Monday, February 8, 2010

Italian Dual Citizenship

The New Craze

There has been a rash of requests for assistance with obtaining Italian Dual Citizenship. Grandpa or Great-Grandpa (or Ma) immigrated to the USA from Italy and you want the papers to not only prove it, you want the benefits of being an Italian Citizen. It is not clear why there are so many recent requests since the Italian law has allowed dual citizenship since 1992, but this has been the new craze on the a3Genealogy desk.

As an Italian citizen you can secure an Italian Passport and live and work in any European Union (EU) country. You can take advantage of the free public health care and you can pass the citizenship to your children and take advantage of the Italian free education. These are just a few of the benefits of having a dual citizenship. If approved as an Italian citizen, your spouse and children (under eighteen) are also eligible for dual citizenship.

Documentation Needed
But to qualify for an Italian dual citizenship you need to do a lot of legwork to meet all the regulations in proving “jure sanguinis” (your birthright) through lineage to an Italian citizen who did not renounce their right to Italian citizenship. You will need to gather or hire a researcher to gather your materials. This is an overview of what is needed:

1) your direct line ancestor, grandfather, grandmother, great-grandfather, etc, emigrated after 1861 and was an Italian citizen..
2) your immigrant ancestor did not become an American citizen before his descendent (your direct line) was born. So if the lineage is from you, your father, and grandfather, your father would have been born prior to your grandfather’s USA naturalization date for you to be eligible.
3) Proof of naturalization date or proof that your immigrant ancestor never was naturalized.
4) Translated Birth certificates for you and your direct line to the immigrant ancestor and spouses as well as your children*
5) Translated Marriage certificates (into Italian) for all mentioned above
6) Translated Death certificates.
*Most translations needed are for the direct line between you and the immigrant.

Eligibility Determination
Meeting the requirements of Items 1-3 (above) normally are the reasons an Italian descendent is not eligible. Therefore, the best thing to do is hire a genealogist that specializes in lineage research to verify these basic eligibility requirements prior to translating marriage and death certificates and searching for Italian birth certificates.

There are other ways to obtain Italian citizenship, but a3Genealogy only works with those obtaining it through “jure sanguinis.”

Buona giornata!

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers


  1. Hi Kathleen,

    Can you advise me where else I might look for information regarding the other ways to obtain Italian citizenship? I was born in Florence, but my situation is a bit complicated. Would I simply ask the Italian Consulate, or is there another avenue I where I could gather info?

    I had a negative experience years ago at the Italian consulate in London, where it seemed I just ran into a person who was having a bad day and not necessarily giving accurate info, and I'd like to have an idea of what the actual facts are.


  2. The process to become a dual citizen has streamlined. You must have proof of Italian heritage through birth, death, marriage (and divorce) records of your Italian line starting with you to the parents of the 1st immigrant to America or your country of residence. If you were actually born in Florence you only need your birth record and proof of residence. We do not have experience with the London Italian consulate.