Acquiring Italian Citizenship through Ancestry: Understanding “Jure Sanguinis”
The path to acquiring Italian citizenship through your ancestry, known as “jure sanguinis” (Latin, for law of the bloodline or right of blood), presents a unique opportunity for you. This process not only allows individuals to reside permanently in Italy and work throughout the European Union but also to pass on this invaluable heritage to future generations. Particularly for the Italian American community, the pursuit of dual citizenship (US or Canadian and Italian) is a journey of reconnecting with roots, albeit a journey that demands patience, investment, and diligent effort.
The Legal Framework
In short, if either of your parents are Italian citizens, you are inherently entitled to Italian citizenship, irrespective of your birthplace. Italian citizenship laws, particularly the national law no. 91 of February 5, 1992, outline the modalities for acquiring or relinquishing Italian citizenship. A key provision, Article 1, establishes that Italian citizenship can be automatically conferred through “jure sanguinis.”
The Process of Citizenship via Ancestry
To successfully claim Italian citizenship by your ancestry/blood line, one must demonstrate an unbroken lineage to an Italian ancestor. Importantly, this involves verifying that none of your Italian forebears renounced their Italian citizenship in favor of another nationality. The process entails tracing your family tree back to the Italian-born ancestor and ascertaining the date of their emigration from Italy.
This process, which has garnered significant attention in recent years, acknowledges individuals as Italian citizens in every respect. Unlike many countries that limit descent claims to the first or second generation, Italy uniquely imposes no generational limit, provided the ancestor lived in Italy post-March 17, 1861, the date marking the formation of modern Italy. However, regions like Trentino and Alto Adige, which joined Italy post-World War I, may have additional stipulations, including a later ancestral residency requirement.
The 1948 Case: Female Ancestry Claims
A specific group eligible for Italian citizenship includes those tracing their lineage through a female ancestor who gave birth before January 1, 1948. These cases, known as “1948 cases,” require a judicial process. Following a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Italy in 2009, which deemed the previous law unconstitutional, these claims are now processed expediently through the Civil Court of Rome. As an attorney specializing in Italian citizenship claims, I have extensive experience in successfully navigating these cases.