You can apply for Italian citizenship if one of the following applies to you:
- Your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents are/were Italian citizens who never naturalized as citizens of another country before August 16th 1992 (citizenship by descent-based on the principle of iure sanguinis,e. “the right of blood”);
- You are married to an Italian citizen;
- You fulfill residency requirements in Italy;
- You fulfill the requirements of law no. 124 of 8 March 2006, which provides for recognition of Italian citizenship to Italian nationals resident in Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia between 1940 and 1947 -whose property was confiscated and ceded to the Yugoslav Republic by the Treaties of Paris of 10 February 1947 and Osimo of 10 November 1975- and their descendants.
Please carefully check the section that is relevant to your case to read the specific legal requirements.
N.B. Minors born to an Italian parent can automatically get Italian citizenship as long as the parents register the child’s birth certificate in Italy (see the Vital Records section of this website for instructions on how to register your child’s birth certificate).
The law that currently governs Italian citizenship recognition and acquisition is the legge 5 febbraio 1992, n. 91 (and subsequent addendum DPR 12 ottobre 1993 n. 572 and DPR 18 aprile 1994 n. 362). In contrast with the previous law, the current law acknowledges the importance of individual intention in the acquisition or loss of citizenship and allows the right to hold more than one citizenship simultaneously, subject to the provisions of international agreements. Italian citizenship was exclusive prior to August 16th 1992, when becoming a citizen of another country meant automatic loss of Italian citizenship.
Applications for citizenship by descent must be submitted in the applicant’s country of residence, specifically at the Italian Consulate or Embassy responsible for that jurisdiction. If the applicant resides in Italy, they should contact their Comune in Italy.
The Consulate General of Italy in New York has jurisdiction over the following US States:
- New York
- New Jersey (limited to the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren)
- The British Territory of Bermuda
N.B. Applications for Italian citizenship by descent are subject to the payment of a fee of EURO 300.00 (as per art. 5-bis of DPR 24 April 2014, n. 66). The payment must be made by money order in US dollars to the Consulate General of Italy in New York at the applicable exchange rate for the calendar quarter. Please check the current consular fees here. The payment must be made regardless of the outcome, and it will not be returned should your application be denied.
ALL other citizenship applications (acquisition, reacquisition and renouncing your citizenship etc.) are subject to the payment of EUR 250 as set out in art. 9-bis, Law no. 91 of 5 February 1992. The amount must be paid to the Ministry of Internal Affairs according to the instructions provided in the different sections of this website. SEE THE RELEVANT SECTION OF THIS WEBSITE.
CITIZENSHIP BY DESCENT (Iure Sanguinis)
If you have Italian ancestors in your lineage you may be eligible to apply for Italian Citizenship by descent, as long as you meet all the requirements (see below).
Please note that you may only apply if:
- your Italian-born ancestor never naturalized;
- your Italian-born ancestor naturalized or renounced their Italian citizenship AFTER the birth of the next descendant, so that the bloodline is not interrupted.
Acquiring Italian citizenship through the maternal line is possible only for descendants born on or after 1st January 1948.