Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis: How I Became Legal in Italy

Are you interested in Italian citizenship jure sanguinis?

I have been through this process and am an Italian-American dual citizen, which I’ll explain a bit below.

Staying in Italy Legally

An American citizen can stay in Italy legally for up to three months without any kind of visa or stay permit — although do check for most recent regulations if you’re planning on coming as they change often. Your local Italian consulate or embassy is the best bet for this information.

Generally, though, if you’re just coming on vacation, you don’t have anything to worry about. Citizens of other countries should check laws specific to them as rules differ greatly depending on home country.

Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis

Italian citizenship jure sanguinisI was lucky to have qualified for Italian citizenship through my family’s Italian bloodline, which is known as jure sanguinis or jus sanguinis, i.e., the law of the blood.

There are many complicated, sometimes counterintuitive rules to determine whether you qualify, which you can read more about here, but essentially, you must trace an unbroken line (no renouncement or loss of Italian citizenship) back to the last ancestor who was registered as a citizen in Italy, often the last ancestor who lived here.

For me, it was my great-grandfather, and it wasn’t an easy process for me to gather all the required documents, including marriage, birth, and death certificates for everyone in the line of Italian heritage (my great-grandfather, grandmother, father, me).

My biggest hurdle was that my great-grandfather had changed his last name without telling anyone, so it took some digging to first find the correct last name before I could gather documents. Needless to say, my great-aunt was surprised to find out her real last name after nearly 80 years of the changed version. Ellis Island’s passenger records search was an invaluable resource to me during this part of the process.

And, on the extremely bright side, because my great-grandfather had lost his alien registration card around the time of World War II, I got to see a photo of him for the first time from the government’s records when I requested records to confirm that he had never become a US citizen; there was also a photocopy of the original letter requesting the new card in my great-aunt’s handwriting in the file, which was pretty cool to see as well.

After that, getting everything in order wasn’t too difficult — just a lot of writing and phoning to Vital Records departments across a couple of states and communicating with one comune in Italy, which doesn’t happen to be the one I live in.

One of the rules you need to watch out for in determining eligibility is the fact that women couldn’t pass on Italian citizenship until January 1, 1948, which means that I couldn’t go through my great-grandmother, who was born in 1898 in the next town over from where I now live. Oh no. Instead I had to go through her husband, my great-grandfather, who came from a small village in Campania, several hours north of here.

Luck was on my side, though, when my father was born just three months after the 1948 date; had he been born in 1947, I wouldn’t have been eligible for Italian citizenship at all as my grandmother is the only Italian line I could follow. Indeed, my aunt, who was born five years before my dad, is *not* eligible for Italian citizenship and neither are her children.

Italian and American flagsSee what I mean about complicated rules? Note that this 1948 rule has been challenged successfully since I applied, so please look for more information on that if it affects you.

After much paperwork gathering, I was finally ready to apply to have my citizenship recognized in April of 2004 in Philadelphia, which I did with my dad (at the time, they told me that he had to apply too but the consulates seem to have changed that requirement), and then I came back to Italy. I had already been here for a six-month stint before that and had only gone back to America to finalize things to stay here more permanently.

So after I was back in the Bel Paese beyond three months, technically, I was illegal here, but I always figured that if I happened to get stopped by the carabinieri, I could talk my way around things without much difficulty. This did, in fact, happen, after I had been here already for two years — not that I’m encouraging anyone else to follow my footsteps. I’m just reporting events as they happened.

Note that had all of this been taking place now, though, there are provisions in place for someone like me to be here legally until the process is finished; now you can get a special stay permit while waiting for the recognition of Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (permesso di soggiorno in attesa di cittadinanza).

For this permit, though, you must apply for citizenship in Italy. An even further upside to applying in Italy is that you will most likely cut out a lot of the wait often encountered in US consulates, which can be several years long. My father’s wait was one year and mine inexplicably took another year, but many more applications have been filed since 2004. Whether you can legally work or not with the permit “in attesa di cittadinanza,” though, seems to vary, so that’s definitely something you’d want to check on.

Dual Italian-American Citizenship

Italian citizenship was finalized in September 2006, and now I have dual American and Italian citizenship, which means I can vote in Italian and European Union elections as well as live, work, and travel freely in the EU and enjoy all of the responsibilities and privileges of any Italian citizen without losing my American citizenship — including a pension from each country subject to certain regulations, assuming that either of them have any money left when that time comes. Ahem.

