ICA: Italian Citizenship by Descent. Jure Sanguinis
- WTI Magazine #118 Aug 19, 2019
In our article last month, we covered Italian citizenship by marriage and in this month’s article, we will go over Italian citizenship by descent also known as Jure Sanguinis.
First, let's talk about who can apply for citizenship in this way. The answer is that anyone of Italian descent who can demonstrate an unbroken chain of citizenship back to Italy would not only be eligible for citizenship but actually be recognized as a citizen of Italy by birth! This is an interesting piece of information that most people don't know when they begin the process. Many people were born as a citizen of Italy their whole life but never knew it.
An example of a common family line leading to an eligible applicant would be the following: if your great-grandparent came from Italy in the early 1900’s and had a child, your grandparent, then your grandparent might also be considered a citizen of Italy by birth. Then of course, in turn, if your grandparent would have had citizenship, they would also have had the ability to pass down his citizenship to their child, your parent. Which means if your parent would be considered a citizen of Italy too, that could also make you a citizen of Italy since Italian citizenship is passed down through each generation. This is a simplification of a nationality law principle is sometimes called Jure Sanguinis (Latin), meaning “(by) right of blood”.
Jure Sanguinis, is largely the basis of the laws governing Italian nationality by birth. The same way a person in Italy would be born a citizen of the country is the same way in which people born abroad (outside of Italy) are also recognized. It just so happens that this law can also be applied to people born into the Italian diaspora with the main difference being a person born in Italy would have had their birth registered when they are born whereas most people going through this process of recognition for dual citizenship are adults when they have their birth registered. At its core you could almost say that adults petitioning for recognition of citizenship in this way, are actually going through a delayed birth registration.
If you need any assistance in determining your eligibility, Italian Citizenship Assistance will be releasing an interactive eligibility questionnaire on our website in the near future. In the meantime we currently have an eligibility quiz on our website that will also help you to determine your eligibility. If you need any further aid in determining your eligibility, our dual citizenship experts are able to offer their assistance, always feel welcome to contact Italian Citizenship Assistance through our contact form.
During your research to determine if you are eligible for Italian citizenship or not, there are many tools available that can help you in your search to find records. The websites like ancestry.com and www.familysearch.org may offer important insight, but keep in mind their records are not perfectly in order. In some cases, we, at ICA, may also be able to assist you in your genealogical research.
The next step to take once you have determined your eligibility, and once have gathered your documents, is to determine which consulate you should schedule your appointment. Many people choose to accomplish these tasks simultaneously. Making your appointment while gathering the required documents can be a good idea since wait times for an initial appointment can be year or two away from the time you make the appointment. Although keep in mind, you can also apply in Italy and skip the wait time for an appointment at your consulate. If you are deciding to apply in your country of residence rather than applying in Italy, you can read more about that here.
Because many people choose to apply in their country of residence/birth, we’ll quickly touch on that subject. Italian consulates operate by jurisdiction. Different regions of the world have been divided into various consular jurisdictions depending on demographics and geography. For example, if you live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, your consulate would be San Francisco but if you live in the Los Angeles area or Arizona, your consulate jurisdiction would be under the authority of the Los Angeles consulate. To determine the jurisdiction you live in, the Italian Embassy website for your country should have all of the information you need. A quick google search is another way to try and find an answer, for example, if you live in the USA you can type “Italian consulates in the United States” into google.
The question you may be thinking is, why would somebody want to get Italian citizenship through descent? Why would anybody want to go through the hassle? Click here to read more about the benefits of Italian Dual Citizenship. ICA's very own media advisor, Rafael Di Furia, who is also known for making videos on YouTube about Italian Citizenship and life in Italy, is a prime example of one of the ways a person of Italian descent can take full advantage of their recognized nationality. Rafael is a proud Italian-American raised on the west coast of the United States. His family originally came from the south of Italy and relocated to Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. To make a very long story short, after lots of research, Rafael found the ancestral comune where his family came from in Italy. Since he was a child he had always dreamed of living in Italy. As soon as his process was completed, he immediately relocated to live in the country he loved so much. He now lives and works in Italy without restriction and enjoys all the benefits of being an Italian citizen without any restrictions. He doesn’t have to consider length of stays, visas, and can relax and participate as a contributing member of Italian society and he is also very happy to be able to vote and to learn more about the complex Italian political system.
Rafael has mentioned how he is both excited and content to be "home" in the country of his ancestors and proud to be a “passport bearing” Italian and carry on his family name in the country of its origin.
For more detailed information on citizenship by marriage click here to read our citizenship by marriage page. As always if you are interested to speak with one of our Italian citizenship experts and for an obligation and cost free consultation click here.
Keep an eye open for next month’s Italian Citizenship Assistance article on Italian citizenship going through what is known as going through a "1948 case" for people whose family goes back through a female ancestor who gave birth before June 1, 1948.