Citizenship queries (Italy/Australia)

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Citizenship queries (Italy/Australia)


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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 15th March 2015, 11:24 AM
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Default Citizenship queries (Italy/Australia)

Hello

A slightly different scenario to what I have read, but hoping that someone can assist with determing my father's (and subsequently my) Italian citizenship status.

Pertinent details:

- My father was born in the 1950's and came to Australia in the 1960's as a child
- He came to Australia with an aunt and uncle - not his parents
- Whilst a minor he became an Australian citizen (I think he was 15 years old)
- When returning to Italy for short periods during his 20's and 30's he was required to complete a military dispensation to avoid being 'called upon' into the Italian military
- Both of my father's parents remain Italian citizens, live in Italy and have never been to Australia
- I was born in Australia during the 1980's



From what I have read so far there seems to be a loophole, whereby since my father's Australian citizeship was obtained whilst he was a minor, AND not accompanied by or subject of his father's naturalisation. These elements combined with the dispensation requirement may mean he is a dual Italian citizen?


I would really appreciate your input and of course please let me know if anything I have said is unclear.

Cheers

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Old 16th March 2015, 08:03 PM
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Maybe it's because I am not familiar with Australian citizenship laws, but I find highly unlikely that someone below legal age (which must have been 21 at the time) could be allowed to acquire Australian citizenship, unless his uncle and aunt were given legal guardianship before his departure for Australia either by his parents or by a family court judge.

Furthermore, if your father had to obtain dispensation from the military draft during his stays in Italy means that he was (and probably still is) considered by the local authorities as an Italian citizen.

If I were you, I would try to obtain as much documentation as I could about your father (original birth extract, naturalization papers, etc.) and contact the nearest Italian consular office to see if you could apply to be recognised as an Italian citizen by descent.

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Old 17th March 2015, 01:56 AM
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No, it was quite routine in Australia over many, many years for minors to naturalize on their own. Generally they had to be at least 16 years of age, but occasionally even younger children could naturalize independently. Obviously Zupper has some records indicating that's exactly what happened, and it's not at all surprising in the Australia of the era.

There was a similar situation in the United States during World War I, about 100 years ago now for a period of about 18 months. The U.S. Congress passed a special citizenship law to encourage enlistment. Military enlistees could naturalize on their own, instantly (without any waiting periods), at any age the U.S. military found acceptable. I think that was age 17 and older (to enlist, and thus also to naturalize), though there were some incidents when younger children joined the U.S. Army because they lied (successfully) about their ages.


Last edited by BBCWatcher; 17th March 2015 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 17th March 2015, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBCWatcher View Post
No, it was quite routine in Australia over many, many years for minors to naturalize on their own. Generally they had to be at least 16 years of age, but occasionally even younger children could naturalize independently. Obviously Zupper has some records indicating that's exactly what happened, and it's not at all surprising in the Australia of the era.
Well, if this is the case there are some good news. Although a minor Italian citizen could naturalize himself as an Australian citizen, that will not cause him to lose his original citizenship. The Italian State Council, which is the ultimate authority on administrative law, ruled clearly that an Italian "emancipated" minor would not lose his citizenship by acquiring a foreign one (Consiglio di Stato, parere del 9 novembre 1973, n. 957).

Therefore Zupper's father might have not lost his Italian citizenship, because he never formally renounced it after his coming of age. As a consequence he can surely apply for recognition of his Italian citizenship at his local Italian Consular office.

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Old 18th March 2015, 07:47 AM
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Correct. I think we're all a bit ahead of you, Arturo.

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Old 18th March 2015, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Trilly View Post
I'm inclined to assume, though, that your father would still retain Italian citizenship unless he was asked to give it up by the Australian authorities when he obtained his Australian citizenship.
No. A foreign government's mere request has absolutely no relevance or impact to the Italian government's recognition of its citizens' status. That foreign government could, for example, post a message to Twitter that "Joseph Vernucci is no longer an Italian citizen," and that Twitter message would be entirely moot under Italian law. Only the Italian government decides who is and is not her citizens. Nobody else does.

There is no provision I can find in Italian citizenship law for an unemancipated minor to terminate his/her own Italian citizenship on his/her own even if he/she wants(ed) to. They're well protected against loss of citizenship, as you might expect.

Emancipated minors and adults still need to do some work to terminate their Italian citizenships. There were/are 3 ways they could terminate their Italian citizenships:

(1) They needed to acquire a foreign citizenship through naturalization, voluntarily and before August 15, 1992; or

(2) They need(ed) to appear before an Italian consular official to renounce Italian citizenship; or

(3) They needed to join a foreign military (typically one at war with Italy) and be formally warned by the Italian government they were in jeopardy of losing their Italian citizenship and not cease their foreign military affiliation despite the written warning. (The 1992 citizenship law changed this provision a bit, but now citizenship loss does not take effect until after the war ends.)

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Old 28th March 2015, 03:17 AM
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Thank you all for following up. There are a few points before and against, which will affect the outcome.

Expanding on the above, my father became an Australian Citizen (naturalization was the only way) in 1969 - he was 17 years old. I couldn't find any evidence of renunciation though.

Am I right in thinking that so long as the Italian authorities still recognise him as a Citizen then that is conclusive? Or has the naturalisation in 1969 quelled any hope?

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Old 28th March 2015, 09:14 AM
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I'm not sure why you're concerned about whether he was 17 instead of 15. Italian citizenship law doesn't have a problem with any of that. Upthread we explained the law and how it applies to unemancipated minors acting independently. Minors still means minors. Whether he was 15 or 17 doesn't matter -- both 15 year olds and 17 year olds are and have always been minors under Italian law. (In 1975 Italy lowered its age of majority from 21 to 18. That was the only change throughout the history of Italian law since the nation's founding in 1861.)

Italian law controls Italian citizenship, PERIOD. Who else besides Italian authorities (Interior Ministry or an Italian court) would recognize an Italian citizen as Italy's citizen? The Pope?

If he acquired Australian citizenship when he was an unemancipated minor, and if his Italian parent (or Italian recognized legal guardian, if applicable) did not him/herself acquire a foreign citizenship prior to his reaching his age of majority, then he did not lose Italian citizenship when he naturalized. It doesn't matter how many times he clicked his heels, whether his Australian certificate of citizenship had one or two gold stars, or if he celebrated his new citizenship with Fosters or Guinness. Italian citizenship law controls.


Last edited by BBCWatcher; 28th March 2015 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 30th March 2015, 01:43 PM
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Ok I understand, and appreciate the follow up.
I guess the next step is to collate the documentation and make an appointment at the consulate office!

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Old 6th April 2015, 01:32 AM
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Hello all - another question if I may.

I have enquired with my local consulate (Sydney) and the wait time for a citizenship appointment is currently over two years!! I find this incredibly disappointing.

I am wondering if there is another way to follow the process, albeit more swiftly?

This may sound naive but can an immigration lawyer assist without requiring a visit to the consulate?

Thank you

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