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The Documents You Need To Apply For Italian Citizenship Jure Sanguinis

Updated on January 23, 2014

In my recent blog I talked about how ethnic Italians born in the United States and other countries could receive Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, or Italian citizenship by blood. It can be complicated to determine whether or not you’re eligible, but it can be even more complicated to get the documents needed to prove it, especially if you’re going back a few generations. In any case, if you decide to pursue this, these are the documents you need to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis.

  1. Your Italian ancestor’s birth, death, and marriage certificates. - By Italian ancestor I’m referring to your ancestor who was an Italian citizen born in Italy. You will need to obtain original, or certified copies, of his or her birth, death, and marriage certificates. The birth certificate MUST come from Italy. Getting the Italian birth certificate and any other certificates from Italy may be the most challenging part of this process. You’ll need to request the certificates from the commune (a.k.a. town administrative division) where your ancestor was born, married, and/or died. There are instructions and forms for doing this on each Italian Consulate website. It will likely take several months to receive these documents from Italy, if the commune can locate them at all.
  2. Your Italian ancestor’s naturalization or citizenship records. - Exact document requirements vary based on the Italian Consulate that you’re going through, but usually include certified county records of your ancestor’s naturalization declaration and petition, as well as certified copies of the declaration and petition, or the naturalization certificate itself, from USCIS. It will probably take at least two months to receive the documents from USCIS. If your ancestor did not naturalize you will need substantial proof of this from multiple different organizations. Requirements for this proof differ based on each Italian Consulate, and are specified on their websites.
  3. The birth, death, and marriage certificates or your Italian ancestor’s spouse.
  4. The birth, death, and marriage certificates of any intermediate family members (grandparents, parents, etc.) between your Italian ancestor and yourself.
  5. Your birth and marriage certificates, as well as your passport and driver’s license.
  6. Apostilles for all U.S. documents relating to the Italian side of your family except the naturalization documents. - An Apostille is a type of notary that’s used for documents that will be used in a foreign country. It’s given by the Secretary of State in each state. You must get Apostilles for each document from the state the document originated in. Some Italian Consulates may require all U.S. documents to have an Apostille regardless of whether they’re related to the Italian side of your family.
  7. Accurate, typed translation into Italian of all U.S. birth, marriage, and death certificates. - Some Italian Consulates only require translation of U.S. birth, marriage, and death certificates related to the Italian side of your family. Apostilles do not need to be translated.
  8. Photocopies of everything above.
  9. A list of discrepancies in the above documents. - Discrepancies include name changes, missing middle names, typos on certificates, alternate spellings, etc. Correct all discrepancies possible by working with the state that issued the document. Any discrepancies in your personal documents will result in rejection of your application.
    Depending on the Italian Consulate you work with you may need a document declaring that no one in your family has renounced Italian citizenship.
  10. The completed application.

Those are all the documents needed to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. Several of them can be extremely difficult to locate, particularly if you must request them from Italy, or you don’t know if or when your Italian ancestor naturalized. You may have particular trouble obtaining birth and marriage certificates from Italy. The commune may not even have them. As of right now I don’t know of any way that you can apply for Italian citizenship by blood if you can’t get these documents, or if you can’t prove your ancestor’s naturalization date or lack thereof. You simply need to find and get copies of these documents.

Additionally, each Italian consulate has different requirements regarding each document needed to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. Many of them require you to bring the original document to them when you apply for citizenship, and then they’ll keep photocopies as the process the application.

You’ll also probably accrue a hefty amount of fees as you gather the documents needed to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. Apostille fees can vary depending on the state, but Pennsylvania, for example, charges $15 per document. Translation fees can also add up, and it’s probably better to pay more for accurate translation than less for something the Italian Consulate might reject.

I’m currently working through this process myself, trying to locate all the necessary documents for my great grandparents and grandparents (my and my parents’ documents are easy.) As I work my way through I’ll let you know about any tips or tricks that I find, as well as any loopholes that may help you if you’re looking for the documents needed to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis and need a few pointers.


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