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Citizenship by descent

 

Citizenship by descent

RECOGNITION OF ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP FOR INDIVIDUALS OF ITALIAN DESCENT BORN IN THE UNITED STATES

Italian Citizenship is based upon the principle of “jus sanguinis” (blood right) meaning that the child born from an Italian father or mother is an Italian citizen regardless of the place of birth.

In order to be recognized as an Italian citizen, applicants have to prove that their Italian ancestor born in Italy was not a naturalized US citizen before his son/daughter’s birth in the USA (see the examples listed below for more details).

This is the reason why it is strongly suggested that applicants start the process by acquiring their ancestor’s Italian birth certificate and his/her naturalization paper.

  1. Before you start
  2. Eligibility verification
  3. Fast facts
  4. Examples and required ancestor's documentation
  5. Applicant's documentation 
  6. U.S. Naturalization and nonexisting records
  7. Cost and payment methods

1. BEFORE YOU START

  • You can submit your application to this Consulate if you are a resident of the following States: Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee.
  • Your application is individual and must be presented personally together with all the supporting documents.
  • In order to present your application and related documents you need to make an appointment through our online booking system.
  • If a family member, residing in our jurisdiction, is interested in submitting in the future an application for the recognition of the Italian citizenship, the same ancestors’ original documentation will apply, but he/she must present his/her own original certificates.
  • Residents of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee whose family members have obtained the recognition of the Italian citizenship at a different Consulate or in Italy, must submit at this Office all original documentation from the Italian ancestor.
  • If you are concerned that the procedures indicated or the reacquisition of Italian citizenship may affect your U.S. citizenship, you should contact the appropriate U.S. authorities.

2. INTERACTIVE TUTORIAL

If you are not certain about your eligibility to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, that is, by descent, please use this step-by-step guide. This tutorial will help you determine your eligibility, however, note that the outcome of this guide is not a guarantee that you will be recognized as an Italian citizen and you will still need to submit a complete application.

3. FAST FACTS

  • If your ancestor became a naturalized U.S. citizen before June 14, 1912 you are not entitled to the Italian citizenship, even if a closer ascendant was born before your Italian ancestor's naturalization.
  • A person born before January 1st, 1948 can claim Italian citizenship only from his/her father, who was not a naturalized citizen of another country before his child’s birth.
  • A woman can transfer citizenship only to her children born after January 1st, 1948, if she was not a naturalized citizen of another country before her child’s birth.
  • An Italian citizen who acquired a foreign citizenship before August 16, 1992 automatically lost his/her citizenship according to art. 8 of the law 555/1912.
  • The acquisition of a foreign citizenship by an Italian citizen on or after August 16, 1992 does not cause the loss of his/her Italian citizenship. 

4. EXAMPLES AND REQUIRED ANCESTOR'S DOCUMENTATION

Example A. Your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth* and you have never renounced your Italian citizenship. The following documentation is required:

1. your father's birth certificate (from Italy);

2. copy of your mother's birth certificate;

3. your parents' marriage certificate;

4. your father's current Italian passport and alien registration card OR your father's naturalization certificate or a letter from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service evidencing that he was naturalized AFTER your birth;

5. if applicable, your father's death certificate.

*If your father was naturalized before your birth, you are not entitled to Italian citizenship. Applicants interested in becoming Italian citizens by naturalization, after a period of residence in Italy, can review the information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (under "Naturalization").

Example B. You were born after January 1, 1948, you have never renounced your Italian citizenship, and your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth*. The following documentation is required:

1. your mother's birth certificate (from Italy);

2. copy of your father's birth certificate;

3. your parent's marriage certificate;

4. your mother's current Italian passport and alien registration card OR your mother's naturalization certificate or a letter from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service evidencing that she was naturalized AFTER your birth;

5. if applicable, your mother's death certificate.

* If your mother was naturalized before your birth, you are not entitled to Italian citizenship. Applicants interested in becoming Italian citizens by naturalization, after a period of residence in Italy, can review the information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (under "Naturalization").

Example C. Your father was born in the U.S. and your paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father's birth* and neither you nor your father ever renounced Italian citizenship. The following documentation is required:

1. birth certificate of your paternal grandfather (from Italy) and your father;

2. copies of the birth certificate of your paternal grandmother and mother;

3. marriage certificates of your paternal grandparents and parents;

4. your paternal grandfather's naturalization certificate or a letter from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service;

5. If applicable, death certificate of your ancestors.

* If your paternal grandfather was naturalized before your father's birth, you and your father are not entitled to Italian citizenship. Applicants interested in becoming Italian citizens by naturalization, after a period of residence in Italy, can review the information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (under "Naturalization").

Example D. You were born after January 10, 1948, your mother was born in the U.S. and your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother's birth* and neither you nor your mother ever renounced Italian citizenship. The following documentation is required:

1. birth certificates of your maternal grandfather (from Italy) and your mother;

2. copies of the birth certificate of your maternal grandmother and father;

3. marriage certificates of your maternal grandparents and of your parents;

4. your maternal grandfather’s naturalization certificate or a letter from the U.S (see the above address) evidencing that he was naturalized AFTER your mother’s birth;

5. If applicable, death certificate of your ancestors.

* If your maternal grandfather was naturalized before your mother’s birth, you and your mother are not entitled to Italian citizenship. Applicants interested in becoming Italian citizens by naturalization, after a period of residence in Italy, can review the information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (under "Naturalization").

