1948 Rule

ItalianGal/ Starting Out/ 64 comments

Siena Italy Italian dual citizenshipI wanted to write more about the importance of the year 1948 in obtaining your Italian citizenship.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the 1948 rule was important in my case because my mother was born before 1948.  In a nutshell, prior to 1948, women could claim their Italian citizenship through their fathers but could not pass down citizenship to their children.  It could only be passed down to the next generation by men.

As the womens suffrage movement became more  influential, Italy amended their constitution in 1948 giving equal rights to both men and women, thus, after that date women could pass down citizenship just as men had been able to do so before that date. In my case, since my mom was already technically an Italian citizen through her father, she could pass it down to any children born after 1948.

I started to question my eligibility after I tried to read too much into the below quote on the Italian San Francisco consulate’s website:

Please note: a person born before 01/01/1948 can claim Italian citizenship only from his/her father (who was not a naturalized citizen of another country before his/her child’s birth), and a woman can transfer citizenship only to her children born after 01/01/1948 (if she was not a naturalized citizen of another country before her child’s birth).

So, I decided to email them just to confirm that I was indeed eligible.  Here is what I wrote:


Before going through the process of collecting all of the necessary documents and making an appointment with the consulate, I would like to confirm that I am eligible for Italian citizenship Jure Sanguinis.

  • All four of my maternal Great Grandparents were Italian citizens when my Grandparents were born and were naturalized many years later
  • My Great Grandparents were all born in 1884 or later in Italy
  • My Grandparents were born in the US
  • My mother was born in 1941 in the US
  • I was born in 1974 in the US

Nobody in my family has ever renounced their Italian citizenship.

I’m planning to use the following lineage to apply: Great Grandfather ->Grandfather->Mother->Me

Thanks in advance for you help!


Darcy Robles

Here is the consulates response:

Ms. Robles,

Prior to 1948, citizenship can only be transmitted via male ancestors, so you must look at your mother’s father’s father specifically (n.b., you were born in 1974, so your mother could transmit citizenship to you if she inherited it from her father and grandfather). He is the only one of your four maternal great-grandparents who could pass on citizenship to you.

The two criteria for determining whether he passed on citizenship to you are 1) he did not naturalize before June 14th, 1912, and 2) he did not naturalize before the birth of your mother’s father (your maternal grandfather).

If you meet both conditions and can prove them, then you qualify for citizenship jure sanguinis.

Distinti Saluti,

Consolato Generale d’Italia

2590 Webster Street
San Francisco CA 94115

If you are concerned at all about the 1948 rule, the best thing to do is email your situation to your Italian consulate to confirm your eligibility. It is better to spend a few minutes to send off an email than to spend all the time, money and effort it takes to gather and prepare your documents only to find out you are not eligible.

On a side note: Even though this does not apply to me, I looked into the 1912 law in case it applies to other Italian Americans.  Apparently, according to my research, prior to June 14th, 1912 (or July 1st, 1912 in some interpretations) if an Italian citizen became a naturalized citizen of another country, he, his wife and all of his minor children also lost their Italian citizenship and thus, none of them could pass down citizenship to any future generations.  From what I have been able to find, most consulates now enforce this.

What has your experience been with the 1948 rule?  I would love to hear your story in the comments if this rule has had any impact on your journey to get your Italian citizenship.


  1. Pingback: How Do I Get Italian Citizenship? Confirming Eligibility for Italian Dual Citizenship

  2. Pingback: Italian Citizenship for Americans Records Required to Claim Italian Citizenship – How Do I Get Italian Citizenship?

  3. Hello. I just started my search and your info is very helpful but I’m confused and maybe you can help. You state that my mother can’t be born before 1948 but according to the NY Italian consulate they write something different – see #4. Can you tell me if I can do this through my mother’s parents if my mom was born in 1925? My grandparents were born in Italy came to the US and had my mother. I’m very confused. Thank you!!!!!


    If you are resident within the jurisdiction of the Italian Consulate in New York: the Municipality of New York City, the State of New York, the State of Connecticut and the British Territories of Bermuda Islands, you may apply for Italian citizenship at the Consulate General of Italy in New York.

    If you were born in the United States you may also be considered an Italian citizen if any one of the situations listed below pertains to you:

    Category 1) your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship;
    Category 2) your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, you were born after January 1, 1948, and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship;
    Category 3) your father was born in the United States or a Country other than Italy, your paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth, neither you nor your father ever renounced your right to the Italian citizenship;
    Category 4) your mother was born in the United States or a Country other than Italy, your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth, you were born after January 1, 1948 and neither you nor your mother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship;
    Category 5) your paternal or maternal grandparents were born in the United States from Italian parents and they never renounced their right to Italian citizenship. (Please note: the Italian mother can transfer her Italian citizenship only to children born after 01/01/1948).


  4. @Tom, yes, you are correct. If you were born after 1948, you can get Italian citizenship through your mother’s bloodline, but you’ll have to claim it through your grandfather. You would not be able to claim it through your grandmother. If you were born before 1948, you won’t be able to get it through your mother.

