Italy is an incredible country to live in because it offers a perfect mix of weather, food, culture, and landscape. The opportunities for financial growth are thriving here, whether you are an entrepreneur or a professional. You can travel visa-free to any of the EU nations with an Italian passport. Additionally, the citizens have access to the best healthcare and education systems in this part of the world. Not surprisingly, countless Americans looking forward to living the European life see Italy as their immigration destination.
If you have your eyes set on Italian citizenship, you will be happy to know that you have several options to explore. You can claim through your ancestral background, marriage, or naturalization. Choosing the right alternative depends on your eligibility because a specific one would work for you. Since millions of Americans trace their roots in Italy, citizenship by descent is one of the most popular alternatives for aspirants looking to move to the country. If you are keen on exploring it, we have a complete guide for you.
Tracing your Italian roots through Jure Sanguinis
Jure Sanguinis or citizenship by descent refers to the right of blood, which enables you to claim the citizenship of a country due to your family ties. If you have Italian ascendants in your lineage, you may be eligible for citizenship of the country. The ascendants could be your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. But other conditions apply for eligibility for the option and securing your claim.
The option is worth pursuing because once you secure your claim, you get all the rights and privileges of a person born here. You also get a European Union passport, which is the golden ticket every American wants to get. The best thing is that the right passes on to your next generations automatically, making it a big advantage. While the option sounds exciting, obtaining citizenship by this route requires a good understanding of the process. Additionally, you will have to follow a lengthy administrative process to complete it.
Understanding the eligibility requirements
The eligibility requirements for citizenship by descent sound simple and straightforward. But they can get complex if you scratch the surface, with factors such as dates, ancestral gender, and exceptions coming into play. You will be eligible if born to a parent of Italian descent or even adopted by them. Here are the requirements that make you eligible for Jure Sanguinis:
● You are born to or adopted by an individual of Italian descent. If adopted, you must be a minor at the time of adoption. A person is considered a minor in this context if adopted before the age of 21 before 1975 or before the age of 18 after 1975.
● Your ascendant was alive and an Italian citizen after Italy's formation and unification in 1861.
● The ascendant did not lose their citizenship by naturalization in another country or they naturalized only after the birth of their child who is also the next person in the Italian lineage.
● You were born before August 16, 1992, and your Italian parent did not naturalize to another country before your birth.
● People who naturalized before June 14, 1912, cannot pass on citizenship even to descendants born before their naturalization.
An important exception to Jure Sanguinis applies to applicants born to female ancestors who gave birth before January 1, 1948. The law was completely discriminatory as it prohibited women from passing on the right to their children born before 1948. On the contrary, children born to the same woman after 1948 were eligible to apply via descent. However, you can still claim your birthright, but the process is different. You can apply through the 1948 Rule, which involves a judicial process instead of the conventional administrative route.
Securing Italian citizenship by descent
Once you are sure about your eligibility for Italian citizenship by descent, you can go ahead with the process. It is crucial to have a fair understanding of the steps so that you have realistic expectations regarding the complexity and timelines. You can go through the details at mbersanilaw.com, while we have a short overview of the steps for you. Here are the ones you will have to follow to complete the administrative process of Jure Sanguinis.
Step 1: Get started
Initially, you will have to pick the Italian ancestor you want to make the claim through. You may have multiple ascendants in your bloodline. But it makes sense to choose the one whose information is easily accessible. Here are the facts you will need to validate -
● The Italian birthplace of the ancestor
● The birth date and aliases they used
● If and when they were naturalized
● Names, birth dates, and marriage dates of other individuals in your Italian line, starting from the Italian born ascendant
While this information is essential to validate your ancestral line in the court, it can help with deciding your eligibility in the first place. At this stage, it would be wise to get assistance from experts to make sure you make no mistakes while determining your eligibility.
Step 2: Gathering starter documents
Even before applying for citizenship, you will need to gather documents and certificates. You will require them down the line to validate your bloodline and claim. Essentially, you will require the following records:
● Birth certificate of your Italian ancestor
● Documents establishing their US residency status
● Birth certificate of the person next in your Italian bloodline
Apart from the starter documents, you will need a long list of additional paperwork to complete the process. These include certificates of birth, death, marriage, divorce, and name change of the family line of descent. The process can get cumbersome because you will have to procure the birth certificate of the Italian ancestor from the comune of their birth. It makes sense to get local assistance because these experts will have the right connections to secure these documents for you. Once you have these basic documents confirming your eligibility, you can get your appointment with the local Italian consulate. The sooner you book, the better because you can expect a long waiting time here. So you will have plenty of time to get your documents ready and processed for the application.
Step 3: Legalization and translation of documents
You will need to process the non-Italian records and certificates with official legalizations and translations. Official legalization of foreign-origin documents requires authentication through an apostille stamp. Once these records have the stamp, they will be valid for use abroad. Apart from authentication, you will also need official translations in the Italian language. Having citizenship experts handling the process gives you the advantage because they will cover these aspects. If you apply outside of Italy, the consular fee will include the translations.
Step 4: Consulate appointment
By the time you get your paperwork ready, your waiting time at the consulate will be over, and you will get an appointment. You will have to appear in person at the Italian municipal office or your local consulate depending on where you apply from. The officials will check your documents and decide whether you need to submit further documentation. You may expect to miss out on one or more documents or skip a detail if you apply on your own. For this reason, it makes sense to get Italian citizenship assistance to help you through the process. If you need to submit more documents, gather them at the earliest and send them through to take the process ahead.
Step 5: Wait and watch
Once you are through the appointment, you have to wait and watch. It is perhaps the most frustrating step of the entire journey because it may seem like forever. The authorities will take their time to assess your application and documents, and you can do nothing to expedite the process. The process can stretch up to six months and even a year, and you will have no information about the progress on processing. If you have the relevant documents and everything is in place, you will probably get a favorable result.
Step 6: The final step
After you gain the official recognition of citizenship, you will have to confirm it by registering in the Italian Government's Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad (AIRE). It will enable you to get your Italian passport even as you live in the US. You will need to attend another appointment with the local Italian consulate to apply for the passport. If applying from Italy, you need not even opt for AIRE registration. You will be registered in the local municipality and get your identification card from them. Once you have it, you can apply for your Italian passport at the local Police headquarters.
While the process for Italian citizenship by descent seems long and complicated, collaborating with Italian citizenship experts gets you in a good place. They can help you complete the process from start to end, right from determining your eligibility to gathering documents, certifying and translating them, and getting everything in place for the appointment. They can assist you to secure your right by bloodline, even if it sounds daunting and complex.