November 19


Italian Citizenship through your blood right

By Rick

November 19, 2012

Ciao a tutti!  Today I have a special guest blogger who is going to explain the process of obtaining Italian citizenship through the blood line.  I’m sure many of you have heard of this option and perhaps some of you may have even done a little of your own research.   If so, then you’ve already discovered how confusing it can be. I attempted to do it myself last year, but I got frustrated at a certain point and abandoned my efforts.  But Valerie has successfully completed the journey and has had her blood line officially recognized by the Italian government.  What’s more, she kept careful records of each step along the way and now has a wealth of practical knowledge on the subject.  I read her book a couple of weeks ago and found it to be extremely clear and helpful.  I only wish I had known about it sooner!  So without out further ado, I will let her summarize the process for you.  A presto, Rick

Hi everyone! I know many of you are either expats already living in Rome or folks like me who are either dreaming of moving to Italy or have already begun the planning process for the big move. If you are of Italian descent, the good news is that you may be eligible to obtain Italian citizenship as blood right from your Italian ancestors.

Italian Citizenship

If you are planning to move to Italy (or anywhere in the European Union), you will greatly benefit from having dual citizenship since you will not have to go through the visa process for work, travel or living. The best news is that since it is your blood right, the only thing you have to prove to gain citizenship is that you are an eligible Italian descendant.

But first you must determine eligibility. You will do this by tracing your roots back to the ancestor that was born in Italy and follow that bloodline down to yourself. You must confirm that the ancestor born in Italy was eligible to transfer his or her Italian citizenship to his or her child and, if applicable, that child was able to transfer his or her citizenship to his or her child. Continue this process until you reach yourself in the tree.

The only two things that would prevent someone from transferring Italian citizenship through the bloodline is if the Italian revoked their citizenship (either intentionally or through purposefully claiming citizenship from another country that required revocation) OR if the parent was female and ineligible to transfer Italian citizenship.

When Italians first came to America, they were not required to naturalize by physically applying for American citizenship. However, if they chose to acquire American citizenship and it was granted, on the date citizenship was granted they revoked their Italian citizenship. Therefore, any children born before that date would retain the rights to the Italian citizenship (until they purposefully revoked it) whereas a child born after American naturalization would not be eligible.

What if your mother was Italian but your father was not? You may still be eligible. So long as the female gave birth to the child in question January 1, 1948 or later. It’s okay that the female was born before that so long as she gained her eligibility from her father. This is due to a law that initially did not allow women to pass on their citizenship.

Hopefully, you are still following along and have determined that you are likely eligible. The next step is to make an appointment with your local consulate. There is a fairly lengthy wait time, roughly 15-18 months for appointments. During the wait, you will need to compile all your documentation tracing your roots to prove your eligibility. You will need to get original birth, marriage and death records and have them translated into Italian. You will also need to verify that the names and dates match on all records. If not, you will need to request record corrections which take quite some time to process.

Not to discourage you, but you should know that there is a lot of work involved in getting all this paperwork together. There are no fees issued by the consulate to have your citizenship recognized but you will have to pay all the various states and counties to obtain all the original records which can easily cost hundreds of dollars when it’s all said and done. Depending on whether you need to travel to obtain records or corrections, you could spend a couple thousand in the end.

It’s all worth it after the appointment when you get your letter in the mail noting that your citizenship is on record and you can obtain your Italian passport. Once your citizenship is recognized, you can typically get same day service to obtain your passport by going into the consulate and paying the passport fees.

I hope you decide to unlock the benefits of dual citizenship by undergoing this rewarding journey of tracing back your roots! I have recently authored a book called “The Italian-American Guide to Seeking Dual Citizenship as Blood Right” which is available in both print and e-versions. The book gives a step by step guide on how to obtain dual citizenship with lots of tips on how to minimize your expenditures and save time collecting documents. It is also talks about the pros and cons of obtaining dual citizenship and tools to keep you organized.

Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] 

E-book version

Italian Citizenship (e-book version)

Print version

Italian Citizenship (print version)

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About the author

Living in the Caput Mundi and trying to decipher Italian culture for the English speaking world.

  • Hi. My mother was born and raised in Rome, with Italian parents and grandparents going back generations. In 1948 she married my British father and moved to England. She apparently lost her Italian citizenship at this point because she got a British passport and at that time Italians were not allowed to hold dual nationality. In 1996 the Italian government changed this and she had her Italian citizenship reinstated. She even receives an Italian pension even though she left age 21. Would I qualify for citizenship? I was born in England in 1960 so she technically wasn’t an Italian at that point. However, if I can’t get it through her could I get it through my Grandfather? Most of my family, aunts, uncles, cousins are Italian and living in Italy. My mum says I don’t qualify, but it seems strange that mum and generations of family were all born and raised in Italy, but I don’t qualify when people are getting citizenship because they had a great grandfather who was Italian. Surely this can’t be right. Any advice? Would I be able to take my mother out of the equation and use my granddad? Or does the fact that she was born and grew up Italian and then lost it and then reinstated it mean I am ok to do it through her?

  • Hello my name is Larissa. I am doing my italian citizenship on my mothers side but my question is how can I can pass to my father whos not italian. thanks for you time

  • Is it possible for the maternal side to qualify? I read somethings that said only paternal. My grandfather was born in the states but his father did not become naturalized until my grandfather was already an adult. Would he had to have claimed his citizenship in order for it work? It’s all very confusing any input would be helpful.

