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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I was reading a thread from last year about this topic, but it was 8 pages long and got very confusing!!

I'm looking into potential ways to obtain citizenship (as I previously posted).

I was living in Italy for a couple of years on a work visa, and want nothing more than to go back!

I'm confused about the exceptions to passing down citizenship. I've done extensive work digging up my family tree. Here's what I've got:

1.) My great-great grandfather was an Italian citizen who was born in 1851 and migrated to America in 1901.
2.) His son (my great grandfather), was an Italian citizen and born in Italy in 1890. He migrated to America in 1911, and became naturalized in 1918. (He has WWI paperwork as well, so I assume his naturalization was so he could serve in the war).
3.) In 1919 he married my great grandmother in Italy (she is an Italian citizen too), and they both returned to America. She did not pass through Ellis Island because he was already naturalized.
4.) My great grandfather and great grandmother had my grandfather in 1937 in Buffalo NY.

I'm not sure if my great grandmother possessed dual citizenship or what, because it seems she must have automatically been granted it after marrying my naturalized great grandfather. Since my grandfather is a first generation American, I'm wondering which path I should follow to try to trace citizenship to me. I know it's not necessary to follow every branch of my family tree-- so I"m hoping for some advice as to which lead to follow?

My naturalized great-grandfather (he was 28 and unwed at the time of his naturalization), and my potential dual citizenship great-grandmother since he only obtained her visit to America because of her marriage to my great-grandfather.

Any info or links to help me decipher this would be appreciated!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'll also add:

Multiple sources so far say that if an Italian citizen becomes naturalized in America and THEN has his child (my grandfather), then my grandfather (and thus me), are ineligible for Italian citizenship. Is it true that I can only pursue citizenship down that path if my great-grandfather had my grandfather and then later became naturalized?

Lastly, I found that it is potentially possible to gain citizenship through my great-grandmother instead (as long as she had dual citizenship-- I have yet to find any naturalization papers for her). I've read that If an Italian ancestor in your direct line is a woman born before January 1, 1948, (which yes she is), she can only claim Italian citizenship from her father, and can only pass Italian citizenship to her children (male or female) if they were born after January 1, 1948 (yes my grandfather was). Apparently, If this is the only bar to your eligibility, you may still have your citizenship recognized by having your application reviewed by the courts in Italy...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ERROR!!!

"I've read that If an Italian ancestor in your direct line is a woman born before January 1, 1948, (which yes she is), she can only claim Italian citizenship from her father, and can only pass Italian citizenship to her children (male or female) if they were born after January 1, 1948 (yes my grandfather was)"

CORRECTED: No, my grandfather was not born after 1948. I guess that's a dead end then...
 

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From the website of the Consulate-General of Italy in San Francisco you can download a practical guide on how to find out whether you have (or not) the right to claim Italian citizenship by ancestry.
 

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Just be aware that, until recent decades, Italy was one of those countries that would not allow you to keep your Italian citizenship if you took another citizenship voluntarily. Those naturalized ancestors may wind up "breaking the chain" in your quest for Italian nationality.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Just be aware that, until recent decades, Italy was one of those countries that would not allow you to keep your Italian citizenship if you took another citizenship voluntarily.
Be also aware that the previous law on citizenship (no. 555/1912) provided that any former Italian citizen who moved back to Italy for longer than 12 months automatically reacquired his original Italian citizenship. If your great granfather stayed in Italy for longer than 12 months at the time of his marriage, you could have a case to prove your eligibility for recognition of Italian citizenship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback!!

Also, thanks so much Arturo- I hadn't come across that law yet. I've found my great-grandfather's US passport info; maybe this will help..

It was an Emergency Passport that he actually filed in Rome.
It says he is a naturalized US citizen who emigrated to the US in 1907 and stayed in the US uninterrupted until 1918. (Ellis Island paperwork says he arrived August 1911 though!)

Then the passport application says he was naturalized because of A.E.F (WW1) in 1918.
It states he left the US in October 1918, went to France for the war, and left from France to go to Italy in April 1919.
His passport application is then dated for June 1919.

