Traveling to Find Your Italian Roots - How to Explore Citizenship by Descent

Traveling to Find Your Italian Roots - How to Explore Citizenship by Descent

Traveling to another part of the world to discover your roots is an exciting prospect for anyone. It gives you a new perspective, and there are good chances that you may find a long-long relative or two in the country where your ancestors lived. Thousands of Americans have family ties in Italy and travel there every year to locate them. Many even wish to find opportunities to stay back.

Thankfully, Italy lets you explore the option of citizenship by descent, which means you can settle here for good if you want to. You can even pass on your rights to the next generations so that they can live in the land of your origin.  Before you fly down to find your roots in the country, you can go through the details of Italian citizenship by descent. Let us explain all you need to know.

Understand the eligibility

If you want to explore the option, you will need to validate that you have ancestral ties in the country. There are specific criteria that will make you eligible for citizenship by descent, and they vary from country to country. Here are the conditions that make you eligible for applying for Italian citizenship by descent:

  • You have to be of Italian descent to qualify. Even individuals adopted as a minor by at least one person of Italian descent are eligible. You will be deemed a minor if below 21 if born before 1975 or 18 if born after 1975.
  • At least one of the Italian-born ancestors should have been alive and a citizen of the country after 1861, the year of the Italian unification.
  • Neither your Italian-born ancestor nor any other ascendants in the Italian lineage should have become a naturalized citizen of another country before the next person in the line was born.

Things may differ if you were born before 1948 to a female Italian parent or the female Italian in your lineage had a child before 1948. In that case, you will have to pursue citizenship through the court.

Gather valid evidence

Even if you are eligible to apply for citizenship by descent, things will not move forward with your word. You will have to gather valid evidence, which becomes a lot easier when you travel to the country. It is a good idea to know the requirements before you land because you will be in a good state of mind to collect the documents that will help you complete the application down the line. You can go through a recent guide about Italian Citizenship from Bersani Law Firm to have your facts clear. Consider maintaining records of places and dates of births, marriages, and deaths of relatives in your Italian line of descent.

The best time to start is when you plan the trip. Once you have the details, you can travel to these places and visit the authorities to get relevant documents from their records. It will be a lot easier to get the records pulled through old files if you have the exact details. Once you have them in place, the application process will be much quicker and simpler. Some documents will be available back home, but you will have to get them translated and apostilled to ensure that they are legal for the application purpose. Since document legalization and authentication can get complicated, you can save yourself some time by using professional services.

Go ahead with the application

After you have the legal documents translated and ready, you can submit your application. But it makes sense to speak to a citizenship expert before you take the plunge. They will double-check the documents and forms to make sure that there are no errors and omissions. You can submit the application to the Italian municipality of your ancestors while you are there to find your roots. Alternatively, you can do it with the nearest Italian consulate back home if you make up your mind later.

You may even drop an application in Italy and travel back home after handing over the responsibility to a citizenship expert. They will make sure that everything is covered and nothing hinders the process. If you wish to stay back and complete the process yourself, these experts can even help you to set up a legal residence in the country. It is something you have to do if you want to apply locally.

While Italian citizenship by descent has a process you need to follow carefully, it isn’t as complicated as it sounds. The right guidance can help you complete the application process, and there are good chances that you will get approval and join your real family in the country of your origin.