I am an American with Italian lineage and I'd like to know what steps can be taken (if possible) to apply for citizenship in Italy. I've read several blogs however, the steps are a bit unclear. Please direct me to the correct starting point.
Hi Shelley. Great question. I did some research for a friend a few years ago, and I called the Italian Consulate here. They are most helpful.
Here's what I remember. You need to identify the grandparents/great-grandparents who were born in Italy. I think you'll have to dig up their birth certificates. Then I think you'll have to determine if they relinquished their Italian citizenship at some point. Using myself as an example, my mother's father became a citizen when he fought for the US in World War I. He relinquished his allegiance to the Italian king at that point -- so while I haven't asked, my understanding is that I couldn't apply for Italian citizenship through that family line. Now, my great grandfather on my father's side was a stowaway, I've heard, so maybe I can go through that line! Ha.
There's more involved, of course, and it will take time. But my understanding is, you can't pursue citizenship through a line that relinquished it earlier.
Roughly: If the male ancestor who immigrated from Italy relinquished his Italian citizenship to become an American citizen before his descendants were born the blood line is interrupted and the Italian citizenship cannot be transmitted to descendants.The same applies for descendants of Italian women born after January 1 1948. More detailed information cam be obtained from the citizenship department o f the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco please refer to our website – consular services - citizenship.
One should first of all visit an Italian Consulate web site which contains a rather complete explanation for those that know nothing or little about the process, This may seem obvious but you would be surprised the number of people that do not take this first step.