If you’re wondering about the United States’ position on dual citizenship, read about it here. Again, if you’re not American, please investigate your country’s policy on dual citizenship before pursuing anything.

A lot of people ask about the negatives of dual American/Italian citizenship; the only potential downside I’ve found is that one *could* be denied security clearance if desiring to work for one government or the other; this would be on a case-by-case determination.

More Information on Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis

And that’s how I became legal in Italy and had my Italian citizenship jure sanguinis recognized.

For me, pursuing dual American/Italian citizenship has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, so I’m happy to share information as follows:

  • If you need help with claiming your own citizenship jure sanguinis, please see my Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis F.A.Q.
  • If you still aren’t sure whether you qualify and would like my opinion, please check out my Italian Citizenship Email Consultation Plans.
  • If you need help with document collection/translation/correction, I highly recommend the services of Peter Farina at italyMONDO; if you do contact Peter, please mention I referred you as you will be eligible for a discount on his services, and (full disclosure) I would receive a referral fee.

Eviva l’Italia — e l’America!

76 Beans of Wisdom to “Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis: How I Became Legal in Italy”
  1. Giulia

    You’ve got one of each passport, right? My girls and I hold dual citizenship, so we have a passport from each side. As if keeping one passport safe and secure isn’t enough…I now have twice as many! UGH

  2. sognatrice

    *Giulia, well I could but I just haven’t applied for the Italian one yet because I haven’t needed it; I do have a carta d’identità which is much more useful in daily life and also valid for travel within the EU, as you know.

    And in fact, I have to get my US passport renewed. You’re right–so much to keep track of!

  3. Gil

    I think that you, and my two kids, will have to be about 70 to get anything from the US Social Security System the way things seem to be going!!!!

  4. Gil

    Forgot the important thing – Great writeup on dual citizenship!

  5. sognatrice

    *Gil, thanks, and I think at this point I’ll be happy to get anything, ever from either Social Security system….

  6. Waiting for Zufan!

    Wow, what a ton of work to get that, but awesome. I didn’t know the US allowed dual citizenship. Interesting!

  7. Jeni

    Very interesting! I love when I visit blogs and am not just entertained but also educated by the visit.

  8. something...

    I have the dual Italian/Australian one and I had to show that my Dad was still an Italian Citizen when I was born in Australia. My kids were born in Luxembourg but they have dual Australian/Italian Citizenship both through myself and my husband an Italian. Makes for a bit of confusion when you are asked what do you consider yourself to be at heart.

  9. sognatrice

    *Waiting, I think a lot of people just assume that the US doesn’t permit dual citizenship–while it’s not encouraged, it’s certainly allowed.

    *Jeni, so happy to be of service, and me too 🙂

    *Rosa, so true. In fact I just read a great post called Self Definition that addresses that issue.

  10. Robin

    Sounds like a rather cut and dry process. You went through alot, but I think you always knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Things would be much more difficult for me…since I have no Italian bloodline (that I know of)I am German and Irish! But hey, if it’s meant to be….Thanks for answering!!!

    My Melange

  11. sognatrice

    *Robin, well there were some tense moments not knowing whether they’d accept my documents–so many name and date inconsistencies as you can imagine, records weren’t kept nearly as precisely as they are these days. My grandmother’s birth certificate, for example, doesn’t have her first name on it, only “Baby Girl.” At first they told me I’d have to get a court order to get it fixed, but then it was magically accepted, so I got lucky there. There were lots of those little things (including a surname change!) that could’ve messed me up, but I was definitely fortunate.

    Although you’re not Italian, you might want to look into Irish citizenship by descent–that would still get you into the EU, and that’s really what you need for any French or Italian dreams 😉

  12. nova

    That was fascinating! I’m so glad you did that post.

    I just discovered the Ellis Island passenger search function this weekend… I didn’t know it could be done online! I’m having trouble finding my mother’s side of the family for sure, but I just learned a little detail about my great-grandfather on my father’s side. His hometown was Siracusa — I never knew that — but it was actually listed there as his last known address in his records. So interesting to see the ship manifests…

    Anyway, great post!

