan on traveling to Italy or to any other EU country, bring both your native passport and your Italian passport with you. Show your native passport when leaving your country. On the plane, put away your native passport and take out your Italian passport, which you should then use when entering Italy or any other EU country. It's probably in your best interest NOT to mention to customs that you are carrying two passports. It is not illegal for you to do so, but a lower-level official may not know this, which could result in delays while he or she confirms this. Use your Italian passport when you travel to parts of the world where citizens of your native country are unpopular or prohibited from entering (for example, Americans in Cuba). It's always a good idea to carry photocopies of both passports with you when you travel.
 
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Q.   How can I find out which Italian authority covers my geographic area?
 
A.   If you live in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom or South Africa, go to Links Page 1: Italian Embassies and Consulates to find a list of the Italian embassy and consulates in your country. If you are an American and you're not sure which consulate covers your state, follow this link to find the consular office in whose jurisdiction you reside. Otherwise, visit the website of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs for a list of all Italian embassies and consulates in the world.
 
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Q.   I am not a citizen of the country in which I am currently living (e.g. a Mexican citizen in the USA). Can I apply for Italian citizenship through the Italian consulate of the country in which I am living, or must I do so through a consulate in my country of citizenship?
 
A.   You must apply for Italian citizenship through an Italian consulate in your country of citizenship.
 
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Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis - Qualifying


Q.   Do I have to speak Italian to become an Italian citizen?
 
A.   No, citizenship jure sanguinis is your birthright. You are only required to prove your lineage to an Italian citizen.
 
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Q.   Is there a residency requirement to become an Italian citizen?
 
A.   No, for the reason mentioned above.
 
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Q.   I've read on other websites that Italian citizenship jure sanguinis is only available through grandparents. Your website says that there is no generational limit. Which is correct?
 
A.   The reason this website was created is that so much information available on the Internet is incomplete and/or confusing. Even Italian consulate websites can lead people to believe that citizenship through ancestry is only possible through parents or grandparents. ICGS can state with absolute certainty that Italian citizenship jure sanguinis is possible through great grandparents, since its founder became an Italian citizen through his mother -> grandmother -> great grandfather. The fact that there is NO generational limit for citizenship through ancestry has been confirmed by various Italian consulates.
 
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Q.   I was born in Italy. Do I qualify for dual citizenship?
 
A.  
  1. Italian citizens by birth who never became naturalized citizens of their adopted country are eligible for an Italian passport. Since the focus of this site is Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (through ancestry) and not through birth, you must visit Links Page 1: Italian Embassies and Consulates to contact the nearest Italian embassy or consulate for details.
  2. Italian citizens who were naturalized in their adopted country prior to August 15, 1992, implicitly renouncing their right to Italian citizenship, can reinstate it by returning to Italy and residing there for at least one year.
  3. Italian citizens who became naturalized citizens of their adopted country after August 15, 1992, retained their Italian citizenship unless they expressly renounced it. They are required to personally inform the Italian consulate of becoming citizens within ninety days, or when they reach their 18th birthday, otherwise they risk a fine.
 
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Q.   If I acquire Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, is my spouse eligible to become an Italian citizen?
 
A.   Yes. The principle of jure sanguinis is that, if you qualify for Italian citizenship through ancestry, you have actually been an Italian citizen since birth. This process simply recognizes the citizenship you already possess. The Italian law states that spouses of Italian citizens can apply for citizenship after six months of marriage if a couple is living in Italy and after three years of marriage if they are living abroad. Consider a person living outside of Italy who has already been married for over three years. Once he or she is recognized as an Italian citizen jure sanguinis, the spouse may apply for Italian citizenship immediately! Why? Because the Italian has been a citizen since birth and the couple has been married for over three years.
 
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Q.   If I acquire Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, will my children become Italian citizens?
 
A.   Yes, if your children are under the age of eighteen. If they are eighteen or older and qualify, they will need to apply separately.
 
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Q.   Is there a limit to the number of generations through which Italian citizenship jure sanguinis can be passed?
 
