Jure Sanguinis (Italian Citizenship by Descent) – Applying for Italian citizenship outside of Italy

(upbeat music) – [Narrator] This is the
Italian Citizenship Podcast, hosted by Marco Permunian
and Rafael Di Furia. – Hello there and
welcome to the first ever Italian Citizenship Podcast. I am Rafael Di Furia, and I am here with Marco Permunian,
the head of the US office of Italian Citizenship Assistance. And this podcast series is being presented by Italian Citizenship
Assistance with offices in the US and Italy. And today we are going to be talking about the process of Italian
citizenship by descent, also known as Jure Sanguinis. And we have Marco here an Italian attorney who will be explaining to us a bit about what this process is. And this is a huge part of what Marco does and some of you may recognize me from my own YouTube channel where I talk about the subject of Italian citizenship, moving abroad and life abroad. And there have been some people who’ve been requesting more content specifically on Italian dual citizenship, but I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable enough to talk about that on my own. And Marco and I had been
talking about putting something together and
putting our heads together and our effort. And this idea for this video podcast came up and so, you know what, I’ve done enough blabbering. Let’s just get into the nitty gritty. Just elevator pitch. What is Jure Sanguinis? Jure Sanguinis is a principle in citizenship law, according to which, citizenship is passed from parent to child at the time of the child’s birth, regardless of the place
of birth of the child. So if I’m an Italian citizen, and, my child will be an Italian citizen, not because he was born in Italy, but because I’m an Italian citizen. So that’s how the law works in Italy, which is also how the law works in many other European countries. I’d say probably all of
the European countries except for the UK, where
citizenship is acquired by birth on the UK territory. – And this is also roughly how it works in the US because in the
US it’s a combination of, when you acquire citizenship, because of the place that you’re born and it’s called Jus Soli, the by right of the soil,
where you are actually born rather than where Jure Sanguinis is literally translated
as by right of blood. Sanguinis being similar to the Italian word of sangue. This is coming from Latin. – Exactly, if you were born in America, you become an American citizen just because you were born in the US or in Canada, it works the same way or in South America. Whereas if you are born in Italy, you’re not an Italian citizen just because you were born in Italy. – And this has actually become a huge issue in Italy. – Recently, yes. – Yeah, very recent because
of the migrant situation with many children being born here, not stateless, but not
as Italian citizens, which has made it difficult
for them to remain here, or to acquire work here but– – Exactly, but right now,
– this is a, yeah. – if you’re born in Italy, you’re not an Italian citizen. So you are an Italian citizen only if one of your parents
was an Italian citizen when you were born. – Right, so it’s not
just about your ancestor having been an Italian citizen, but having the possibility to have being. So like if your
great-grandfather came from Italy and came to America, then each generation would be an Italian citizen technically, or am I wrong there? – No, that is correct. So the way the law works is, if your great-grandfather
was an Italian citizen and then went to a foreign country like the US, and if he maintained his Italian citizenship
until the birth of his child, then his child was born
with Italian citizenship. And that child who could
be your grandfather was born also with Italian citizenship even if he didn’t know that, and was able to pass it
down onto your father. And then your father passed
the Italian citizenship on to you and that makes
you an Italian citizenship under the Jure Sanguinis principal. – So would your grandfather,
in this case of, if, like a, just as this example case of, if a person’s great-grandfather
came from Italy. Would that person’s grandfather have to have been recognized officially as an Italian citizen? – No, so there are
situations where the people in the Italian line were not even aware that they had Italian citizenship. Like in this example, if
