Skip to content
Italian Citizenship Assistance Program
Roma, fontana dei Dioscuri

Italian Citizenship by Descent: Steps in Preparing Your Application

Roma, fontana dei Dioscuri
Learn more about the steps required to begin your Italian Citizenship by Descent journey today

Preparing your application for Italian citizenship by descent can feel like a daunting event, which indeed it can be, if you do not understand the sequence of steps involved. Proceeding in a stepwise manner can help you gather the needed documents in a more manageable and affordable way. The description that is provided below is intended to be a succinct and thorough overview of the process to prepare an application for Italian citizenship with accuracy. Each case is unique, and this is not intended to explain all possible issues.

Step 1:  Determine the Italian ancestor through whom you wish to apply by reviewing the possible generational categories for Italian Citizenship by Descent.  Remember, having an Italian born parent, grandparent, or great grandparent does not guarantee that you are eligible for Italian citizenship by descent. If you have more than one Italian ancestor it’s best to begin with an ancestor whose personal details are known. You must know their date and town of birth in Italy, and any name variations used in the US. It is also best if you know their parents’ names.

In general, you must demonstrate that the Italian ancestor had not yet become a citizen of the US prior to the birth of your direct ascendant. For example, if your grandfather became a citizen of the US on June 4, 1927 and your father was born before that date then you are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship by descent.

There are additional requirements that could impact your eligibility for Italian citizenship by descent.

If your Italian ancestor was a woman born before January 1, 1948;

If your Italian ancestor was born in the following regions, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, or Trentino Alto-Adige, in order to apply for the Italian citizenship, you must prove that the ancestor left Italy after July 16th, 1920.

Minor children who were born in Italy and emigrated to the US with their parents who received “derivative citizenship” upon the U.S. naturalization of a parent lost their Italian citizenship and cannot transmit it to their descendants

Once you have determined your preliminary eligibility then you can begin to gather the required documentation.

Step 2:  Order Italian Civil Records

The Italian birth certificate of your Italian ancestor is a “threshold” document and it is important to obtain this record at the beginning of your research as you will want to have the correct date and place of birth in order to obtain the naturalization records as outlined below. If the ancestor was married in Italy, obtain the marriage record; check with your Consulate jurisdiction to see if the spouse’s birth certificate is also required, this varies among jurisdictions. Italian civil records are kept in the Town in Italy where the civil event (i.e. birth, marriage, death) took place. IF you do not have the information to locate these records a professional genealogist with expertise in the Italian civil registries can often discover the record(s).

Step 3:  Conduct a naturalization record search to determine whether or not your Italian ancestor became a citizen of the US

Obtaining the naturalization records of US citizenship or verification of non-naturalization of Italian ancestor from the US Government is the second most important document to obtain. As mentioned previously, you are eligible for Italian citizenship if your ancestor was still an Italian citizen when the immediate descendant was born.

Step 4:  Obtain US vital records

Review the list of required US vital records required by the Italian Consulate of the jurisdiction in which you legally reside, obtain certified long form copies of all required records

Step 5:  Document Review

Review all documents to identify any discrepancies in names, dates of birth, or places of residence. Attempt to correct any incorrect information on vital records. For example, if your paternal grandfather’s Italian birth certificate  name is Pasquale Caputo born on Jan 2, 1888 but on his death record he is listed as Patsy Caputo born Jan 2 1889 you should attempt to get the death record amended

Step 6:  Authenticate US vital records with Apostille

Review your Consulate list of US records that need to be authenticated with Apostille for use in Italy and send the original records to the relevant US Government Office for authentication with Apostille.

Step 7:  Translate US vital records to Italian.

Determine the records that must be translated into Italian for your Consulate jurisdiction and have them professionally translated. Using online translation programs or non-native speakers of Italian can result in rejection of your translations at the Consulate.

Step 8:  Apply at the Italian consulate within the jurisdiction where you reside.

Seeking professional experience from companies who have expertise and extensive experience in successfully gathering the required documents for Italian citizenship by descent applications can save you the frustration of not knowing how to obtain all of the required records, or ordering records that are not in the proper format. Since 2007, we have been assisting clients to successfully prepare their applications for Italian citizenship by descent with ease and accuracy at affordable rates. For more information on Italian citizenship by descent, or our services & fees contact us today for a FREE eligibility screening or call us at: (312) 796-9970