  13. Anna L'americana

    Things have changed (have they?), but I lived in Rome on a tourist’s visa (renewable after 3 mo. – which I sometimes did or did not do) for 18 years until one day while renewing, the guy at the questura looked me in the eye with a straight face and said “penso che l’Italia l’avrai vista tutta mo!” – you must have seen all of Italy by now- and refused to renew it! Until then, most cops or Carrabinieri that might stop you on the street had no idea about visa laws and my tattered out of date soggiorno papers (on carta bollata) raised few questions along the way – even when we were under martial law in the late 70’s early 80’s and you often got stopped and held in the name of national security (sound familiar folks?). So, year 18 I had to get a student’s visa, the only option available at the time – which was a completely finagled deal but was issued anyway without having to leave, apply, and then come back – ah, how many fond memories of the Italian bureaucracy…..(not!)

  14. pat

    Where was your great-grandfather from in Campania…interesting

  15. sognatrice

    *Nova, sometimes all it takes is a little detail for the floodgates of information to open; I didn’t realize you had Italian ancestors…let alone southern Italian 😉

    *Anna, yes they’ve changed a lot of procedures, and they keep changing. They’ve now done away with the 3-month tourist visa from what I understand. They still can stop you for whatever reason or no reason and ask for ID, and although I haven’t heard of anyone actually being held for not having proper docs, I’m sure it happens (more to nationalities other than Americans/Canadians/Australians–not that I’m saying that’s right, of course, just the way it is).

    Anyway, in my situation, the carabinieri told me to go to the questura and get it straightened out, but when I went the questura sort of told me to just wait out the citizenship (which I had been told by the other comune was being completed as we spoke) because it would take less time than getting a permesso of any kind anyway; he stamped my little paper that said I went there and that’d be enough in case the local carabinieri said anything more to me.

    *Pat, I’ve linked to my great-grandfather’s town in the post if you click on “a small village.” It’s Pisciotta in the province of Salerno.

  16. chris?lewis

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s always interesting to read about how people find themselves with citizenship, particularly when they can trace familiar immigration back to Ellis Island!

  17. chris?lewis

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s always interesting to read about how people find themselves with citizenship, particularly when they can trace familiar immigration back to Ellis Island!

  18. chris?lewis

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s always interesting to read about how people find themselves with citizenship, particularly when they can trace familiar immigration back to Ellis Island!

  19. chris?lewis

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s always interesting to read about how people find themselves with citizenship, particularly when they can trace familiar immigration back to Ellis Island!

  20. chris?lewis

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s always interesting to read about how people find themselves with citizenship, particularly when they can trace familiar immigration back to Ellis Island!

  21. chris?lewis

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s always interesting to read about how people find themselves with citizenship, particularly when they can trace familiar immigration back to Ellis Island!

  22. chris?lewis

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s always interesting to read about how people find themselves with citizenship, particularly when they can trace familiar immigration back to Ellis Island!

  23. Anna L'americana

    Sognatrice…Oh,no…back in the day, if they didn’t like the way you looked they picked you up, brought you in and could legally hang on to you for 48 hours, no contact with anyone (much less a lawyer) but the cops. This had nothing to do with the state of your ID documents. I was picked up once with an embassy friend with DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT – and yup, we were both “interrogated” all night. This was about the Brigate Rosse, Aldo Moro, the bombing at the Bologna train station (Venditti has a song- Bomba o non Bomba) that created an atmosphere where this type of police thuggery was allowed – hence my comment “sound familiar, folks?” I did not look like a tourist (I’d lived in Rome since I was 4 yrs old), so I got picked up frequently along with the rest of the citizenry. Tourist-types were not harassed however (how is that for “national security”? All you needed back then was a camera-bomb and ugly flip-flops and you could get through!).

  24. Ninotchka

    How very interesting! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  25. sognatrice

    *Chris, glad you enjoyed!

    *Anna, honestly I think they still can keep you without contact to anyone, including a lawyer, and without charging you with anything for quite a while; as we see in the Knox/Sollecito/Kercher case in Perugia, they can be held up to a year because a judge said it’s OK. Forty-eight hours is actually the norm in the States as well, although in the States, at least, there had to have been some probable cause to have stopped you in the first place. That’s not the case here at all, still.

    And although it’s no longer about the Red Brigade, it seems to be that a lot of immigrant groups are the ones who now look “suspicious”–at least from what my colleagues who work with immigrants tell me. So I’m not sure how much has *really* changed, other than the target group–especially in the south where a lot of the illegal immigrants land first.

