In Pursuit of an Italian Passport – jus sanguinis


imply put, Jus Sanguinis is the concept of Italian Citizenship by descent. At its core is the idea that I - and my family - never gave up Italian citizenship, and, therefore, my birthright to claim it. Indeed, it seems that obtaining Italian dual citizenship is much easier than any other European country. In 1992, the Italian government introduced a law that allows foreigners of Italian descent to apply and obtain Italian citizenship no matter where they are located.

Therefore, everyone who has Italian ancestry is seen as a citizen of Italy, which allows me to obtain a local passport, ID card, and even vote in elections. Jus Sanguinis is a law that determines nationality by the right of blood instead of the place of birth, which means that if my parents or ancestors were from Italy but later migrated to another country to live before I was born, I am an Italian citizen. All that is required for me to do is to claim my Italian citizenship and secure my rights. Sounds promising!

Oh wait, there are some exclusions…

    1. Prior to March 17, 1861, Italy was not a unified country. This means that before this date, there was no Italy and, therefore, there were no Italian citizens. In order to qualify, the Italian ancestor in my line must have been born after this date.
    2. The 1912 Rule. Italian citizens naturalized before July 1, 1912 could not transmit citizenship to their children even if they were born before their naturalization.
    3. The 1948 Rule. A person born before January 1, 1948 can claim Italian citizenship only from his/her father (who was not a naturalized citizen of another country before his/her child’s birth), and a woman can transfer citizenship only to her children born after January 1, 1948 if she was not a naturalized citizen of another country before her child’s birth.
    4. One of my ascendants formally renounced their Italian citizenship in front of an Italian Consular, diplomat or government official.

Ok, let’s see if I got this straight. I need a male ancestor who was born in Italy after March 1861, naturalized to the US after July 1912 but had a child (an ancestor) before he naturalized to the US. Moreover, This male ancestor’s child – if female – must give birth to my direct ancestor only after January 1948 for me to be able to have a claim to Italian citizenship. This is getting complicated…