your great-grandfather emigrated to the US, then your grandfather was born in the US, and
he didn’t know that he had Italian citizenship and he passed it down to the other generations
without knowing it, and now you realize that you can apply for Italian citizenship,
you can apply for it based on your line of– – This line of descent,
this lineage that you have. So does this mean that
anybody of Italian descent can actually become an Italian citizen? Like do you just take
an ancestry DNA test, and if you’re X amount percent or above that you’re a citizen or
is, how does this all work? – It’s actually a little
bit more complex than that. It has to do with the Italian law. So from a legal standpoint,
you need to verify whether your great-grandfather, if that’s the one that
emigrated from Italy, was still an Italian
citizen when his child was born in the foreign country. And he was still an Italian citizen only if he was not a citizen of the foreign country by naturalization. – So if he became, in
this example case of, if this great-grandfather
became an American citizen after the birth of his
child, then that child would be an Italian citizen. – That is correct. So basically under Italian law, when the immigrant petitioned to become a citizen of the foreign country, he lost Italian citizenship. So is important that he didn’t lose his Italian citizenship prior
to the birth of his child. – And this would have
happened automatically, he wouldn’t have had to actually go and renounce the citizenship himself. – That is correct, yes. Because there is a lot
of confusion on that. Basically people think that because no one ever renounced, it wasn’t even like possible to renounce Italian citizenship if he
didn’t have another citizenship. – Right, so it was very rare that– – It would have been
possible for the child who also hold US citizenship to go and renounce Italian citizenship, but not for the immigrant
because the only time where the immigrant would
lose Italian citizenship is when he became a US citizen. – So because it’s important
to verify this information that your Italian ancestor was not only either an Italian
citizen or able to pass down Italian citizenship, how would you go about proving that? Is the burden of proof on you, or is the burden of proof
on the Italian government? – It’s definitely on you. You have basically to
collect documents proving when your ancestor became naturalized, meaning his naturalization papers, or if he never became naturalized, you need to provide documents showing that he never became naturalized. And these documents are
issued by the authorities in the foreign countries. So in this case, the US
government would have either the naturalization records, or could be able to provide documents showing that your great-grandfather never became a naturalized citizen.
– So showing basically that he was never really on the books, that he
either never naturalized and remained in the country illegally, or just only ever had
like a residency permit. – Exactly, yes and to that point, if your ancestor was an Italian citizen when his child was born, that means that his child was born with Italian citizenship also under the Jure Sanguinis principal. He was actually born
with dual citizenship, the child of the ancestor. – So this I think could
be a confusing point to some people, that the
Italian great-grandfather would have lost his citizenship to Italy and wouldn’t have been able to hold both an American passport
and an Italian passport. But then why is the child able to have both an American citizenship
and Italian citizenship at the same time? – That’s a very good question, and it can be confusing. But it’s actually very
clear once you understand what the Italian law said at the time. So under Italian law, whoever petitioned to become a citizen of another country, so voluntarily, lost Italian citizenship. So that immigrant, once
he arrived in America and petitioned to become a US citizen, lost his Italian citizenship
under the Italian law. Whereas the child of
an Italian citizen born in the foreign country,
acquired the citizenship of the foreign country unvoluntarily. So that’s the difference, and that’s why the child wouldn’t have lost his Italian citizenship
and could maintain both, because he became a US citizen just because he was born in the US.
