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Are you thinking about applying for Italian citizenship within South Africa? It can be an amazing way to connect with your heritage, that of your family, or to broaden your horizons and unlock valuable opportunities for you and your future generations. However, you will need the right paperwork to accompany your citizenship application, and those will vary depending on the type of application that you're submitting. There are three possible options when looking to become an Italian citizen – descent (jure sanguinis), marriage, and naturalization. Each of these paths has its own set of requirements and conditions that you must meet in order to qualify.
Not sure what that means? In this guide, we’ll walk you through what you need to know about applying for Italian Citizenship in South Africa.
First Things FirstThe process of obtaining Italian dual citizenship by descent in South Africa is a very detailed, and will likely have hurdles that you may need to overcome. The first step is an in depth review of your ancestry to identify if you qualify and what path is the most efficient and successful. If you qualify under a normal circumstance case, you will be required to apply at the Italian consulate that has jurisdiction over your legal residence. If you do not qualify under a normal circumstance, you may qualify under what is called a special circumstance. The most common special circumstance being a 1948 case. This is due to the fact that before January 1, 1948 women were not allowed to pass down their Italian citizenship. With that said, it is still possible to get Italian citizenship, through a 1948 Case as this law has since been successfully challenged. 1948 cases are now very common and we do them regularly.
If you're uncertain that you qualify for Italian citizenship through ancestry, and you live in South Africa, call us at 213-277-8705. We'd love to set up a free consultation with you and begin the background research necessary to determine whether you qualify for dual citizenship. Our consultation and background research are free, and you're under no obligation to move forward should you choose not to.
For most people with unbroken ancestral ties to Italy (direct ties), it’s most likely that you’ll experience few problems applying for Italian citizenship by descent within South Africa. It’s our job to walk you through the entire process, ensuring that you have all the documentation necessary to move forward quickly and easily.
Of course, there are still things that you’ll need to know about applying for Italian citizenship in South Africa. We’ll take a close look at those below.
Italian Dual Citizenship from South AfricaApplying for Italian dual citizenship in South Africa is most often done through what's called jure sanguinis, which is an Italian law that allows those of Italian ancestry to claim dual citizenship. The phrase means 'by descent' and implies that you have a direct ancestor, such as a parent, grandparent, or great grandparent, who was Italian. Usually, this is the simplest way to claim Italian dual citizenship. You'll find quite a few benefits to having an Italian passport, such as the following:
How Do You Prove That You Qualify for Italian Dual Citizenship?The biggest challenge is proving that you qualify for Italian dual citizenship to enjoy the benefits that we just explored. You need documentation, and the Italian consulate will most likely be of little help. They have no responsibility to you here, nor are they allowed to assist any individual seeking to establish a claim to ancestral ties. So, what does that mean? Simply put, you are responsible for gathering all the information necessary to back up your claim. Some of the documents you’ll be required to provide include:
You will need those three documents for every person in your lineage between you and your Italian ancestor. Also, you will also need other supporting documentation to give your claim legitimacy.
Those applying for Italian citizenship in South Africa through marriage have a more direct route. In some cases, you may not even need to involve your ancestor. However, you will still need several specific documents to prove that you have a right to Italian citizenship by marriage in South Africa. There is also a three-year window that you'll have to pass from the date of marriage to the point of claiming Italian dual citizenship by marriage in South Africa. If you have children under the age of 18 with your Italian spouse, you only need to wait a year and a half to apply for citizenship, however.
While the application process for dual citizenship through marriage is simpler than proving ancestral ties, there’s still a lot of documentation needed. As a spouse of an Italian citizen, you will also be required to obtain a B1 Certification and pass an Italian language exam. Our goal is to simplify the exhausting process of applying for Italian citizenship in South Africa, and our experience and knowledge allow us to fast-track your application.
Steps to Follow
You’ll need to follow the steps below to claim your Italian Dual Citizenship from South Africa
Both the South African government and the Italian consulate will be involved in the process. Your documents must be translated accurately, and the Italian consulate must approve the translator.
The Application Process for Dual Italian Citizenship in South AfricaBe aware that it can take up to 24 months to get an appointment at the Italian consulate. You must apply as soon as you can to avoid lengthy wait times. You'll also need to make sure you have all the documentation to support your claim, and that you're prepared for the interview. Once you apply, it usually takes about a month to be approved, and then you will be issued an Italian passport.
talian citizenship by descent (jure sanguinis)
An individual born to Italian parents is Italian, regardless of place of birth. An individual born in Italy to non-Italian parents, however, is not Italian.