    In a nutshell, a woman could get Italian citizenship through her father but could not pass it down to her children until 1948. So your mom was an Italian citizen through your grandfather (assuming he meets the naturalization criteria) but she could not give her citizenship to her children until after 1948.

  5. My both maternal and paternal grandfathers were born in Italy. So was my maternal grandmother was born there too. My both parents were the first born in USA. I am the second generation living in America.
    Paternal granfather’s name Nunzio Ferrara, born in Circello, Benevento, Italy
    Maternal grandfather’s name Angelo Rubano in Piaggine, Italy
    Maternal grandmother’s name Concetta Rizzo ( surname) Rubano in Piaggine, Italy.

    However, I don’t have their birth certiciates nor marriage license. Can you help where can I start to apply for Dual citzenship? Thank you for regarding this matter.
    Paulette Ferrara Fisher

    1. @Paulette, the first thing you will probably want to do is decide which of your grandparents you want to go through to claim Italian citizenship:
      • If you were born before 1948, you’ll need to go through your paternal grandfather.
      • If you were born after 1948, you can go through your grandfather from either side.
      • If your mom was born after 1948, you can go through your grandmother as well.

      If you have more than one option, to help you decide which grandparent to use to claim Italian citizenship through, try and figure out if any of them naturalized as U.S. citizens and, if so, when. See what kind of information you can get from your living relatives first. You can also check http://www.FamilySearch.org or http://www.ancestry.com. They both have naturalization indexes on file. In order to qualify, the grandparent you use will need to have either never naturalized or naturalized after your mom or dad was born. It is easier to prove that your relative naturalized after their child was born than to prove they were never naturalized so, if you find one of your eligible grandparents naturalized after your mom or dad was born, you may want to choose them to claim your citizenship through. In this case, you can usually get certified copies of their application, oath, etc through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) office that services the region where your grandparent naturalized. This is one of the first documents you should get since it is so critical to claiming citizenship. I’ve started a blog entry on getting naturalization paperwork and hope to post it soon. Meanwhile, if you have any questions around this, please feel free to contact me

      Once you have the naturalization records, you can start collecting the other vital records including birth, death and marriage certificates. I have a couple of blog entries on strategies to gather vital records: http://www.italiancitizenshipforamericans.com/strategy-for-collecting-required-records and requesting records from Italy: http://www.italiancitizenshipforamericans.com/requesting-records-from-italy

      If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with the jure sanguinis citizenship page for the Italian consulate that services your state: http://www.italiancitizenshipforamericans.com/the-italian-consulate/

      I hope this at least helps get you started. Buona fortuna!

  6. OK so I’m totally confused…I thought I couldn’t get citizenship. Let me run this past you.

    I was born in 1975
    -Father is US born 1938
    –Paternal grandfather is Italian naturalizes in 1920
    –Paternal grandmother is Italian and naturalizes in 1944
    —both of my paternal grandmother’s parents were Italian and never naturalized.

    -Mother is US born in 1938
    –Maternal grandfather is Italian, lets assume he naturalizes after my mother’s mother’s birth.

    So can I get it from my mother’s mother’s father? Or my father’s mother?

    Previously I was told that I couldn’t go through my paternal grandmother.

    1. Hi JP,

      It does not sound like you will be able to claim citizenship through your father because:
      1. Your grandfather naturalized before he was born
      2. Your father was born before 1948 meaning he could not get citizenship through his mother which effectively broke the chain.

      Now, you may have a chance to get it through your mother’s side. Since you were born after 1948, (assuming your grandfather naturalized after your mother’s birth) your mom can pass her citizenship to you. In other words, she would have gotten citizenship through him, but she could not pass down her citizenship until after 1948. Since you were born after this date, you would qualify. It sounds like the next step is to confirm when your maternal grandfather naturalized if at all.

      Good luck!

  7. You seem very knowledgeable in this area so I am just going to ask you if I would be eligible for citizenship in Italy based on the information below:

    My mom was born in Italy in 1945 (just my mom, not her parents or any other relatives). She became a US citizen in 1962. I was born in the US in 1979, so would I have any claim to citizenship in Italy?

    Thank you so much for your time,


    1. M, do you know if your mom was actually an Italian citizen? The reason I ask is Italy doesn’t necessarily recognize people born on Italian soil as Italian citizens like the U.S. does. There are other criteria that must be met. For example, here is one of the criteria from the Newark Italian consulates website: “jure soli – Italian citizenship is bestowed to the child born in the Italian national territory when his/her parents are unknown, stateless or they do not transmit their citizenship to the child in accordance with their nationality’s legislation.”

      Assuming your mom was/is an Italian citizen, there is a chance you may be eligible. Typically, before 1992, naturalizing in another country was seen by the Italian government as renouncing your Italian citizenship, therefore, citizenship could not be passed down to any children born after the naturalization date. In your mom’s case, however, it looks like she may have still been a minor when she naturalized and, according to Italian law, minors cannot enter into legally binding agreements until they reach the age of majority. In 1962, the age of majority for Italy was 21 (it is now 18).