A.   According to Italian law, there is no limit, provided that your Italian ancestor was born in Italy and emigrated after 1861 (see below) and that you can produce documentation proving your lineage. Italian citizenship jure sanguinis cannot skip generations; there must be a continuous link between you and your ancestor from Italy.
 
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Q.   What if my Italian ancestor was born prior to 1861?
 
A.   ICGS posed this question to number of Italian consulates and received conflicting answers. Our understanding is that all residents of the territory of Italy automatically become Italian citizens when the country united in 1861. If your ancestor was born in Italy before 1861, but emigrated after 1861, he or she was an Italian citizen. If your ancestor was born in Italy and emigrated before 1861, he or she was NOT an Italian citizen. Because consulates provided inconsistent answers to this question, ICGS recommends you contact the nearest Italian authority if your ancestor was born before 1861.
 
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Q.   I've looked through all the categories on your Qualifying page, but I'm still not sure if I qualify.
 
A.   Whatever your circumstances, remember that there are two principle laws governing Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. The first is that citizenship can only be passed to a child while the parent is still an Italian citizen. That is, parents who became naturalized citizens of their new country BEFORE the birth of their children lost their Italian citizenship and COULD NOT pass citizenship on to them, while parents who became naturalized AFTER the birth of their children COULD pass citizenship on to them. For example, Achille Berto immigrated to America in 1895. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1919 and had a son David in 1921. Citizenship was not passed to David because Achille was an American citizen (naturalized in 1919) at the time of David's birth. Using another example, Massimo Meneghetti immigrated to the USA in 1912, had a daughter Eleanor in 1924 and became a naturalized US citizen in 1936. Citizenship WAS passed to Eleanor because Massimo was still an Italian citizen when she was born.

The second law is that citizenship could not be passed from a woman to her children prior to January 1, 1948. That is not to say that citizenship could not be passed TO females prior to 1948; it just could not be passed FROM a mother before January 1, 1948. Using the same example from the previous paragraph, Eleanor Meneghetti, an Italian citizen through her father Massimo, had one daughter, Dale, born in December of 1947 and another daughter, Elena, born in 1951. Citizenship was NOT passed to Dale but WAS passed to Elena. Before January 1, 1948 it was not possible for Eleanor to pass citizenship on to her children, while it was possible after that date.

Citizenship jure sanguinis has no generational limit (provided the Italian ancestor was born after 1861) but may not, under any circumstances, SKIP generations. If you are still not sure whether you qualify, please post your question on the ICGS Message Board. You are certain to get a prompt response from one of our many knowledgeable members.

 
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Q.   What does "renouncing one's right to Italian citizenship" mean?
 
A.   Native-born Italian citizens renounce their right to Italian citizenship when they become naturalized citizens of a foreign country. Persons born outside Italy who qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis renounce their right to Italian citizenship only by doing so explicitly in an Italian embassy or consulate. (ICGS has never encountered a situation in which the latter occurred.)
 
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Q.   My Italian parent/grandparent/great grandparent was born in Italy, but was naturalized along with his or her parents as a minor. Does it still count as "renouncing one's right to Italian citizenship" if the child was too young to make a conscious choice?
 
A.   Yes. If your parent/grandparent/great grandparent was naturalized as a minor, he or she effectively renounced his or her right to Italian citizenship. This means that your ancestor was unable to pass Italian citizenship jure sanguinis to his or her children as an adult. Unfortunately, no exceptions are made in these cases.
 
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Q.   I've heard the law prohibiting women from passing citizenship to their children before January 1, 1948 has been overturned. Is this true?
 
A.   NO! This has been confirmed by two Italian consulates. There was indeed a one-off decision by the Italian supreme court some years ago but it was subsequently overturned. As things stand, only children born to Italian mothers after January 1, 1948 are eligible.
 
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Q.   Can I qualify for citizenship jure sanguinis through my Italian great grandmother?
 
