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Citizenship by descent


Citizenship by descent


Children of Italian parents (mother or father) who are Italian citizens
Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation, on the condition that neither the Italian parent nor the Italian ancestors ever renounced their citizenship.

PLEASE NOTE: Children under 18 years old do NOT require a citizenship appointment.

If you already have been granted Italian citizenship, follow the instructions posted on the Vital Records (Stato Civile) page of our website to register the births of any of your children under 18 years old. They will receive their Italian citizenship and AIRE registration automatically with their birth registration: 

IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR PARENTS WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN GRANTED CITIZENSHIP who wish to register the births of any children under 18 years old:

  • ALL YOUR PREVIOUS VITAL RECORDS (marriages and/or divorces) must be submitted for registration prior to, or at the time of, the submittal of the birth certificates of any minor children

  • UNMARRIED PARENTS: follow specific instructions on the website for paternity recognition

  • ADOPTED CHILDREN: follow specific instructions on the website to register the birth of an adopted child

  • IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN OVER 18 YEARS OLD WHOSE BIRTHS HAVE NOT YET BEEN REGISTERED: you CANNOT register the births of those children. In such cases those children must apply for recognition of Italian citizenship by descent.

Transmission of citizenship through maternal lineage is possible only for persons born after January 1st 1948

A minor child living with a parent at the moment in which that parent becomes an Italian citizen also acquires Italian citizenship. Contrary to past legislation, current legislation recognizes the right to hold more than one citizenship simultaneously.

Ascertainment of citizenship
When a person claims to be of Italian parentage or ancestry but no proof of the fact can be found in Italian registers, it is necessary to provide proof that all ancestors have maintained, and thereby passed on, their Italian citizenship. The authority legally valid to ascertain these facts depends on the person’s place of residence: for foreign residents, the diplomatic-consular mission in the country of residence; for residents in Italy the Ufficio di Stato Civile of the city of residence.
To determine if you are eligible for Italian citizenship, the Italian Consulate must look at the law that was in effect in Italy at the time of your birth. Individuals can become citizens under several very different sections of law or can automatically lose the citizenship through the naturalization of either of the parents.
If you are claiming citizenship through an Italian citizen mother or grandmother, you must also provide information about your father or grandfather, because Italian citizenship may be affected by the naturalization of their respective spouses.

The following categories may help you find out which one applies to your case:

  • Category 1 (direct descent): father born in Italy, Italian citizen at the moment of your birth and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
  • Category 2 (direct descent): mother born in Italy, Italian citizen at the moment of your birth - occurred after January 1st 1948 - and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
  • Category 3: father born in the United States or other Country (except Italy), your grandfather was Italian at the time of his birth and neither you nor your father ever renounced your right to the Italian Citizenship.
  • Category 4: mother born in the United States or other Country (except Italy), your grandfather was Italian at the time of her birth and neither you, born after Jan. 1st 1948 nor your motehr ever renounced your right to the Italian Citizenship.
  • Category 5: your direct paternal or maternal ancestors were born in the United States from Italian parents and they never renounced their right to Italian citizenship.



This Consulate General accepts applications for Italian citizenship by descent from applicants who are legal permanent residents in this consular jurisdiction (click here to view a list of US states and their corresponding Italian Consulates).

As such, to apply for Italian citizenship by descent through this Consulate General in San Francisco you must either be:

  • a United States citizen residing in this consular jursidiction
  • a foreign citizen with a VALID GREEN CARD/PERMANENT RESIDENT CARD residing in this consular jursidiction

Applicants who have a VISA issued by the United States authorities are not considered permanent residents of the United States and therefore cannot apply through this Consulate General in San Francisco. US visa holders must submit their application for Italian citizenship by descent to the competent Italian Authority in their country of legal permanent residence.



All documentation must be submitted in original and will be kept on file.

  • Application forms: Form 1; Form 2; Form 3; Form 4;
  • Application fee (Money order or Cashier's Check) in $USD and made out to "Italian Consulate General - San Francisco" (Click here for current consular fees)
  • Copy of passport and driver’s license;
  • Birth certificate of the Italian ascendant born in Italy (to be issued by the Comune in Italy);
  • Proof of residency (electricity or other utility bill);
  • All original Vital Records certificates (birth, marriage, death) issued by the competent US authorities in LONG FORM/EXTENDED FORM legalized with APOSTILLE of the Secretary of State (what is an Apostille) and TRANSLATED in Italian (only the certificate);
  • Divorce Judgment and “no appeal”, if applicable please see Vital Records section;
  • Copy of the “DECLARATION OF INTENTION”/”PETITION FOR NATURALIZATION” issued by the National Archive ( no translation is required;
  • NATURALIZATION CERTIFICATE: where to request the naturalization certificate (no translation is required);
  • In case your Italian born ancestor never naturalized US citizen, please provide:
    • ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF NONEXISTENCE OF RECORDS issued by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services ( no translation is required;
    • COPY OF THE CENSUS first available immediately after the birth in the US of the direct descent ( no translation is required

If a family member, residing in our jurisdiction, is interested in submitting in the future the application for the recognition of the Italian citizenship, the same ancestors’ original documentation will apply, but he/she must present his/her original certificates.

Residents of San Francisco jurisdiction, whose family members have obtained the recognition of the Italian citizenship at a different Consulate or Comune, must submit at this Office all original documentation from the Italian ancestor.

In the event that the documents submitted are not sufficient to determine citizenship eligibility, the citizenship office will request additional documents from the applicant.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted.



For documents issued in countries where the Hague Convention is not in force, please refer to the Italian Consulate in the area of the issuing Country, prior to coming to the Consulate for your appointment.
For further information, you may visit the web site of Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs



It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure that all documents contain the correct information with regard to names, last names, dates and places of birth, and that such information matches in all submitted papers. Incorrect certificates may delay the processing of the application or affect the eligibility for Italian citizenship.