      If you do find out your mom was an Italian citizen, you’ll want to contact your Italian consulate to confirm your eligibility and to find out what additional records (if any) they may require beyond what they already have listed, especially since this is a unique situation.

  8. This law in so confusing! They should just make it all the same! I also wanted to see if I was eligible but I’ve no reply yet. I was born in America in 1976, my father was born in America in 1942, his mother was born in Italy. My father was born before 1948 but is obviously a man, not a woman but it is from his MOTHER that I am wondering if I am eligible. His father was born in America so my only link is through my paternal grandmother.

    Adding to this complication is that my father has all but disappeared and my grandmother died when I was six. I only know her first and maiden name. I don’t know her birthdate or where in Italy she was born or how to access her birth certificate, or my fathers for that matter, to prove the link if it evens qualifies.

    I’ve even tried ancestry.com and I’ve found nothing on her at all. I MAY have found HER father but ancestry.com provides no REAL proof.


    I just want to move to Italy with my wife and sons, and work there legally. I want to leave American and move to Italy permanently and legally…I want to work legally, pay taxes, all the good stuff and do it the legal way. I want to raise my sons there and live there permanently. I would gladly walk into any government building, renounce my American citizenship and loyalty and declare my loyalty to Italy if that helps…maybe I can apply as a refugee fleeing oppression in America because me morals, ethics, and values are so opposite of the American governments….

    1. Hi MiRo, it does not sound like you would be eligible through your grandmother->father because your dad was born before 1948. You mention your grandfather was born in America, but does he have Italian blood? If his father (your great grandfather) or even his grandfather (your great great grandfather) was born and raised in Italy, you may be eligible. Italy does not have a generational limit on how far back you can go to claim your citizenship. They just had to have been alive and living in Italy in 1861 when it became a unified country and, of course, all of the other criteria needs to have been met.

      On a side note, there have been a few people who hired a lawyer in Italy and successfully fought the 1948 law.

  9. Ciao a tutti

    A few months ago I stumbled upon the jure sanguinis and have not been able to stop thinking about it. Since then, I have unearthed my family history and found tons of information/documents through my italian lineage. The 1948 law is extremely confusing, and being stubborn, I don’t want to believe that because of this that my situation is a lost cause.

    my genealogy is as follows:

    Myself- 21, born in New York.
    Mother- 46, also born in New York.
    Grandmother- born in 1927 in New York to Italian Parents.
    Great Grandfather- born in Santa Ninfa, Sicily in 1885, came to New York in 1902, became naturalized in 1923.
    Great Grandmother- born in 1890, came to New York in 1903, married my great grandfather in about 1912, became naturalized in 1944.

    My great grandparents had 4 other children before being naturalized in 1927. My great grandmother however was the last of the children and born later on, after my great grandfather was naturalized. At the time of my grandmothers birth, according to the US 1930 census my great grandmother was a legal alien. Under the 1948 rule, this means that my great aunts and uncles are entitled to jure sanguinis, but my grandmother and therefore myself are not. However, I did read in the internet that there are exceptions to the 1948 law, specifically that if citizenship could not be passed down via the father, than it could be through the mother, but I have only found this one time throughout all my research. I also read that it is possible follow up with a law suit to battle this law and a few cases of citizenship have been granted despite the 1948 law.

    I have found boatloads of documents confirming my great grandparents identities/last names from when they both arrived in New York and on what ships to when they settled in Brooklyn and eventually became US citizens.

    So, my question is…. is my situation a lost cause? Should I stop where I’m at and forget about this possibility? I’m in school now to pursue a career in the museum field, and would love for job opportunities to not be limited to the states. It has been my dream to be an expat and I have already lived in italy for about a year total, finding Venice to be my home away from home. I really don’t want to give up on this!

    Any information would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Akurczak- Just to confirm my understanding, your grandmother was born in 1927, but her father (your great grandfather) was naturalized in 1923. If my understanding is correct, since your grandmother’s father naturalized before his daughter (your grandmother) was born, you would not be eligible through that route. In my opinion, you will not be able to go through your great grandmother because your grandmother was born before 1948. Women could not pass down their citizenship before this date therefore your grandmother would not have received Italian citizenship thereby breaking the chain for future generations.

      If your maternal grandfather or father had Italian lineage, that may be another route to look into. There really isn’t a generational limit other than your ancestor needing to have been alive and (presumably) living in Italy in 1861. I’ve also heard reports of people successfully fighting the 1948 law, but I believe you would need to hire an Italian lawyer for that. It may be worth talking to a lawyer that specializes in this to find out what your options are.

    2. @ Italiangal. Thanks for the quick reply. It’s really frustrating to know that my grandmother out of all of her brothers and sisters is the only person to not have this right! Thats why I hope that there could be an exception to the 1948 rule as she’s the only one out of her whole family to not have this right. I read a bunch of websites online that recommended the services of a lawyer who specializes in this named Luigi Paiano. I might contact him. Unfortunately my maternal grandfather does not have any italian lineage, as his family came exclusively from Yugoslavia, specifically Croatia. It wouldn’t hurt to ask him just to be sure though.