Women have been allowed to transfer citizenship to their offspring only beginning January 1, 1948. Consequently, prior to this date. an individual could be Italian only if born an Italian father. From January 1, 1948, either parent can transmit Italian citizenship.
The minor child of an Italian citizen is automatically Italian, as soon as his birth is registered in Italy. No procedure for recognition of citizenship needs apply in these cases. Please consult the page on Vital Records > Registration of Birth.
There are no generational limits to the transfer of citizenship by virtue of blood relation, however, generational skipping is not possible (i.e. the grandfather must transfer citizenship to the father, so that the father can transfer it to his son). More specifically, someone who is born in Canada is Italian if the parents were Italian at the time of his birth and he/she has not acquired any other citizenship before August 16, 1992 (see Loss of Citizenship), or has not formally renounced Italian citizenship.
Please be informed that applications for recognition of Italian citizenship by birth are accepted by mail. Applications submitted in person will not be accepted.
The application to be recognized as an Italian citizen can be accepted if:
- the applicant's Italian ancestor, born in Italy, did not naturalize Canadian (British subject prior to January 1st, 1947)
- the applicant's Italian ancestor, born in Italy, did not acquire Canadian or other citizenship (thus losing the Italian one) before the applicant’s birth, or the birth abroad of the first generation of Italian offspring.
Please note that Canadian citizenship exists as such since January 1st 1947, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada may not have earlier emigration records. Enquiries regarding such particular cases should be directed to Library and Archives Canada. If your Italian ancestor went to a country other than Canada, it is necessary to present the naturalization record also from that country. For more information see the website of the competent Italian Consulate/Embassy. A list of all Italian Consulate/Embassies abroad is available here.
Although Italian citizenship is transferred automatically, it must be formally recognized through registration in Italy. A parent who acquires Italian citizenship automatically transfers it to their child if the latter is under 18 and living in the same residence.
Please be informed that Law n. 89 dated June 23, 2014 has introduced, beginning July 8, 2014, a fee of Euro 300 for each application for recognition of Italian citizenship presented by applicants 18 years and older. The payment is required in Canadian dollars at the time of application, in cash or money order/bank draft, and is irrespective of the outcome of the application. For current fees in Canadian dollars, please visit the "Forms" page of this website.
Application for recognition of Italian citizenship
Consolato Generale d’Italia – Sydney ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP General Information Agg: 15/03/16 Italian citizenship can be acquired: 1. by birth (from a parent who is/was an Italian citizen at the time of birth) – see point 1 2. through marriage to an Italian citizen – see point 2 3. by re-acquisition (for former Italian citizens only) – see point 3 1. DETERMINING CITIZENSHIP BY DESCENT Italian citizenship can be acquired by descent at the time of one’s birth, as long as one parent was an Italian citizen at the time. Due to previous laws in force before the formation of the Italian Republic women can only transmit citizenship to children born after 1 January 1948. Prior to this date, only fathers could transmit the Italian citizenship. Any claim for Italian citizenship must be supported by documentary evidence. Once the relevant documents have been produced to this Consulate General, they will be forwarded to the competent Italian Municipality for registration. Therefore a waiting period between 2 and 8 weeks should be expected. Once the procedure has been concluded, applicants will be notified via email from one of our staff members. As of 8 July 2014, according to the Italian law (art. 5-bis of the D.L. 24.04.2014, n. 66, and the act n. 89 of 25.06.2014) every application for the recognition of Italian citizenship by descent (jure sanguinis) is subject to a non-refundable administrative fee (irrespective of the outcome) of 300 EUR, payable only in cash in Australian dollars. This fee only applies to adults applicants (18+) and must be paid on the day of lodging. 2. ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP THROUGH MARRIAGE Case 1: Foreign women who married an Italian citizen prior to 27 April 1983, automatically acquired Italian citizenship on the date of marriage. An original copy of the woman’s birth certificate is required (please note an original copy of the marriage certificate may be required). Please refer to the “How To – Certificate Registration” leaflet for further information. Case 2: Spouses of Italian citizens residing abroad can apply for Italian citizenship after 3 years of marriage (or 1.5 years if they have children (Further details may be found in the “How To – Naturalization Through Marriage” leaflet). 