Italian Citizenship By Descent (Jure Sanguinis)

Jure Sanguinis is Latin for Right of Blood and is synonymous with By Descent

What is Jure Sanguinis?

Jure Sanguinis (or Jus Sanguinis) is Latin for “right of blood” and is synonymous with “by descent”. Italy has favorable laws regarding citizenship and considers those of Italian descent “family”. In many cases Italy allows those with Italian ancestors to claim Italian citizenship by descent (Jure Sanguinis). Once a person is granted Italian citizenship, they are allowed all of the rights and privileges of those born in Italy and can obtain a European Union passport.

Do you qualify for Italian citizenship by descent (jure sanguinis)?

If so, you need to prove that the citizenship was transferred from your Italian-born ancestor to yourself. Until Aug. 15, 1992, Italian citizenship was exclusive, and attaining citizenship for another country meant an Italian-born citizen had to renounce their citizenship. Children born to Italian Citizens in the USA or another other countries that recognize jure solis (by the soil) obtained these foreign citizenships due to their place of birth.

These children, however, can claim Italian citizenship through descent as Italy recognizes jure sanguinis. However, they must prove that their Italian ancestor was, in fact, an Italian citizen when they were born. This citizenship can then be passed onto their future generations down the line.

Before March 17, 1861, there were no citizens of Italy as Italy was not a nation before this date. For a jus sanguinis citizenship application to be submitted, the oldest Italian ancestor must have still been alive on or after that date. A child born to an Italian citizen is afforded all the rights and benefits of being an Italian citizen so long as the child was born before Aug. 15, 1992, and the parents did not naturalize as another country’s citizen before their birth.

Applying for Italian dual citizenship through descent by the bloodline

Preliminary Research

Before you can apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis, you must know some important information:

  • Date of births for every relative between you and your Italian-born ancestor (you don’t need to know exact dates but the year is important)
  • Date in which your ancestor naturalized to your country.

Before you can begin the Italian dual citizenship process, you make make sure your current citizenship is not affected by the Italian citizenship. In the United States, it is not. The United States allows you to hold more than one passport simultaneously. If you are outside of the US, you can review your citizenship laws or we can do this for you with a free phone consultation.

Four requirements that must be met to be eligible for Italian citizenship through descent:

  • The applicant must be born to an Italian citizen parent or to a parent who has the right to Italian citizenship “jure sanguinis.”
  • The applicant must be born before Aug. 16, 1992 and whose Italian parent did not naturalize to another citizenship before the applicant’s birth.
  • Applicant’s mother was Italian and the child was born after Jan. 1, 1948.
  • Ancestors who naturalized before June 14, 1912 are unable to transfer their citizenship even to children who were born before they naturalized.

These conditions must be met by each person in direct lineage. According to Italian Ministry of Interior there is no limit in the number of generations, but the relative who immigrated from the country must have died after March 17, 1861. A relative that died before this date is not considered a citizen as Italy was not yet a unified nation.

Categories To Assist In Determining Eligibility

Your eligibility is affected by certain situations that fall under common categories. Bear in mind that some factors are not mentioned here can adversely affect eligibility for Italian citizenship. Even if your case doesn’t appear to fall within the eligibility criteria, you should still seek out professional assistance of an IDC team member as there are a number of factors that could have a positive effect on your case allowing you to qualify. Everyone's ancestry is unique and we've often help people qualify for Italian citizenship that previously thought they were not eligible. The Italian Consulates and Embassy cannot provide you with legal advice on obtaining Italian citizenship.


When you were born, your father was a citizen of Italy. He was not a citizen of any other country.


When you were born, your mother was a citizen of Italy. She was not a citizen of the United States or any other country. Your birth-date was not before January 1st, 1948. It was after.


Your father was not born in Italy, but his father or mother (your paternal grandfather or grandmother) was born in Italy and was a citizen of Italy or had rights to Italian citizenship jure sanguinis when your father was born.


Your mother was not born in Italy, but her father or mother (your maternal grandfather or grandmother) was born in Italy and was a citizen of Italy or had rights to Italian citizenship jure sanguinis when your mother was born. Also, your birth-date cannot be before January 1st, 1948.


Your paternal grandparent or maternal grandparent was not born in Italy. Your maternal and paternal great-grandfathers or great-grandmothers were born in Italy and were citizens of Italy or had rights to Italian citizenship jure sanguinis when your grandparents were born.

Due to the confusing nature of the Italian dual citizenship law, it’s important to reach out to our IDC team to see if you’re eligible to become a citizen. By doing so, you will learn if we can help you qualify for the many Italian citizenship benefits.


If an Italian woman was your ancestor and she was not born after January 1st, 1948, then Italian citizenship can be granted to her children as long as they were born after January 1st, 1948. Several appeals have been made against this law. The High Court of Rome has held 7 trials for the appeals to be heard.

If you want Italian citizenship for yourself, and your ancestor was born in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Trentino Alto-Adige, or Veneto. Then you need to submit proof that you have an ancestor who was born in Italy but then left the country at some point after 07/16/1920 in order for you to qualify for citizenship.

If you have an ancestor who was born in Italy and later was naturalized in the United States before June 14th, 1912, and renounced their Italian citizenship. This renunciation of Italian citizenship would also apply to their underage Italian children who are residing in the United States or born in the United States.

To apply for Italian citizenship, you must visit the appropriate Italian Consulate which has legal authority over the location where you are currently residing. There are varying procedures in every consulate, especially when it comes to scheduling appointments, the length of the waiting times, and the documents that you’re required to bring. Although, the legal requirements for Italian citizenship being granted by ancestry remain unchanged.

This page was last updated by Marco Permunian

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There are many ways to qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. Contact us at (213) 277-8705 to learn if you qualify.

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