5. APPLICANT'S DOCUMENTATION

1. Application form and declarations that you and your intermediate ancestor/s have never renounced italian citizenship before any italian authority;

2. Birth certificate, indicating the city of birth and the names of the parents (request a long form birth certificate or a certificate of live birth);

3. Marriage certificate, indicating the city in which the marriage took place (if applicable);

4. Minor child birth certificate (if applicable);

5. Original and a photocopy of the U.S. passport and driver's license;

6. If not a U.S. citizen: original and a photocopy of national passport and permanent resident card.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Please click on the links on the right side of this page to download the Application Forms 1-2-3-4.
  • The application forms 1-2-3 and/or 4 must be filled out before coming for the scheduled appointment.
  • The forms 1-2 and 4 must be signed in front of the Consular Officer.  
  • Birth certificates, marriage certificates, and, if applicable, divorce documents related to the applicant must be legalized with an APOSTILLE by the Secretary of State of the State in which the document has been issued. The APOSTILLE is not a stamp on the certificate. 
  • Birth certificates, marriage certificates, and, if applicable, divorce documents related to the applicant must be translated into Italian. The APOSTILLE does not need to be translated.
  • Copy of the birth certificate for all spouses born in the United States must be provided.    
  • Each vital record certificate issued outside of the United States needs to bear a translation into Italian certified by the Italian Consulate in the Country in which said certificate was issued. This certification must happen before the submission to this Consulate. The consular certification will confirm the validity of the foreign certificate in form and content.
  • Check carefully all the documents word for word to make sure that no discrepancies or errors appear. Each change or error found in your ancestor’s documents must be corrected, wherever possible, through an official “affidavit to amend a record” at the Vital Statistics Office that issued that document. You can also ask for an “a.k.a.” (also known as) with all the names that your ancestor used during his/her all life. The Vital Records Office can provide it adding them on the original certificate.
  • Discrepancies and errors in your own documents must be amended and corrected. This includes your own name, your spouse’s name, and your parents’ names. If relevant discrepancies are found in your own certificates your application will not be accepted.

6. U.S. NATURALIZATION AND NONEXISTING RECORDS

The Italian ancestor's naturalization document is crucial for the recognition of your Italian citizenship. Therefore, an accurate search has to be performed on this matter.

If your ancestor is still alive and is not an American citizen, you can present his Italian passport and current U.S. permanent resident card (“green card”).

Otherwise, you must present:

The Certificate of Naturalization with a copy of it and/or a certified copy of his “petition for naturalization” and “oath of allegiance” (which is an official document bearing the red ribbon and gold seal of the National Archives - NARA).

If you cannot acquire a certificate of naturalization or a petition, you must provide an Official statement of no record (original, not a photocopy, and with the Office Seal) to be requested to the first two Offices listed below (USCIS and NARA). Additionally, in case of missing Official statements, applicants should provide documentation that they are able to obtain from other U.S. authorities 

Here is a list of the Offices that applicants can contact:

1. The USCIS in Washington D.C. (www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis). This Office can provide a Certificate of Naturalization or a certification of nonexistence of a specific record.

2. The National Archives in Washington, DC (www.nara.gov). This office collects documents from all over the United States: you could obtain a certified copy of your ancestor’s “petition for naturalization” and “oath of allegiance” from the National Archives. Documents from NARA must be certified copies, bearing the red ribbon and gold seal of NARA. If no record is found, they should issue a letter stating it.

3. County Court in which he resided and in which his child was born. It can also provide the Certificate of Naturalization.

4. The USCIS Genealogy Program, in Washington, DC (www.uscis.gov/genealogy). This office can send you a copy of your ancestor’s certificate or alien registration card, which must be supported by a County or NARA record, because USCIS will only release a certified copy to the person who received citizenship.

5. The Regional Office of the National Archives. This office keeps Federal documents related to the States in their area of jurisdiction. You can also obtain a certified copy of your ancestor’s “petition for naturalization” and “oath of allegiance”. Documents from NARA must be certified copies, bearing the red ribbon and gold seal of NARA. If the search shows NO RECORD, NARA can issue the alien registration card.

6. Census record. It may provide additional information relevant to your case even if based on the information provided by the individual: Immigration Records, Naturalization Records, Ship Passenger Lists, Military records, the U.S. Passport applications, Voter List Records and others (www.census.org). Ask for the first U.S. Census dated after the birth of the Italian-born ascendant’s child.

7. If your Italian ancestor went to a country other than the U.S.A. you must present the naturalization record issued by that country. For more information see the website of the competent Italian Consulate/Embassy. A list of all Italian Consulate/Embassies abroad is available at: www.esteri.it (“Farnesina” - “Rappresentanze Diplomatiche” - “Ambasciate e Consolati” – Country).

PLEASE NOTE

When submitting a request to one of these offices, please provide your Italian ancestor’s full name (and aliases, nicknames, and any other names appeared on any official documents), possible places and dates of birth which he may have declared during his life, according to the ancestor's documents and information available.

Conduct a search that covers the time of the arrival of your Italian ancestor in the USA, to the birth of his child born in the USA, and support it with Official statements.

This Consulate's citizenship office has the right to request additional documents, beyond the ones provided by the applicant on the day of the appointment, in order to determine the applicants' eligibility to the Italian citizenship. 

7. COST AND PAYMENT METHODS 

All applications for the recognition of the Italian citizenship Iure Sanguinis (by descent) are subject to the payment of a 300 euros fee. This fee must be paid in USD for the amount of $333 (valid until March 31, 2020).
The same fee applies to descendants of Italian citizens over 18 (children, grandchildren, etc.) and to spouses of Italian citizens who got married before April 27th, 1983 and who wish to obtain the recognition of their Italian citizenship.

The fee must be paid at the Consulate the day of the appointment with a cashier's check or a money order made out to the Italian Consulate - Detroit. The fee is subject to change every 3 months.

The application fee is NON REFUNDABLE, regardless of the outcome of the petition.


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