I have a complicated situation - complicated on many levels.
1) Grandfather came to this country using his 1/2 brother's papers. 2) Grandfather was illegitimate and comune cannot find his birth certificate. We are going to check baptism records next. 3) Great grandfather naturalized (not yet sure of year) but did not list grandfather on his paperwork as offspring (assuming this is because he was illegitimate and was his sister-in-law's son - he later married the sister in law when his first wife died). I believe he naturalized before grandfather was 18, but since he is not listed, does this matter re 1912 rule? 4) Grandfather (now 98) says he has no recollection of ever having naturalized. 5) Grandfather is listed on 1940 census as naturalized, but it seems unclear how this was done. 6) USCIS will only allow search for records of deceased individuals (the way that I would have tried to get a letter of no record).
So, any advice about how to proceed with proving that grandfather never officially naturalized, i.e. renounced Italian citizenship? Is a signed, notarized consulate form enough? I can't imagine that it is, but I'm not sure what would be?
If the ggf naturalized when the gf was a minor, the gf naturalized as well even if his name was not listed on his father's papers. Unfortunately, because the gf arrived in the US as a minor, the consulate will require that you trace his citizenship to his father. The consulates are very much aware that minors frequently naturalized when their parents did. (That the gf is listed as "naturalized" on census documents, is further indication that he naturalized with his father.)
Therefore, it may be wise to check on the ggf's naturalization date before you spend too much time establishing paternity.
Thanks for your reply - this is helpful. However, does the fact that the gf did not arrive with his own papers/under his own name change things? Would this mean that a birth certificate in his name would allow us to pursue citizenship in the absence of naturalization papers in his name? Or does the 1912 rule stop the whole thing in its tracks. If his father is not listed on his birth certificate (provided that we can find it) how would we proceed?
I think you're getting ahead of yourself here. You must first prove that your grand-father is Italian. If he doesn't know who is father is and the commune has no birth certificate for him, that is going to be difficult. The fact that his mother is Italian has no bearing because he could not have inherited Italian citizenship from his mother prior to 1948. The fact that your grand-father is not named, along with the other siblings, on their father's naturalization papers is proof that his step-father did not recognize him as his offspring, even though he married his mother at some point so you cannot go through that line at all anyway. You must determine who your grand-father's father is and go from there.
All true, and you really can't prove he never naturalized unless you can also prove his father never naturalized while he was a minor. This means that you will have to somehow establish paternity. Even if you apply using his name, the fact that he arrived in the US as a minor means that he may have naturalized with his father. That is why identifying the father is important.
Jennabet is correct that the 1948 ruling means he could not claim citizenship through his mother without a lawsuit in Italy. These lawsuits seem to have been successful, but even that approach will require establishing paternity, which seems to be the biggest stumbling block. You may want to check with one of the lawyers who handle 1948 cases for additional suggestions.
thanks for all of this input. i guess i'm most unclear about the 1912 rule. if his father naturalized while he was a minor (although he himself did arrive here until 10 years after his father became a US citizen), that rule means that he lost his italian citizenship when his father did? is this the correct reading of the law?
I'm not totally sure about that. I believe he lost his citizenship when he arrived in the US. May I suggest you post this question at http://www.italiancitizenship.freeforums.org Either Malcolm or BBCWatcher will have a definitive answer.