    *Nino, thank you for reading 🙂

  26. saraarts

    Not a trace of Italian in me as far as I know, and no interest in becoming an Italian citizen, either, but —

    Thank you so, so much for the link to the Ellis Island database. I found my paternal grandfather whom I never met in there twice because he worked on ships as a young man. I can’t explain to you why this is so great; the guy was not a nice guy, beat his wife and kids once he got some, gambled so much my dad said they moved 14 times while he was still in junior high, etc., etc. Still, it gave me chills. Go figure.

  27. sognatrice

    *Sara, I think there’s something special about linking to our past, even the otherwise undesirable relatives. My great-grandfather wasn’t a great guy from what I’ve heard either, but it was still awesome to even see his name on the manifest, knowing that he really existed–even though I knew he did, of course, since I’m here and all, but still…chills. Happy that you’ve experienced this as well 🙂

  28. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    I have dual citizenship American/French. Thank God my parents registered our births with the French Embassy when we were born.

    When I move to Rome, I was told to use my American passport to leave and my EU to enter Italy. However, you know how you have to fill out those custom forms on the plane, which passport number would I use? My country of residence will be America until I get my Italian one but do I have to use my French passport number?


  29. Janie

    Great info Sognatrice-thanks for detailing what you went through.

  30. sognatrice

    *NYC, I’m guessing you mean the US Customs form (I don’t remember Italy’s having anything like that). The rule I use is that if it has to do with America, use American; if it has to do with Italy (or the EU), use Italian. So I would say your American number on a US Customs form.

    *Janie, thanks for reading!

  31. Wanderlust Scarlett

    That’s so COOL!
    I am impressed with all the legwork you did to reach that goal, but it obviously paid off!

    Very nice to have both, it’s a good connection.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  32. sognatrice

    *Scarlett, you know as great as it is to have the citizenship for bureaucratic reasons, it’s also pretty cool to reclaim something that my great-grandfather never gave up in the first place. I just love that connection 🙂

  33. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    That make sense …grazie mille Sognatrice!

  34. sognatrice

    *NYC, to be clear, I don’t know if that’s the *right* answer, but I figure it’s always best to be a citizen of whatever you’re country you’re dealing with (as opposed to being a foreigner) should you have the choice 😉


    Wow that sounds really complicated. It must have been pretty interesting though. I have always wanted to look through my family’s history and I still plan on it one day. I envy you for getting to live in Italy. I have always wanted to visit Italy. We have study abroad programs there in May but I just can’t afford it. One day though. Sounds like you have a pretty sweet life there too!


    About that lost grandfather: have you checked the new passport database at Also, the Italian Genealogical Group has some great immigrant records on their web site, too. Try there after Ellis Island fails! Good luck!

  37. LinleyShea

    Hey! It was nice of you to stop by and say hello!! I hope all is well in Italy – it looks as though it is! Have a great holiday season!!

  38. Just Expressing Myself

    You know I’m not one for romance, but I have to say when I think of you taking off to live with P in Italy I sigh 😉

  39. Mrs. G.

    Thank you for all this wonderful information. That said, I am packing my bags and should be there by the end of the week. Do you have a spare room?

  40. homebody at heart

    So, just how long can I malinger in Italy without being a citizen? For me, there is no chance of an Italian or EU citizenship.

    And, as far as Social Security is concerned, just remember that it was never meant to replace an entire income just about 40%. For me, I think it will be even less hopefully 25% because I have a pension. But, I’m glad you’re thinking about this as the younger you start, the easier it is. I am curious just what is the retirement formula for Italians and what is the normal retirement age? And, as long as I’m asking all these questions, how much does it cost to live in your part of Italy, secondo te? Grazie

  41. Jen of A2eatwrite

    Whoa… complicated? My head is spinning. I’m glad you were able to get it all to work out, though.

    Tell me is it MORE complicated to get a phone or internet installed or is the citizenship part more complicated? (just joking)

  42. Tina

    Yeah, I put in my application (I also qualify jure sanguinis) and am still waiting… and waiting… and waiting… and that’s okay. 🙂

  43. Anali

    That’s great that you learned some more family history and that everything worked out in the end. Very cool to have dual citizenship!

  44. sognatrice

    *Dreaming, you should definitely look into your family history, although I should warn you that it gets kind of addictive. I know what you mean about study abroad–I couldn’t afford it either during college/law school. And look what happened…I had to go and move here after all that was done 😉

    *Genevera, I don’t actually have a lost grandfather (I knew both of mine very well), but thanks for your offer 🙂

    *Linley, good to see you! Hope all is well with you as well, and happy holidays!

