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Italian Bloodline- How To Leverage It For Citizenship By Descent

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The concept of citizenship by descent has gathered popularity in recent years. Americans tracing their roots back to other parts of the world want to reclaim them and start a life in the land of their origin. Italy is among the popular destinations that offer the option of Jure Sanguinis or citizenship by descent. If you can trace and validate your bloodline in the country, you have the right to claim citizenship. The best part is that it is just the beginning as you can pass on the right to the next generations.

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The option sounds like a great one to start your immigration journey, but you need to understand a few things before going ahead. You can read this full guide if you want to start the application process and claim your right. Your ancestral line can work in your favor, so make sure you use it to your advantage. Let us explain how you can leverage it for obtaining Italian citizenship by descent.

Know the eligibility norms

Italian citizenship by descent is available for applicants through their ancestral line, without a limit on the number of generations. It means you can claim through your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and beyond. Here are the eligibility norms you must follow to establish a claim:

  • If you are born to Italian parent(s) or adopted as a minor (age below 21 is regarded as a minor if adopted before 1975 and below 18 if adopted after 1975)
  • The Italian parent/ancestor must not have taken citizenship by naturalization in another country when their child was born
  • The ancestor should be an Italian citizen after the country’s unification in 1861

Understand the exceptions

Eligibility for the route sounds as simple as being born to Italian parents. But there are some exceptions to the rule. If you fall into one of these categories, you will have to look for another way to apply. Here are the exceptions to the general rule:

  • The Italian-born ancestor naturalized before June 14, 1912
  • You were born to an Italian woman before 1948
  • You want to claim through a maternal line, with a female ascendant who gave birth before January 1, 1948

Italian women were not allowed to pass on their citizenship rights before 1948, making the law discriminatory. A subsequent correction allows such applicants to apply through a judicial process under the 1948 Rule.

Stay a step ahead with documentation

If you qualify for the route, you can go ahead with the process. But it makes sense to get a head start with document gathering because you will need a long list for the process. Primarily, you will require the certificates of birth, death, marriage, and naturalization to validate your ancestral connections. You will need them from the Italian comune of your ancestor as well as the country of naturalization. It may be challenging to secure them from the local offices, but you have to procure them for the process. The U.S.-issued vital records have to be certified, translated, and apostilled to be considered legal for the process.

Have clear expectations

Once you get your documents in place, you can apply for Italian citizenship by descent. You will have to fill the application form and submit it at your nearest Italian consulate to get started. They will give you an appointment for submitting documents and appearing for an interview. Though it is your first step towards a second passport, you need to have clear expectations about the process and timelines. The appointment may take as long as a year, depending on the number of applications already in process. You can consider applying from within Italy to expedite the journey. You may even set up a legal residence there during the processing time.

Collaborate with an expert

It is best to collaborate with an Italian citizenship expert to help you with the process. They can guide and assist you at every stage, ensuring a smooth and easy journey down the line. A local professional has the right kind of connections, so sourcing your documents in Italy gets easier. They will also make sure that all other documents are in place and there are no errors and omissions in the application. Having an expert handling the process also gives you confidence and peace of mind.

Citizenship by descent is the easiest way to get into Italy and start a new life in the country of your ancestors. But the process can be long and daunting, specifically if you navigate it without professional expertise. Join hands with a specialist, and you will achieve your goal even before you expect.

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About the author


Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.

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