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Citizenship by ancestry:  Italian citizenship is based upon the principle of “iure sanguinis” (blood right). This means that a child who is born to an Italian father or mother is also an Italian citizen. Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation, on the condition that none of the ancestors has ever renounced their citizenship. When a person claims to be of Italian parentage or ancestry but no proof of the fact can be found in Italian registers (i.e. citizenship claimed by great-grandparents), it is necessary to provide proof that all ancestors have maintained, and thereby passed on, their Italian citizenship. The acquisition of Italian citizenship does not bring any tax obligations, which are instead linked to maintaining residency in Italy.
 
Children born to an Italian mother before 1948: prior to January 1, 1948, it was not possible for an Italian mother to transfer Italian citizenship to her child. Italian citizenship at that time could be transferred to a child only through his father. After 1948, these restrictions were lifted pursuant to the Italian Constitution, so that both mothers and fathers could transfer citizenship to their children. The Italian Supreme Court recently held that this provision is contrary to Constitutional principles. Thus, also children that are born before January 1, 1948 to an Italian mother are entitled to citizenship.  Consulates continue however to reject applications because they request the law to be amended. Accordingly, applicants need to file a Court action in order to obtain citizenship. A Court action can be filed even without waiting for the Consulate’s rejection and will take 1 to 2 years to have a decision.
 
Fast track procedure: adjudication procedure at many Consulates takes several years (some Consulates takes 1 year before fixing the appointment to file the application and 4-5 years for adjudication). There are two ways to accelerate citizenship adjudication based upon iure sanguinis:
 
a)      Take residency in Italy: Application can be filed directly in Italy instead of doing it at the Italian Consulate in their country of residence. The procedure requires the applicant to have an accommodation in Italy (it can be a rented apartment/room) and register at the local City Hall. In order for the registration to be accepted, all documents proving that the grounds for citizenship must be complete. The local Police usually visits the applicant’s accommodation and they expect to find the individual at home. Accordingly, it is advisable to stay in Italy until registration is approved.  After registration is confirmed the individual will be allowed to file for citizenship and obtain a Police permit of stay “waiting for citizenship”, which permits the individual to stay in Italy until citizenship is adjudicated.  The  applicant is not required to stay permanently in Italy but throughout the process will need to go back to Italy 2-3 times in order to complete the process for the permit of stay (filing permit of stay application, fingerprinting and collection of the permit). Citizenship adjudication by the local City Hall can take from 2 to 8 months, processing time can in fact vary depending on the response time of the Consulate that must issue a security clearance; or
 
b)      File a Court action: The applicant can avoid taking residency in Italy but file a Court action  in Italyfor his citizenship to be confirmed by the Tribunal. In order to have a decision it usually takes 12-18 months. After the judgment is issued it will need to be recorded at the City Hall and then the individual can be included in the Consulate’s Record of Italians (AIRE).
 
 
 

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