A.   Remember that prior to January 1, 1948, women could not pass Italian citizenship jure sanguinis on to their children. So unless your grandparent was born after January 1, 1948, the answer is no.
 
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Q.   I don't qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis OR I don't have Italian ancestors. How else can I acquire Italian citizenship?
 
A.   If you are ineligible for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis because your Italian parent was naturalized before your birth, there may be another way for you to qualify jure sanguinis. In the following example, we will assume your mother is Italian, though the same holds for an Italian father. If your mother married your non-Italian father when she was still an Italian citizen (i.e. not yet naturalized) and she remained an Italian citizen for at least the first three years of their marriage, then your father became an Italian citizen through marriage. Though your mother was naturalized before your birth, you may be able to claim Italian citizenship through your father(!), who presumably never renounced his right to Italian citizenship. Though this may seem odd, a Canadian user claimed he had been told this was possible by an Italian consulate in Canada. ICGS has not been able to confirm this with any Italian authority. If you qualify under this "loophole," visit Links Page 1: Italian Embassies and Consulates to check with the nearest Italian embassy or consulate.

There are other ways of acquiring Italian citizenship, but none of them nearly as easy as being recognized jure sanguinis. If you're looking to spend just a few years working in Europe and you don't qualify for citizenship through ancestry, you will probably want to take the traditional route and look for a company or school to sponsor your visa. If you are truly committed to becoming an Italian citizen, you may do so after legally living in Italy (i.e. with a visa or stay permit of some sort) for the following periods of time:

  • one year if you are have formerly held Italian citizenship
  • three years if you are a foreigner with native-born Italian parents or grandparents
  • four years if you are a citizen of another EU country
  • ten years if you are a citizen of a non-EU country

Note: While being recognized as an Italian citizen jure sanguinis does not affect your current citizenship in most cases (since it was your birthright), becoming an Italian citizen through residence or naturalization may affect your native citizenship. Check with the nearest Italian authority for more information.

Of course, you are also eligible for Italian citizenship if you marry an Italian citizen. If you and your spouse live in Italy, you can apply for citizenship after six months of marriage. If you both live outside of Italy, you can apply after three years of marriage.

There are a few other cases in which Italian citizenship may be granted to a foreigner, such as civil or military service or outstanding service to Italy. For further information, contact the nearest Italian authority.

 
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Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis - Apostilles and Certificates


Q.   What is an apostille?
 
A.   An apostille (ah-poh-STEEL) is an international legalization recognized by Hague Convention countries. (Italy, Australia, the UK and the USA are all Hague Convention Countries. Canada and South Africa are not.) In the USA, the office of the Secretary of State of the state in which a birth/marriage/death certificate is issued provides apostilles. An apostille is not a stamp on the certificate; it is a legalization stapled to the certificate. For more information, visit http://travel.state.gov/law/info/judicial/judicial_2545.html.
 
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Q.   How can I find where to get an apostille in my state or province?
 
A.   If you are a citizen of Australia, the United Kingdom or the United States, go to Links Page 2: Vital Records and Apostille Offices and follow the link to website of the apostille office in your state or province. Otherwise, contact the nearest Italian authority for more information.
 
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Q.   Can I request an apostille from my state or province for a certificate from a different state or province?
 
A.   Not in Australia or the United States. In these countries, a state or province may only issue apostilles for certificates originating in that particular state or province. For example, a birth certificate from California requires an apostille from the State of California, a birth certificate from Illinois requires an apostille from the State of Illinois, etc. In the United Kingdom, The Legalisation Office in London may issue apostilles for certificates originating anywhere in the United Kingdom. In all other cases, contact the nearest Italian authority for more information.
 
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Q.   How do I know if apostilles are available in my country (i.e. if my country is a member of the Hague Convention)?
 
A.   Visit http://www.travisa.com/hague.html#countries for a list of Hague Convention countries.
 
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Q.   What if my country is NOT a member of the Hague Convention?
 
A.   Contact the nearest Italian authority to find out what legalizations are required for birth, marriage and death certificates in your country. In Canada and South Africa, for example, the Italian consulates legalize these certificates.
 