I'm getting so confused. The Ellis Island paperwork says he arrived in 1911. Yet his "time outside the US" section in his Emergency Passport Application says:
Italy 1890-1906
Italy 1911- for 10 months
France- A.E.F (WW1) 1918-1919
Italy 1919 April- 1919 June.

I can't figure out what happened between 1906 and 1911. He potentially was in the US? But the Ellis Island papers don't agree.

Last thing- when he married my great-grandmother (a full fledged Italian citizen), did he not aquire his citizenship back through the marriage?
 

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Be also aware that the previous law on citizenship (no. 555/1912) provided that any former Italian citizen who moved back to Italy for longer than 12 months automatically reacquired his original Italian citizenship.
Not quite. In this case it's 24 months per Article 9 subsection 3 of the 1912 citizenship law.
 

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Last thing- when he married my great-grandmother (a full fledged Italian citizen), did he not aquire his citizenship back through the marriage?
No. Foreign women marrying Italian men before April 27, 1983, automatically and instantly acquired Italian citizenship. It didn't work the other way around.

Under U.S. law at that the time your great grandmother acquired U.S. citizenship when she married your great grandfather and returned with him to the U.S. in 1919. But that doesn't particularly matter for these purposes, though it does mean that you don't have to worry about her U.S. naturalization since it was involuntary and automatic.

You appear to have valid grounds for a lawsuit filed in Italian court for citizenship recognition starting from your Italian great grandmother. According to Italian court interpretations of citizenship law (and specifically the Italian constitution) in a series of cases dating back to 2009, you can win recognition. You'd have to hire a qualified, competent attorney in Italy to pursue your case in Italian court, and that costs a couple thousand euro. But it is quite routine nowadays.

Unfortunately Italy's Interior and Foreign Ministries still disagree with the courts about older maternal lines (and are allowed to do so), so court is currently the only recourse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks BBCWatcher that's great news! You don't by chance know of any agencies do you? I've already looked up two different ones last week- but just seeing if you've got a recommendations.

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out!
 

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Filing a lawsuit in Italy requires an attorney. There are at least a few attorneys that specialize in citizenship recognition cases, though I'd have to refer you to your favorite Internet search engine to locate forums and discussions about such attorneys. Your attorney will advise you on the required documentation (and its preparation) to include in your lawsuit.

I don't recommend "agencies." I recommend getting a qualified, competent attorney, in Italy, specializing in these "1948" recognition cases.
 

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I'm getting so confused. The Ellis Island paperwork says he arrived in 1911. Yet his "time outside the US" section in his Emergency Passport Application says:
Italy 1890-1906
Italy 1911- for 10 months
France- A.E.F (WW1) 1918-1919
Italy 1919 April- 1919 June.

I can't figure out what happened between 1906 and 1911. He potentially was in the US? But the Ellis Island papers don't agree.
A sure way to find out would be to research the passenger lists of transatlantic ships arriving and departing American ports between 1906 and 1911 and see if his name pops out. Some genealogy websites allow such searches for a fee.

If it could be proven that he spent 24 consecutive months in Italy between those years, you could stake your claim for be recognized as an Italian citizen on that fact. It would also help if you could obtain from the Italian "Comune" where your great-grandfather was born a "copia integrale dell'atto di nascita" (certified copy of birth record), in which are annotated events such as his marriage. loss and eventual re-acquisition of his citizenship.
 

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A new Italian citizen

Hi Emily

Contact Peter Farina. He is an American lawyer who got his Italian citizenship through his grandfather and now makes a career of helping others do the same. The day I contacted Peter he asked for a few bits of information then got back the same day saying I was not qualified BUT, there was a loophole! My grandfather did get his American citizenship before my father was born, however he never renounced his Italian citizenship. In Italy that means my grandfather is still a citizen and so are his decendents.

I just got notice a few months ago that I received my Italian citizenship and will be going back to pick up my papers and get my passport. Total cost was a bit over $4000. I saved $1000 because my daughter( Her name is Emily) did some of the legwork for me in the US.

Contact Peter at [email protected] Good luck.

Roy
 

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My grandfather did get his American citizenship before my father was born, however he never renounced his Italian citizenship. In Italy that means my grandfather is still a citizen and so are his decendents.
That's not the "loophole." Something else was -- congratulations.
 

