ABOUT ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP ASSISTANCE
Italian Citizenship Assistance (ICA) is an international firm with offices both in Italy and in the US. ICA helps individuals with Italian descent apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (by right of blood). However, ICA also helps individuals to apply for Italian citizenship by marriage or by residency.
In the past few years ICA's team of legal experts, genealogists, translators and dual citizenship attorneys have helped hundreds of Americans with Italian descent obtain Italian citizenship via the consulates in the U.S., via applications filed in Italy, or via judicial proceedings for cases which need to be filed in court. In fact, there are several paths to acquiring Italian citizenship; these are mainly dependent on whether the Italian ancestor through whom an individual is claiming citizenship ever naturalized, and if the naturalization occurred after or before the child's birth. As a general rule, one can apply for Italian citizenship by descent if the ancestor who was born in Italy never naturalized or if he/she naturalized after the child's birth, and if none of the ascendants in the applicant's direct line of descent ever formally renounced their right to Italian citizenship. However, there are also a number of exceptions to the rules mentioned above. These are explained in great detail in the section Can I apply for Italian citizenship?
Italian Citizenship Assistance offers an A to Z service. More specifically, ICA's client intake team takes care of performing a free preliminary analysis of an individual's case; this often requires in-depth genealogical research. If an individual is eligible to apply ICA's citizenship specialists take care of retrieving the applicants' family's vital records and all of the paperwork which is necessary to file a citizenship application. When all of the documents have been retrieved they must be reviewed in order to determine whether there are any discrepancies that might negatively affect the individual's application. If no amendments need to be made the documents can be apostilled. Finally, all of the records are translated into Italian by ICA's professional legal translators. More information about ICA's services is explained in great detail in the section Services.
CAN I APPLY FOR ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP?
Applying for Italian citizenship by descent
The vast majority of ICA's clients apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (by descent). You can apply for Italian citizenship by descent if the ancestor who was born in Italy never naturalized or if he/she naturalized after the child's birth, and if none of the ascendants in your direct line of descent ever formally renounced their right to Italian citizenship. In addition to your family's vital records (birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates), in order to apply for citizenship by descent you must also provide your Italian ancestor's naturalization records or proof that your ancestor never naturalized. If you are wondering whether you need to speak Italian to apply for Italian citizenship by descent please note that it is not a legal requirement. However, if you are applying for Italian citizenship by marriage and by residency you need to have a certified knowledge of the Italian language. For more information please visit our website where you will find the latest news about applying for Italian citizenship. Information about the language requirement can be found here.
Applying for Italian citizenship through a female ancestor who gave birth to her child before 1948
Please note that if there is a female ancestor who was born in Italy, or who is in your Italian lineage and was born in the US but gave birth to her child prior to January 1, 1948, you cannot file an application at an Italian consulate or at an Italian municipality. However, you might be able to claim citizenship via a lawsuit. In particular, on January 1, 1948 Italy's constitution came into force; the constitution granted women and men equal rights. As a result, under the new constitution, Italian women could pass their Italian citizenship onto their children but only if they were born after January 1, 1948. Therefore, if your female ancestor who was born in Italy gave birth to her child prior to January 1, 1948 you can only claim citizenship retroactively via a judicial proceeding and file a 1948 case. As mentioned above, you can also file a 1948 case if there is a woman in your Italian lineage who was born in the US but who gave birth to her child prior to January 1, 1948.
US Cable Act of September 22, 1922
Sometimes there might also be circumstances in which you cannot claim Italian citizenship via your male ancestor who was born in Italy but you might be able to claim it via your female ancestor because she might have become naturalized automatically and involuntarily by marriage. Prior to September 22, 1922, in fact, if a woman married an Italian citizen who became naturalized she would automatically lose her Italian citizenship and acquire her husband's citizenship. The US Cable Act of September 22, 1922 changed the status of married immigrant women so that they would not automatically acquire their husbands' citizenship. Therefore, if your female ancestor who was born in Italy married a man who renounced his Italian citizenship prior to 1922 you might be able to claim citizenship via a judicial proceeding as a woman's automatic naturalization by marriage is now considered to be discriminatory and unlawful.
April 27, 1983
Finally, with regards to women, it is worth pointing out that before April 27, 1983 all foreign women who married an Italian citizen automatically became Italian. In this sense, a woman who married an Italian citizen (or a man who could claim his right to Italian citizenship) prior to that date can apply for the recognition of her Italian citizenship. This can be done through a process which is faster than a traditional jure matrimonii application. This also means that if your father who was born in Italy became naturalized before you were born, you cannot apply for citizenship through him but you might be able to apply via your mother provided that their marriage took place prior to April 27, 1983. Please note that if your parents divorced prior to that date, but after your birth, you can still claim Italian citizenship but your mother would have lost her citizenship right at the time of the divorce. On the other hand, if your parents divorced after April 27, 1983 your mother can apply for citizenship.
