2020 is all about getting your dual citizenship. In the previous posts I talked about how to determine if you qualify ad where to apply. Now it's time to talk about the documents you need.
As usual, I'm taking the full explanation from the Tapatalk Forum, but I also wrote about this topic in the past.
As a rule of thumb, remember that you will need different documents based on where you decide to apply, i.e. in Italy or in any consulate abroad, and that translation requirements will vary based on that too. So be sure to ask for any specific information to the comune/consulate you choose before you actually have anything translated!
In my experience, if you apply in Italy it's best to have documents translated in Italy. To understand why, read here.
If you apply abroad, have documents translated where you'll apply. This will save you time and money in the long run.
In order to establish your claim of citizenship, you'll need documents (vital records) supporting the descent of each person in your line from the previous person. You'll also need documents establishing whether and when your LIRA naturalized, which will show that he or she did not lose Italian citizenship before the next person in your line was born. In addition, all recognized Italian citizens are required to keep their home comuni up-to-date with any changes in their status, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of their children.
Each consulate (or comune) establishes a list of the documents that they will require to support your application. Some, but not all, consulates list these documents on their websites, but these lists are not always accurate. On this board, we have may posts detailing what documents were required during appointment at various consulates - the results are summarized in the ConsulateFAQs forum.
The documents you may need are the following:
1. Birth certificates for everyone in your line (including you). This is the most important set of documents, as they establish the parents of each successive generation, and Italian citizenship is passed from parent to child. The birth certificate from Italy for your LIRA is particularly important - see below on how you can obtain it. In some cases, if your LIRA immigrated as a minor, you may need to go back one generation earlier and obtain the birth certificate of that person's Italian parent(s). The birth certificates should be in "long form," and include the parents' names (including the mother's maiden name), their ages, and their places of birth, in addition to the child's city/town of birth (and date of birth and name, of course). Long-form certificates generally contain a lot more information about the birth; sometimes they are called a "certificate of live birth," and often contain information such as the length and weight of the baby.
If the father is not indicated on the birth certificate, you will need to provide proof of paternity, such as a court order.
2. Marriage certificates for everyone in your line, for the marriages that produced the next generation in your line. These are important because they help to link one generation to the next and rule out coincidences. If the only evidence of ancestry were birth certificates, there would be the possibility that 2 people might be born in the same town, with the same name, in the same year. But since the marriage certificate of someone's parents contains the same names as on that child's birth certificate, but also contains the names of the parents' parents, which match the names on the parents' birth certificates, so it ties both generations together and makes the identification of the parents much stronger.
Marriage certificates often don't include that much information, and for that reason a marriage license application may also be required. The license application is something filled out before the marriage, and usually contains information on the groom and bride's parents and the bride and groom's places of birth and ages or dates of birth. Some consulates insist on the marriage license application in all (possible) cases, some want it only when the marriage certificate is missing important information, and some have never asked for it. It is best to try to obtain it whenever you order a marriage certificate.
There is no requirement that the parents must be married in order for the child to inherit citizenship. In fact, if the parents were not married, generally no documents are required to prove this (but you may run into trouble if a death or naturalization certificate says they were married).
3. Death certificates for the deceased in your line. These contain information generally found on birth and marriage certificates, such as the date of birth, the parents' names, and possibly a spouse's name, and thus serve to corroborate them. However, since the information is often reported by someone who did not know the deceased that well, or at least did not know the parents' names that well, death certificates are often filled with errors, and consulates seem to make some allowances for that. One piece of information on a death certificate that is not found on other vital records is the nationality of the deceased. Consulates will often check in the case where someone claims that their ancestor didn't naturalize that the death certificate states that the ancestor was a citizen of Italy at his death; if the certificate reads "United States" in this case, it could cause major problems (see below). Consulates vary in which death certificates they require - some want them for only ancestors who were born in Italy (perhaps to update the records in the comune for them), whereas others want them for all deceased people in your line. Look at this topic to see what was required at various consulates.
4. Naturalization-related documents. These include documents proving that someone did naturalize, such as a certificate of naturalization (sometimes called a certificate of citizenship, not to be confused with item 14 below), a certificate of derivative citizenship (also sometimes referred to as a certificate of citizenship, distinct from the other 2 meanings), or a completed petition for naturalization with an oath of allegiance, along with other supporting documents, such as a declaration of intent to naturalize or certificate of arrival. These also include documents proving that someone didn't naturalize, such as no-records letters from the proper agencies, certificates of non-existence of record, census records, passports, alien registration forms/cards, or draft cards. See belowfor more details.
5. Birth certificates for the non-line parents of the people in your line. That is, birth certificates for the spouses of the people in your line. Some consulates ask for these, but they don't really seem to have a purpose, unless the person in one's line was female and there was some question about whether the spouse's citizenship could've been transmitted to her. Often a consulate will ask for these certificates, but will not reject an application if they are missing. See this topic to see if they were required at various consulates. In general, it is better to come prepared with them just in case they ask for them.
