Italian Citizenship for Descendants of Women

The current law granting Italian citizenship jure sanguinis states that women could hold but not pass citizenship to children born before January 1, 1948, the date Italy became a Republic. According to the 1912 citizenship law, only men were allowed to transfer Italian citizenship to their children. Not only does this eliminate many from qualifying for citizenship but under this provision of the law there are clearly situations where one sibling and their offspring can qualify while others born before the 1948 date and their subsequent families cannot qualify. When exploring Italian citizenship jure sanguinis individuals may believe the 1948 Rule on its surface to be unfair or discriminatory but it is the law as it currently exists.

The Italian Supreme Court recently held that this provision is contrary to the Constitutional principles, particularly to the principle of equality between men and women. Thus, also children who are born before 1948 to an Italian mother, may file a motion to appeal the "1948 Rule" and obtain, if eligible, Italian citizenship. There have been recent court challenges to this aspect of the law that have been filed and adjudicated by the Italian Courts (previously the Civil Court in Rome).   Even though a challenge to the law has been successful in Italy, the Italian government has not yet chosen to modify or amend the current law. US Italian Consulates and other Italian Consulates outside of Italy strictly adhere to the current 1948 Rule and will probably continue to do so until the law is amended.
Because jure sanguinis citizenship involves Italian law as opposed to US law, courts in the US have no jurisdiction over the matter. They will not entertain challenges or questions regarding its components. 

If faced with the 1948 Rule outside of Italy your options are very limited. Because there has been some success challenging the law in Italy your only possible course of action may be to consult an Italian attorney who is familiar with the issue. He or she may be able to guide you through an alternative route using the Italian legal system and may be best able to help you determine if you have standing to sue in Italy and if your family fits the criteria for citizenship. 

If you explore this alternate route you need to consider the time and expense involved.   You also need to be aware that the outcome is in no way guaranteed.

If interested, we can refer you to a Law Firm in Italy that can assist you with the legal action. Bear in mind that the process can take up to 2 or 3 years to be finalized.


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