Escape Artists

How to Apply for Italian Dual Citizenship

How do I Apply for Italian dual citizenship is a question I am asked all the time.  I discovered the application process will take you on an educational journey where you will discover your Italian ancestry at home, as well as in Italy.  Petitioning for ‘Italian citizenship by descent,’ at first may seem daunting, but once you know what documents are needed you can expect to apply for “Recognition of Italian Citizenship” in an organized and calm way. If you meet specific requirements set forth by the Citizenship Department of the Consulate General of Italy, you can be recognized as an Italian citizen since birth, you just didn’t know it. So let’s begin!

Jump in already, it's worth it! Jump in already, it’s worth it!

Do you qualify for Italian Dual Citizenship?

“As a general rule, the Italian law recognizes the possibility to acquire Italian citizenship to people born from a father of Italian citizenship (or from a father who had not yet renounced to Italian citizenship when such person was born) After the entry into force of the Constitution of 1948, the same criteria apply to those born after January 1, 1948 from a mother of Italian citizenship.”

Before you start collecting all the necessary papers needed to apply for Italian dual citizenship, you must first find out if you qualify to become an Italian citizen. The Consulate General of Italy has a some situations that may pertain to you, but this article only deals with #3: Your father was born in the United States, your paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth. So read each situation carefully to decide what category you fall under.

This can be a daunting task

Hopefully your family kept records: birth, marriages, and death certificates. Of all the many documents you will have to produce, your grandfather’s naturalization papers is key. No need to go any further if your father was born after his father became and America citizen. Case in point; my aunt didn’t qualify but I did. At the time my aunt was born, her father had become an American citizen but he was not an American citizen at the time of my father’s birth.

If your family has maintained these records, the entire process can be completed within a year. But if your family, is like mine, this task can be an eight year roller coaster ride! Sometimes you’ll have to start at the end of life to get to the beginning.

Documents necessary for recognition

All information must be obtained before your first appointment with the citizenship department. You will need grandparents birth certificates, marriage certificates, naturalization papers, your father’s and mother’s birth certificates, their marriage records, your birth certificate, and (marriage certificate if applicable). If you have children, you will need their birth certificates, and marriage certificates If you are divorced, it is necessary to get a complete copy of your divorce no matter how long ago it was. That’s a whole different journey, so don’t get me started!

All documents must be in long form and bear the registrar’s raised, embossed impressed or multicolored seal and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office. Each document must also have affixed an Apostille.

The first meeting with the Italian consulate

This is the day you’ve been waiting for!  All the above steps must be completed before making an appointment with a representative of Italian consulate. Everything in Italy involves bureaucracy and applying for Italian dual citizenship is no different.  It may take months to get an appointment so call early. You will be asked if you have all the necessary paperwork, and your response should be “yes” whether you do or not.  Otherwise you could be waiting up to 6 months to have your day of glee.

Not all states have an office for the Italian Consulate General in your state to find the nearest office. As in my case, one of my daughters lived in Hawaii and was under the jurisdiction of San Francisco.

Once you present your documentation, you will be told if you qualify. At this point you will be asked for any more information that may be needed. You will be given a list of their approved translators so that each of these documents can be translated into Italian before they are sent to Italy for approval.

A Family project

Applying for Italian dual citizenship can be a great family project. If you have to start from scratch, you will need all the help you can get and each person in your family has a different memory of the past. My aunt Elena, did not qualify, but she was my most important link to my grandparents, and my father.  Together we discovered more than a family tree, we unlocked some family secrets and retold stories of our early day growing up in Boston as an Italian America.

According to Italian law: Inheritance of Italian citizenship is available through a concept called Jure Sanguinis (by the right of blood) or citizenship by descent, you may already be a citizen of Italy, you just need to do the paperwork. The journey may be long but what you learn along the way may change your life..  So get started!

Join the Cool Kids Club! Join the Cool Kids Club!


Don’t forget about your lovely daughter and her apostille mission through Boston! It’s a lot of work, but it REALLY pays off!

Darling Blaine, I won’t forget, but that’s another article!

TheLastMohican says:

hi elizabeth… maybe you or one of your followers can help me out. my grandmother was born in Connecticut but I am in possession of her Italian Passporto per Estero from 1931. Does this mean she was an Italian citizen? my mother was born in 1952 obviously after 1948. If i can secure a letter of No Record from the National Archives then am I qualified for dual citizenship? any advice or leads would be greatly appreciated. I studies Propositional Logic in college and that was easier than Italian immigration law. 🙂


I am a U.S. citizen, in the process of obtaining my Italian dual citizenship through my paternal grandfather. I have all necessary documents and apostilles. Unfortunately, I have an estranged relationship with my father, and he refuses to sign my citizenship application. What are my legal rights to citizenship? Can I get a third party involved? Can I show proof of my father’s hostile nature (possibly a testament from our divorce attorney), which would allow me to forgo his signature? Thank you very much for your assistance.

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