A new year has begun. Wouldn't it be great if you got your Italian citizenship by the end of 2020?
If you're new to the process and don't know what I'm talking about, just know that Italian citizenship is based on the principle of jus sanguinis (Latin "right of blood"), which means that the child of an Italian citizen is automatically an Italian citizen from birth. Thus if an Italian citizen has a child abroad, and then that child grows up in that foreign country and has a child, and so forth, every person in that line may be an Italian citizen, whether they are aware of it or not.
But the Italian Government will acknowledge you as an Italian citizen only if you're registered in an Italian comune (municipality), so you'll have to gather documents proving that you descend from Italians.
The basic steps, as explained in the Tapatalk forum, are the following:
1. Determine if you qualify. (Sometimes you will not be able to do this step until after steps 5b or 2 are completed.)
2. Determine the consulate at which you must (or can) apply.
3. Make an appointment at that consulate. (Depending on the consulate, this step may be postponed until later in the process.)
4. Determine which documents you will need to submit to the consulate.
5. Obtain those documents.
a. Obtain documents (generally, vital records) from Italy for your ancestor(s) (or yourself, if applicable) who were born there.
b. Obtain naturalization-related documents for your ancestors who emigrated from Italy.
c. Obtain vital records from outside Italy for your ancestors and yourself.
d. Obtain the full set of documents required for divorces, such as a certificate of no appeal.
e. Obtain no records letters, court orders to release records, or alternative records in the case where vital records don't exist or can't be found.
6. Treat discrepancies on your documents.
a. Determine which discrepancies require amendment.
b. Amend documents.
c. Write affidavits for minor discrepancies.
d. Obtain letters from Italy (such as a "positivo/negativo") to resolve discrepancies.
e. Obtain letters from vital record officers concerning discrepancies that cannot be amended.
f. Obtain court orders to amend discrepancies or declare that a person named on one document is the same as that named on another (a "finding of one and the same," a.k.a. a "declaratory judgment").
7. Have documents translated into Italian.
8. Have documents issued from outside Italy apostilled. (This step can often be done concurrently with or before step 7, but sometimes a translation or its certification will require an apostille.)
9. Have documents issued outside the area that is covered by the consulate at which you are applying authenticated by the consulate(s) that does cover the area where they were issued. Consulates vary in the degree to which this is necessary.
10. Fill out forms for you and your ancestors indicating that you have never renounced your Italian citizenship. This step may often be done at the consulate. Such forms for your living Italian ancestors may need to be filled out (and had notarized) by your ancestors themselves.
11. Go to your appointment and apply for citizenship recognition. This step may be done earlier in the process, before all the previous steps are completed, but in that case you'll probably need to have a follow-up appointment.
12. If your application is not accepted, repeat the steps 3 through 11 until your application is accepted. Even if your application is accepted, there may still be missing documents or discrepancies requiring amendment. In that case also, repeat steps 3 through 11. In some cases you may be able to submit new documents without having to do so at a follow-up appointment.
13. When your application has been accepted and is deemed complete, wait for acknowledgment, from either the consulate or comune, depending on the consulate, that your birth has been registered in Italy and you may apply for a passport. This acknowledgment may come in form of a letter, an email, or a phone call, or be told to you in person.
14. Apply for your passport. Some consulates require you to obtain your own birth certificate from the comune where your birth has been registered in order for you to be able to apply for a passport, others merely require confirmation from the comune that your birth has been registered, and some allow you to apply for a passport as soon as they accept your application. Strictly speaking, this step is optional.
If you want to know more about this process, read my other blog posts on the topic!
If you're applying in Italy, do not hesitate to contact me for a translation quote!
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.