I 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!
Here is the consulates response:
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.
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.