  10. I have been looking into getting Italian citizenship and am wondering if I am eligible… My maternal great-grandfather was born in Italy, came to the US in 1906 and naturalized sometime between the 1930 and 1940 census. According to 1920 and 1930 census records first papers were filed but my great-grandfather was not listed at naturalized until 1940. My maternal grandfather was born in 1921 and my mother was born in 1945.

    If I am eligible what would my next step be?

    Thank you in advance for any input you might offer

    1. Hi Coreen- based on what you describe, it sounds like you have a good chance of being eligible. The next steps would be to get familiar with your consulate’s website and download the requirements. It would also be a good time to request your great grandfather’s naturalization paperwork since this is such a key part of being eligible. Check out this post for additional information on getting naturalization paperwork: http://www.italiancitizenshipforamericans.com/summary-of-naturalization-record-requirements/
      Congratulations! 🙂

  11. Hello,

    My grandmother was an Italian citizen and never renounced her citizenship. She married a US soldier in 1944. My mother was born in July of 1947, she has two brothers, both born after January 1, 1948. If I understand the Italian law correctly, my cousins can all get their Italian citizenship through my grandmother, but I can’t because my mother was born before 1948.

    Is there any way to get citizenship through my maternal great-grandfather, who was born and died in Italy, or am I ineligible?

    Thanks for any advice.

    1. Greg, your are correct that since your mom was born before 1948 she did not get citizenship from your grandmother thus breaking the chain. She did pass on her citizenship to her uncles since they were born after 1/1/1948. You wouldn’t be able to get it from your maternal great-grandfather because the chain was effectively broken with your grandmother. If your dad has any Italian ancestry, that might be a route. Also, I have heard reports of people successfully fighting this law with an Italian lawyer. It might be worth talking to one over there to get their opinion and cost.

  12. Hi all, yes this law is indeed confusing. At first I thought I did qualify; but now I do not think so. My Great Grandparents and Grandparents were born in Italy. My Grandparents came to the US (Grandfather in 1896, Grandmother in 1901- found on a 1930 Federal Census) and my Grandfather from what I could find was nationalized in 1920. My father was born 2 years later in 1922 so I can’t go thru my Grandfather. My Grandmother was never nationalized because she (and the 5 children already born) received “derivative citizenship” as a result of my Grandfather’s naturalization. Derivative citizenship ended several years later. So she really never renounced her Italian citizenship via the nationalization process.

    Does this mean I need to go thru my Great Grandfather or was the line broken because either my father’s birth after 1948 or the fact that my Grandmother was deemed no longer a Italian citizen because of her husband’s nationalization in the US? I was born in 1964.

    This doesn’t seem fair if I am not ale to pursue this because I missed the “cut-off” by 2 years or that my Grandmother lost her citizenship via marriage; although I am sure it would be a long and expensive endeavor trying to obtain all those official documents. When my husband and I traveled all thru Italy 2 years ago I was surprised at how many people inquired about my last name (in Southern Italy only because my Grandfather was from a town near Naples). I am sure I have tons of cousins in Italy that I don’t even know about!!!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Grazie!!!

    1. DLM45, based on what you describe, I think you may run into problems because your grandmother could not pass down her citizenship before 1948 simply because she was female. If your father had been born after 1948, then it probably wouldn’t be a problem. If your grandfather naturalized before your father was born, you are correct that this effectively breaks the chain.

      Depending on how you found out your grandfather naturalized in 1920, it might be worth ordering some more official naturalization paperwork from the NARA (or local archives office if he was naturalized by a county or state court). Some of the records, such as the census records, aren’t 100% reliable. I have also heard stories of people successfully hiring and Italian lawyer and fighting the 1948 law.

    2. Dear all, I’m an Italian lawyer dealing with the 1948 Rule since 2010. My Law Firm has seat in Colombia and Roma, and we won 35 of those cases. Interested people can write me at: m.castellari@castellari.co.
      Best regards,
      Massimiliano Castellari

  13. I have read through these posts and can report that I too ran into the 1948 ‘rule’.

    GGF born in Italy coming to the US in 1920 but not naturalizing until 1930. GM born 1922 in America (but to someone who was still an Italian Citizen). GM marrying a former-Italian Citizen and giving birth to my father in June 1947 and then 2 additional children after.

    Under the 1948 rule, my father did not qualify, however, it seems those born after 1948 did. I researched and of course came across Luigi Paiano a lawyer who had at the time (Fall 2010) won a few cases. Upon contacting him and researching I felt it was worth a chance. After getting all my documents to him and going through the process I can now say since then he has won about another 18 cases in this area including me.

    I just learned this month that the courts have granted my Italian Citizenship even though my dad was born in 1947. This of course does NOT change the law, but it gives those hope through a lawyer to take the chance. I know of a few others that have recently posted from the US and also have won. Luigi has been more and more successful.

