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Italian Citizenship by Descent: A Full Guide

italian citizenship

What are the Italian Citizenship Programs?
What is the best options for your Italian Citizenship Assistance?
And, what option do you now have for applying for Italian Citizenship by Descent?


Let’s see the rules and latest updates on Italian Citizenship Assistance Programs. 

An Introduction to the Italian Citizenship Assistance Program.

Today’s article is dedicated to people interested in obtaining an Italian passport, and in particular Italian Citizenship by Descent programs.

When we talk about Italian Citizenship Assistance programs, let’s consider that there are several ways to obtain an Italian Passport: 

•    Italian Citizenship by Descent through Italian Consulate or Comune
•    Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis through Consulate or Comune
•    Italian Citizenship through maternal line (under Italian Citizenship 1948 rule)
•    Italian Citizenship by Marriage
•    Italian Citizenship by naturalization

Today we want to tell you more about some main updates related to the Italian Citizenship Law, with a focus on Italian Citizenship by Descent, with the help of Marco Bersani, founder of the Bersani Law Firm & partners from Italy, specialized in Italian Citizenship Assistance

MarcoIndeed, there are some important news affecting all Italian Citizenship programs, introduced because of COVID19 pandemic and for refreshing the Italian citizenship regulations, which have been pretty untouched for many years. 


So let’s see how these updates will affect your Italian citizenship Jure Sanguinis application.

What does Italian Citizenship by Descent entail?

“When We talk about Italian Citizenship by Descent” - says Marco – “ we are refering to one of the oldest italian citizenship programs, designed by the Government  from 1865 (with generic references on the right to claim Italian Citizenship from italian ancestors) , then modified on 1912 and f

But, What exactly is the Jure Sanguinis principle?

“Jure Sanguinis is a latin expression which means that you have the right to claim your italian Citizenship because of the fact you’re part of an Italian family bloodline

So, if You have Italian ancestors in your lineage (grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents and so on), you may be eligible for applying on Italian Citizenship by descent. Of course, this doesn't mean that you’re automatically eligible because of these lucky circumstances, but you do have to meet several other requirements”.

And what are the requirements for being eligible?

“Basically, the main thing to check is that the bloodline has never been interrupted. This can happen – in many cases – when an ancestor is naturalized in a foreign country (so he/she renounced his/her Italian Citizenship), and the same ancestors had a child after that naturalization. This means the child was born from a non-Italian ancestor and there is no way to repair it, in most cases.

In other cases – common in US – during your ancestry research, You can find that it is a woman in the Italian family line, and If you look at the Italian Consulate statements, it might even seem that you are not considered eligible.


However, this is not true as these cases (they are called “1948 cases”) can be processed with no particular issue through an Italian Court.”

So, let’s assume I’m eligible and I need Italian citizenship assistance on a Jure sanguinis case: What options I have for starting my Italian Citizenship Application?

This is a common question when people look for requesting Italian Citizenship Assistance from us, in order to apply for Italian Citizenship by descent.

How can I obtain my Italian Citizenship through my ancestors?

“The “ordinary way” is to apply through the adminsitrative path: which means doing so at the Italian Consulate (if you are living abroad) or Italian Comune (if you live in Italy).

This method can be quite frustrating, mainly because of Italian Consulates which are not able to handle thousands of applications and/or they are not helpful on giving the right information.

For example, this year most of worldwide Consulates halted Italian Citizenship applications because of Covid-19 pandemic – and this resulted on cancellations on all appointments already booked, and the impossibility to book new appointments. 


This meant that many applicants had their rights violated. They have the right to claim their Citizenship, and they simply can’t. That’s why it has become so necessary to ask for Italian Citizenship Assistance by qualified Italian Citizenship Lawyers, who are the only ones who can handle your case in front of the court”.  

So, in which situations I need to ask for Italian citizenship assistance on my case?

“Getting assistance for Italian citizenship applications is always recommended, as each case is different, and reading information online is certainly not enough – and not a true, legal advice. 
Furthermore, let’s consider exceptional circumstances from this year: COVID-19.
This year has complicated what was already a pretty difficult previous situation: consulates are closing and there is no way to book appointments.

So: you might even have to wait for years for just a consulate appointment (if you are able to book).

And in case you’ll be lucky enough to book an appointments, you may have to wait up to 2 Years for the final decision on your Italian Citizenship By Descent Application.

As You can understand, there was the need of finding solutions to this issues. 

Just few examples: now the Italian Consulate in L.A., in NYC, are both closed and have suspended all appointments. It means there is no way to apply for Italian Citizenship by Descent.

And – as said before – this is a violation of the Applicant’s rights. 
We are assisting a lot of clients with these same issues

So how to proceed?&

The 1st thing to check is if the Italian consulate of reference (it depends on where the applicant is resident) is able - or not – to respect legal guarantees regarding maximum wait time for appointments and decision on the application, according by the Italian Citizenship Law.

In case they will be able to respect the maximum legal wait time (2 years for the entire process), nothing can be done: you have to apply through the Consulate and wait.

But what if the Italian consulate has a wait time of more than two years or that it is impossible to book appointments? 


This option started to be a serious problem, especially now with the Covid19 pandemic affecting the entire world.

And this is actually the only and the best way to solve issues on Italian Citizenship by Descent applications if you fall under this exceptional circumstances.

As for the 1948 Cases, you can hire an Italian citizenship lawyer, and appeal the Italian Court.
This does not mean that you can always skip the consulate, but you can avoid it IF there are specific conditions.

In which conditions do I have to apply through the court?

“Except for the case that you need to appeal the denial/unapproval on your case, there are some common cases in which you need to apply through the court.

These are the Italian Citizenship through maternal line – aka Italian Citizenship 1948 cases.

If your case falls into this “Italian  Citizenship 1948 Rule” (also known as Italian Citizenship Maternal Line before 1948), you will need to claim your Italian citizenship through Italian Court. 

Yes, this means that you won’t have to think about applying through the Italian Consulate. Italian Consulate will never be involved. If You fall under the 1948 rule, you can apply only through the Italian court with an Italian citizenship attorney.


These types of applications are really particular, and they can be processed only throught the court because they are not formally recognized by the Law. 
These are so called “Case Law”, formed by Italian Courts, because Italian Law 91/92 didn’t (and still don’t) recognize the right to claim Italian Citizenship by descent when it is the woman in the family line, and that female ancestor had her child before 1948s. 
This situation was declared discriminatory by several Italian Courts, but the Law was never fixed by the parliament. This is why you have to apply only through Italian courts.”

As you've probably already guessed, applying for Italian Citizenship by descent is not as easy as it may appear. 

There are different issues involved that latest updates and new case law are trying to solve. That’s why it’s always recommended to search for an Italian citizenship lawyer and have assistance for the entire procedure.