Great question! Knowing that somewhere in your Family Tree, an unidentified Ancestor was Italian is a good start but definitely not enough. Italian citizenship is based on the principle of “jure sanguinis”, i.e. right of blood; this means that individuals who have an Italian ancestor may be eligible for citizenship, depending on several factors, such as the date and place of birth of his or her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Remember there is no limit to the number of generations one can go back to apply. But here is the catch: 

Italy became a Nation only on March 17, 1861. This means that there is no “Italian” Citizenship before this date. In fact, if your Italian Ancestor migrated away from Italy or died before 1861, he or she was NOT an Italian citizen.

The shape of Italy changed several times from 1861 to the end of World War II with several regions being annexed and then lost. The territories of Istria and Dalmazia for instance (now Slovenia and Croatia), were part of Italy only for a short period of time which can limit your eligibility. 

The Italian Law regarding citizenship has changed several times affecting your qualification requirements.

In conclusion, the only way you can prove eligibility for Italian citizenship is by providing a certain set of vital records that link you to your Italy-born Ancestor, and the DNA test is not one of them! 

To learn more and to get started, CLICK HERE 

Credit: Marco Mazzeschi, attorney at law and founder of MAZZESCHI S.R.L., our partner immigration law firm in Italy.

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