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Q.   How do I know which certificates require apostilles?
 
A.   All birth, marriage and death certificates for all relatives in a direct line between you and your Italian ancestor (excluding spouses) must have apostilles. For example, if you apply for citizenship through your mother/grandfather/great grandfather, you need apostilles for all birth, marriage and death certificates relating to you, your mother, your grandfather and your great grandfather. You do NOT need apostilles for birth and death certificates relating to your father, grandmother and great grandmother. Your Italian ancestor's certificate of naturalization does not need an apostille. If you have children under the age of eighteen years, you will need an apostille for their birth certificates because they will acquire Italian citizenship along with you.
 
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Q.   How do I know which certificates require translations into Italian?
 
A.   All birth, marriage and death certificates requiring an apostille must also be translated into Italian. The apostilles themselves do not need to be translated into Italian. NOTE: If you are an American and you fall under the jurisdiction of the Italian consulate in Houston, New York City or Philadelphia, you do NOT need to provide translations. They will translate your certificates for you.
 
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Q.   What if I have discrepancies in names or dates on birth, marriage or death certificates?
 
A.   Carefully check all documents word by word and make a list of all changes in names, last names, dates and places of birth. Discrepancies in the certificates of spouses of Italian ancestors are less important than discrepancies in the certificates of those on the Italian side. Smaller discrepancies (such as adding a middle name in a marriage certificate that didn't appear in a birth certificate) will probably be accepted by the Italian authority. You will have to amend major discrepancies, such as changes in names or birth dates relating to your Italian ancestor with an official "affidavit to amend a record" or other official document. These must be requested from the vital statistics office that issued the certificate. If you are unsure whether a discrepancy warrants a correction, contact the Italian authority that will be processing your application. Discrepancies can cause major delays if you don't correct them immediately!!!
 
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Q.   What if I don't have an exact date of birth/marriage/death for my Italian ancestor?
 
A.   ICGS must have at least a general idea of the date in order to find the certificates you are requesting. An exact date is ideal, but knowing just the year is also fine. If you are sure your ancestor's name and the city or town in Italy are correct, in many cases a range of + or - two years will also suffice. There are many genealogy websites that may be able to provide information about your ancestor's date of birth/marriage/death.
 
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Q.   I have an old photocopy of a birth/death/marriage certificate. Is that acceptable?
 
A.   No! All certificates must be in certified copy - sometimes referred to as long form or full form - and not certification or abstract. If you are a citizen of Australia, Canada, the United States or the United Kingdom, go to Links Page 2: Vital Records and Apostille Offices to be connected with the vital statistics office of the state or province in which the birth/marriage/death took place. These offices will be able to provide certified copies. Birth certificates reporting only the county of birth cannot be accepted. You must request the vital statistics authority to state the city of birth.
 
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Q.   Will I be able to keep the original birth, marriage and death certificates I receive from my state or province?
 
A.   Unfortunately, the Italian embassy or consulate will need the originals. You can make photocopies.
 
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Q.   What about my ancestor's birth/marriage/or death certificates from Italy?
 
A.   Same thing. The Italian embassy or consulate must have the originals.
 
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Q.   What is an estratto di un atto di nascita/matrimonio/morte? Is it a photocopy of the original certificate?
 
A.   Italian vital records offices do not normally send photocopies of original documents. Each city keeps its own records, some dating back over two hundred years, and they don't want to damage the originals. When ICGS requests a certified copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate, vital records offices send an estratto di un atto di nascita/matrimonio/morte or extract of a birth/marriage/death certificate. An extract is a summary of the most important information. Birth extracts include the child's name, city of birth, date of birth and parents' names and ages. Marriage extracts include the spouses' first and last names, cities of birth, date of marriage and city of marriage. Death extracts include the decedent's name, city and date of birth, parents' names, city and date of death and spouse's name. Estratti may be used for genealogical purposes or for an application for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis.
 
