Italian citizenship is based on the principle of ius sanguinis (right of blood), according to which the child born to an Italian father or to an Italian mother is Italian; however it should be kept in mind that the citizen mother transmits citizenship to her minor children only starting from 1.1.1948, due to a specific sentence of the Constitutional Court.
METHOD OF ACQUIRING ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP
The most common methods of acquisition are listed below: By filiation; By birth in Italy,
only and exclusively when the parents are unknown or stateless or do not transmit their citizenship to the child according to the law of the State to which they belong;
If the foreigner was born on Italian territory, he can obtain citizenship if he legally and continuously resides in Italy from birth until coming of age; By adoption; By marriage to an Italian citizen\a
The foreign spouse of an Italian citizen who wishes to acquire citizenship on the basis of Article 5 of Law 91/1992 can apply:
if residing in Italy: to the competent Prefecture, 24 months after the celebration of the marriage;
if residing abroad: to the territorially competent consular authority, three years after the celebration of the marriage.
A formal requirement for the presentation of the application is that the marriage, if celebrated abroad, has been registered in an Italian municipality. Instructions for registering the marriage (if celebrated in this consular jurisdiction) are available on this website.
Interested parties – residing in this consular district and whose marriage has already been registered in Italy – can consult the page in English. By naturalization:
Since the requirement is residence in Italy, the related requests must be requested from the competent prefecture.
DESCENDANTS OF ITALIAN CITIZENS:
Italian legislation provides for the possibility that Italian citizenship is recognized to descendants of second, third, fourth generation and beyond, of our emigrants. The recognition of possession of the Italian civitatis status is subject to certain conditions and to the documented verification of some essential circumstances, the most important of which is to establish whether and when the ancestor of first emigration to the USA became a naturalized American citizen.
In fact, if the naturalization of the ancestor took place AFTER the birth of the son (or daughter) from whom the applicant descends in a direct line, the applicant could be entitled to recognition of Italian citizenship. It should be noted that the recognition of citizenship in the maternal line can be problematic since the woman transmits Italian citizenship only to children born after 1.1.1948.
IMPORTANT – Acquisition of American (or other foreign) citizenship by Italian citizens
The acquisition of a foreign citizenship after 15 August 1992 does not entail the loss of Italian citizenship.
On the other hand, those who acquired foreign citizenship before 15 August 1992 automatically lost their Italian one.
They can regain Italian citizenship by transferring their residence to an Italian Municipality (art.13 law 91/1992). For further specific information and on the forms in use, please consult the English version.
Information on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data for the purpose of recognizing Italian citizenship iure sanguinis or its acquisition by naturalization (articles 5 and 7, as well as article 9, paragraph 1, letter c, and paragraph 2 of the law n. 91/1992). (General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679, art. 13).