The reacquisition of Italian citizenship
Finally, in 1992 the Italian government officially allowed dual citizenship and it established that after August 16 1992, Italian citizens who naturalized in a foreign country no longer lost their Italian citizenship. On the other hand, before this law was passed, the voluntary acquisition of a foreign citizenship caused the loss of Italian citizenship. Nevertheless, if you fall into this category you can indeed require Italian citizenship by establishing your residency in Italy. More information about the reacquisition of Italian citizenship can be found here.
Applying for Italian citizenship by marriage or by residency
As we have seen so far, there are various paths to acquiring Italian citizenship if your ancestor was born in Italy. However, if you do not have Italian heritage or you do not qualify but you are married to an Italian citizen or you wish to relocate to Italy, you can apply for citizenship by marriage or by residency. In particular, if you are a non-EU citizen, you can apply for citizenship by residency only if you have legally resided in the country for 10 years. By legal residency we refer to being listed as a resident in a town's registry office ("anagrafe"). On the other hand, if you are an EU citizen you can apply for citizenship by residency if you have resided in Italy for 4 years. Nevertheless, there are other cases for which the period of residency required is lower, such as for foreigners whose parent or grandparent were Italians by birth. In this case the time required is 3 years of legal residency. For more information about the documents required to apply and the processing time please click here.
On the other hand, you can apply for citizenship by marriage if you reside in Italy and you have been married to your Italian spouse for 2 years. The number of years is halved if you have children under the age of 18. On the other hand, if you reside abroad, you can apply for Italian citizenship after 3 years from the date of marriage or civil union. Similarly, the number of years is halved if you have minor children. These rules also apply to same-sex civil unions, which were recognized officially in Italy by law in 2016. Please note that if you reside abroad, your Italian spouse must be registered with the A.I.R.E. (the Registry of Italians Residing Abroad) and must have registered your marriage record through the local Italian consulate. Finally, the non-Italian spouse must pass a language test and also provide a certificate of no criminal record. For more information about applying for citizenship by marriage please click here.
Please note that all of our clients' cases are unique, therefore if you do not fall into any of the categories mentioned above or if you would like further information in order to determine whether you are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website.
AT THE CONSULATE
At ICA we offer three main services: Executive-Full Service, "Step By Step" Package, "Assistance" Package.
The Executive-Full Service consists of a comprehensive approach that will take care of every detail of the process. The case will be handled by one of our Italian citizenship experts who will provide the client with unlimited consultation and complete assistance from the beginning to the end. We will carry out in-depth genealogical research, schedule and manage the applicant's appointment with the Italian consulate and retrieve all of the necessary records that will be then submitted to the consulate on the day of the appointment. Once all of the records have been collected, we will take care of the legalization process and one of our professional translators will translate all of the applicant's vital records into Italian as required by law. Finally, we will help the applicant apply for an Italian passport and register with the A.I.R.E.
"Step By Step" Package
With the "Step By Step" service you will be guided by a dual citizenship expert throughout the entire citizenship application. As with the Executive-Full Service, we provide in-depth genealogical research, we schedule and manage the applicant's appointment with the Italian consulate and retrieve the necessary records from Italy. The main difference compared to the Executive-Full Service is that you will be guided and assisted throughout the retrieval of all the non-Italian records, and throughout the legalization process. The consultation with our dual citizenship expert is unlimited and once we retrieve all of the records we will take care of translating them into Italian, as well as helping you apply for a passport and registering with the A.I.R.E.
The Assistance Package is designed for those individuals who have already started the process of obtaining Italian citizenship but do not know how to move forward. We will provide the client with unlimited consultation and we will offer support and guidance to complete the process.
If your female ancestor gave birth to her child prior to January 1, 1948 you can only claim citizenship via a judicial proceeding. The trial can only take place in the Court of Rome and you will be represented by an Italian attorney. Therefore, you do not need to be in Italy to apply. In fact, you can sign a power of attorney and allow one of our lawyers to represent you in Court and file all of the documents related to your claim to Italian citizenship. If yours is a "1948 case", we can assist you in three different ways:
APPLYING FOR CITIZENSHIP BY MARRIAGE
If you are applying for citizenship by marriage we will assist you with retrieving of all the necessary vital records and documents, including criminal background records from Italy, the U.S. and from other countries. We will offer unlimited consultation during the whole process and we will take care of legalizing and translating your vital records. Once you have obtained Italian citizenship we will help you apply for a passport and register with the A.I.R.E.
APPLYING FOR CITIZENSHIP IN ITALY
If you would like to come to Italy for a certain period of time (from 3 to 7/8 months) we also offer you the possibility to apply for citizenship by descent in Italy. Contrary to applying to an Italian consulate in the U.S. if you decide to apply in Italy the application process will be faster as you will be applying to an Italian municipality. Your case will be handled by one of our citizenship experts who will tale care of every detail and help you fulfil your dream of becoming an Italian citizen.
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