Italian Citizenship via maternity before 1948

Italian Citizenship by descent 1948 rule

How do you obtain Italian citizenship through maternity dating before 1948?

Italian citizenship – 1948 rule – through descent via maternity is a debated issue because it has undergone various modifications over decades. Therefore, it is comprehensible that there is lots of confusion regarding the topic.

In this article we will explain what Italian citizenship via maternity Italian citizenship 1948 rule – is and how it can be obtained for all cases preceding 1948.

Art. 1 of law n. 555 of 1912 established that Italian citizenship, through the principle of jus sanguinis, could be transmitted only from father to son. Art 3 comma 3 of the same law, establish that a female Italian citizen lost her Italian citizenship if she married a foreigner.

Basically, that means that only an Italian father could transmit Italian citizenship to their children and that Italian females lost their Italian citizenship after marrying a foreigner.

The situation changes radically after January 1948, when the Constitution came into effect in Italy. It was obvious that the articles mentioned above were in contrast with constitutional rights, which establishes equal rights for both men and women. Nonetheless, the disparity of treatment continued for several decades.

In 1975, with sentence n. 87, the Constitutional Court declared art. 3 comma 3 of law n. 555 of 1912 unconstitutional. In 1983 the Court intervened again with sentence n. 30 declaring art. 1 of law n. 555 of 1912 also unconstitutional. Therefore, following the two sentences: a) women could transmit citizenship to their children, b) women entering in matrimony with foreigners would retain their Italian citizenship.

However, the scenario described above brought about several questions, one of which was the temporal application of these new principles. According to many commentators, the new regulations would only be applied to cases after January 1, 1948.

This meant that all children born to an Italian woman before 1948 could not acquire Italian citizenship through descent and consequently could not transmit it to their descendants.

This case law lasted until 2009, when the Court of Appeals in joint session intervened with sentence n. 4466. With this sentence, of great historic value, the principles stated above were extended also to cases preceding January 1, 1948. Therefore, even a woman married to a foreigner and who had a child born before 1948, could transmit their citizenship to their children. With sentence n. 4466 disparities between men and women, in relation to Italian citizenship through descent, are finally removed, even in cases preceding 1948.

Now, after this somewhat boring explanation, we will look at an example that will help you understand how the institution of Italian citizenship -1948 rule – through descent via maternity works in cases preceding 1948.

Pablo was born in 1980 in San Paolo and discovers that his great-grandmother was Italian. Pablo begins to do some research and puts together his family tree. His great-grandmother was born in Venice in 1892, she moved to Brazil with her family and was married in San Paolo to Vince, who was Brazilian. In 1917 Francesco was born, who is Pablo’s grandfather, and in 1945 Pietro, Pablo’s father, was born.

The question that Pablo has is: “Can I obtain Italian citizenship through descent?”. In light of what we have explained above, the answer is yes! Given that, with sentence n. 4466 of 2009, the declaration of unconstitutionality of articles 1 and 10 comma 3 of law n. 555 of 1912 also applies to the period before the Constitution became effective on January 1,1948.

Now that Pablo knows that he can obtain recognition of Italian citizenship through maternal descent, another question Pablo has is: “how do you begin the procedure for recognition?”. Unfortunately, Italian legislature has still not modified existing regulations to adapt to the new principles established by the Court of Appeals. Consequently, the only way to obtain recognition of Italian citizenship is through judicial appeal -1948 case. Therefore, if with the descendant’s family tree, there is a child born to a woman before 1948, the only way to obtain recognition of Italian citizenship through maternal descent is through judicial appeal. An ordinary administrative procedure is not possible.

Judicial appeal to obtain recognition of Italian citizenship -1948 case – through maternal descent must take place in Italy, in a court specialised in immigration. The territorial jurisdiction is that of the place of birth of the Italian ancestor, if the given party resides abroad.

During the appeal, unbroken lineage with the Italian ancestor must be proven. In this article we will explain which documents are necessary to obtain recognition of Italian through descent. In this article we will also explain how to find the birth certificate of an Italian ancestor in Italy.

Now that you know how recognition of Italian citizenship through maternal descent 1948 rule is obtained, please contact us if you need additional information or if you would like to receive consultation by one of our attorneys specialised in Italian citizenship. 

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