    *Frances, well that’s not *exactly* how it happened, but it sure makes for a better, more romantic story 😉

    *Mrs G, you’re going to have to kick some puppies out first 😉

    *Homebody, there are different visas (and stay permits) available, which I don’t know all that much about since I never had to learn about them, but you can get a lot of information on Expats in Italy. You certainly don’t have to be a citizen to stay here long-term, and in fact, most retired foreigners that I know aren’t Italian citizens.

    As for Social Security, I’ll admit I don’t know all that much about it on the Italian side but the US Social Security Administration has a great page of information: Description of the US-Italy Social Security Agreement.

    Cost of living? It’s high(I believe Italy has one of the highest costs of living if not THE highest in Europe), but it seems to be a bit lower down here where I am than in other parts of Italy, particularly if you compare it with cities, which are ridiculously expensive. Things like electricity and gas/petrol are expensive everywhere in Italy, but as with anything, it depends on how you live.

    If you have more questions on any of this, I really recommend visiting the Expats in Italy forum which is an awesome source of information on all things Italian Expat.

    *Jen, you ask in jest, and yet…hmmm….

    *Tina, come lo sai, ci vuole un po’ di pazienza 😉

    *Anali, thanks; I’m so happy that I even pursued it as it’s made my life *so* much easier in the long run.

  45. MB

    Ah yes, the quest for citizenship. I remember it well- jumping through all the hoops, getting all the documents. But it was well worth it in the end, wasn’t it? It’s hard to explain the sense of satisfaction to someone who’s never been through it. And even harder to explain it to someone living here who has ties going back hundreds of years with their ancestors. But satisfaction, it is. Great post. 🙂

  46. sognatrice

    *MB, you’re so right. I wrote about the bureaucratic side of it here, but there’s a whole other emotional side that could fill another post or more. And no, many native-born, lived-all-their-lives here Italians really don’t get the significance because they’ve just grown up will all this stuff and never had to think about it–and many don’t!

    I think I may have to write a post on *why* I pursued dual citizenship at some point; sure, a lot of it is practical (wanting to live here and all) but it’s *so* much more than that. Thank you for reminding me 🙂

  47. Lilian

    Sognatrice, I’m enjoying reading all of your posts of late (though I may not be commenting as often), but I was particularly interested in this one, on dual citizenship. I had an easy time obtaining mine (from Finland–my mother was Finnish), but I admire the lengths to which you went to obtain yours. Thanks for the link to the Ellis Island Passenger Records; I may now do some research on my father’s side of the family.

  48. sognatrice

    *Lilian, thanks for reading and commenting and best of luck in your search! I’ve had so much fun there 🙂

  49. cheeky

    This was a great post, as always. The laws {rules} can be quite tricky and interesting. Especially the men only being able to pass down citizenship until 1948. Considering the beliefs behind that, it’s not too difficult to see why. Still seems unfair. Especially for your aunt and cousins. It seems since the laws were updated they should allow those before that date to pursue.

    I’ve always been very interested in my ancestry. I, like you, am third generation born here in the US. My great-grandfather(maternal) came from Hungary. They also have jure sanguinis I’ve discovered, although I don’t know the specifics. It seems there could be other possibilities as well. I have French and Irish grandparents on my father’s side.

    I think it really hit home when I lived in the UK and in Germany. I always said I’d move back in a heartbeat, but then I went and married a South African who is an Aussie by citizenship. Go figure!

  50. Paolo

    Michelle, I’ve got a similar situation to you, in that the line was broken with my grandfather. My grandmother, on the other hand, never became a citizen; however, my father was born in 1939. A napolitano gentleman here in San Diego who has helped a lot of people get Italian citizenship is going to try a novel approach for me: since my father was a minor when Italian law changed on 1/1/1948, he should have received citizenship through his mother – so the line was never really broken.

    I’ll tell you how it works out.

