The Italian Citizenship by Descent

definition of italian citizenship by descent and documents to apply

A guide on how to apply for the Italian Citizenship by Descent if you have Italian ancestors.

The Italian Citizenship by Descent is one of the categories of Italian citizenship for foreigners. Also known as Italian Citizenship through ancestry, this kind of citizenship relies on the principle of ‘Jure Sanguinis’. By getting an Italian citizenship, one acquires the same rights and benefits of an Italian national.

If you are looking for a broader introduction, have a look at our guide on the Italian Citizenship and learn more about other types you might be eligible for.

Table of contents

  1. The Italian citizenship by descent
  2. Documents required to apply
  3. How to apply
  4. Regulatory Framework
  5. Support from A&P
  6. Book a call
  7. Get a quote

1. What is the Italian Citizenship by Descent?

Also known as through ancestry, the Italian citizenship by descent is granted upon verification of the applicant’s bloodline with the first Italian ancestor emigrated abroad.

The Italian citizenship is in fact transmitted by the Italian ascendant to the children – in concatenation and with no generation limits – but with some limitations as regards the maternal line.

As a matter of fact, in case of maternal descent, children of an Italian mother (with the father of foreign citizenship) are entitled to recognition of Italian citizenship only if:

  • they were born after January 1st, 1948, or
  • they were born before that date but their father, and descendants, are unknown (Article 1 paragraph 2 of the Law 555/1912 and Art. 7 of the Civil Code of 1865).

1.1. Particular cases when it is possible to apply for the Italian Citizenship by Descent

Foreigners (or stateless), whose father or mother or one of second-degree direct ascendants have been Italian citizens by birth, become a Italian citizens if:

  • They perform military service for the Italian State and if they declare in advance that they wish to acquire Italian citizenship;
  • They assume public employment for the State, also abroad, and declares that they intend to acquire Italian citizenship;
  • Upon reaching the age of majority, they legally reside for at least two years in the territory of the Republic and declare, within one year from the achievement, of wanting to acquire the Italian citizenship.

2. Documents for the Italian citizenship and timing

The Italian citizenship is usually granted in 6 months from the time of the application. The duration might change based on the specific case.

In order to support the application for the citizenship by descent, applicants must prove the connection with their Italian ancestors. To do so, Authorities usually require:

  • Birth certificates;
  • Marriage certificates;
  • Documents proving the Italian citizenship (i.e. an old passport);
  • Proof of the applicants’ registered residence in Italy.

In order for the applicant to apply for the citizenship by descent, ancestors must never had renounced their Italian citizenship.

3. How to gain Italian citizenship

If you are looking to apply for the Italian citizenship by descent, you shall do so at the civil registrar of the Italian municipality (comune) where you intend to reside or establish the Italian residence. In case of residence abroad, the application must take place at the relevant Italian diplomatic or consular authority.

If you are looking for dedicated support to get the Italian citizenship, have a look at our dedicated page about Studio A&P service to apply for the citizenship by descent.

Regulatory Framework

Law No. 91 of February 5, 1992

Reference (Italian only)

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