I have the lineage to reclaim my Italian citizenship, but the line was severed when my mom became a US citizen by naturalization (I was a US citizen and Argentinean citizen by birth). As such, they state that I lost my citizenship. That being said, I can reclaim it if I go to live in Italy and reapply. Will this resultant reapplication cause me to lose my US citizenship, or is just a reaffirmation of a bloodline that would not cause me to lose it?
No, you will not lose your US citizenship by reacquiring the Italian citizenship you lost when you naturalized with your mom (I assume this is what happened).
The procedure is quite simple and not particularly lengthy. Go to your consulate and declare your intention to reclaim. You then will have one year to establish residence in Italy (it could be the home of a relative). Once the officials confirm you are actually living there, you can request a passport. The process takes a month or two depending on how quickly your comune moves to establish your residency.
Were you born in the US to an Argentinian mother? In what year did she naturalize? How old were you and she at the time? Does your father have any Italian ancestry? I'm trying to figure out if you really did lose your citizenship.
I have a law office in Italy working on it. They say I lost it when she naturalized in the US (after I had been born in Argentina) but can easily reclaim it by going there and applying while I am a resident. The concern I had was that this reapplication would cause me to lose my US citizenship, and it would not as I understand it since I always had it by lineage, all parties recognize dual citizenship, and conscription was abandoned by Italy years ago.
I was born to an Argentinean mother who naturalized after I was born a dual citizen in Buenos Aires (before 1992, unfortunately) and while I was a minor (hence the "break"). That is why I have to reapply.
So your father was a US citizen? And you lived with your mother in the US after she naturalized and before you reached the age of majority? Yeah, that would cause a loss of citizenship. However, some Italian consulates, the one in LA in particular comes to mind, don't seem to be aware of the (Italian) law on this point and have recognized people as Italian citizens in similar circumstances.
I'm not really sure what their reasoning is, since if a consulate tells you that you qualify, and you know that you don't, you don't argue with them, but it seems to stem from a misunderstanding of either Article 7 or 12 of Law 555 of 1912. They've been treating a child born abroad with jure sanguinis US citizenship the same as one born in the US with jure soli US citizenship. Specifically, in the situation where a child is born in Italy to an Italian father and American mother and then the family relocates to the US and the father naturalizes while the child is still a minor, they've been recognizing the child as Italian. I've heard reports that the officer mentioned something about the child having US citizenship from birth as being significant. I've seen 3 or 4 such cases at LA and one in NY a long time ago (but I doubt NY would make such a mistake now).
Yes, according to Italian and US law that is true. I'm just pointing out that in your case, depending on the consulate at which you apply, you may not need to do that, because the consulate is likely to make a mistake in your favor. I suppose you've already tried at a consulate that was more knowledgeable and that establishing residency in another consulate's area is not any easier than establishing residency in Italy. Moreover, there's no guarantee that the consulate will make the same mistake again.
mler wrote:It's unlikely that any consulate in the US would overlook the naturalization possibilities for someone born in another country and who currently holds US citizenship.
Argentuban didn't naturalize but was a US citizen from birth. I agree that most consulates would probably not make this mistake but the LA consulate has made this mistake 3 or 4 times that I'm aware of, and I've never heard a case where they got it right. Different consulates have different blind spots. For example, Philly is not aware of the "1912 rule."
If the OP was an Italian citizen from birth--that is, he obtained his citizenship from a father who was an American citizen, his mother's naturalization did not affect his status.
In such a situation, the consulate would not be making a mistake by recognizing his citizenship since he would have received Argentinian citizenship jus soli and US citizenship at birth from his American father. (BTW, this is how Ted Cruz obtained both US and Canadian citizenship). If his citizenship was acquired at birth, his mothers naturalization meant nothing as far as he was concerned. An American citizen CANNOT naturalize in the US.
If this is the situation, the consulate made an error in rejecting the application, and this can be contested.
In such a case, it is likely that the father registered his child with US authorities, and this registration is proof of his status.
The OP's father was not an Italian citizen. It was the OP's mother who was a dual Italian and Argentinean citizen. However, the mother lost her Italian citizenship when she naturalized to become American. The OP was actually born with 3 citizenships, but lost Italian citizenship when the OP's mother naturalized. This was because the OP's US citizenship was a jure sanguinis, not a jure soli citizenship, so the exemption to Art 12 of law 555 of 1912 that was carved out by Art 7 did not apply to the OP. However, the LA consulate, for reasons unknown, in the past did not make this distinction between jure soli and jure sanguinis US citizenship.
Understood, but the law is not very specific on this point and is subject to interpretation in that it applies the naturalization standard to a child who, by virtue of his birth as a US citizen, could not naturalize despite the action of his mother.
I know what you're saying in terms of jus soli vs jus sanguinis citizenship acquisition, but I also understand why the LA consulate interprets such cases in the manner I suggest.
In any case, there is a great deal of ambiguity in this section of the law. Given the long wait times at the various consulates, the inconsistencies in consular interpretations, and the uncertainty of outcome, a short trip to Italy seems the best option. This approach is the simplest and least time consuming.
It's not really applying a "naturalization standard," but there can be ambiguity if one is not familiar with the directives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on how the laws should be interpreted and applied. Art 12 of Law 555 includes as one condition for the loss of citizenship of the child that he has "acquired" a foreign citizenship. One could think that a citizenship from birth was not "acquired" but Circular 9 from 2001 is clear on this point: The word "acquired" in this context is synonymous with "possessed." The consulates should implement the directives they receive, not disobey them based on their own interpretation. But I don't think the LA consulate is deliberately disobeying the circular, rather I think they are not familiar enough with it.
It's like the Philly consulate and the 1912 rule. It's not that Lia is aware of the 1912 rule but just has a different interpretation; she just doesn't know the law, and since she doesn't read Italian citizenship boards, she isn't aware that it is common knowledge that she doesn't know it (it's an "unknown unknown").
There are occasionally major inconsistencies among the various consulates in terms of the way laws are applied and the documents required to process an application, and it's unfortunate that sometimes obtaining citizenship recognition is dependent on where the application is submitted or who is reviewing it. Sometimes there are inconsistent interpretations even from the same consular official as I discovered nine years ago in New York when a second appointment with the same official resulted in totally different information.
It's often difficult to determine whether the inconsistencies are based on different interpretations, personal prejudices, or lack of knowledge of the law and/or directives. I'd like to give Lia the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is well versed in the various citizenship laws and considers this aspect of the 1912 law to be applied retroactively. I do believe that some consular official are more sympathetic to applicants than are others. Perhaps she's one of them. The Philadelphia consulate has always been one of the more accommodating consulates.