– So he never, ’cause the kid, you can’t
swear an oath as a baby, basically going against the government that you were born into. – That is correct, yes,
and Italian citizenship was exclusive, meaning if you wanna to go and acquire a foreign citizenship, you’re gonna lose Italian citizenship. But if you are a child
or an Italian citizen who just happens to be born abroad, then under Italian law you are allowed to maintain both citizenships, and you can pass it down
to the other generations. – So that’s why in this
case as long as you’re not making that oath, as long
as you’re not voluntarily taking on another citizenship. But what about now in 2019, I almost said 2018. (laughs) We’re nearly in 2020. Is the citizenship law the same? Like if a person now from
Italy leaves the country and or even gets recognized
as a citizen of Italy, would it be a problem for them to move to another country? Say for example, Japan
or I don’t know, Germany, and get citizenship from another country? – Right now, the law is different. It changed in 1982. So the new citizenship law, the 1992 citizenship law says the people who acquire voluntarily
a foreign citizenship can maintain also Italian citizenship. So Italian citizenship
is no longer exclusive. – Uh-huh, so even so the
difference between someone, somebody leaving in 1892
versus 1992 means that– – Means a lot, yes. – Yeah, it’s a huge difference. – Exactly, so right
now, people are allowed to petition to become a
citizen of foreign countries like people that go live somewhere else, and maintain their Italian citizenship. – So it sounds like it’s a very open, almost liberal approach to citizenship and holding a citizenship. And also if I remember correctly, there was something
about in the early 1900s that one of the reasons
why this was allowed was so that children or
descendants of Italian citizens would have the option to come back because Italy saw that a
lot of people were leaving and this was a huge drain on the country, the economy and just the labor force, the brain power of the country. – And people right now
are returning to Italy. People are returning to their homeland. Like 100 years after their
great-grandfather left Italy. – I mean, I think it’s, this
is actually what I’ve done. I mean, I went through
the citizenship process specifically so I could live in Italy and I have more family that’s coming and we’re all here to explore
this homeland of ours, to be able to connect with
it in a more tangible way. This is something I’ve
talked about in my videos on my YouTube channel. So my viewers are very familiar with my views on the subject and the importance of it. ‘Cause it’s very interesting
to be an Italian American and realize the difference
between Italian American culture and Italian culture. And while the two may
come from the same route, there is one that’s
very definitely gone off in a different direction. I guess even you could say
because of the separation in time from the 1800s,
both have kind of gone off in different directions
with the same origin point, and the influences of the modern age and modern era, trade, cultural exchange have very much affected that. So Italian American
cuisine is a bit different in America than it might be here in Italy. And that’s just a simple, little example, but to get back onto citizenship. I think, one thing that would be important to touch on would be the
way that people can apply. In a future video, I
think we should talk about more of the application process in Italy. But because it’s a bit
more popular to apply in a consulate, what
are the steps that need to be taken to approach that? How does a person prepare and even if someone were to come to Italian Citizenship Assistance dot com, how is it that Italian
Citizenship Assistance helps people through the process? – So the first step is
definitely securing the documents to support your citizenship application. So to show the Italian government that you have the right
to Italian citizenship, you need to collect a lot
of documents from Italy and from the US showing
that you don’t have a broken line. So that citizenship was passed from your great-grandfather or whoever you’re applying through up to you. And you do that by collecting mainly vital record documents, but not only vital record documents. For instance, you need also
naturalization documents to show when your ancestor
became naturalized. – If they became naturalized.
– If they became naturalized. And once you have all of
these documents together, you need to translate them into Italian, and you need to legalize them, and bring them to the consulate the day that you submit your
citizenship application. – But to gather these documents, what are the specific
documents that are required? Do you have to have documents from Italy, or can you only just do
documents from America? And if I’m not mistaken,
this is actually part of what ICA does as part of the free eligibility assessment. – Sure, yes, so the
documents that you need are mainly documents from the US, but you also need documents from Italy. Of course from Italy, you
need the birth certificate and the marriage certificate
of your Italian ancestor. And from the US, you need
all the other vital records. So the one pertaining to your grandfather, father and yourself. Now some consulates have
slightly different requirements. So there are some consulates, depending on where you
live, that will require you to submit extra documents, like not only the documents pertaining to the bloodline, but
also documents pertaining to the spouses of the
individuals in your Italian line. So not only your
great-grandfather’s documents, but also your
great-grandmother’s documents, which makes the process a
little bit more difficult. – So it’s not just your direct line, but also the indirect
ancestors who are attached, you could say. – Yes, some consulates do that. They just wanna make the process a little bit more difficult for you. And so the majority of the
documents are in the US. And when you gather documents, you need to make sure that the documents have no discrepancies or inconsistencies because that can be an issue. So whenever you encounter a discrepancy, you need to make sure to amend it, if it’s a major discrepancy. So you’re saying, a discrepancy like your great-grandfather just
again using this example, he was born in Italy as Giuseppe, but then arrived in America and decided to call himself Joe or Joseph, or completely changing his name in Clark. – Well, that one would
be a minor discrepancy that I would not– – As long as it’s like
a direct translation. – Exactly, but there are
cases where the last name, for example, changed and that could be a major problem. – Ah, so whenever, so
if there’s like a large, major change that’s not
a direct translation. – Exactly, sometimes
when dates do not match that can be an issue, too. So like an example, if it’s
just a direct translation of Anthony and Antonio, then it’s not such a big deal.
