Are you thinking about applying for Italian citizenship within South Africa? It can be an amazing way to connect with your heritage, that of your family, or to broaden your horizons and unlock valuable opportunities for you and your future generations. However, you will need the right paperwork to accompany your citizenship application, and those will vary depending on the type of application that you're submitting. There are three possible options when looking to become an Italian citizen – descent (jure sanguinis), marriage, and naturalization. Each of these paths has its own set of requirements and conditions that you must meet in order to qualify.
Not sure what that means? In this guide, we’ll walk you through what you need to know about applying for Italian Citizenship in South Africa.
The process of obtaining Italian dual citizenship by descent in South Africa is a very detailed, and will likely have hurdles that you may need to overcome. The first step is an in depth review of your ancestry to identify if you qualify and what path is the most efficient and successful. If you qualify under a normal circumstance case, you will be required to apply at the Italian consulate that has jurisdiction over your legal residence. If you do not qualify under a normal circumstance, you may qualify under what is called a special circumstance. The most common special circumstance being a 1948 case. This is due to the fact that before January 1, 1948 women were not allowed to pass down their Italian citizenship. With that said, it is still possible to get Italian citizenship, through a 1948 Case as this law has since been successfully challenged. 1948 cases are now very common and we do them regularly.
If you're uncertain that you qualify for Italian citizenship through ancestry, and you live in South Africa, call us at 213-277-8705. We'd love to set up a free consultation with you and begin the background research necessary to determine whether you qualify for dual citizenship. Our consultation and background research are free, and you're under no obligation to move forward should you choose not to.
For most people with unbroken ancestral ties to Italy (direct ties), it’s most likely that you’ll experience few problems applying for Italian citizenship by descent within South Africa. It’s our job to walk you through the entire process, ensuring that you have all the documentation necessary to move forward quickly and easily.
Of course, there are still things that you’ll need to know about applying for Italian citizenship in South Africa. We’ll take a close look at those below.
Applying for Italian dual citizenship in South Africa is most often done through what's called jure sanguinis, which is an Italian law that allows those of Italian ancestry to claim dual citizenship. The phrase means 'by descent' and implies that you have a direct ancestor, such as a parent, grandparent, or great grandparent, who was Italian. Usually, this is the simplest way to claim Italian dual citizenship. You'll find quite a few benefits to having an Italian passport, such as the following:
The biggest challenge is proving that you qualify for Italian dual citizenship to enjoy the benefits that we just explored. You need documentation, and the Italian consulate will most likely be of little help. They have no responsibility to you here, nor are they allowed to assist any individual seeking to establish a claim to ancestral ties. So, what does that mean? Simply put, you are responsible for gathering all the information necessary to back up your claim. Some of the documents you’ll be required to provide include:
You will need those three documents for every person in your lineage between you and your Italian ancestor. Also, you will also need other supporting documentation to give your claim legitimacy.
Those applying for Italian citizenship in South Africa through marriage have a more direct route. In some cases, you may not even need to involve your ancestor. However, you will still need several specific documents to prove that you have a right to Italian citizenship by marriage in South Africa. There is also a three-year window that you'll have to pass from the date of marriage to the point of claiming Italian dual citizenship by marriage in South Africa. If you have children under the age of 18 with your Italian spouse, you only need to wait a year and a half to apply for citizenship, however.
While the application process for dual citizenship through marriage is simpler than proving ancestral ties, there’s still a lot of documentation needed. As a spouse of an Italian citizen, you will also be required to obtain a B1 Certification and pass an Italian language exam. Our goal is to simplify the exhausting process of applying for Italian citizenship in South Africa, and our experience and knowledge allow us to fast-track your application.
We work hard to prove your right to Italian dual citizenship by blood, whether your ancestor is a parent, grandparent, or great grandparent. Note that if your ancestor is more distant than a great grandparent, you cannot claim Italian citizenship by descent in South Africa. We will support you by retrieving all the necessary documents to uphold your claim, no matter where they might be located.
Both the South African government and the Italian consulate will be involved in the process. Your documents must be translated accurately, and the Italian consulate must approve the translator.
Be aware that it can take up to 24 months to get an appointment at the Italian consulate. You must apply as soon as you can to avoid lengthy wait times. You'll also need to make sure you have all the documentation to support your claim, and that you're prepared for the interview. Once you apply, it usually takes about a month to be approved, and then you will be issued an Italian passport.
If you require assistance with your claim, we're happy to help. The expert IDC team can answer questions and guide you through the entire process.
This page was last updated by Jason LoPresti