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A Guide to Obtaining Citizenship Through Great Grandparents
  • dimartinolaw
  • June 5, 2023

A Guide to Obtaining Citizenship Through Great Grandparents

Italian citizenship, though possibly easier to acquire than in any other European country, still necessitates a specific procedure. Becoming an Italian citizen through grandparents, parents, or great-grandparents requires documentation, with the duration varying depending on your local consulate. Additionally, the Italian citizenship process is not always clearly defined, making it confusing to determine if you qualify for citizenship through descent. 


Our experts offer a complimentary consultation to assist you in determining if we can help you qualify for Italian citizenship without any fees or obligations. However, how can you initiate this process, and what essential information should you be aware of?


In this concise guide, we present the fundamental regulations involved and explain how you can obtain Italian citizenship through your parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents.


Qualifying for Italian Citizenship: Ancestry Check and Documentation


To determine if you qualify for Italian citizenship through ancestors, particularly your grandparents or parents, consulting your family is a great starting point. Gather information about these ancestors, such as their birthplace or their arrival in America.


In the United States, you can utilize government resources to search for naturalization records by simply knowing the name or date of birth of your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent. However, it is your responsibility, not the Italian consulate’s, to verify the legitimacy of these ancestral ties.


It’s important to note that all relevant documentation is required to establish these ancestral connections for Italian citizenship by descent applications.


Italian Citizenship through Parents


Applying for Italian citizenship through your parents is possible, but it is more likely to qualify through your father than your mother. This is because Italian law previously prohibited women born before January 1st, 1948, from passing dual citizenship to their children. However, this law has been successfully challenged, opening doors for many individuals to obtain Italian citizenship through their maternal lineage. If you believe you fall into this category, please contact us for detailed information, as these cases can be complex.


Additionally, specific requirements and restrictions exist regarding supporting documentation. For instance, your parents must not have renounced their Italian citizenship or been naturalized before your date of birth. Nevertheless, if they had the right to claim Italian citizenship, this requirement could be challenged.


Applying for Italian Citizenship via Grandparents

It is commonly observed that your grandparents, being born before January 1st, 1948, often provide you with the opportunity to qualify for citizenship. Depending on the timing and the Italian birthplace of your grandparents, there are various avenues to pursue when becoming an Italian citizen through your grandparents.


In the case where your grandfather was born in Italy and held Italian citizenship when your parents were born, you can potentially apply for Italian citizenship via your grandparents. However, this qualification is contingent upon your parents not having renounced their right to Italian citizenship.


An additional requirement is that if you are utilizing your father’s mother, it is crucial that your father was born after January 1st, 1948. Similarly, when using your mother’s mother, your mother must have been born after the same date.


Similar to the process with your mother or father, it is common to seek Italian citizenship through your grandparents. This option is particularly advantageous when your grandparents are Italian and have not renounced their citizenship rights in Italy.


Applying for Italian Citizenship via Great Grandparents

If your great grandparent, who was born in Italy, possessed Italian citizenship or the eligibility to claim Italian citizenship when your respective grandparent was born, you can apply for Italian citizenship through them.


As previously mentioned, it is crucial that your great grandparent, grandparent, or parent have not renounced their right to Italian citizenship. Another important condition is that if you are tracing your lineage through a female ancestor, the “next in line” must have been born after January 1st, 1948 (although exceptions to this can be explored; please contact us for further details).


Italian Citizenship Application: Required Documents and Procedures


To obtain Italian citizenship, you must complete an application form. Additionally, specific documents must be acquired for your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent. These documents must be both apostilled and translated into Italian by an approved translator from your local Italian consulate.


  • Birth Certificate: Obtain a certificate from the commune where your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent was born.


  • Death Certificate: If your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent has passed away, you will need to acquire a death certificate.


  • Marriage Certificate: This applies if your parent(s) or grandparents were married in Italy.


  • Naturalization Certificate: If your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent does not have a passport or citizen ID, you will require a naturalization certification.


  • Personal Certificates: If applicable, submit your birth certificate and marriage/divorce certifications.


Please note that “apostilled” means the documents need to be stamped and verified by the United States Secretary of State.


If your ancestors hail from Italy, you may qualify for Italian citizenship. Contact us to determine your eligibility and the most direct path to successfully obtaining Italian citizenship. Our team of attorneys at Di Martino Law Group is here to assist you, ensuring a quick and simple process.



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