    Meanwhile, plan B is to take advantage of an odd little provision in article 9, comma 1, letter (a) from law no. 91 of 5 febbraio 1992 – descendants of former Italian citizens can reacquire citizenship after three years’ residence in Italy, rather than the 12 it would normally take. One way or another, by Juno…

  51. sognatrice

    *Cheeky, you’re a true woman of the world! I just love learning things about family history, anyone’s family history really…so keep me posted 🙂

    *Paolo, I like that Napolitano’s thinking! I really hope it works out for you, of course, but like you said, there’s always the living here for 3 years rule if that doesn’t work out. From what I’ve read, you’d need to apply between Year 2 and 3, so you definitely need to keep on top of it. In bocca al lupo and yes, keep me updated please!

  52. Dana

    Thank you for all of the fabulous information! I could spend hours on that Ellis Island site – fascinating!

    I’m in the very beginning stages of trying to get information from estranged family members, which makes it a little more difficult, but I’m determined! 🙂

    Paolo – I believe I got referred to the same gentleman here in San Diego, by my Italian teacher. Small world!

  53. heartinsanfrancisco

    This is fascinating, and I’m so glad you were able to work it out so well.

    Unfortunately for me, I have no Italian ancestry that I know of, although I have always considered myself Italian in my heart.

    I first learned that the US allows dual citizenship when my American friend who is married to a Greek national with whom she lives in France mentioned that her children had both American citizenship through her and French because they were born in Paris. I’m not sure why they are not legally Greek as well – maybe that would be pushing the envelope a bit.

  54. sognatrice

    *Dana, oh that’s so funny about the same guy in San Diego! Best of luck to you!

    And oooh, the hours I’ve spent on the Ellis Island site…just one more search…just one more…TOO MUCH FUN!

    *Heart, I think you are what you feel anyway–some of us just need a paper to confirm it so we can legally live somewhere 😉

    As for triple citizenship, I’ve read of quite a few who have a South American citizenship like Brazilian or Argentinian, American, and Italian. Not impossible…but oh to keep track of all those identification documents!

  55. 02.04.2008

    My wife and I have plans to spend a year in Italy in 2010. I am considering pursuing Italian citizenship, as I believe I would qualify through my great-grandfather who came to America from Calascibetta, Enna, Sicily. If I am granted citizenship through Jure Sanguinis, does my wife also gain Italian citizenship? Can she get an Italian passport or carta d’identità?

    Neil’s last blog post..Ragu Bolognese

    Hi Neil, welcome! Citizenship for your wife will require an additional step, but it’s all bureaucratic. I will email you with more details.

  56. Jonathan

    Great Article!! I just have one question: If my ancestor wasn’t naturalized, do you know who and where i need the statement of “NO RECORDS” from? I had read that i need it from the USCIS, the National Archives, the Local County Court, and the Census Department. But other websites list it as only one of those sources, or a combination of a couple. Your help is appreciated! Grazie!

    Jonathan, you need it from the USCIS and then you need it certified; I highly recommend checking out as there are lots of folks on there well-versed in the citizenship process. Best of luck!

  57. I am british and my wife is Singaporean, but we dont hold dual citizen, but our chidren hol twopassports what makes going though custos a breeze…..

    Maybe Singapore will one day offer both to me too…

    women in wheelchairs’s last blog post..Women In Wheelchairs Going Places

    Would certainly be easier for you; best of luck!

  58. Anthony

    Hi there, I was very interested while reading your blog as I am looking into jure sanguinis as well. I’m fairly young (23) and am approaching this with extreme caution and doing a good amount of research on the whole process before I begin. But I know the first thing I should determine is if I’m eligible. My family doesn’t think my paternal Great-grandfather was ever naturalized but I need to find out where to go to get these documents. I’m currently living in DC so it would be very easy for me to go to the national archives if this is where they would be found. I’m excited about this though and am ready to get everything I need together. Also, I’m glad I read your post because I currently do work with the federal government and will probably need a security clearance a couple years down the road… but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

    Hi Anthony! You will need to get a “no records found” letter from the USCIS regarding your great-grandfather to show that he never became a citizen, so that is the organization you should contact; if he did happen to become a citizen, they’ll find that too, of course.

    Regarding the security clearance, I do know that whether to grant it is decided on a case by case basis, so you might want to look around the Internet a bit for example cases; I’ve seen quite a few in my travels–some granted, some not.

    Best of luck!

