You might be an Italian national without knowing it. That is a result of the law operating automatically: Italian law – as it happens in several other countries – regards every descendant of its citizens as Italian nationals, no matter where they are born.

Italy is possibly more special than other countries as its citizenship law is strictly based on Roman law and the concept of status civitatis.  The citizenship status passes automatically to the next generation.

But what does that mean to you?

Being an Italian dual national can open you to a new world of opportunities. You can go back to your roots in Italy as a fully recognized citizen and even access all European countries with unparalleled privileges. However, being a dual citizen may hamper your career or interests in your country.

You may OPERATE your rights as a dual citizen: claim your Italian passport, obtain residency in Italy for your whole family and perform any legal activity there. That includes full rights to stay in Europe, work, study, or just enjoy an international life.

You may always renounce your dual citizenship for a career in public security, if necessary. You may recover your Italian citizenship later in life by moving your residence to the country for one year.

Consider your family tree: is there some great (grand) mother or father of Italian origin? If you find any such person in your direct line, from your mother or your father, you could actually be an Italian national.

How can you operate yor Italian citizenship?

To wake up your dormant Italian citizenship you need to register it to the nearest Italian Consulate.

Check their website and their information on citizenship:

  • Download the form

  • attach the required records which prove your direct descent from your ancestor

  • bring them to the consulate

You will be registered as an Italian abroad, just like me: I am Italian and live in Sweden.

The Consulate will give you your passport and you can use your rights just as me and anybody else born from Italian parents in Italy.

Look into your family tree

Take your first step and check your eligibility for Italian dual citizenship by lineage, so-called iure sanguinis in Italian law (sometimes also written “jure sanguinis” outside of Italy. It is still correct Latin spelling, just referring to an older writing tradition).

You should check the following family records, in this order:

  1. Birth and marriage records of your Italian-born ancestor with mother and father’s names and last names (format: Estratto dell’atto di nascita) issued by the Italian municipality of origin;
  2. Birth and marriage records of each direct descendant, for every generation
  3. Your ancestor’s certificate of naturalization (or statement by the competent authority that she or he never acquired the citizenship of the immigration country by naturalization)


NOTE: If your ancestor or their descendant was unmarried, you may still be eligible for Italian citizenship.


You may also be interested in:

How the 1948 rule really works. Apply for citizenship though your Italian (great-) grandmother

Typos and errors crowd your family records? Run them through the ERRORS DETECTOR & SOLVER!

Dual citizenship: do I have to give up my passport?

Free your family from bureaucracy in 5 steps! Italian visa for family members