Recognition of Italian Citizenship “jure sanguinis” (by law of the bloodline) according to Italian Law 555/1912
- How to apply? By setting up an appointment using the online booking system.
On the date of the appointment please bring the application form completely filled out.
- Who may apply? This Law, under specific conditions, offers the possibility of deriving Italian citizenship from your Italian ancestors if you can provide evidence that the line of citizenship has never been interrupted over the generations leading to you.
- Under what conditions? If you were born in the United States or in another country that granted you its citizenship at birth “jure soli” (by law of the soil), you may claim Italian citizenship “jure sanguinis” (by law of the bloodline) by descent and be considered an Italian citizen if your ancestors were Italians at the time of your birth. There are some exceptions to the general rule. For example: 1. Ascendants who were naturalized U.S. citizens before June 14, 1912, cannot transmit citizenship, even if their children were born prior to their naturalization; 2. Italian women were not granted the right to transmit their citizenship to their children until 1948. Therefore, applicants who were born prior to January 1, 1948, can claim Italian citizenship only from their paternal line. Below are several examples of different categories. See below (under question “What forms and documents must I submit?”) which documents are required for each category.
- Category #1: your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship;
- Category #2: your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, you were born after January 1, 1948, and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship;
- Category #3: your father was born in the United States or a country other than Italy which considered him a citizen by birth “jure soli” (by the law of the soil), your paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth, your father did not renounce his Italian citizenship before your birth;
- Category #4: your mother was born in the United States or in a country other than Italy which considered her a citizen by birth “jure soli” (by the law of the soil), your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth, you were born after January 1, 1948, and your mother did not renounce her Italian citizenship before your birth.
To determine if you are eligible for Italian citizenship under Italian Law 555/1912, our office must apply the Italian law that was in force at the time of your birth.
If you are claiming citizenship through your maternal bloodline, you must provide information also about your father and maternal grandfather, since under Italian law it is necessary to establish that your female ancestors did not at any time lose Italian citizenship following the naturalization of their respective spouses.
- A relative of mine has already provided all documents related to the same ancestors to another Italian Consulate or to an Italian Municipality (Comune). Could your office use the same files? No. As of October 2012, our office is not able to reference the files of other Italian Consulates or Municipalities in Italy. If you are applying to us after a relative of yours has already been granted Italian citizenship by descent from the same ancestor as the one from which you are claiming citizenship, you must still submit all the family documents required, even those that were submitted with the application of your relative.
- How do I look for old family files in Italy? To retrieve the vital records certificates of your ancestors, you should contact the Italian Municipality (Comune) in which they were born or lived. If they came from a small suburb (frazione), you should contact the Municipality of which it is part. Italian Municipalities keep birth, marriage, and death records in their archives. It is also possible to obtain copies of a document describing the composition of the family, the so-called “certificato di stato di famiglia” issued since 1869. This kind of document can be obtained from the “Ufficio Anagrafe” of the Municipalities. They contain the names, the place, and the date of birth of the family members who were alive at the time of their issuance. Other sources of information are: a) the Italian State Archives; b) Parish Registries (Registri Parrocchiali) where, prior to the unification of Italy in 1861, certificates of baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death were filed. Many of these Registries have been subsequently transferred to the local Dioceses or the Archives of the closest major City.
- Am I required to pay a fee for the application? Yes. Italian Law 89/2014 has established a fee of 300 Euros for applications. In the period from July 1 to September 30, 2023, the cost is equal to 326.60 US dollars. Payment must be made at the consular office on the day of the appointment by cashier’s check or money order made out to “Embassy of Italy, Washington DC”.
- What forms and documents must I submit? All applicants must submit the following:
- Copy of current passport (U.S. and/or from another country)
- Copy of valid U.S. Green Card or Form I-551/long-term visa (if you are not a U.S. citizen or national)
- Copy of U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (if you became a U.S. citizen by naturalization)
- Copy of Certificate of Naturalization (if you became a citizen by naturalization of any other country)
- Copy of valid driver license or state ID (this is not proof of residency)
- Copy of recent utility bill as PROOF OF RESIDENCY (ONLY electricity, water, gas, or landline bill. Page with name and address) or last tax statement (page with name and address)
In addition to the foregoing, the required forms and documents vary by case. To simplify, we have grouped together the most common categories (see above for details):
- A. If you fall under Categories 1 or 2 listed above, you must submit the following documents, all in original form:
1) Page 1 of the application form available here and at the bottom of this section
2) Your father’s and/or mother’s birth certificate(s)
Contact the Italian Municipality (Ufficio Anagrafe-Stato Civile) where your father/mother were born, request a birth certificate in the form of “estratto dell’atto di nascita” (showing your father/mother’s names).
