Did you know that if one of your parents became an Italian citizen while you were under 18, you might be an Italian citizen too? This lesser-known aspect of Italian law can grant you Italian citizenship automatically—even if you or your parents were not originally from Italy. This surprising path to citizenship is not widely recognized but can be a significant advantage for many individuals globally.

Automatic Citizenship for Children

Under Italian law, minor children of a person who acquires or re-acquires Italian nationality also receive citizenship automatically. This rule applies even if those children are now adults.

Legal Foundation

The process is based on Article 14 of the Italian Nationality Act, which states:

“The cohabiting minor children of a person who acquires or re-acquires Italian nationality shall obtain Italian nationality, although they may renounce it once they have attained their majority if they have the nationality of another country.”

In other words:

Children under 18 who live with a parent who becomes an Italian citizen will also receive Italian citizenship. However, they can choose to give up this citizenship after they turn 18 if they have citizenship in another country.

Requirements: Key Questions

Did any of your parents get Italian citizenship? At least one of your parents becomes an Italian citizen

When? Discover the precise DATE when your parent officially became an Italian citizen

Were you under 18? If you were under 18 at that date and your parent supported you

What was your relationship?

Cohabitation vs. Caregiving

The law doesn’t actually require you to live with your parent. Courts have interpreted the law to mean that what matters is a strong relationship between the parent and child. This is shown through things like custody, financial support, and general caregiving, regardless of whether you physically lived together. Each situation is examined individually by the authorities.

Therefore, you can still qualify even if you lived separately from your parent, including in a different country, as long as your parent maintained a meaningful connection with you. This could apply, for example, to parents who move abroad to work and support their families back home.

Steps To Claim Your Italian Citizenship

Step 1: Verifying the Parent-Child Relationship

Whether you’re an adult or still a minor, you (or your parent) need to confirm your relationship. This involves applying for a statement from the Italian authority responsible for your area of residence:

  • In Italy: Contact the municipality where you reside.
  • Abroad: Reach out to the nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate.

You’ll need to demonstrate that your parent had a substantial relationship with you, fulfilling their parental duties at the time they became an Italian citizen.

Step 2: Registering for Citizenship

Next, apply to register your citizenship based on where you live:

  • Overseas residents: Apply through the Italian Embassy or Consulate General.
  • Residents in Italy: Apply through your local municipality.

This process is guided by Article 16, paragraph 8, of D.P.R. 572/1993, which implements the Italian Nationality Act no. 91/1992.


You might be eligible for Italian citizenship if:

  • Your parent lived or still lives in Italy and became a citizen by residency or marriage before you turned 18.
  • You lived or still live in Italy  with your parent(s), and one became a citizen before you turned 18.
  • You and your parents never lived in Italy, but your parent acquired citizenship through marriage to an Italian, descent from an Italian citizen, or other specific Italian laws targeting former emigrants and their descendants.

NOTE: Article 14 Citizenship applies irrespective of a child’s nationality, current age and if their parents were together or separated, or even residing in a different country.

Discover Your Italian identity!

Finding out when and how your parent acquired Italian citizenship could be the key to unlocking your own Italian citizenship. If you suspect you might be eligible, investigating further could provide surprising and potentially life-changing results. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore your Italian heritage and the benefits it brings.

Bonus: You Always Were An Italian Citizen if…

This is an opposite case:
was your parent is an Italian since their birth? That means you were born from an Italian-born citizen and not from one who became an Italian citizen at a later stage of their life. If your Italian-born parent’s name shows on your birth record, you don’t need to prove any relationship. You may even be completely estranged from your Italian-born parent. Following Article 1 of the Italian Nationality Act you are an Italian citizen. You just need to show your birth certificate with the nearest Italian Consulate (or municipality, if you live in Italy) to activate your Italian citizenship.


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