It is enough to spot a woman in a family tree to raise a flag and spark disappointment. But is that enough to ruin your chances to Italian citizenship? Is Italian law really so backward to discriminate women from men? NO!
Don’t let them intimidate you and proudly get your Italian citizenship through granny!

Most Italian Consulates published blunt statements on their websites, like:

“A person born before 01/01/1948 can claim Italian citizenship only from his/her father”

But that is simply not true. Unfortunately, such inaccurate statements on Italian citizenship in the female line are spread also by official sources and get repeated by misinformed people worldwide. It appears designed to discourage applicants from even considering Italian citizenship by lineage.

If you want to avoid wasting your time, refuse all inaccurate information. Demand the real information according to the law.

So how does it work in the law?

The short version is the following:

If you have one or more women in your direct line of Italian descent, you HAVE a right to citizenship. The application process changes according to the date in which the child of the concerned woman was born.

If the woman gave birth to her descendant after January 1st, 1948, you can get Italian citizenship by applying for it to the closest Italian authority.

Conversely, if the woman gave birth before that date, you can obtain Italian citizenship by applying for it to the Tribunal in Italy.

Why is that?

The Italian law used to provide that a person is an Italian citizen only if born to an Italian father, until the Italian Constitution declared the equal treatment principle as of January 1st, 1948.

According to the administrative authorities, the equal treatment clause applies only for the future, that is up from January 1st, 1948. So, for example:

If your Italian grandmother gave birth to your father in 1947, you have a “1948 case”. The Italian Consulate refuses to process your application.

Luckily, the Italian Supreme Court thinks otherwise: they established in 2009 that it is forbidden to discriminate between women and men even in citizenship matters (judgment no. 4466/2009). All descendants born anytime from an Italian parent, father or mother are Italian citizens by birthright.

Sadly, that appears not enough to convince the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all the Italian Consulates with it. They still refuse to process “1948 cases”. As a result, you can obtain the application of the non-discrimination principle only through an application to the Tribunal in Italy.

How can you be sure that you have a 1948 case?

Make the final check in this way:

STEP #1: Consider your line of descent from the Italian ancestor. Focus only on the direct line (let aside the spouses or partners at each passage of generation). Is there a woman along the line?

STEP #2: If there is a woman, did she give birth to her descendant before January 1st, 1948? Remember: the woman’s date of birth is of no relevance. Only her child’s birthdate is.

STEP #3: If the answer is YES, you can obtain Italian citizenship by lineage (jure sanguinis).

Your application process nowadays has to start in Court. The Italian Cnsulates still don’t take these applications.

Important: There might be a change in the near future. The Italian Parliament is discussing a new law draft that finally puts on a par all applications – both those by descendants in the paternal and in the maternal line. So all applications should be accepted at Italian Consulates, irrespective of how you derive Italian citizenship in your family. 

STEP #4: If the answer is NO, you can obtain Italian citizenship by submitting your application

Repeat steps #2-3-4 for each woman you find along the direct line of descent. You may find a woman at the very start of your Italian family tree (i.e. your ancestor born in Italy was a woman) or later in the line of descent.

The result is…

Absolutely the same. Each of the two types of application brings the same citizenship by birthright. That means it operates retroactively to your date of birth, no matter

if you obtained it through an Italian Court or through an Italian Consulate, or

if you are a descendant in male or female line

To the law, you are an Italian citizen since your birth, just like any Italian who was born in Italy to Italian parents.

Are you interested in knowing more about that?

Do you want to discover if you can derive Italian citizenship through the female line of your family?

Tell me about your family tree. Together we can

1 – check if you have a RIGHT to the Italian citizenship by lineage, even if there are women in your line of descent and

2 – devise the most effective PLAN to obtain the Italian citizenship

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