6. Death certificates for the non-line parents of the people in your line. This is similar to the case of birth certificates for people not in your line, except that they are even less likely to be required and consulates tend to be even more forgiving with errors on them. In rare cases a death certificate may be used in lieu of some other certificate that is unobtainable, such as a birth certificate. See the topics linked in (3) and (5).
7. Marriage certificate/license application for your own marriage, if you are married. Since this isn't really necessary to establish your own citizenship, unless you are a woman who was married so long ago (before 1948) that you could've lost your Italian citizenship, consulates will often let you apply without it and just allow you to register it later (as all Italian citizens are required to do) after your recognition. This certificate will be necessary for your children's recognition, if you have any, as well as for citizenship by marriage that your spouse may acquire through you.
8. Birth certificates for any children you may have. Similarly to the case for your marriage certificate, while you may not need this to apply for your own recognition (although some consulates will still insist on it), you will need it to fulfill your obligation to register and they will need it for their own citizenship claims. In general you only have to register your minor children, as your adult children will have to apply for recognition on their own (with you as their LIRA), but sometimes consulates have allowed people to register their adult children as if they were minors (cf. this topic).
9. Your spouse's birth certificate. This is required under the same circumstances as when your marriage certificate is required, except that if you have no children, they still often don't ask for this until after you are recognized and your spouse is applying for citizenship through you. Still, it is listed in this topic.
10. Divorce records for any divorces by you or someone else in your line. If you have been divorced you'll need to submit records for this event, as part of your obligation as a citizen, although it is not strictly speaking part of your application (some consulates will still insist on them before they'll recognize you, though). For your ancestors who are not applying for recognition, it is generally the case that you need divorce records only when there is some evidence that they divorced, such as an indication of previous marriages on a marriage certificate of a different spouses name on a death certificate, and even then it isn't always necessary. As usual, look the following topic in the ConsulateFAQs: what-divorce-other-marriage-records-were-not-needed-t1410.html.
As for which actual documents are needed for a divorce, while this also varies with the consulate (cf. the previous link), it usually consists of the full divorce judgment (often 30 pages long) and the certificate of no appeal. The latter document in particular can be hard to obtain as they are not issued in every state. See below for more information about obtaining it.
11. Marriage certificates/license applications for previous/other marriages for you or anyone else in your line. That is, marriage certificates for any of your previous marriages, or marriage certificates for any of the people in your line when the marriage was not between the parents of the next person in the line. For your own case, you need to keep your own status and history complete, as explained in (7)-(9). If you are a man who was previously married before 1983, your ex-wife may actually be an Italian citizen via your former marriage and thus may claim citizenship at some point in the future, but even if this is not applicable, consulates still insist on having a record of all your marriages, and some won't recognize you until you provide it (cf. the link in (10)). For your ancestors, as with the divorce records in (10), if there is no evidence of the other marriage(s) in the documents that you submit, you won't need to provide any marriage records for it/them, and even when there is some mention of the other marriage, consulates sometimes ignore them anyway.
12. Birth or death records for a spouse of someone in your line, when that spouse was not the parent of the next person in your line. In other words, the birth or death certificates for a spouse named on a marriage certificate in (11). This is pretty uncommon, but has happened in such cases where the first spouse died and the second spouse was the parent of the next person in the line, but there was an annotation on the birth certificate from Italy for the LIRA's marriage to the first spouse. Again, look at the example in the link in (10).
13. Court records for any legal name down by anyone in your line, including you. If anyone in your line, including you, has legally changed either the given or family name, a record from the court is required. Even in cases where the person's birth certificate has been amended to reflect the new name, consulate's sometimes ask for the court record anyway. If the legal name change occurred on a naturalization document, no further court record is required.
14. Certificate of citizenship for your LIRA, if your consulate requests. Some consulates ask that you supply a certificate of citizenship for your LIRA (from his comune) in addition to his birth certificate. This is because technically mere birth in Italy does not confer citizenship, so it is possible that your ancestor could've been born there but not have been an Italian citizen. Only a few consulates ask for this, and even then it is inconsistently requested. Look at this topic to see when it has been necessary: did-you-have-to-provide-a-cert-of-citizenship-for-ancestor-t1417.html.
In addition to these documents, depending on what discrepancies and missing documents you have, you may be required to submit additional supporting documents such as baptismal certificates, obituaries, birth announcements, censuses (for purposes other than naturalization), letters from vital records officers, no records letters, letters from your comune (e.g., a "positivo/negativo"), or court orders for declaratory judgments that the person named on one certificate is the same as that on another. I'll discuss what these are and when you would need them in the following posts on handling discrepancies and missing documents.
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.