    If you have an interest and this rule applies to you, certainly get in touch and discuss with him. He is now at 21 cases that he has won and at the very least is certainly worth speaking to.

    Best of luck, I had this rule effect me and I know the disappointment but clearly it can be overcome

  14. my grand mother and mom came to america from sicily in 1922..my grandmother never became citizen, my mom did, but i dont know when, my grandfather died in italy at a young age…do you think I have a chance of becoming an Italian citizen


  15. Grandparents – maternal and paternal – born in Italy and Italian citizens to their deaths – parents both born in Italy – immigrated to USA. Before WWII – became naturalized USA citizens circa 1942- I was born after 1948 – however since they gained US citizenship before I was born – that chain appears broken – can I apply through the grandparental or great grandparental
    Lineage ?

    Thank you kindly !

  16. Female trying to obtain Italian citizenship. I was born in England 1945 to English war bride & Italian American serviceman,my birth recorded at US Consulate in London & Washington DC. Father born Feb 1919 in America to Italian born father who was naturalized in May1920 well after my dad was born. Does Italy recognize my birth in UK as an American or does it not matter? Also my daughter, born in 1979 and lives/works in Italy wants her Italian citizenship through blood, does she qualify? any info would be greatly appreciated.


  17. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

  18. Excellent web site you have here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like yours nowadays.

    I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  19. Hello,
    My paternal grandparents came from Italy to the U.S. in 1901. My father was born in NYC in 1908 (I have the birth record). My grandfather submitted a Declaration of Intention (for naturalization) in 1940 (I have a certified copy) and he died around the time I was born, 6 years later, in 1946. I don’t know if he lived long enough to become a naturalized citizen and cannot find any record of this. Regardless, based on the DOI, I assume he wasn’t a citizen before this time and certainly not before my father was born. Is this document sufficient to show that my father was born prior to my grandfather’s citizenship (if it occurred)?
    Thanks, Brian

  20. Hi there,

    Great advice! I went through the San Francisco consulate as well, and I’m thrilled that I can use my Italian citizenship to work and live abroad. I’m actually working in the UK now! 🙂

    I got lucky and didn’t have the 1948 rule apply to me, however, there ARE lawyers are few lawyers who specialise in these types of cases (which are clearly gender discrimination) and WILL get the 1948 rulings overturned for you in Italian court (you don’t have to be present, of course). I wrote about it in my blog post here: http://kassandraperlongo.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/journey-to-italian-citizenship-can-i-still-claim-dual-citizenship-if-my-mother-is-born-before-january-1-1948/

    I work with an Italian lawyer, Massimiliano Castellari, so I’m happy to assist anyone who may need help in getting this ruling overturned to pursue citizenship.



  21. I’m very confused about the “Derivative Citizenship. Please help clarify this.
    My mom was born in 1921 in Italy.I have her original Italian birth certificate.
    In 1939, at age 13, her citizenship paper states that she “became a U.S. citizen” through a derivative citizenship (my grandmother, I’m guessing) but her Citizenship paper was issued in 1960, at age 39. I was born in 1953. So, was she still an Italian citizen when I was born ? At age 13, she did not make conscious effort to obtain U.S. citizenship.

  22. Someone please help me understand if I can get my Italian Dual Citizenship.

    Both parents on both sides came over on Ellis Island from Italy.

    If I went by my mothers side. My granddad was born 2/14/05 near Potenza and got off the boat around 1920 something through Ellis Island. He may have sent for my grandmother who was born 9/20/1908 later on and I am not sure if she even naturalized. I have no paperwork on any of them.

    My mother born of them in the U.S on 4/10/1929 married my father 6/13/1051. (Both my Dad and Mom are 100 percent Italian.)

    Can I go through my mother’s side? Do I even qualify for dual citizenship.
    I was born 1/3/1957. It’s somewhat confusing.

    I also live in Palm Springs, CA — who would you recommend I hire to help me?

  23. Correction — My mother born of them in the U.S on 4/10/1929 married my father 6/13/1951. (Both my Dad and Mom are 100 percent Italian.)

  24. Hi everyone! I have just started speaking with an Italian Lawyer, Luigi Paiano about applying through a maternal line. I am wondering if anyone else has worked with him and can verify his credentials?


    1. Hi, I am in contact with Luigi Paiano. We were waiting on the search for my great grandfather, just to verify.

      My paternal grandfather was born in Italy, but he naturalized before my father was born.

      I can go through my paternal grandmother though. We just verified through NARA and USCIS that her father did not naturalize, however she had my father before 1948. So, pretty sure I have to contest this 1948 law.

      Have you started the process, Katie? How’s it going?

  25. Hi, I am just starting this process. My mom was born in Palo del Colle, Bari, Italy in 1929 – and both her parents were born there as well. She came to the US when she was a teenager. I would like to get a dual citizenship for Italy. Do I understand correctly that I can’t go through my mom??

  26. Hi – I would like to clarify how transfer of citizenship vs. inheritance of citizenship works. My great-great-grandfather came to the US in 1887 and was never naturalized. He and my g-g-grandmother had my great-grandmother in the U.S. in 1896. Based on that, she inherited Italian citizenship. From there my “inheritance” line is:


    Can I inherit Italian Citizenship based on this scenario – or does the 1948 rule come into effect?



