Am I eligable for citizenship?

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
mnl2124
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Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mnl2124 » 31 Jul 2015, 23:47

Hi all, just wondering if I qualify for Italian citizenship. Any tips on consulates/making my case appreciated!
My grandmother was born in Italy and stayed there with her mother (who never naturalized) when her father left for America to work and naturalized while there. However, my grandmother was in Italy at the time.
Because she was living with a single parent, still an Italian citizen, as well as in Italy, is it possible to make a case that she retained her Italian citizenship? I read somewhere that if a parent naturalizes while the child is still in Italy, sometimes the child can retain Italian citizenship.

Let me know what you all think!

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mler » 02 Aug 2015, 17:25

I believe you are correct about the effect of a parent's naturalization on a child residing in Italy. The child obtains citizenship only when she relocates to the U.S. The laws have changed considerably throughout the century, so you might want to confirm this. Try the forum at

www.italiancitizenship.freeforums.org

BBCWatcher and Malcolm are quite knowledgeable about citizenship law and may be able to help.

If, as I suspect, the child obtains US citizenship upon arrival in the U.S., this would only apply if she came to the U.S. as a minor. If this was the case with your grandmother, don't give up too quickly; there may be other scenarios that might work.

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby jennabet » 03 Aug 2015, 11:02

If your grand-mother was born in Italy before 1948, she inherited Italian citizenship from her Italian father ONLY because before 1948, an Italian mother regardless of where she was living was not able to transmit citizenship to any offspring. So if your grand-mother's father was naturalized while your grand-mother was still a minor, your grand-mother was naturalized too regardless of the fact that she was still in Italy at the time. I'm personally familiar with a similar case. The Italian father left for America, became naturalized, then returned to Italy and fathered more children in Italy. All of those new children and the minors who were born in Italy prior to his departure are considered by Italy to be American citizens ONLY because the Italian mother could not transmit citizenship to them. It has nothing to do with a minor child being able to retain Italian citizenship until emigration to America. Before 1948, the actions of the Italian father affected the minor children.

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mler » 03 Aug 2015, 16:42

Actually, even if the child was born before 1948, she acquired Italian citizenship at birth--in this case, from her Italian father, who was still Italian when his daughter (your grandmother) was born.

The question then becomes when did she lose that citizenship. If she retained Italian citizenship until she emigrated to the U.S., dates become significant. If, as jennebet suggests, she lost her citizenship as soon as her father naturalized, that would have created a "stateless" child. Italy would consider her a U.S. Citizen, but the U.S. would not since it did not confer derivative citizenship to the child until she set foot on U.S. soil. Again, this is very much date dependent.

Jennebet is correct in that your great grandmother's citizenship status would have no bearing on her daughter's citizenship before 1948. In the pre-1948 period, it would be your great grandfather's status--and the law at the time--that would affect your grandmother's citizenship. However, keep in mind that many people have successfully challenged the so-called "1948 ruling" in Italian courts. Whether it would work for an Italian-born child whose father naturalized during her minority while her mother remained Italian, is a question only the courts can answer.

You do not supply dates: births, naturalization, dates of emigration, etc.; this information is crucial.

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mnl2124 » 04 Aug 2015, 01:58

Thank you both so much for your replies!

I know that my great grandfather naturalized in the mid to late '20s and my grandmother came over with her mother in, I believe, 1929, when she was 8 or so.

Interestingly, I believe for most of her childhood, she lived only with her mother, as her father traveled out west (I think he was in Nebraska) to work. Are there exceptions made for largely single parents? Also, what would one have to do to challenge this ruling in court?

Thanks again!

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mler » 04 Aug 2015, 03:50

Even though she lived with her mother, she would have lost her Italian citizenship when she arrived in the U.S.

Challenges to the 1948 rule have been primarily those in which a direct line of citizenship ran only through the female line, a line that ended because a woman was not permitted to pass citizenship before 1948. This has been successfully challenged numerous times in Italian courts.

Your grandmother's situation is different in that Italy would have considered her to be naturalized with her father, and the U.S. would also consider her to have been naturalized upon her arrival. It is thus the naturalization that ended Italian citizenship, not the fact that she was a woman. I can't think of any similar cases.

It is possible, I suppose, to argue that since her mother never naturalized (I am assuming she didn't or, if she did, naturalized after her daughter became an adult), and she resided solely with her mother, She retained her mother's citizenship. It is a stretch, but it certainly doesn't hurt to ask one of the lawyers experienced in handling citizenship cases in Italy.

There are several people on this site who have obtained citizenship through lawsuits, and you may want to read through their posts. There is also a "1948" thread on the site I mentioned previously.

If there is any possibility through another line, even if it goes back many generations, that may be preferable. This line seems very problematic.

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mnl2124 » 05 Aug 2015, 03:52

Unfortunately I believe this is the only possible path to Italian citizenship I have. I will contact an Italian citizenship lawyer about pursuing it in court. Split up among many family members who would also be entitled to citizenship, I don't think a lawyers fee would pose much of a problem.

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mler » 05 Aug 2015, 16:09

I don't think they're inordinately expensive. Best of luck.

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mler » 12 Aug 2015, 16:45

I just read about a similar case in the citizenship forum at www.italiancitizenship.freeforums.org

In the situation described, the child's mother did not naturalize, but the father did. BBCWatcher explained that constitutionally, the child retained Italian citizenship and that this has been successfully argued in Italian courts.

You may want to read through that thread as it appears to apply to your case as well.

Best of luck.

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mnl2124 » 12 Aug 2015, 20:37

Thanks again mler! I have sent out emails to two of the big '48 case lawyers, Paiano and Di Ruggiero, and I hope to hear back from them soon. I'll let you know how it goes!

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby AMP46 » 18 Aug 2015, 00:07

This 1948 law is odd in one sense. I was born in 1946 so I am not eligible for Italian citizenship on my mother's side. I also am not eligible on my father's side because my paternal grandfather received his naturalization about 8 months before my father's birth. I have always been proud of my Italian heritage. When I began to inquire about dual Italian-American citizenship, I thought how wonderful that would be. I know if my parents and grandparents were still living, each of them would be proud that I desired that and would encourage me to do so. My parents were both born in the U.S.A. All my grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. were all born in Italy or Sicily. I doubt I could afford the court cost and legal fees to challenge the 1948 ruling. How I wish I could. AMP46

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mnl2124 » 18 Aug 2015, 13:58

It is pretty expensive, but I hope to offset the price by bringing in other family members who will also be able to benefit, and want to chip in.
Perhaps you could ask around; siblings, cousins, etc., and get together with some other family members to make a case.

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Re: Am I eligable for citizenship?

Postby mler » 20 Aug 2015, 01:38

And I don't think the costs are really that high. It may be worth your while to give them a call.


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