Do you have ancestors who came to the United States from Italy? If so, did you know that you can claim dual citizenship without having to renounce your American citizenship? Here are the steps you will need to take to become an Italian citizen by descent.
1. Determine Your Ancestry and Research Official Records
Your first step will be to verify that you have the correct lineage to qualify for Italian citizenship. While the criteria can be quite involved, in general, if you have an ancestor who was born in Italy and was an Italian citizen after the unification year of 1861, you likely qualify. You can find full details by researching Italian citizenship laws.
You will then need to put your investigatory skills to use, starting with obtaining the qualifying ancestor’s full name along with their his or her date and town of birth. Then order that person’s Italian civil records; in addition to his or her birth certificate, you may also need to locate marriage records. You will also need the U.S. naturalization records pertaining to the first descendant to have been born in America.
2. Compile Your Personal Records
In addition to the ancestry papers, you will also need to prepare your own personal documentation. The required paperwork will be specific to your own situation, but at a minimum, if you are married you will likely need:
Your birth certificate
Your marriage certificate
Your spouse’s birth certificate
Typically, you will also have to provide authentication for each of your documents, which is called an apostille. It can be helpful to use a service that specializes in processing documents in both English and Italian.
3. Apply for Citizenship
Once you’ve established your lineage and gathered all of your paperwork, you can begin the process of requesting Italian dual citizenship. You will apply at the Italian consulate for your jurisdiction, where your records will be reviewed. You may be asked to provide additional information if your records are incomplete. Once everything is accepted the consulate will register your information, which can take several months. At that point, you will be informed that you may apply for your Italian passport.
While the process can seem daunting, for those with proper lineage there is a clear path to becoming a citizen of both the U.S. and Italy. The good news is, once you obtain dual citizenship you can hold it forever and pass it down to future generations.
Article Submitted By Community Writer