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Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis - Naturalization


Q.   What is naturalization?
 
A.   Naturalization is the process by which a person of foreign birth is granted full citizenship in his or her new country. Laws governing the process of naturalization change from country to country. In the United States, for example, a foreigner interested in becoming a naturalized citizen must be over the age of eighteen, live in the US legally for at least five years, have good moral character, be able to speak English, have some knowledge of American history and take an oath of allegiance to the United States renouncing all foreign citizenships.
 
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Q.   How do I get a certificate of naturalization for my Italian ancestor?
 
A.   If your Italian ancestor is deceased, check with relatives to see if any of them have it. Becoming a naturalized citizen was probably a major event in your ancestor's life, and his or her certificate of naturalization was likely passed on to another member of the family. Otherwise, contact your country's department of immigration and naturalization or the court of the town in which he or she lived. If you are an American:
  1. Visit the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the INS) at http://uscis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/g-639.htm to request a certificate of naturalization. Download, print, fill out and mail document g-639 (Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Request). Read pages two and three for detailed instructions. This statement must show your ancestor's full name (and any other names used on official documents), place of birth, date of birth, date of naturalization and certificate number; if a legal alien, the statement must show the permanent resident card number. You may also need to request a statement from the county in which your ancestor resided.
  2. If the research shows no record, double check with the National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/index.html, and request a full research under his or her name and nicknames, and possible dates of birth which may have been declared. If the record is found, you will obtain from National Archives a certified copy of your ancestor's Petition for Naturalization and Oath of Allegiance.
  3. If the record is still negative, you may want to check with the census at http://www.census.gov/genealogy/www/, requesting a survey report dated after the date of birth of your ancestor's child.
 
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Q.   How do I find out what year my Italian ancestor was naturalized?
 
A.   You will have to do some genealogical research. Start with your older relatives. In most cases, you can get at least a general idea of the date of naturalization. If you are an American and you think your ancestor was naturalized prior to 1906, check with the court of the town or city in which this person lived. For naturalizations occurring after 1906, visit the Genealogy website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the INS). You can request an Index Search online, or download the required form (G-1041) to print, fill out, and mail. When you have received your ancestor's Naturalization Certificate File (C-File) number(s), you will need to make a Records Request for each record that you require. This can be done online, or you can download the required form ( G-1041a) and make your request by mail.
 
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Q.   What if my Italian ancestor was never naturalized?
 
A.   You will have to prove this. If your ancestor immigrated to the USA, some consulates (the Italian Consulate, Baltimore, for example) will accept a certification of "NO RECORDS" from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as proof that your ancestor was never naturalized. However, the Italian Consulate General, San Francisco (and possibly others) requires two certificates in addition to the aforementioned BCIS "NO RECORDS" certificate:
  1. A statement of "NO RECORDS" from the National Archives. Request a full research under your ancestor's name and nicknames, and possible dates of birth which may have been declared.
  2. A survey report from a census dated after the date of birth of your ancestor's child.
Contact the nearest Italian authority for more information.
 
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Q.   I have my Italian ancestor's original certificate of naturalization, which is required for my citizenship application. Will the Italian consulate need to keep this?
 
A.   No, a photocopy of the original will suffice. Just to be safe, bring the original to the embassy or consulate when you submit your application so that they can confirm its authenticity.
 
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ICGS


Q.   What services does ICGS provide?
 
A.   With the appropriate information, ICGS will request birth, marriage and death certificates from Italy on your behalf. ICGS can also translate certificates as required for your citizenship application. ICGS' extensive message board can help you to determine whether or not you qualify for Italian citizenship, and is provided as a free service to help guide you through the jure sanguinis process.
 
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Q.   How much does ICGS charge for its services?
 
A.   Birth, marriage and death certificates from Italy cost $60 USD each (in the form of a $20 Deposit and a $40 Success/Delivery Fee). Standard Shipping anywhere in the world  is included in the $40 Success/Delivery Fee. Inquiries regarding your eligibility for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, use of the ICGS Message Board and access to all pages of this site are free.
 
