What Issues do Applicants Face When Seeking Italian Citizenship by Descent?

Most applications for Italian citizenship go well. They’re trouble-free, and an Italian passport is often issued soon after.

Yet, some challenges do exist that applicants may encounter when submitting their application.

If that’s you, then worry not. You can get Italian citizenship by descent, all while dealing with minimal issues. To help you avoid them, below are a few common issues (and solutions to follow) when applying!

First: Italian Embassy Delays and Processing Problems

As with any citizenship procedure, you'll need to schedule an appointment with your local Italian consulate. However, wait times are rarely short. It’s likely that your appointment’s deadline may be extended, and this may come as a nasty surprise to you.

Why? Appointments are frequently planned two years ahead in certain regions. There are some rare occasions when no appointments are available, which means applicants need to wait for the sake of scheduling their interview.

Also, each embassy follows its own set of standards per application. That is, documents presented to an embassy in a foreign location would almost certainly be denied in your home country embassy.

If you choose not to follow the protocol for the exact embassy you're applying to, then your application might be rejected. You must then wait for a new appointment time to provide the requested documentation in the accepted format.

Dealing With Embassy Processing Problems

To avoid significant delays and handle procedure issues quickly, we recommend the following...

  • Make an appointment with your regional Italian embassy as fast as possible
  • While waiting, gather the necessary paperwork, translate each document to Italian, and ensure they're apostille-verified
  • Before going to your consular interview, revise your application for missing requirements, and hire a professional to make that process easier
  • If the application is refused or you are unable to secure a consular appointment within two years time, consider petitioning your case to Italy's legal system

Second: Missing, Incorrect, and Forgotten Documents

While you assemble the paperwork needed for your Italian descent citizenship application (called a "jure sanguinis") or Italian marriage citizenship (called a "jure-matrimonii''), you will most likely encounter specific difficulties.

For example, your ancestor may have opted for a name change, either voluntarily or as the result of an error by an immigration agency. Also, because of the differences in how the US and the EU write dates, Italian birth certificates may show different birthdays from those stated on US immigration documents.

Consulate standards require no "substantial disparities" to exist between your supplied documents and ancestral Italian vital records. Thus, if you prepare an application with false facts, the application may be dismissed due to eligibility problems or an inability to properly show that the ancestor was Italian-born.

Dealing With Vital Record and Document Problems

If you notice any errors in your records, or if no marriage or birth certificate can be found (and other important documentation), you can:

  • Inquire with the local community in Italy and ask for help retrieving the missing paperwork
  • If you are unable to find your ancestor's marriage certificate, we recommend going to court in Italy. You'll often find that applicant ancestors frequently got married in the United States rather than in Italy
  • Get a formal letter confirming the document's non-existence
  • If an ancestor's marriage was in Italy yet you cannot find their marriage records, you can get a formal letter from Italy’s comune (at a local administrative level) confirming that they don't have the document.
  • Next, you'll need to look for the documents at the church that hosted the wedding. If they're not available at that church, you will have to make a request via Italy's court system

You can also:

  • Provide an opinion letter to the embassy (from an expert source) outlining how the issue happened, plus the right information to add in
  • (For name discrepancies), if the embassy does not deem the expert letter sufficient,  try to get a court order (called "one and the same"). Submit the order with all your documents
  • For in-depth advice, contact a recognized Italian citizenship by descent advisory service.

Third: Specific Italian Citizenship Requirements

You might be convinced that you fit what’s required for an Italian citizenship. However, your regional embassy might take a different stance regarding your application.

Assuming you choose to apply for marriage citizenship, you're required to have a basic understanding of the local language. Many important dates in the citizenship by ancestry or descent requirements may result in your application being refused.

With that, recent court rulings have criticized many of those rejections, where Italian courts have granted citizenship to many applicants with US-naturalized ancestors.

In circumstances where refusal of an applicant was caused by their birth to a female ancestor (born prior to January 1948), Italian courts frequently overrule the rejection that consulates are compelled to issue due to Italian laws.

Solving Eligibility Problems

If an Italian consulate tells you that you do not qualify for citizenship, you should understand why the denial was issued. Also, keep in-mind that procedures exist to overturn or petition that rejection. You can:

  • Resubmit your application, but using ties to a different ancestor
  • Consult with specialists to find other pathways towards Italian citizenship
  • Enter Italy by visa, stay there for as long as necessary to qualify. Afterwards, apply for Italian citizenship through the immigration laws.
  • Make a request to a court in Italy for an exemption, but on grounds of gender equality or any exceptional circumstances.

Challenging or Petitioning Rejected Applications

Recent laws have taken effect permitting applicants born to Italian women (who were in turn born pre-1948) the right to citizenship. Those applications are approved on a case-by-case analysis.

Why? It has to do with the increasingly frequent appeal of applicant rejections. Courts in Italy have become sympathetic to applicants whose ancestors became US-naturalized without their knowledge or consent.

With that, the lengthy waiting time for a consular appointment has permitted some candidates to get Italian citizenship via court orders, rather than by consulate approval.

So far, submitting a comprehensive and error-free application to a local embassy is the best way to qualify for Italian citizenship by descent. There are still alternative choices available for individuals who are refused due to faulty paperwork, excessive waiting times, or regulations that many view as obsolete.

Consulting a dual citizenship professional will give you the highest likelihood of acceptance by your local embassy. It will give you a fast track if your initial application gets rejected.

Overcome the Obstacles: Get Your Italian Citizenship

You may have previously filed for Italian dual citizenship and received a rejection. Or, you might be new to the process and still drafting your application.

The process is worth your time. You benefit from dual citizenship, with advantages including the ability to move within the EU using your Italian passport. You also get work and residence rights across the EU, along with education and health benefits.

Don't allow anything to stand in your way of enjoying your Italian citizenship rights, and eventually giving these advantages to your descendants.

Need Help Getting Started?

Contact Global RCG today. We'll help you discover whether you qualify  for Italian citizenship or not. Also, we'll show you how simple the process really is!

Global RCG is well-versed in the full procedure and will help you get the required official paperwork, apostilles, translations, all while resolving disputes.

We can assist you from start to finish. Whether that be an Italian ancestry or marriage citizenship, you can always rely on our services!