Iure Sanguinis & EU (Italian) citizenship — che cazzo?
September 20, 2017 1:07 PM   Subscribe

My father became (was not born as) an Italian citizen in pre-EU times, but he has been living in the US as an American citizen for roughly 40 years. I was born in the US. How can I parlay this into EU citizenship for myself?

My father managed to hang onto Italian passports that expired in the 80s and some Italian documents that look naturalization-related.

I have read online that Italian citizens who naturalize elsewhere cause their children to lose Italian citizenship as well. I have also read that elsewhere-born children of an Italian citizen who naturalized in another country after 1912 do not automatically lose their citizenship when the parent naturalizes... though perhaps this only lasts until the age of majority?

So you're saying there's a chance...

I'm also assuming here that the route must be through Italy and that there is not some generic, non-state-specific, "parent was a citizen of an EU nation before EU-times" route to citizenship.

I understand that you are not a/my lawyer.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Were you born before or after your father naturalized as an American citizen? If you were born after, you're pretty much SOL, but if it's before you qualify for Italian citizenship, regardless of where you were born or where he was living.

(There's no such thing as independent EU citizenship, only that which comes along with citizenship of EU member states, so yeah, you'll be becoming a citizen of Italy which will qualify you to live and work anywhere else in the EU)
posted by Itaxpica at 1:27 PM on September 20, 2017


Itaxpica has it. I looked into this myself after the Brexit vote. Sadly (for me), my Italian grandfather became a U.S. citizen long before my dad was born.

Some EU officials have made noises about creating some kind of independent EU passport for British people who don't want to lose EU citizenship, but that's still very hypothetical and probably wouldn't help you anyway.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 1:55 PM on September 20, 2017


A bit more detail: for background, IANAL, but I am an American with Italian ancestors who is currently pursuing Italian citizenship, so I'm pretty well up on this stuff. That being said this is not legal advice, you should consult a lawyer before moving forward, etc etc.

There are two relevant points of Italian nationality law here: the child of an Italian citizen is an Italian citizen, and when an Italian citizen naturalizes as a citizen of another country they forgo their Italian citizenship. The key point there is 'naturalizes': if a child of an Italian citizen has another citizenship at birth (like, say, the American citizenship thy comes with being born on American soil) they are still an Italian citizen, since they did not naturalize as a citizen of another country. Note that that's an important legal point: according to Italian law if you go this route you aren't applying for citizenship; legally speaking you've been an Italian citizen your entire life and the Italian government just didn't know about it, so you're not becoming a citizen, you're just setting the record straight. In practice there's no real difference in what that means to you - you end up an Italian citizen either way - but it's something to keep in mind.

Here's what that means for you: if your father was an Italian citizen when you were born on American soil, you are both an Italian and American citizen. It doesn't matter that your father naturalized after the fact, even if you were a minor - you have your citizenship from him and that's that. If your father had already naturalized as an American citizen before you were born, then he had renounced his Italian citizenship and you are not an Italian citizen. The relevant point is his citizenship status at the time of your birth; what happens after is irrelevant.

As far as how to actually do this, luckily in your case it's pretty easy (unlike in mine, where I'm dealing with records from my great-grandparents). Basically you need to gather documentation showing that your father was an Italian citizen (usually an Italian birth certificate, but a passport and/or the naturalization documents will probably work too), that you are his child (your birth certificate will do), and documentation that he was still an Italian citizen when you were born (usually this would take the form of American nationalization documents showing that his naturalization date was after your date of birth, or a letter from INS stating that they have no record of him naturalizing as an American citizen). Then you just need to get any of those documents that are in English apostilled (basically an official translation), take them all to an Italian consulate, and they'll handle the rest. There are plenty of websites with info on that part of the process.

Buona fortuna!
posted by Itaxpica at 10:21 PM on September 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


One minor (but potentially important) point: what actually matters is not whether your father became a US citizen before or after your birth. What matters is what USCIS has on file. A family member of mine became a US citizen, our family knows this, and yet when searching USCIS (https://www.uscis.gov), no citizenship records come up for him, probably because it was too long ago and there weren't great records at the time. So, according to both the US and Italian governments, he never became a US citizen. This may not apply to your father's situation since it's too recent, but it's an important distinction (and may be useful for others who come across this question later).
posted by whitelily at 3:50 AM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Actually, Itaxpica touched on this as well ("a letter from INS stating that they have no record of him naturalizing as an American citizen").
posted by whitelily at 3:56 AM on September 21, 2017


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