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How to obtain Italian citizenship through a judicial proceeding

Updated: May 14, 2021

The judicial way to obtain recognition of Italian citizenship is admissible in two cases:

1. When the iure sanguinis offspring comes from the maternal line (son of an Italian woman born before 1948). This is because until the entry into force of the Italian Constitution in 1948, Italian citizenship was transmitted only by paternal line.

2. When the iure sanguinis offspring comes from the paternal lineage. In this case, however, it is necessary to have first submitted an application for recognition of citizenship at the Italian Consulate of your country of residence and to demonstrate that there are long waiting lists.

The legal terms of the administrative procedure for the recognition of Italian citizenship are set at 24 months, which can be extended up to a maximum of 36 months (Italian Law 18 December n.173 of 2020 which converts Law Decree n.21 October 2020 n.130 into law). The waiting list times must therefore exceed 2 years to be considered by the Court of Rome as an acceptable requirement for initiating a judicial case.

In both cases, it is necessary to produce extensive and detailed documentation translated and legalized for valid use in Italy that demonstrates a continuous uninterrupted lineage from the Italian ancestor to the applicant for citizenship. In some more complex cases, the presentation of an expert opinion by a genealologist may also be required to reconstruct the entire family tree of the applicant.

In the event that it is not possible to reconstruct an uninterrupted lineage from an Italian ancestor, it will still be possible to obtain citizenship by administrative procedure, after 3 years of residence in Italy with a valid residence permit. In fact, Article 9 of Italian Law 91/1992 states that:

"1. Italian citizenship can be granted by decree of the President of the Republic, after consulting the Supreme Administrative Court (Consiglio di Stato, on the proposal of the Minister of the Interior:

a) to the foreign of whom the father or mother or one of the ascendants in a straight line of the second degree was citizen by birth, or who was born in the territory of the Republic and, in both cases, has resided legally there for at least three years, in any case without prejudice to the provisions of article 4, paragraph 1, letter c); ".

Avv. Lifang Dong e Avv. Chiara Civitelli

This article is not a legal advice, but it has an informative function only. For personalized legal advice, contact us by e-mail or by phone +39 06 916505710. © Dong & Partners International Law Firm, All rights reserved

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