  27. My father was the first born in the united states. his father came to america when he was 7 years old. my great grandfather lived in italy except the last 5 years of his death. my grandfather was born in italy and great grandfather. my grandfather was born in 1895 and my father was born in 1920. does this apply to me?

  28. Hi there,

    I’ve been reading through the comments, but didn’t find an answer to my specific question which is as follows:

    I’m looking to determine whether there a slight possibility of Jure Sanguinis given the following scenario, and given the fact that my great-grandfather naturalized in 1918.

    Me – Mother(b. ’58) – Grandmother (b. ’38) – Great-Grandfather (b.italy 1897)

    Although my great-grandfather naturalized in 1918, my great-grandmother (his wife) was born in the US with dual citizenship (both her parents were legal aliens, born after 1861 in Italy). Is there wiggle room to make a case that although my great-grandfather naturalized in 1918, he may have re-inherited citizenship from his wife, my great-grandmother, after 3 years…thus allowing for the transfer of that citizenship to following generations?

    Thanks for the help!

  29. Hi all — I did not see this addressed, so here goes;

    It is my understanding that I qualify for Italian citizenship, Jure Sanguinis, IF my maternal grandfather, who came to the U.S. from Italy at age 30 (Ellis Island) in 1916 did not naturalize before my mother was born. All combined, all eight great-grandparents and grandparents were born in Italy and came to the U.S. between 1915 -1920.

    My maternal grandfather married in the U.S., in 1918 and had six children, all born in the U.S. throughout the 1920’s. My mother was born in 1929 in the U.S. I was born in 1954 in the U.S.. My mother claims that her father told her that he became a U.S. citizen before she was born, but all of my other relatives are saying he did not naturalize because he feared he would have to renounce his Italian citizenship, which he did not want to do.

    He wanted dual citizenship which they claim was not possible at that time, and that he would never have renounced his Italian citizenship. Additionally, I also wonder how he could have naturalized since he didn’t speak, read or write any English.

    I know that I will need to have this researched to find out if he naturalized, and if so, the date/year. If he did not naturalize OR if he naturalized after my mother was born in 1929 then I have Italian citizenship, Jure Sanguinis, otherwise I do not — is that correct? So, as long as my maternal grandfather did not naturalize before my mother was born in 1929 then I have birthright Italian citizenship — is that true?

    How can I find out the truth since my eldest relatives and mother disagree on whether or not my maternal grandfather actually naturalized. I recently retired and plan to move to Italy, but can’t live there permanently without Italian citizenship. So this is VERY important to me.

    Is it true back then (prior to 1929) that they were required to renounce their Italian citizenship?….because if so, my grandfather would not have done so. Also, how could he have possibly naturalized since he didn’t speak, read or write English? It would help to know before I start the process of determining the truth… which I really don’t know where to start.

    Thank you kindly for your time and assistance. JA

  30. Hi,
    Thank you for opening this discussion. My parental grandfather was born in Italy in 1899, and married my American (not of Italian blood) grandmother in 1931. Eleven months after marrying, he naturalized. Back then, the Italian citizenship law (555 of 1912) said that upon marriage the non-Italian spouse acquired the Italian citizenship automatically; however, the same law also stated that if the husband naturalized (changed citizenship) his spouse and children lost their Italian citizenship. So my grandmother lost her Italian citizenship without her consent and passed away a few years ago. My father was born after 1948. Can I claim the Italian citizenship?


  31. Hi, Both my great grand parents on my mom’s side were born in Italy. My grandmother was born here. From what I am reading, it appears that she inherited Italian citizenship via her father and grandfather. If her father did not naturalize then now due to me being born in 1961, I could claim dual citizenship. Am I following this correctly?

    How do I find out if my great grandfather naturalized and this would be obsolete under the 1912 rule?



  32. Hi
    I have a different problem. I was born in Sicily but when I was little my parents came to America and I was made a U S citizen, now does that mean I gave up my Italian citizenship or am I still a citizen of Italy. I do know that The United States does not recognize other citizenship’s but Italy does have dual citizenship. If I am still an Italian citizen how to I get my passport?

  33. Im so confused—and wondered if you can help. Part of the problem is my great grand father on my Fathers side changed his name several times once in the US.

    My father was born in Chicago in 1943 (PROBLEM: 1948 rule), his mother was born in Chicago in 1921 (though some family members insist she was born in Palermo but birth certificate says Chicago). Her father Aniboli Conforti born in 1885 in Sicily as was his wife Caterina (Catherine) Milazzo. Both of his Aniboli’s parents and his wifes parents were born in Sicily and ALL generations before them.

    I have not yet found documents on when my great grandfather came to the US with his wife. Estimated year of birth in Italy is 1878 and probably immigration in 1905.

    It is my dream to have dual Italian citizenship– I fear I just cant.

