Italian citizenship for babies born here

03/11/2010 - 09:49

Just wondered if anyone knows if our baby will be able to be an Italian citizen or not. The Consulate website is a bit unclear. I was under the impression our child could only claim citizenship at the age of 18 as per below: "1. Declaration of desire to become a citizen; If the foreigner is of Italian descent (up to the 2nd degree) he/she can obtain citizenship in any of the following cases: - by serving in the Italian armed forces; - by becoming a subordinate employee of the Italian State, even abroad; - by residing legally in Italy for at least two years after reaching legal age. If the foreigner was born in Italian territory he/she can obtain citizenship by residing legally and uninterruptedly in Italy from birth up to legal age." Then I saw the next section so does this mean it will have Italian citizenship?: "WAYS TO BECOME AN ITALIAN CITIZEN  AUTOMATICALLY 1. by having an Italian parent(s); 2. by being born in Italy: including cases in which the parents are unknown, stateless or do not transmit their own citizenship to their child according to the legislation of the State to which they belong, as well as children found abandoned in Italy and for whom it is impossible to determine status civitatis (citizenship); or does the next section mean we could apply after the baby's third birthday?: "3. Naturalizzazione requirements include: 10 years of legal residence; sufficient income; absence of criminal record; renunciation of original citizenship (where foreseen). the number of years can be reduced to: 3 years of legal residence for descendents of former Italian citizens by birth, up to the 2nd degree, and for foreigners born in Italian national territory; 4 years of legal residence for citizens of European Community Member States; 5 years of legal residence for displaced persons or refugees, as well as for legal-age foreigners adopted by Italian citizens; 7 years of legal residence as the child of an Italian parent; no period of residence is required for foreigners who have served the State for a period of at least 5 years, even abroad. Application for naturalisation must be addressed to the President of the Republic (Presidente della Repubblica) and presented to the Prefecture in the Province of residence. " Confused!! Could anyone shed any light for me? Thanks.



Hi Penny, when I enquired about the citizenship issue, I was told the child has the right to opt for Italian citizenship at the age of 18 if living here permanently. It has to be applied for within one year of becoming 18. being born here gives you the right to choose to be Italian once 18 but is not given automatically unless one parent is Italian as it still goes by blood-line. That was the explanation given by the German consulate and the infor I found on the Italian Konsulate site. I also found the same details you copied in your post and found them equally unclear, hence I contacted my embassy. Not sure if they have compulsory military service here though? If so, then a boy opting for citiezenship at 18 could be called up. Just something to bear in mind. regards, Jana      

 Penny, I think that your child is entitled to Italian citizenship by birth and sections 1 and 3 that you are quoting relate to naturalization only. As far as I know, Italian citizenship by birth is granted to: 1) A child with an Italian mother or father 2) A child born in Italy to unknown or stateless parents 3) A child born in Italy to non-Italian parents providing that they are from a country where the law does not impose adopting the citizenship of the parents 4) A child of unknown parents found in Italy without proof of citizenship or identity This is the law which is applied in most EU countries

They have recently abolished National Service in Italy so not a consideration really. Gala, in your response then we would fall under category 3 but our baby would not get it as our child would automatically have British citizenship by descent even thought it will be born in Italy - ehich was my original understanding. I just wondered if it was bad translation on the consulate website by saying "2. by being born in Italy : including cases in which the parents are unknown, stateless or do not transmit their own citizenship to their child according to the legislation of the State to which they belong" Do they really mean "including" as that implies just by being born here our child would have Italian citizenship (if you see what I mean). It was the naturalisation that interested me too. Does that mean if our child does not qualify under point 2. then could it become a naturaralised citizen after it's third birthday? You can see why I'm confused!!

In reply to by Penny

well, since our little bundle is due next month, I'll probably have the chance to find out then when registering the birth. although, we don't want Italian citizenship for our baby, I might be able to find out from the registrar and let you know. It still leaves you with 3 months to go then. I'll keep you posted after the birth.

Is British citizenship compulsory, or is it an option?  That would be the question to ask. The newborn child would have an Italian Birth certificate, which would be then accepted by the British Consulate if you decide to register him/her in order to have the British nationality.  Section 3 would apply to people over the age of 18 only. At least this is what I understand and would also follow current legal requirements in other EU countries. What about dual nationality? This is quite usual nowadays. I have dual nationality (not Italian, but Australian and Spanish). 

Hi Gala & Jana, yes we are thinking dual nationality. We do want our child to have Italian citizenship for lots of reasons not least of which is not having to pay inheritance tax in the UK. The British citizenship is automatic and we do not have to apply or claim it. It just seems ridiculous that our child will be born and brought up here but not be able to have Italian citizenship. Just seems a bit ridiculous as it will be a lot more Italian than British, having been to Italian school etc.

In reply to by Penny

 Hi Penny, If neither the parents are Italian, a child born in Italy does not automatically acquire Italian nationality, but can apply for it if resident in Italy up to age 18. I think your child will only be entitled to British nationality at birth. By the way, nationality has no bearing on liability for UK inheritance tax, unfortunately.  Domicile is the issue here. Whether your property is taxable on your death in the UK or in Italy depends on your own, not the childs, domicile at the time of death. Charlotte      

Some countries are primarily concerned with birth and / or residency and some with blood.  I have dual nationality UK/US despite the fact that I was born in the UK of a British father and a dual mother.  Never lived there - and now we are in Italy probably never will :P

Thanks Charlotte! Just another question or two... If we took Italian citizenship (dual really as we would keep our British one) would our baby be an Italian citizen (assuming we have enough time to do this still)? Also, if we became Italian citizens after it is born, would the baby "inherit" our Italian citizenship or could we apply on the baby's behalf, or would it still have to wait until it is 18? Thanks.