  59. Stephen

    Hi there, thank you for being so honest with your story its wonderful that you have your Italian Citizenship. I live in the south of Sweden and have moved here from Long Island, New York. I have decided to apply for my citizenship through the Embassy of Italy Stockholm, but it is currently seeming to take some time so I would like to know if there are any “clearly defined rules” for this process, exactly. I would love to talk with you sometime because I need some specific advise. Could you possibly explain or is there a website that explains “the exact procedure of processing your establishment of Jure Sanguinis once you have submitted all your documents? I found a great site about this several months ago where the auther wrote step by step what acutally happens. If I try to recall then it is something like this ?

    Upon my studies of this law given to me by the Italian American Federation the 4 main actions take place.

    1) The decendent of the Italian Citizen submits all the family doucments connected to the Italian citizen with translation and apostille.

    2) The government official inside Italy or outside Italy in an Embassy or Consulate draws up the documents to establilsh Juris Sanguis between the family member and the Italian Citizen.

    3) The birth record of the family member is sent to the family comune in Italy and the comune registers the birth of the applicant in their local comune jurisdiction; the birth certificate is then sent to one of the national registrys.

    4) Finally, the comune creates a birth registry and letter acknowledging the person in question as an Italian Citizen (in my case) of Comune di Santa Margherita Di Belice. These letters are then either sent directly to the new citizen or through the embassy or consulate.

    Once the family member recieves these letters, they are fully acknowledged, noted and recognized allowing the new Italian Citizen to acquire their Italian passport.

    This was the information given to me by the Italian American Federation in New York.

    This sounds about right according to what I know; mine took about two years from the time I handed in my documents until the time my documents were recorded in the Italian comune of my ancestor. If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact me (click on “contact” in the navigation bar just below the espresso cup header).

  60. Stephen

    Hi, have you already answered or is this an electronic reply ? I have just followed your instructions to contact you on your website but the registration did not work ? If you have skype and have time to talk about my specific case please feel free to add me on skype. My skype name is StephenChristian7, located in Stockholm, Sweden

    I don’t have Skype, but my email address is michellefabio5(at)gmail(dot)com. Feel free to send a message directly 🙂

  61. Stephen

    Dear Michelle, ,

    Thank you for your email, I have just sent you a mail. Have you recieved it ? Do you have msn ? my messenger is

    I have, and have also responded!

  62. Stephen

    Still waiting for your response ? Sorry to bother you today perhaps your not able to answer my questions ? I will continue my search

    Sorry, was lunchtime when you were sending messages; hopefully you’ve received my answer by now!

  63. Stephen

    The principle of jure sanguinis is that you are Italian since birth. The process recognizes the citizenship you already possess.

    Yes, thus the line in my post “And that’s how I became legal in Italy and had my Italian citizenship jure sanguinis recognized.”

    It is worth noting, however, that although you “possess” citizenship from birth, if it’s not recognized by that country, you don’t *really* possess anything, including the right to stay in the country without a permesso….

  64. Stephen

    Life is Sweet or as they say in Italy “Dolce la Vita” , Im happy to say that the Embassy of Italy notified me this past monday that they have completed the process and establishment of Jure Sanguinis and that my file will be sent to my family comune on the next diplomatic post. So at this time is has been 3 months for me to process my Italian citizenship application here in Sweden. One important thing for every one to recognize, and it seems that no one really understands why it can take several months before a person documents are sent to Italy. This is because the Italian Embassy or Consulate must check with every single Embassy or Consulate around the world where you have previously resided for them to state that you have not signed any waiver to renounce your right to citizenship. And since I have lived in 2 states in America and 4 countries in Europe including Sweden, it took 3 months for all offices to respond. So now I just have to wait a few weeks and then I will contact my comune in Italy so they can just send me my certified Italian birth registry so I will not have to wait to deal with the Embassy. Soon I will have my passport and feel like a real Italian, and hopefully begin to attend Italian Language classes 🙂 Hope you all will be as fortunate as me:) Bless ! Stephen

    Congrats Stephen! Glad to see that things went by relatively quickly at this point 🙂

  65. Brenda

    My question to you or anyone on this site is whether they have encounter difficulty between consulates when it comes to accepting a marriage certificate that doesn’t show DOBs or parent’s name (long form). We live in New York, my husband’s maternal grandparents got married in Oklahoma and in this state the certificate doesn’t show DOBs or parent’s names, so we are stuck, unless we move to Texas where the Italian Consulate will accept a declaration of the descendents along with the birth certificate (with apostille and translation to Italian) of the deceased couple.

