Immigration

How to get your Italian Citizenship – the basics & my experience

Full view of the Colosseum in Rome Italy
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A little background info…

If you’re new to Why I Post, let me tell you a quick background on me. You can simply skip to the next section if you’re not new here.
I’m Marcelle and I started my website Why I Post so I could share all my travel-related experiences with as many people as possible so that everyone would feel more confident when applying for a visa, a citizenship process, book a trip overseas, go abroad as an international student or work overseas.
I am such a big nerd when it comes to exchange programs, visas and citizenship applications. I find it really enjoyable to search for all the rules and requirements mandatory for those applications. But I know that’s not for everyone. I understand you may not like those boring things like me. So to help you guys out, I try to simplify and summarize them on my blog.
The information I share comes from countries’ official websites and my personal experience in applying for international processes. And having traveled to 16 countries and having lived abroad a couple times, you can imagine how many application and paperwork I had to go through.

Because of my experience, I have written to other travel blogs and have even given an interview.

So I started this blog because I love everything travel related…yes, but especially on the subjects of living abroad, immigration and citizenship. I have lived abroad and I have traveled to 16 countries, which you might already know if you follow me on Instagram. So I feel I’m a global citizen, as cheesy as it sounds. But yes, my eyes sparkle when learning, planning, listening to a story or watching a video related to those topics.

Above are just a few of the reasons for why I enjoy blogging about travel experiences.
I’d like to show you that you can have better travel experiences and you should not hate planning your next international trip.
You can make changes to your life by traveling and it doesn’t have to be scary.
Yes, an international experience helps you to tick places off your bucket list. But it’s more than that!
I see traveling as an exclusive experience, that’s all about being present, tasting, learning, trying, seeing and doing.
Going abroad is about indulging in unique local experiences: living the moment and making remarkable memories, the best ones!

I want you to have fun & create your own history while having THE time of your life abroad, truly enjoying the life you are living !

Now let’s get back to the basics of getting an Italian Citizenship.

I come from a family with Italian roots. So let me tell you a little backstory here.

I never pursued my right to get my Italian Citizenship recognized because I had this idea that we had to have all of our ancestor’s documents, like birth certificates and all of that, to simply discover if we even had the right to apply for the dual citizenship.

And I also grew up being told that my Italian ancestors didn’t have any personal documents when they emigrated my home country. I remember my mother telling a story about how my great grandparents didn’t have their marriage certificate because the church they got married at, didn’t exist anymore due to a fire.

Years went by. It’s 2016 and I want to participate in a work and study program overseas. Unfortunately, citizens of my country cannot join this program. I check the list of participating countries over and over again, hoping that my country will be added eventually. But it is not. What I see though is that citizens of Italy are allowed to apply. All I can think about is “I wish I was Italian. I mean, I kinda am. But I’m not. But what if I really were?” That’s when I first Googled “How can I get my Italian citizenship”.  And that’s the moment my journey started.

From that moment on, it was my life goal and purpose to learn, make a plan, gather the documents and start my application process.

 

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Discover who was the Italian in your family and make a Genealogy Tree.

The very first thing you have to do is to make your genealogy tree, after all, you need to know who your Italian ancestor is. The ancestor can be your father (that would be easy!), grandfather, great-grandfather and so on.

It is important to know who the Italian ancestor is because you are going to need his/her personal documents as well as everyone else’s in your family line. Meaning you need documents from family members, starting from your Italian ancestor until you.

The initially required documents are:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Death Certificate (in some cases)

 

Depending on where you’ll be applying from (Italy or an Italian Consulate), the required documents may vary. If you plan on applying from your country of residence, check the local Italian consulate website for a complete documents list.

 

To illustrate, let’s pretend the Italian in your family is your great-grandfather. You’ll need:

Italian ancestor  (your Great-grandfather)

  • Italian Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Death Certificate

Grandfather

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Death Certificate (if applicable)

Your father

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Death Certificate (if applicable)

You

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)

 

I remember seeing this list and thinking it would be nearly impossible to find all these documents. Especially with my Italian ancestor’s parents documents missing.

But I read tons of blogs worldwide and I saw people succeeding in their journey. So that kept me going. And thank God I didn’t give up.

PRO TIP: At this first moment, you don’t necessarily need to have the documents itself, but you certainly have to have the basic information of each of those documents. Like complete dates and location of each life event (Birth, Marriage, Death) and where the events are registered at (Church or Office name, location and contact info).

Servizio Gondole Venice Italia Venice Italy

Looking for all those documents wasn’t easy. There were times when I was up all night. There were times when I would easily find specific details that would lead me to the information I needed. But there would also have times when I just couldn’t find anything at all.

But then again, don’t lose hope. And remember that just like you, there are lots of aspiring dual citizens out there, who are going through the same journey as you and me. Finding similar difficulties, hoping to achieve the same goals as you! Find me on Twitter so we can share our process timeline and be in this together.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Discover if you are entitled to apply for the Italian Citizenship

Wait, what?? Yes, once you know who the Italian in your family is, you have to discover if according to the law you are able to acquire the Italian citizenship AND also figure out if your Italian ancestor never acquired a foreign citizenship.

The recognition process of Italian citizenship for persons of Italian descent born abroad is based primarily on lineage rather than on place of birth. That’s why we need to provide proof that the citizenship continues to be transferred from one generation to the next, showing that is wasn’t interrupted at any point.

 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

Gather all the documents

Italian Consulates and Italian Comunes (government offices in Italy) usually only accept recently issued original Certificates. So make sure all your paperwork is updated.

Along with the originals, you should provide certified translations of all non-Italian documents, if you’re applying from Italy. And depending on your country of citizenship you might also need to add other documents, which varies according to both countries agreements.

 

TIP #1 Even if you plan on going to Italy to have your Citizenship recognized, check your local Italian Consulate first. You can find precious detailed information there, such as who can apply, the required local and Italian documents and more. So that should be your first stop.

TIP #2 When building your Genealogy Tree, starts backward. Be easy on you! Start with you. Gather your personal documents firsts. Your documents probably have information about your parents and luckily about your grandparents as well. This way, one document will give you info or at least hints of the generation before, and so on.

TIP #3 Talk to your family members. They are a great source of information. Your aunt may remember location names, your grandparents may know important dates. Sometimes our parents don’t know much, so other relatives may help us when they cant.

TIP #4 Don’t rely on everything your family tells you. Sometimes they were told a story of a story, and by the time it gets passed to us, it is totally broken or mistaken. Only rely on stories as a simple direction for a deeper research. The Consulate won’t accept your process if a document is missing, just because your mother told you that such document doesn’t exist. Afterall, they will only accept complete applications with all required documents (registered facts).

TIP #5 Every key information should match in both preceding and subsequent documents, especially names and surnames spelling but also dates, ages, and location. For example, if your father’s Marriage Certificate from 1980 says he was 23 years old that day, of course, his Birth Certificate should say he was born in 1957. However, if any documents have dates, names or locations that do not match, you might have to have that info fixed first, before starting the process.

Colosseum in Rome Italy

BONUS TIP A friendly advice: be patient! This is not an easy process. If it was easy, everyone would be doing. And that’s why lots of people give up too. Patience is gold in any international application process and this one is no exception.

Are you interested in becoming a dual Italian citizen? Then I hope I have helped you with the basics. Let me know if you have any questions, I’d love to help.

We’re in the same boat here my friends. I’m finally just about to apply for my Citizenship. What about you guys, which step are you on?

I made a cheat sheet to help you with your journey to building a family genealogy tree and listing out important family info. So, sign up below to access this exclusive content.

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