Pursuing Italian Citizenship through the Italian Courts

Pursuing Citizenship through the Italian Courts: Against the Queue/Denial of Justice 

Finding a citizenship by descent (jure sanguinis) appointment with many of the Italian Consulates in the United States requires good planning, strict dedication, and a stroke of luck. Even the most committed people looking for these appointments can spend months staring at a loading screen and hoping the calendar opens with a green date and time available. Even when secured, the appointment may be several years out. It’s important to understand that many people like you are facing the same struggles landing these elusive appointments. Persistence and patience are key, especially if you’re looking to keep your expenses down. There may however come a point when you’ve exhausted your willpower to keep looking, and there are some options available to you.  

Applying for Citizenship In Italy:

It is important to note that this method will likely not be an easy process and is not something you can accomplish while on vacation. You will need to establish permanent residency in Italy and apply at the Comune where in the town you will be residing.  This topic is covered in our article here. 

Applying for Citizenship through the Italian Courts:

You do have another method available to you though. Italian citizenship through the court cases in Italy used to be exclusively for 1948 challenges (you can read more about what a 1948 challenge is here).  This changed around the pandemic years when circumstances led to the Italian Consulates in the U.S. and elsewhere canceling appointments indefinitely. Since then, the Italian Consulates have released fewer and fewer appointments through their online appointment system PRENOTAMI. It was initially thought this was the result of the Italian Consulates rescheduling the canceled appointments and catching up on all administrative affairs which were halted by the pandemic. While this still may be the case, the large number of people that could not obtain an appointment led to court filings and a new type of dual citizenship pursuit called “Denial of Justice” or “Against the Queue." 

An "against the queue" action or “denial of justice” action in the context of Italian dual citizenship refers to a court case in the Italian courts where an eligible candidate for Italian dual citizenship, that would normally be able to apply through the Italian Consulate, files and sets forth a legal challenge that their right to Italian citizenship is being denied due to inability to obtain an appointment at the Italian Consulate where they currently reside. Initial success with these challenges in the courts of Rome led to more and more interest from candidates. This created a new set of questions regarding the risks of the process, the proof needed to pursue these matters, and the timeline one can expect for obtaining Italian dual citizenship through this method.

Unfortunately, clarity regarding these matters has not yet been fully reached. One of the reasons for this is due to the decentralization of these cases from the Civil Court in Rome. All 1948 (including Involuntary Citizenship) and Against the Queue/Denial of Justice hearings used to proceed through this Court exclusively, which made outcomes and timelines more predictable. This procedure changed in June 2022 as the Court in Rome likely became overwhelmed, and the matters are now being held in the local court that has jurisdiction over the candidate’s Italian ancestor’ s place of birth. Through assistance with our affiliate Italian immigration law firm, Mazzeschi, we are tracking how each local court handles citizenship matters. However, when pursuing Italian citizenship by descent through the Courts, there are additional qualification requirements that come into play.  

The highest court in Italy (Court of Cassation) ruled on two cases presented in 2023 and 2024 such that all challenges in the Italian courts involving children that naturalized through their parents as “a minor” can now be rejected (If you’re concerned that your lineage may be affected, you can read more about it here).  The silver lining to this is that local court judges are not bound by this interpretation like they would be here in the United States and are free to decide independently from the Court of Cassation (some already have).  As these are recent developments, we will need to continue to monitor how each local court handles them.  

Should you not be deterred by the above, the opportunity to present your case through the Italian courts does afford some major benefits:

  • Allowing you to continue to work and reside here in the U.S. where you so choose. You will not need to take residency in Italy or appear in court at any point during the case.
  • Besides acquiring the documentation you need (or hiring our experts to assist you with this), your only legwork should be securing the proof you need that you cannot obtain the appointment at the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State here in the U.S. where you permanently reside.  
  • Multiple adult family members, no matter what Italian Consular jurisdiction they reside in, can apply at the same time if added to the Petition (minor children are included at no cost). 
  • Although it depends on each local court, the average timeline for your petition to be granted can be faster than the Italian Consulate.  

If you are successful with your court challenge, you can later get an appointment at your local Italian Consulate to obtain your Italian passport.

This process may seem daunting, but we’re here to help and answer any questions you may have. My Italian Family TOGETHER with Mazzeschi, our affiliate Italian Law Firm, can assist you. During our years of collaboration, we have successfully helped many applicants like you, fulfilling their dream of becoming Italian Dual Citizens. We don’t just give advice, we handle all the purchasing and preparation of your entire portfolio of documents, whether you apply at an Italian Consulate here in the U.S. or in Italy (including 1948 Challenge Courts Cases). Our experience spans the past 20 years, and we have expert knowledge of what each Italian Consulate requires, as well as what the Italian Courts require. TO GET STARTED AND FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FULL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, CLICK HERE.

Questions on how to get started? Book your FREE Consultation at your convenience


About the Author

Matthew Caruso Dolson received his Juris Doctorate degree from Widener University School of Law. Prior to joining MY ITALIAN FAMILY, Matt spent several years working in a small firm in Elkton, Maryland working on a variety of cases including civil litigation, family law, real property, and criminal defense. Matt is currently a Senior Project Manager at My Italian Family where he is in charge of managing from Start-to-Finish Italian citizenship document portfolios for presentation to Italian Consulates, Italian Courts or Italian town halls. Matt is also one of My Italian Family's content creators.

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