    We are now trying to establish his right to the Italian citizenship through his paternal grandparents but I am afraid we will encounter the same problem. Most likely my husband’s paternal grandparents got married in Maryland because she was only 16 or 17 at the time. My understanding is that Maryland is another state that doesn’t show the DOBs or the parent’s names, which makes me think that the Italian Consulate in New York is going to give me the same response “I am sorry but we cannot accept this certificate because we cannot establish the link.”

    I am not sure what to do at this point, it seems that even though my husband is Italian on both sides, he can’t establish his right to it because the marriage certificates don’t comply to the New York Consulate rules. Our only solution will be that we moved outside of New York, to Texas or maybe Pennsylvania because maybe they will accept the certificate, but none of this makes sense. Why is it that all Italian consulates don’t abide by the same rules.

    I wish I had a good answer for you, Brenda, but your experience sounds like what I’ve heard from others, how different consulates require different things. Is there any way to beg the people in OK to print you up a certificate with that info? They surely must have it on file, otherwise what were they asking for on those marriage licenses?!

    Anyway, my grandparents were married in MD, and I think you’re right at least about the lack of parents’ names; I’m pretty sure the DOBs were on there though. What a silly requirement, though, about the parents’ names…isn’t that what the birth certificates are for? And anyway, why did people *have* to be married to have kids anyway? If the next in line has a birth certificate with those two parents on, isn’t that the link?


    I really don’t have any answers for you, I’m sorry 🙁

  66. Giuseppe Fiorino

    Hello. My name is Giuseppe and I’ve been struggling – Scouring Italian law for some time in order to find a solution. I’ve been looking for some way to gain my birth-right as an Italian citizen…Even though the Italian government might not agree that I have a claim to it.

    I was born October 4, 1970

    My Parents immigrated to Canada in the 1950’s. They married here in Canada in 1963 and naturalized as Canadian in 1965, together on the same day. The were never aware that they would lose their Italian status but it appears they did. (Can’t imagine how this is legal to begin with, Canadian naturalization did not mention or ask them to renounce)

    All of my family is Italian going back to pre-unification times. In fact their comune’s in Italy don’t even have record of foreign naturalization, and in Italy there is no record of them as being anything but “Italian”

    Like the US however I’m apparently required to provide a “proof of no naturalization”. Of course they both did.

    Is anyone aware of anyone in my position successfully challenging the 1912 law no.555?

    If so on what basis? What content in the law they challenged?

    Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    I am still very confused by how one can gain their Italian citizenship via jure sanguinis via grandparents. My parents were born in Italy…And my grandparents…Does this mean if my parents had been born here as Canadians, they would be able to pass citizenship to me – But being BORN Italain, and naturalizing, they have somehow lost this for them and themselves.

    Does anyone know why they would have ever done such a thing to their country men and women? People who were driven away by circumstances created by the same govenrments? Was their any legitimate basis for this law that strips Italians of their cultural identity?

    I can’t believe that someone several generations out, has a more legitimate claim than I do… I find it bizarre that someone can be several generations out and even if there parents were born Canadian (or American) that they’d have blood right and not someone who’s parents naturalized just prior to their birth…The blood that flows through my veins is 100% Italian…

    I need to find a way here…

    If I could I would hop on the next airplane and just reside but frankly I don’t really want to naturalize. Even if I had work there….I want to be recognized as my blood is 100% Italian.


    michelle Reply:

    Giuseppe, I don’t know about challenging the law, but if you reside in Italy for three years, you can reclaim the citizenship your parents lost — it’s a special provision for those whose Italian chain was broken by one generation. See this link:

    laura Reply:

    Did you find a solution? We are also Canadian and Franco’s mother moved from Italy after the war and naturalized right before he was born. She was shocked when we told her she had given up her citizenship(and Franco’s). She had no idea. We are now living in Italy and have been here for two years but the three year rule is starting to look more complicated than we were first told and now we are worried. would love to hear you found an answer.

  67. 01.08.2013

    Our team from posted an interesting article about this subject.

    I hope it is useful for your interested participants

  68. Rosemarie Chiovari

    I have a question I hope someone can answer. My 1st cousin obtained Italian citizenship through our mutual grandfather via the embassy in Chicago. So, nearly all the required documents are there. I would like to leverage the same records, but I live in San Francisco. I heard the Italian embassies in the U.S. are not networked so they can not share records. Is this true? Or, can I apply through the Chicago embassy (I can use a relative’s address and travel there)?

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