3. REACQUIRING CITIZENSHIP Re-acquisition is automatic after one year of legal residence in Italy, or it can happen in a shorter time frame if one decides to reside in Italy for this purpose for a few weeks. Once in Italy, one must register as a resident in an Italian Municipality of choice and submit the citizenship request to the Mayor of that Municipality (Comune). Further details may be found in the “How To – Reacquisition of Italian Citizenship” leaflet Important Note Under Italian law, children who were naturalized Australian citizens along with their parents prior to 16 August 1992, would lose Italian citizenship at the time. Please note that before 8 March 1975 adulthood in Italy was reached at the age of 21; after this date, it changed to 18. After 16 August 1992, Italian citizens who acquire another citizenship, do not lose their Italian citizenship. Consolato Generale d’Italia – Sydney ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP BY DESCENT Step by Step Guide Agg: 15/03/16 PRE-REQUISITES The General Consulate of Italy in Sydney is competent for processing citizenship applications for NSW residents ONLY (Please note: The cities of Queanbeyan and Cooma are under the jurisdiction of the Embassy of Italy in Canberra). A proof of residence is required upon submitting the application. STEP 1: ONLINE BOOKING Visit our website http://www.conssydney.esteri.it and follow the instructions to book an appointment for citizenship. One appointment only must be booked all members of the same family, living at the same address. However, one “main applicant” must be chosen for the time of booking. STEP 2: WHAT TO BRING AT THE CONSULATE Documentary evidence of citizenship of the main applicant’s parent/ancestor (old Italian Passport, Italian certificates, and any other documentation providing proof of the parent/ancestor Italian Citizenship). If the parent/ancestor is/was not Australian, original and copy of the Australian visa if issued after 16 August 1992 or Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status (from the Australian Department of Immigration). Simple copies of all birth/marriage/death/change of name/divorce certificates of all applicants, starting from the ancestor. Simple copies of all applicants ID (driver license, passport). Completed citizenship form (see next page) Fees of 300 EUR, payable only Australian dollars for applicants (18+) and must be paid on the day of lodging - CASH ONLY Please Note: If you don’t have all the required documents on the day of your appointment, please do attend our offices anyway to allow us to assist you with the application process. For any question or other enquiry on Italian citizenship applications please write to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting CITIZENSHIP ENQUIRY in the subject of the email. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ AL CONSOLATO GENERALE D’ITALIA IN SYDNEY Informativa ai sensi dell’art. 13 del D.L. 196/03: i dati sotto riportati sono prescritti dalle disposizioni vigenti ai fini del procedimento per il quale sono richiesti e verranno utilizzati esclusivamente per tale scopo. Oggetto: Istanza di riconoscimento di cittadinanza italiana. Il/La sottoscritto/a, _____________________________ nato/a il _________________ a _______________________________________________ telefono ____________________________ e-mail _______________________________________________________________________________ CHIEDE il riconoscimento della cittadinanza italiana iure sanguinis con conseguente trascrizione nei registri di stato civile del Comune competente degli atti allegati relativi a me medesimo/a e, a tale fine, sotto la propria responsabilità e consapevole di quanto disposto dall’art. 76 del D.P.R. 28/12/2000, n.445 e dall’art. 495 del C.P. in caso di dichiarazioni mendaci, in quanto : Figlio/a di _________________________________________ nato/a il___________________ a ________________________________ cittadino/a italiano/a al momento della mia nascita nipote di ___________________________________________ nato/a il ___________________ a ______________________________ cittadino/a italiano/a al momento della nascita di mio padre/ mia madre pronipote di _________________________________________ nato il ____________________ a ____________________________ cittadino italiano al momento della nascita di mio nonno (eventuali altri antenati da cui si eredita la cittadinanza sono riportati nel foglio seguente, da me redatto) DICHIARA che né i suoi ascendenti in linea retta, né il sottoscritto hanno mai rinunciato alla cittadinanza italiana ai sensi dell’art. 7 della legge 13 giugno 1912, n. 555 e dell’art. 11 della legge 5 febbraio 1992, n. 91 per il periodo di residenza all’estero successivo al 16 agosto 1992. A tale scopo allega la documentazione relativa a tale riconoscimento. In fede, Sydney, ______________________________________ (firma del richiedente) Consolato Generale d’Italia – Sydney CITIZENSHIP Check List Agg: 15/03/16 IMPORTANT Please note this is considered a temporary list. We reserve the right to request any further documentation we shall deem necessary to complete the application. Documents will not be returned, therefore we strongly recommend that you obtain new copies from the relevant offices if needed. Pre-Requisites Documentation providing proof of parent or ancestor’s Italian citizenship (1) (*). Documents Grand Father Grand Mother Father Mother You Minor children Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status (2) (*) Certificate of Australian Naturalization (*) Birth Certificate (3) Marriage Certificate (3) Divorce Decree Certificate (3) Document of Identity + Photocopy Other Documents (1) Accepted documents: Italian ID, Italian Passport or Certificate of citizenship issued in Italy. (2) Issued by the Australian Department of Immigration. (3) Refer to our “Certificate Registration How-To” for legalization (Apostille) and translation. (*) Original and photocopy CONSULAR FILE NUMBER ____________ DATE____________________ APPLICANT NAME _________________________________________ CONSULAR OFFICER _________________________________________ Needed Not Needed
ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP The following FAQs reflect the most common cases in Australia. Each individual case, even if based on general rules and principles could differ according to an individual's personal situation. There are sometimes, exceptions and particular rules that are not considered in this section. Please contact the nearest Italian consular office to obtain more detailed information about your individual case. Q: How do I know if I am eligible for Italian citizenship? A: Italian citizenship is based on the principle of "iures sanguinis" (blood right) by virtue of which a baby born from an Italian father or mother (depending on the year of birth of the child) is an Italian citizen. Q: My father was born in Italy and moved to Australia before I was born. He also became Australian citizen. Am I still eligible for Italian citizenship? A: Cases like yours are not always black and white, as there could be a possibility that you are eligible and another that you are not. If your parent became an Australian citizen as an adult or, as a child included in his parents' naturalization, then you would not be eligible because you were born from a parent who was no longer an Italian citizen at the time of your birth. However, if your father was still an Italian citizen at the time of his marriage to your mother but not at the time of your birth, then, depending on the date of your parents' marriage, you may still be eligible. Q: My grandparents moved to Australia many years ago. My father was born in Australia. Am I eligible for Italian citizenship? A: Citizenship may be passed on from generation to generation without limitation - but there can be no generation gap. To be eligible for Italian citizenship you must prove that your father born to an Italian citizen, i.e., that your grandfather had not acquired Australian citizenship before the birth of your father. If you are looking at your grandmother as the holder of citizenship at the time of your father's birth, you have to take into consideration that women can only bequeath Italian citizenship to children born from the 1st of January 1948 (the birth of the Italian Constitution). Prior to this date, Italian citizenship was passed on only by the father. Q: I was born in Italy and I moved to Australia with my parents when I was a child. My father became an Australian citizen while I was under age. Am I still an Italian citizen? A: If your father became an Australian citizen and did not include you in his naturalization certificate, and nor did your mother, then, unless you have become an Australian citizen in your own right, there is a good chance that you are still an Italian citizen. Q: I married an Italian gentleman. Am I eligible for Italian Citizenship? A: If your marriage was celebrated before the 27th April 1983, then you have acquired Italian citizenship automatically at the date of marriage. If you were married after the said date, then you are not eligible for citizenship automatically, but would have to request to become an Italian citizen by naturalization on the basis of marriage. Request for citizenship may be lodged only after 3 years of marriage if you reside overseas or 6 months of marriage if you reside in Italy. Q: I have lost my Italian citizenship because I obtained Australian citizenship before the 16th of August 1992. How can I regain Italian citizenship? A: If you became an Australian citizen before 16/08/1992, even if you were included in your parents’ naturalization certificate, you automatically lost your Italian citizenship. Current Italian citizenship laws (entered into force on the 16th of August 1992) allow dual citizenship. You can reacquire Italian citizenship by residing in Italy for one year You must obtain an Italian visa for elective residence before departing for Italy. By signing a declaration in which you state your intention to reside in Italy for this purpose, and then registering as a resident, within 1 year of the date of the declaration, at the Italian municipality of your choice. This declaration may be signed at the competent Consulate before departing for Italy or directly at the chosen Municipality (Comune) in Italy. Documentation required for the declaration: - Australian passport; - Australian citizenship certificate; - Birth certificate. If the applicant has children (under 18 years of age) that will reside with him/her during the whole stay in Italy, they will also acquire Italian citizenship. Q: I am a dual citizen, Italian and Australian. Does the possession of the Italian ciizenship affect my situation as an Australian citizen? A: The possession of Italian citizenship by descendant does not affect your position as an Australian citizen. Since the Australian Citizenship Act was changed in April 2002, Australian citizens are allowed to hold dual citizenship even by naturalization.
I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.