3) Your parents’ marriage certificate
Same as above. If the marriage was celebrated in the U.S.A., you must obtain a “long/extended form” marriage certificate legalized with an apostille. Click here to learn more about apostilles. If applicable, you are required to provide the final judgment of divorce or, in case of death of a spouse, the certificate of death of your father/mother.
4) Your parents’ certificates of naturalization and/or other U.S. citizenship-related documents as explained by the following webpage: Naturalization or Lack Thereof – Ambasciata d’Italia a Washington (esteri.it)
5) A declaration from you that your father and/or mother never renounced Italian citizenship before any Italian authority prior to your birth, listing all places of their residence and corresponding years
If your father/mother are alive, use page 3 of the application form. If he/she are deceased, use page 4 of the application form.
6) Your birth certificate
The birth certificate must be submitted in “long form”, legalized with the apostille from the Secretary of State of the State in which it was issued and translated into Italian. Our Consular Office will certify conformity of the translation. To learn more about apostilles, click here.
7) A declaration from you that you never renounced Italian citizenship before any Italian authority, listing all your places of residence and corresponding years
Your signature must be notarized. Copy of your passport and proof of residency (driver license and/or utility bills, etc.) are requested. Use Page 2 of the Application Form.
8) Your father’s and/or mother’s death certificates (if applicable)
This document must be submitted in the long-form format and legalized with an apostille.
- B. If you fall under Categories 3 and 4 listed above, in addition to the documents described under Categories 1 and 2 (including page 1 of the application form), you must submit the following documents:
1) Your paternal and/or maternal grandparents’ birth certificates (issued by the Italian municipality where they were born)
2) Your paternal and/or maternal grandparents’ marriage certificates (issued by the Italian municipality where they were married or by the U.S. authorities if they married in the U.S.)
3) Your paternal and/or maternal grandparents’ certificates of naturalization and/or other U.S. citizenship-related documents as explained by the following webpage: Naturalization or Lack Thereof – Ambasciata d’Italia a Washington (esteri.it)
4) Any pertinent death certificate(s) related to your Italian ascendants
- C. If your Italian citizenship descends from your great grandparents, you must submit the above-mentioned documents as for your grandparents, but referring also to your great grandparents.
Please note that:
- The Italian Embassy is not authorized to obtain certificates from U.S. Vital Records Offices on behalf of third parties.
- All certificates must be submitted in “long form” or “extended form” and must be obtained from the Vital Statistics Office of the State in which the birth/marriage/death occurred. All certificates (other than those issued by ITALIAN Authorities) must be apostilled and have a conforming translation. To learn more about the apostille, click here.
- U.S. birth/marriage/death records must bear an apostille of the Secretary of State of the state where the document was issued. Petitions for naturalization and/or “no record” certificates must be in certified copy. U.S. certificates issued by FEDERAL authorities, such as the National Archives or Department of Justice, require the federal apostille of the U.S. Department of State (click here).
- All certificates must be submitted with the official translation in the Italian language, except for the apostille. Conformity of the translations to the originals must be certified by the Italian Consulate competent for the State that issued the document or by the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. Should you require translation services, you may refer to the list of professionals on our website (click here).
- Some U.S. vital records offices may require applicants to provide a letter from the Consulate stating why their ancestral certificates are being requested. In this case, we suggest that you present a copy of this information kit to the U.S. office.
- Incorrect/conflicting information: It is your responsibility to ensure that all documents contain the correct information with regard to names, last names, dates, and places of birth, and that such information matches in all submitted papers. Incorrect certificates may delay the processing of your application or affect your eligibility for Italian citizenship. If there are significant differences in the certificates, please provide an official statement from a Court Judge or a Vital Statistics Officer asserting which is the true and correct information.
Click here to download the application form.