    1. Hi Tricia- so if I understand you correctly, the line you are hoping to go through is great-grandfather->grandmother->father->you. Since your father was born before 1948, according to the US consulates, he could not receive citizenship from his mother because women could not pass their citizenship down until 1948. With this said, I have had several people reach out to me to tell me they were successful in challenging the 1948 rule by hiring a lawyer in Italy. If you decide to go this route, the other thing you will need to see is when he naturalized as a US citizen (if he did at all). If he naturalized before your grandmother was born then that will also prevent Italian citizenship from being passed down.
      Do you have any other Italian heritage or is this the only line you can go through?

  34. I read your email to the SF consulate and their response concerning the 1948 rule. Were you able to get your Italian citizenship through your efforts despite the 1948 rule? I’m in the same situation – father born in 1944 – and would like any advice. BTW, how much would it cost to challenge the law in court?

  35. Hello,
    So, I am trying to go through my Father´s side of the family. But have the 1948 problem. So my Father was born in January 1947. I am going through his mother´s side, because Ny has lost his father´s birth certificate and so getting papers on that side is quite difficult.

    A Lawyer in Italy says that it is no problem and when I read in many places online, it says that if that is the only issue, the courts can override it.

    So my Father is born in 1947, his Mother is born in the US n 1920, both her parents were born in Italy..the mother in 1894 and became a citizen in 1953, the father in 1887 and became a citizen in 1938.

    Also, when you finally submit at the consulate, how long, more or less, is the turn over?
    Thanks so much!!

  36. My brother and I are looking into dual Italian citizenship.
    Here is how:
    Our great grandparents arrived in the US around 1901 (they were not naturalized US citizens until the 1940’s). Our grandmother was born in 1910 in the US. Our dad was born in 1942 in the US. My brother and I were both born after 1960’s.

    Will we be able to obtain Italian dual citizenship? Ours seems a similar situation as the owner of this page?

    We have contacted an Italian attorney who said he can get it for us. We are gathering documents. My brother IS meeting with an Italian consulate once we have all the records gathered.

    1. Hi Tish, based on your description, you will probably not be able to go through the US consulates to get your Italian dual citizenship because of the 1948 rule. Since your dad was born before 1948, he could not get his citizenship through your grandmother. You’d have to go through male lineage. I think your chances are good by going straight to Italy through your Italian attorney. I’ve heard from several people who successfully challenged the 1948 rule in Italian court and got their Italian citizenship. Good luck Tish!

  37. Pingback: Italian Citizenship for Americans Records Required to Claim Italian Citizenship

  38. Pingback: Italian Citizenship for Americans Confirming Eligibility for Italian Dual Citizenship

  39. Hello!

    I’m applying for Italian citizenship at the Houston consulate and my appointment is Monday (3/20). We have all the documentation, so I hope they’ll find everything in order with no problems. My question is – what does the appointment entail? I know there is an application fee and I suppose they’ll check to make certain all the documents are there. Do they have specific questions? Are they expecting us to be able to understand at least basic Italian? It took us a while to get this appointment and I guess I’m getting a little nervous the closer it gets. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.


  40. I haven’t seen this addressed, so I’ll ask-

    My situation is this. I am the 4th generation of US born Italians through my father’s father. My GF was 100% Italian through his parents, who were first cousins. All GG grandparents were born in Sciacca. None appear to have applied for naturalization. Seems like an easy case, right? HA.

    My GG grandparents were illiterate in both Italian and English. As such, my GGGF has multiple spelling discrepancies in both his first and last names. My GGF uses many name spellings and adds Americanized names to the mix also. Through the census, I could show that some of the addresses prove their identity, but I don’t know if they will accept this. I’ve attempted to have my GGF’s birth certificate amended, but was denied.

    My GGG was born in Sciacca in 1878, and my GG was born in SF in 1900. My grandfather was born in 1923, and my father was born in 1949. So that is out. But I was curious if I could prove lineage from all four lines, if they would allow the discrepancies for the names…… I believe I am fully entitled to apply, but this name issue just seems so unfair when I have 3 other lines I could potentially use……

  41. Am I eligible through my Great Grandfather? Here are the details:
    My Great grandfather was born in Sicily 1858, died in 1929, never came to US
    My Grandfather was born in Sicily 1891, naturalized in USA (Los Angeles) 1936 died in (Los Angeles)1974
    My Mother was born in Los Angeles 1940
    I was born in Los Angeles 1971


    1. Hi Nina, it doesn’t look like you would be eligible through this line because your mother was born after he naturalized as a US citizen.

  42. Caio Italian gal !!

    Just wondering if i qualify for dual citizenship ….( i will try and find birth certificates )

    My great grandma Caterina Izzarelli( maiden name Di Guillio ) was born in Castro de Volci , Italy
    My great grandfather Felice izzarelli was born in sulmona italy ….this must have been around 1887 /1900 as my great grandma caterina had her 100 bday around 1987or 1988 .
    They moved to chicago heights , U.S.A probably around 1927 -1930 .
    I will have to find out if they ever truly naturalized …but they had
    my grandfather Frank izzarelli on US soil in around 1937- 1940 .
    My mother , kim izzarelli ..was born in us also in 1951.
    I was born in US in 1968 .

