Learn more about the rules for Italian citizenship
There are many complex Italian citizenship laws and regulations that apply to Italian immigration and citizenship. If you have Italian ancestry, you may want to know more about the Italian citizenship laws that apply to you. Getting your Italian dual citizenship is also your first step to gaining an Italian passport.
Please don’t waste your valuable time surfing the internet for general information when we have the legal expertise for specific cases. Let us know about your circumstances and we will tell you the best way to pursue your Italian dual citizenship.
Laws and case laws on Italian dual citizenship
Here you can investigate and discover case laws on Italian dual citizenship that might affect your personal situation. We outline just some of the changes in Italian laws in recent history. Our legal experts know all the latest legalities and can explain how they might influence your Italian dual citizenship application.
Italian Civil Code of 1865
Italian ancestry through the male line: There are laws applicable to male Italian ancestors born from 1865 to July 1, 1912. The principle is that, if the father naturalizes before the birth of his child, both loose their citizenship. The same applies if the father naturalizes before the child becomes an adult (aged 21 years). If the father naturalizes when his child is aged 21 or older, the child does not lose his Italian citizenship. (Find out more in the PDF below. See par. 6 and 11 n. 3.).
Italian ancestry through the female line: Italian women were generally not able to pass on their Italian citizenship if they were married (both to an Italian or a foreigner). Only unmarried mothers could pass on Italian citizenship to their children. (See par. 14 and 7). Read the text of the Italian Civil Code par. 1 – 15 [PDF in Italian]
Italian dual citizenship under Law no. 555 of 1912
This was the first law ever about citizenship enacted by the Italian State. Children born in US (birthright citizenship) to an Italian father had also Italian citizenship (by bloodline) if the father was still an Italian citizen at the time of the child’s birth (See par. 7.)
Women were not allowed to pass on their Italian citizenship. Only in few circumstances a woman could pass on her Italian citizenship (if unmarried, or married to a foreigner who did not have a citizenship or whose country laws did not pass citizenship to the child: See par. 1 nr 2).
If an Italian woman marries a foreigner, in most circumstances she automatically loses her citizenship. (See par. 10 nr 3.)
Both rules (prohibition of citizenship transmission via married mother and a woman’s loss of citizenship when she marries a foreigner) were contested in later years (1975 and 1983), the provisions amended for future cases, and the judicial precedents on women citizenship applied to past similar cases (see below about new regulation of 1983 and judicial precedents). Read the text of Law n. 555 of 1912 [PDF in Italian]
Italian Constitutional Court – sentence n. 87 of 1975
In April 1975, the Italian Constitutional Court ruled that women should not automatically lose their Italian citizenship when marrying a foreigner. Law no. 151 of 1975, par. 219, also stated that women who lost their Italian citizenship by marrying a foreigner could claim it back by declaring this wish to Italian authorities at the Consulate or Town Hall (See sentence no. 87 of 1975.). Read the text of Italian Constitutional Court – sentence nr. 87 of 1975 [PDF in Italian]. The Case-Law stated by the Italian Constitutional Court was applied to any past similar case, up to January 1, 1948 (the date the Italian Constitution with the gender equality principles came into force), in order to allow a woman (and her descendants) to reacquire citizenship.
Italian Constitutional Court – sentence n. 30 of 1983
In January 1983, the Italian Constitution Court declared unconstitutional the principle that Italian women could not transmit their Italian citizenship. (See par. 1 of Law no. 555 of 1912.). Read the text of Italian Constitutional Court – sentence no. 30 of 1983 Italian Constitutional Court – sentence no. 30 of 1983 [PDF in Italian]. The Case-Law stated by the Italian Constitutional Court was applied to any past similar case, up to January 1, 1948 (the date the Italian Constitution with the gender equality principles came into force), in order to allow a woman to pass her citizenship on her discendants. A new regulation (Law n. 123 of 1983) provided the transmission of citizenship via mother under certain circumstances, starting from April 27, 1983..
Italian Supreme Court of Cassation – United Section no. 4466 of 2009 precedent
Overruling past precedents, the United Sections of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation declared in 2009 that the application of the two mentioned principles about women citizenship (see Italian Constitutional Court above) would apply also to cases prior to January 1, 1948. Read the text of Italian Supreme Court of Cassation – UU. SS. sentence n. 4466 of 2009 [PDF in Italian]. Read more about the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation precedents capacity to influence future judicial decisions.
Law no. 91 of 1992
Finally the law sets the provisions of dual citizenship as a general principle for Italian children born in Italy or abroad. (See par. 11.) and equality of gender in transmitting Italian citizenship. Law n. 91 of 1992 [PDF in Italian]
The Court of Rome’s role to the present day on women Italian citizenship prior to 1948
Italian citizenship lost by women from 1912 to 1947 and trasmission via mother of Italian citizenship up to 1947 can only be claimed before the Court of Rome. This so-called “1948 rule” or “1948 case” (referring to the above SS.UU. 2009 precedent) is still valid today. Find out more: 1948 rule
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