- LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Italian citizenship by descent is based on the principle of jure sanguinis (right of blood).
Children under the age of 18 are automatically Italian if one of the parents is an Italian citizen, and their birth certificate is registered with the Italian authorities. Italian citizens resident abroad must send the documentation to register the minor’s birth certificate to the Registry Office (Ufficio di Stato Civile) of the Italian Consulate before the child turns 18 (please visit our website for further details).
Adults, who wish to become Italian and whose birth certificate has never been registered with the Italian authorities, will have to submit an application for recognition of Italian citizenship jure sanguinis.
Essential requirement: the Italian ancestor who emigrated abroad must have been born in Italy after 17th March 1861 (when the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed), or after their place of birth had been annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.
Applications for citizenship by descent might exceptionally be accepted if the Italian ancestor was born before 17th March 1861 and died after that date.
Acquiring Italian citizenship through the maternal line is possible only for children born after 1st January 1948. However, if the Italian mother had acquired, even just automatically, another citizenship through marriage to a foreign citizen before 1948, she automatically lost her Italian citizenship and as a consequence the ability to pass it on to her descendants.
Nonetheless, since 1975, these women have been able to re-acquire their Italian citizenship ex nunc, through a formal declaration of re-acquisition to be submitted to the appropriate consular office (art. 219 L. 151/1975, referred to art. 17, c. 2, L. 91/1992): Information on re-acquisition of Italian citizenship by residence in Italy, for those who lost it due to acquisition of another citizenship before 16th August 1992 and women married to a British citizen after 1st January 1949.
Please note that direct ancestors who voluntarily acquired another citizenship before 16th August 1992 automatically lost their Italian citizenship, even if they did not formally renounce it (art. 8 L.555/1912).
However, pursuant to art. 7 L.555/1912, an Italian citizen born and resident in another country where they acquired citizenship by virtue of being born there (jus soli), automatically and unconditionally regardless of the parents’ citizenship, maintains their Italian citizenship.
PLEASE NOTE: This could be valid only if the Italian ancestor (avo dante causa) has not acquired another citizenship before 01/07/1912 (L. 555/1912) and the next descendant’s birth.
For further information please visit: https://www.esteri.it/it/servizi-consolari-e-visti/normativa_consolare/serviziconsolari/cittadinanza/
- DOCUMENTS TO SUBMIT AT THE APPOINTMENT
Applications for citizenship by descent should be submitted in the applicant’s country of residence. If the applicant is resident abroad, they should contact the Italian consular office responsible for that jurisdiction; if resident in Italy, they should contact the Municipality (Comune).
On the day of the appointment, applicants must submit all the original documents, each one duly legalised and translated into Italian. Discrepancies of any kind in the submitted documentation (e.g. names, surnames, places, dates, etc.) will not be accepted. Please note that such documents do not have an expiry date.
The Citizenship Office reserves the right to require further evidence and supporting documentation once the application has been assessed.
Original documents will not be returned to the applicant once submitted.
Applicants, who are resident in this consular district and whose family members have already been recognised Italian by descent through this Consulate General, should contact the Citizenship office via email (email@example.com ) one month before the appointment, to provide personal data and details of the family members already recognised as Italian. New applicants who fall into this category can simply present photocopies of all the originals already in our possession, in addition to the other original documents required to assess their individual application.
Applicants who are resident in this consular district and whose family members have already been recognised Italian by descent through another Italian Consulate or in Italy at the Municipality (Comune), must submit all the original documentation concerning their ancestors.
Please note that as from 8th July 2014, a non-refundable fee of 300 EUR* is required in order to submit an application for Italian citizenship Jure Sanguinis (by descent) and Jure Matrimonii (limited to women married to an Italian citizen before 27.4.1983). The payment must be made on the day of the appointment in GBP with a British debit card at the quarterly exchange rate published on the Italian Consulate General website.
*(article 5-bis of decree-law no. 66 of 24 April 2014, converted, with amendments, by law no. 89 of 23 June 2014, published in the Official Journal (Gazzetta Ufficiale) no. 143 of 23-6-2014).
Payments are not refundable for either successful or not successful applications.
2.1 APPLICATION PROCESSING TIMES
Law n.132/2018 (articles 5, 9ter) sets a time limit to process an application with all the required documents and no inconsistencies, at a maximum of 24 months, extendable to 36, if the application is complete and presented without discrepancies.
2.2 DOCUMENTS CHECKLIST
- HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
To book an appointment for citizenship by descent you need to create an account on Prenot@MI and proceed to book an appointment with the relevant Consular office.
New slots are automatically released on Mondays and Wednesdays at 17.00 (local time).
Please note that each appointment is allocated to one person only, therefore each applicant must book their own appointment.
The applicant will receive an email reminding them to confirm the appointment. Failure to do so will result in the automatic cancellation of the appointment by Prenot@MI.
The Citizenship Office does not manage the Prenot@MI portal: therefore please refrain from sending an appointment request via email directly to the Citizenship Office.
The Consulate General of Italy in London reminds all users that the Prenot@MI booking portal is COMPLETELY free of charge.
We invite all users to be wary of anyone claiming to be able to arrange appointments at short notice against payment of a fee. We strongly advise against paying for this kind of service. The Consulate General of Italy distances itself completely and categorically from any website, agency or individual that offers similar services and reserves every right to take necessary measures when required.