– Yeah, that’s gonna be fine. Exactly.
– Okay, so. – So as long as you don’t
have major discrepancies, you’ll be fine, but if you
have major discrepancies in your documents, it may be worth to amend your documents. – And is that something that Italian Citizenship Assistance
also helps people with? – Yeah, we help people not only gather all the documents from
Italy and from the US, but also we help people
amend their documents when they have major inconsistencies. – And that’s something that just having been listening to this community and been a part of this
community of people who are interested in the subject of Italian dual citizenship, I know that this is something that is not necessarily the most common, but very necessary, and I’ve known people who’ve not dealt with these issues, and it’s become a major headache for them. – Yes, you wanna realize
that you have an issue at the beginning of the process because if you get to the
very end of the process, and you meet with the consulate and they tell you that you have an issue, at the end of the process,
then you need to start over. So it’s just best to do everything right– – The first time around. – Yes. – Kind of starting to touch on the subject of the timeframe,
getting things done right the first time to help a person just have a shorter process, of course, this being one of the ways to help shorten that process as much as possible, what are the wait times like? How long does this process actually take to complete, in general? – That’s a good question. It depends, it depends on where you live. So it depends also on what consulate you have to deal with. So if you’re in a country like the US, where the percentage of Italian Americans is very high, not too high, but very high, then you have to deal with consulates that are very busy, and
there are some consulates that are busier than others. For example, if you
live in the Los Angeles consular jurisdiction, then you have to deal with the Los Angeles consulate, and they have a very long wait time, wait time for the first
available appointment. Whereas if you live in the Detroit area and you have to deal with
the Detroit consulate, the wait time is very short. – So just to get an idea
’cause long and short can be relative terms. I know at one point, the
Los Angeles consulate was up to 12 years plus, but now it’s down to like three years or something. – Right now, likely it’s
just a couple of years to be able to get your first appointment in Los Angeles. – And in a place like
Detroit it’d be shorter? – Right now, yes, it’s definitely shorter and the wait time there is
a little bit over one year, which is the average.
– Awesome. I’d say that the average
wait time in the US, the wait time for a
citizenship appointment would be between 12 and
18 months right now. – So that’s a significant jump of time, but worthwhile, for sure. (laughs) – For sure, yes. If you live in Brazil,
the wait time is like much longer, it’s–
– Much. – I know at one point,
in the city of San Polo, it was like 20 years for
just that first appointment, now it’s much better,
but it’s a very different situation and a tricky situation because, also something we’ve spoken about in just, in our conversations, is
that there’s a much higher percentage of people
who have Italian descent in South-American countries
because there were many more people who chose
to go these countries because the languages
were much more similar. Portuguese is much more similar, and Spanish is much
more similar to Italian than English is. So it’s a much easier transition from one to the other.
– Exactly right. Exactly, the percentage of
people of Italian descent is much higher in countries like Brazil or even Argentina, than people of Italian descent in America. – I remember I was just
reading an article recently, and it said, I think, that
there’s 46 million people total in Argentina, but
20, no it’s 40 million, and then, I think, 26 million can trace their lineage back to Italy. So this is a very high
percentage of people, much higher than even in America. And also I think one interesting note for Italian Americans is that, it’s a different, it was
a different immigration of people who went to South America versus North America. A lot of people who went to North America seemed to be more southern
Italian and Sicilian, whereas people who went to South America are very generally northern Italian, and actually ended up, it’s almost two different
waves of immigration, I think, that’s just an
interesting little tidbit. – There are exceptions,
but that is correct. Yes, people from areas like northern Italy they used to go to South America mainly, Brazil and Argentina,
like people that were from the Veneto region which is my region, a lot of those people went to Brazil. Whereas people from Southern Italy, and I’d say mostly Sicily, Puglia, Campania, they went to North America, so, the US.