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Thanks BBCWatcher that's great news! You don't by chance know of any agencies do you? I've already looked up two different ones last week- but just seeing if you've got a recommendations.

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out!
Luigi Paiano is one of the best known; he appears to have the entire process down to a science, even to the extent of arranging temporary lodging for you while you are in Italy for a key phase.

Google is your friend.
 

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Hi

If that wasn't the loophole what was? My lawyer submitted a request to immigration asking if they had any record of my grandfather renouncing Italian citizenship. They responded "No record" . The Italian government then said as far as they were concerned that meant he had not renounced. They considered him an Italian citizen and any of his descendents were then also Italian. Please elaborate.
 

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Prior to August 15, 1992, loss of Italian citizenship generally occurred when an adult voluntarily naturalized as a citizen of any foreign country. Loss of Italian citizenship as a consequence of naturalization did not require renouncing. Renunciation is a different process that requires appearing before an Italian consular official and to renounce, and that process was/is quite rare.

Here are some examples when a naturalization did/does not cause any problems (oversimplifying only slightly):

1. If the individual had not reached the legal age of majority when he/she naturalized. Italy's legal age of majority was 21 before March 10, 1975, then 18 from that date onward. As long as your great grandfather did not also naturalize before your grandfather reached his age of majority, your grandfather's "youthful indiscretion" did not terminate his Italian citizenship.

2. If the naturalization was involuntary, for example when an Italian woman married a foreign man, and her husband's country of citizenship automatically bestowed its citizenship on the wife. (Not likely in your grandfather's case.)

3. If your grandfather had married before he naturalized and before April 27, 1983, he transmitted Italian citizenship to his wife (if she did not already possess it). Whereupon she transmitted Italian citizenship to her children.

4. If your attorney filed a lawsuit in an Italian court that the Interior Ministry did not contest, even though the law did not provide for transmission of Italian citizenship from your grandfather to your parent. If the lawsuit is not contested then the court often enters a default judgment in the plaintiff's favor, regardless of agreed legal interpretations.

One of those examples is probably the one that was your "loophole."

Note that the oath an individual swears when naturalizing is colloquially called "renouncing," but Italian citizenship law doesn't care about such oaths. It's the naturalization, the actual acquisition of a foreign citizenship, that often (but not always) caused loss of Italian citizenship.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Roy- Thanks so much for the response!! I was able to find my "loophole" by BBCWatcher's #2 reason.. my great grandmother involuntary renounced her citizen when she married my US naturalized great grandfather. I have been in touch with an italian lawyer specializing in 1948 cases through maternal decent, and was quoted around 4000 euros. I was told I DID have a case, and this particular lawyer has a 100% success rate in my types of cases. This price includes them doing ALL of the legwork in regards to genealogy, and serving as my power of attorney in Rome when my case gets presented to the court.

Accbgb- I've looked up Luigi Paiano's information prior to seeing your post! I've tried contacting him, but so far we've only played phone tag. He definitely seems to be highly regarded. I'll look forward to receiving his quote.

BBCWatcher- I can't thank you enough for all the help!
 

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I think you do have a case... particularly because in Italy there is a lot of questioning, soul-searching about why only paternal lines were taken into consideration. I know one of the attorney recommended (very good one btw).

My recommendation? File your case in Northern Italy- maybe not Milan but Bologna/Verona/Padova where there is a strong social rights streak.

I think you'll win this one. But pick a jurisdiction that is smaller so you don't have to wait 7 years for a decision :)

GOOD LUCK!
 

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I think you do have a case... particularly because in Italy there is a lot of questioning, soul-searching about why only paternal lines were taken into consideration. I know one of the attorney recommended (very good one btw).
There are also many in Italy, both in the general public and in the Italian Parliament, who feel that extending citizenship to anyone more than a generation removed from Italian soil is a mistake. When in Italy, I am always careful to identify primarily as American (since I most obviously am) and only announce my dual citizenship status to those who I believe will not have a negative view of it. And, I am 100% Italian blood, only two generations removed (all four of my grandparents emigrated from Italy).
 
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