    Does this leave me with chance to apply for dual citizenship ???
    Grazie !!!! Tama

    1. Hi Tama, you very well could qualify. It all depends on when your great grandfather naturalized and whether or not it was before your grandfather was born. The 1948 rule does not come into play in this lineage since you were born after 1948.

  43. Hi! Could somebody else read through this just so I can make sure I”m eligible?

    Great great Grandfather- Born in Italy. moved to DC. Never naturalized (confirmed).
    Great Grandfather
    Grandmother (born pre-1948 but still held the citizenship)
    Mother (born 1960- I believe grandmother could pass hers on since birth is post 1948)

  44. Hi,
    The laws for obtaining Italian citizenship through Jure Sanguinis are indeed confusing. Note first that I am currently living in Italy with my wife and we have been here for nearly 3 years now. Also note that we made some major mistakes in our quest for Italian citizenship, mostly because stupidly thinking it would be easier once we arrived in Italy, it’s not! The 1948 rule is very interesting but quite complicated in that agencies here in Italy either don’t know about it or for whatever reason don’t consider it. We have done fairly extensive research into my family history and in fact still have family in the village we currently live in. I was shocked when I first visited Italy to find that my grandfathers nieces are still alive and the stories of my grandfather they were able to relate to me. Moreover, when I visited other family members here I was shown their photo albums that contained photo’s that I also had of my grandfather, aunts, uncles cousins and even of me and my siblings that my grandfather had sent them from the United States. Both my grandparents amily homes are still standing and occupied

    To confirm, my my grandfather, grandmother and one uncle were all born here in Abruzzo Italy. They left Italy for the United States in 1917 and lived in New Jersey until they passed away. My grandfather and grandmother (not sure yet if my grandmother renounced Italian citizenship) were naturalized as American citizens in 1946 and my grandfather gave up his Italian citizenship at that time. My mother was born in 1921 and there was never a question of her giving up her right to Italian citizenship although she never had been to Italy. I was born in 1949 which appears to make me eligable for Italian citizenship under the 1948 rule but I am told that I cannot obtain Italian citizenship because my grandfather renounced his Italian citizenship when he was natualized in Anerica in 1946.

    So, here we are. we have established residency in Barrea, we have our Permesso di Sorgiorno, my situation it seems to me under the 1948 rule is that I am eligable for Italian citizenship but have so far been refused. What this means is, we can remain in Italy but we cannot vote, no big deal, understanding Italian politics is even more confusing than trying to understand the current politics in the United States. We cannot obtain an Italian passport which is a somewhat bigger deal in that should we travel through Europe we would have to use our American passports.
    We own our own car, registered and insured but now there is a question about being able to obtain an Italian drivers license because we are not citizens. Aside from the fact the requirements (even for citizens) are strict, the test for a license is only given in Italian, not in English.
    Frustrating, yes, worth the effort? Yes, the rewards are obvious, this is Italy, you’re surround by history and culture unlike anything in America and just imagine for a minute attending a Bruce Springsteen concert at Circus Maximus in Rome Italy!

  45. Per your case, I think you have to try Italian citizenship through the Italian courts regarding by descent through female ancestor.

  46. Nelson, also, in your case with italian grandparents is it three years residency to naturalization. not bad.

  47. I have questions about dual citizenship.
    My Maternal Grandparents were born in Italy.
    My Mother born in Italy June 9 1914. Married in Italy.
    I was born in USA September 24, 1940.
    Mother was naturalized December 13, 1943.
    My Dad was naturalized being a minor under his Fathers naturalization in 1932.
    Do I qualify in any way for dual citizenship?

  48. Questions:

    1) if I am a woman born in NYC to an unnaturalized mother (who arrived one month before my birth) BUT my father naturalized in 1919 can I claim dual citizenship? If yes, can my grandchildren then qualify?

    2) if my father naturalized in 1922 and I am a man born in italy 1927 I had automatic dual citizenship. BUT after moving to america I took the citizenship test and was sworn in as an american citizen did i lose my dual citizenship. If yes, if my son was born BEFORE i was sworn in can he claim dual citizenship (born 1951).


  49. Hi! Here’s my story. I’m of Italian decent on my mother’s side only. My maternal grandparents were both born in Italy. My grandfather naturalized in 1919 in the USA. My grandparents were married in 1922 in Italy. My grandmother was not allowed a USA passport or citizenship until she was naturalized in 1944 in the USA. I have a certified document from the U.S. consulate in Italy, dated 6 days after her marriage, saying she was not eligible for a US passport and had to get special permission as an Italian citizen to travel to the USA. My mother was born in 1924 in the USA. This means the 1948 rule applies and I would need to apply for Italian citizenship through the Italian courts. My question is, Did the date of my grandfather’s naturalization date effect my grandmother’s Italian citizenship at the time my mother was born in 1924 or their marriage in 1922?
    Thank you for your help.

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