– And this is this very much the
situation for my family. My family came from Campania, and they ended up in the northeast, which is very common, where
my grandfather grew up, it was people speaking that,
those Southern dialects and he grew up just hearing that, just experiencing that, growing up. But I think to get back
more into the process of Italian citizenship and
the total amount of time. ‘Cause we were talking about the time for the first meeting when you actually present your documents. Once you’ve actually made your application and presented your documents, roughly how long does the
process normally take? – So once again, it depends. There are some consulates
that are faster than others. By law, an Italian consulate
has up to two years to process your citizenship application, meaning to approve it or deny it. But I’d say that right now the average processing time after your
citizenship appointment, is between six months and 12 months. – Okay so that’s, it’s not too long. It’s a fair amount of
time, but it’s not like an overnight process. – Yeah, in general, it’s a long process, but still doable, right now. People can get citizenship in a couple of years, yes.
– Two years. – And something that we’ll
talk about in a future video is that time can even
be less if you decide to actually make your
petition here in Italy. – Exactly, and the main difference is, if you apply in Italy,
you do not have to wait to meet with a consulate. So you do not have to book an appointment in advance. And you can just go straight to Italy and apply for citizenship whenever your documents are ready. – In America, what a lot of people I know, what they do is they
make their appointment because it can take a little while to get their appointment and
during the waiting time– – They got their documents. – Exactly, so whereas with Italy, you just gather your documents, as soon as you’ve got
them all, hop on a plane. I mean, it’s not just as simple as that, but to very much simplify this, oversimplify this idea that, basically, you just come over to Italy and all of a sudden you walk in the comune and say, “Where’s my citizenship?” You don’t say that, but (laughs) roughly, you can kind of start
getting that process handled immediately.
– Yeah, let’s say, if you have the possibility
of applying in Italy, it’s definitely worth considering it, but if you cannot take time off from work, then you just have to apply
to your local consulate. – I know for sure in my situation, I would have much preferred to get the process done here in Italy, but I ended up doing my process abroad just because in my own
particular situation, it necessitated doing it
abroad, just financially. But I’m very much, and
people know in my videos that I speak about this. If you can apply in
Italy, it’s much better to apply in Italy because you get to start experiencing Italy, especially
if you’re considering to move to Italy. This is a huge thing to
be able to live in Italy during that processing time and get your life started already. Whereas my situation,
wanting to move to Italy, but applying outside of Italy, I felt very trapped because
you also don’t wanna change your residence
during the processing time. And so I needed to stay where I was, and not really able to move to Italy. Because I had already started the process, and if I had just come to Italy, then I would have had to
start from the beginning. So I know for people who are wanting, they’re itching to get to Italy, it’s worthwhile considering. But to apply abroad, it can
also be a good opportunity to get your life in order
before making that jump. – And I’d say also that if you have a very complicated case,
which is not a standard case, I would just not apply in
Italy with a case like that. I would just apply at the
consulate where people, and clerks that work in the
consulate are more familiar with the Italian citizenship
law and maybe can be better suited to handle a difficult case. – So what would you say
would be a difficult case? ‘Cause I know in Italy
there are certain things that are just very different here. For example, women don’t change their name when they get married,
and I know when applying in Italy that can be something
that’s very confusing for Italian clerks to deal with. So is it things like that,
where like name changes of people, like you have
multiple name changes or multiple divorces and marriages or? – Not necessarily, I was thinking more, because the Italian
municipalities where you apply when you apply for citizenship in Italy will know how to deal with discrepancies. What I was referring to is like, if your ancestor did not, for example, go straight to the US,
but he went to France, and because people born in France do not acquire citizenship
by birth in France, but rather they get the
citizenship Jure Sanguinis in–
– So through their lineage, right?