  • Dear Rick what happens if your parents divorced (only my father is Italian) and I was adopted by a stepfather of another country? Does that mean I lost my dual citizenship rights?
    My biological parents married before 1983 (there is some legislation about transferring citizenship automatically before 1983) my mother married again and did not claim Italian citizenship.

    • Hi Natalie. I’m sorry, I really have no idea. The article was a guest post by Mary Tedesco, who is a specialist in exactly such types of inquiry. I can only suggest that you contact her through her company to find out. Ciao

  • Rick
    Just received a letter today from the Italian Consulate in Miami alone with my Certificate of Italian Citizenship. The letter from the consulate indicates that I can now apply for my Italian Passport. I live in Atlanta and would like to apply for the passport by mail. Is that possible?

    • Hi Anthony, and CONGRATULATIONS!! But honestly, you’re farther ahead than I am in the process. I suggest that you contact Valerie, the author of this post, or else Mary at

      They were both guest writers on this topic for my blog since I really don’t know too much about it myself.


  • Hi Rick,

    I am wondering if you would be able to offer me some guidance on whether using this methodology would allow me to obtain my Italain citizenship through my bloodline.

    My paternal grandfather was born in Italy then immagrated to Thailand where he had my father. He did not give up his Italian citizenship before my father was born so therefore passed Italian citizeship on to my father. My father then immagrated to the USA where he married my mother. They were married for over three years therefore passing the Italian citizenship to my mother. Before I was born, my father became a natralized US citizen and renounces his Thai citizenship therefore also renouncing his Italian citizenship. After my father became a naturalized US citzen I was born. What I am wondering if this is a feasible bloodline for the Italian citizenship to be passed considering that my mother did not claim Italian citizenship after she was married to my father for 3 years.

    Please let me know if you have any insight into this circumstance for obtain citizenship. I am not sure if the Italian Consulate would recognize my mother’s citizenship to Italy and would like some insight before I go to the Consulate with the paperwork.

    Thanks for your help!


  • Hello,
    My Grandfather Crezenzo immigrated by jumping ship at Boston in the late 1800’s. He lived in little Italy till WWI and he fought on the U.S. side. He told a family story that the U.S. ‘had granted him citizenship’ but never had any papers…he couldn’t read or write in Italian or in English…he married my grandma (also Italian
    and my father Giovanni was born in 1921. His mother died in childbirth. I was born as ‘change of life baby’ (and my mom was one as well)…so although young I am only second genration. I’ve met and visited with my third cousins, we even visited with Pope John Paul, because a cousin works at the vatican. Dad passed away five years ago…but my husband and I would like to live our lives out there…it felt like home when we visited.

    • GREAT story, thanks so much for sharing! I love these types of family histories and the connections that remain after generations. If you have the desire, you should go live there for a while. It will change your life, I promise. Grazie ancora!!

    • GREAT story, thanks so much for sharing! I love these types of family histories and the connections that remain after generations. If you have the desire, you SHOULD live in Italy for a while. It will change your life, I promise. Grazie ancora!!

  • Hello! My father became a US citizen in the 1950’s and renounced his Italian citizenship before I was born in the 1970’s. Based on what you are saying, that invalidates my ability to become an Italian citizen from him. However, my mother’s father was born in Italy as well. He didn’t renounce his Italian citizenship until after she was born – in the 1930’s. So if she were to get her Italian citizenship then I could get my Italian citizenship through her?

    Thanks so much for the information!

    • Hi Teri,
      A quick search of the Italian consulate website reveals this:
      “You qualify IF your mother was born in the United States or a country other than Italy, AND your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, AND you were born after January 1, 1948 AND neither you nor your mother ever renounced your Italian citizenship.”
      So, as long as you were born after 1948 (which I assume you were), you qualify!!
      Hope it helps,

  • Rick, thanks for info on this webpage. You say “if they chose to acquire American citizenship and it was granted, on the date citizenship was granted they revoked their Italian citizenship.” My questions are about jure sanguinis (Latin for “by right of blood”).

    1. If my Italy-born grandfather arrived in US, and had children (my parent) in 1920s and birth was before date grandfather became US Citizen, then my parent is eligible for dual citizen by blood ?
    …………And I can apply for Italian citizenship?
    …………Does my father need to apply for citizenship and obtain it before I do?

    2. If my Italy-born grandfather arrived in US, became US citizen, and then had children (my parent), then my parent is only a US citizen and I can not apply for Italian citizenship claiming jure sanguinis.

    • Hi Mike! I think you’re on the right track, if I understand you correctly. Yes, based on the above info, your family qualifies. Yes, you can apply for Italian citizenship, but yes, your father would have to claim his first. You can do it for/with him concurrently (he’ll have to consent, of course–for deceased parents, a death certificate is required). As long as your father was born before your grandfather became an American citizen you’re good to go!

  • Thanks for your informative blog. I am just beginning to start the process to obtain my Italian citizenship. My father was born in Napoli and I was born before he became a naturalized American citizen. I am reaching out to a cousin to get me his birth certificate. In the coming days I will make an appointment with the Italian consulate in Miami. I will keep you posted.

    • From what you’ve said, it sounds like you qualify. That’s great. The process is tedious, but very doable with a bit of patience and determination. And the folks at the Miami consulate are very nice. I’ve heard some bad feedback from people who’ve worked with other consulates, but I’ve personally worked with Miami and they were pleasant and helpful.

      And yes, please keep me posted. Good luck!

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