Most recent updates regarding Italian citizenship by “descent” and by “marriage”
There have been a few changes in the Italian citizenship law concerning all applicants for citizenship by descent going through the Italian Courts AND some applicants for citizenship by marriage.
Court Cases in Italy
On November 26, 2021, a new legislation was passed (Art. 36 Law 20/2021) stating that if “the applicant/petitioner resides abroad, the lawsuit can be filed at the court that has jurisdiction over of the Italian father, mother or ancestor’s town of origin”. Therefore, effective June 22, 2022, all citizenship cases have been filed in the local courts based on the place of birth of the applicant’s Italian ancestor.
The result is that all 1948 challenge cases and other citizenship-related lawsuits are no longer heard in the Civil Court in Rome, unless of course the Italian Ancestor’s place of birth falls under the jurisdiction of the courts in Rome. This is a significant change clearly implemented to reduce the heavy workload of this specialized section established in the Court of Rome and possibly shortening the timeline of legal proceedings at the same time.
Please note that if you have a pending case already filed in the Civil Court in Rome (before June 22, 2022), it will be processed by this court. This new legal provision only applies to all judicial cases that have been submitted from June 2022 onwards.
Citizenship by Marriage
Up to now, if a foreign national married to an Italian citizen was in the process of acquiring Italian citizenship and the Italian spouse passed away while the application for Italian citizenship by marriage was in process, the law (art.5 of the law February 5, 1992, No.91) prohibited the acquisition of Italian citizenship.
Recently, the Italian Constitutional Court (Corte Costituzionale) ruled that in the event of the death of the spouse of an applicant whose application for Italian citizenship by marriage is in process, said application can now be successfully finalized. (Sentence No. 195/2022 published on July 26, 2022). This rule also applies to civil unions.
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