– Exactly. – By location. – In a case like this,
it may be easier to deal with a clerk in an Italian consulate that is probably more experienced, that is more familiar with
the Italian citizenship laws, than a clerk in the Italian municipality. – I would assume also because
a clerk in a consulate may be more familiar with the processing of foreign documents,
whereas a clerk in Italy would be more familiar with the processing of domestic documents
rather than such familiarity with even American documents, and to start producing documents from five countries
rather than one country with different rules necessary for each. Because there are some countries where you do require an Apostille and there’s other countries
where an Apostille just doesn’t exist. – Exactly, so in those
cases it’s definitely easier to deal with a consulate. If you have a complex case,
just do it at the consulate, it’s gonna be much easier. – And one thing that I’m
just gonna quickly mention, which we’re not gonna talk about today, there is another
complication which can arise if you are going through a female ancestor who gave birth before 1948. Italian law, until that time, was through the male lineage, which is one of the reasons why we’ve been speaking mostly about a male lineage line because that’s just the most
direct path to citizenship. But for example, like in my case, making a claim through my mother, I was able to make that claim, but because I was born to a female who clearly I was born after 1948,
(laughing) I mean, otherwise I’m looking really good. So that way, I was able
to claim citizenship through a female. But there are those other cases. In that situation, you would have to go through a judicial process,
but that is going to be a separate topic for a
different video for another day. But I just quickly wanted to touch on that because there are situations where that does come up. – Yeah, exactly, so, generally speaking, to qualify for Italian citizenship, so in order to be able
to file your application either at the consulate or at the comune, you need to make sure that you do not have a female ancestor in your Italian line whose child was born
before January 1st, 1948. – But it doesn’t mean that you’re excluded from citizenship if that is the case. You can still get citizenship. – You can still be able
to get citizenship, but in a different way. Basically, technically,
you’re not eligible to apply for Italian citizenship. – Oh, really? – Yes, under the Italian law. But there is this ruling by
the Italian Supreme Court that said that situations like this were highly discriminatory against women. So if you petition the court, if your case follows in that category, you can petition the Italian court and most likely you will
get Italian citizenship, even if you have a female ancestor whose child was born prior to 1948. – So that’s interesting. I didn’t realize that myself,
I was assuming that it was the same situation as
someone who’s applying through Jure Sanguinis but technically they’re
not a citizen, but anyway. I think this is a better
subject to really leave off for another time, but
I think it’s important to touch on that subject briefly. But for sure, if you are
interested in that subject or any other subjects to do
with Italian citizenship, feel free to leave that
down in the comments section below, and at some point,
we may be able to answer that here in a video and
go through questions, things that you might be curious about Italian citizenship because, I mean, we’ve got a great resource here, a bona fide Italian lawyer. (chuckles) And of course, if you’re
interested in the services of Marco’s firm with their Italian and American offices, you can go to Italian Citizenship Assistance dot com. And for further updates
about this video podcast, you can go to the Facebook page, Italian Citizenship Assistance,
all very easy to find. Links to everything will
be down in the More Info section below here, on YouTube. And thank you so much for
joining us here on this first Italian Citizenship Podcast presented by Italian Citizenship Assistance dot com. I’m Rafael Di Furia and
this is Marco Permunian, and we will see you all next time. – Thank you.
– Later. (bright upbeat music)

1 thought on “Jure Sanguinis (Italian Citizenship by Descent) – Applying for Italian citizenship outside of Italy”

  1. For help with the Italian citizenship process and more information about Italian Citizenship Assistance visit ICA's website

    To contact Italian Attorney Marco Permunian and his team of dual-citizenship experts and attorneys you can use the contact form on the Italian Citizenship Assistance website Http://ItalianCitizenshipAssistance.com/contact

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