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Q.   How do I Pay?
 
A.   Once you have submitted all your requests on Step 2 of the PROCEDURE page, a record is automatically generated in our database. Simply indicate the names and certificate types of all persons for whom you are requesting certificates when you submit any of the following methods of payment:
  • A personal or business check or money order made out to "Italian Citizenship & Genealogy" and mailed to the ICGS location nearest you. Payments sent to the main office in Halifax, Nova Scotia will be processed much more quickly.  
ICGS will email you as soon as we receive your payment. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please ensure that you have provided us with a valid email address. Occasionally, a simple typo on the part of a client will prevent our autoresponder from sending a confirmation email to the correct address.
 
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Q.   What documents can I download from your website?
 
A.  
  1. A checklist of documents that you will need to gather. Once you've printed this, go to the Qualifying page and click on the category under which you qualify for Italian citizenship. Check off all the certificates you will need, making special note of those that must be affixed with an apostille and translated into Italian.
  2. An Application for Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis. If your embassy or consulate has its own application, use theirs. Otherwise, you must verify that they will accept the one provided by ICGS. Citizenship applications for some consulates are available for download on Links Page 1: Italian Embassies and Consulates. Check to see if your embassy or consulate is one of them.
  3. A cover letter/declaration of comune, which you can personalize by replacing the italicized text. In this letter you must specify the comune or city hall in Italy where you want your civil status documents to be registered. It could be the comune of your Italian ancestor, the comune where you intend to establish you residency or the Comune of Rome. If you choose to register at the comune of your Italian ancestor, you should find the address and phone number on your Italian ancestor's certificates from Italy.
You must have Adobe Reader to open the checklist of documents and the application for citizenship. You must have Microsoft Word to open the cover letter/declaration of comune.
 
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Q.   Will all embassies and consulates accept ICGS' Application for Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis?
 
A.   No, you must contact the nearest Italian authority to verify that they will accept it.
 
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Q.   I'm a little confused by the supplementary forms of ICGS' Application. Could you clarify?
 
A.   You, the applicant, must complete Form 1: Application for Italian Citizenship jure sanguinis, and Form 2: Declaration of Applicant. All living ascendants falling in a direct line between you and your ancestor from Italy must fill out Form 3: Declaration of Living Ascendant Born Outside of Italy, which confirms their relationship to you and states that they do not object to obtaining Italian citizenship. You must complete Form 4: Declaration of Deceased Ascendant for all deceased ascendants falling in a direct line between you and your ancestor from Italy (not including your ancestor from Italy!). All of these forms must be notarized!
 
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Q.   Is ICGS affiliated with the Italian government?
 
A.   No, ICGS is a privately owned company, unaffiliated with any Italian authority, embassy or consulate.
 
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Q.   How long will it take ICGS to get my birth, marriage or death certificates from Italy?
 
A.   ICGS will contact the appropriate vital records office within a few days of your request. Assuming the information you submit contains no errors, it normally takes between 6 and 8 weeks for a response, plus one to ten business days to mail the documents to your address (depending on which shipping option you have selected).
     
   
     
Q.   What if my search takes longer than 16 weeks?
   
A.   While all the orders we receive are processed in a timely manner, there are often long stretches of time while we are waiting for a reply from one of 8,000 different records offices in Italy. Each town or city has its own records and these offices are also open to the public. Unfortunately, they often have little time to spare for non-local requests. On top of that, they are notoriously under-staffed and over-worked, and operate according to a different sort of timetable than those in some other parts of the world. For an archivist in Italy, there is no such thing as an "urgent request".

After 16 weeks, if we are not able to obtain your certificate(s) we will close your order. Your deposit is NON-REFUNDABLE. If your certificate arrives at a later date, we will contact you immediately.

 
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Q.   Will my personal information be released to any third parties?
 
A.   Your personal information allows ICGS to send you information about the status of your requests and to mail you certificates from Italy. It is not used beyond the scope of these communications. We respect your privacy and will not release this information to third parties under any circumstances.
 
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