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Citizenship by descent (ius sanguinis)


Citizenship by descent (ius sanguinis)

The art. 1 of the law n. 91/92 establishes that the child of a citizen father or mother is a citizen by birth. Therefore, the principle of the ius sanguinis, already present in the previous legislation, is confirmed as the cardinal principle for the acquisition of citizenship, while the ius soli remains an exceptional and residual hypothesis. In explicitly declaring that the mother also transmits citizenship, the article fully implements the principle of equality between men and women as regards the transmission of the status civitatis.

In general, the current Italian legislation provides that the child of parents who are Italian citizens is an Italian citizen. Through the paternal line, citizenship is transmitted from parent to child without generational limits; on the other hand, the transmission of citizenship through the maternal line is only possible for children born after 1 January 1948.

The minor child living with the parent on the date on which the latter acquires or reacquires Italian citizenship is also Italian.

The conditions required for recognition are therefore based, on the one hand, on the demonstration of descent from the subject originally vested with the status of citizen (the emigrated ancestor) and, on the other, on proof of the absence of interruptions in the transmission of citizenship (failure foreign naturalization of the ancestor before the birth of the child, absence of declarations of renunciation of Italian citizenship by further descendants before the birth of the next generation, demonstrating that the chain of transmissions of citizenship has not been interrupted).

If the descent of a person from an Italian parent or ancestor does not appear in the Italian civil status registers, it must be ascertained and confirmed that all the ancestors have maintained and therefore transmitted Italian citizenship.

The competent authority to carry out the assessment is determined on the basis of the place of residence: for residents abroad it is the territorially competent consular office. The Italian Embassy in Maputo is therefore competent for applications presented by citizens of the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Botswana and the Kingdom of Eswatini, or for other foreign citizens legally and permanently residing in these countries.

With regard to the procedures for the recognition of the iure sanguinis possession of Italian citizenship, the same have been duly formalized in circular letter n. K.28.1 of 8 April 1991 of the Ministry of the Interior, whose legal validity is not affected by the subsequent entry into force of law n. 91/1992.

The recognition procedure is developed in the following steps:

  • ascertain that the descent begins with an Italian ancestor (there are no generation limits);
  • ascertain that the Italian citizen ancestor maintained his citizenship until the birth of the descendant. Failure to naturalize or the date of any naturalization of the ancestor must be proven by means of a certificate issued by the competent foreign Authority;
  • prove the descent from the Italian ancestor through the civil status documents of birth and marriage. In this regard, it should be remembered that the transmission of Italian citizenship can also take place through the mother only for children born after 01.01.1948, the date of entry into force of the Constitution;
  • certify that neither the applicant nor the ancestors have ever renounced Italian citizenship by interrupting the chain of transmission of citizenship, by means of special certificates issued by the competent Italian diplomatic and consular authorities.

Applicants must present the application accompanied by the required documentation, regular and complete, aimed at demonstrating the aspects listed above.

Those wishing to start the process of recognizing Italian citizenship must submit the documentation listed below and the Application for the recognition of Italian citizenship ius sanguinis.

Original documents to be submitted

Of the progenitor (ancestor born in Italy):

  • original birth certificate (excerpt from the birth certificate) of the Italian ancestor, born in Italy and who gave rise to citizenship, complete with parental details. This document must be requested from the Italian Municipality of birth of the ancestor. If the population registers were not yet in use at the time of the birth of the ancestor, the original Baptism Certificate issued by the Parish must be presented, with recognition of the parish priest's signature by the competent Episcopal Curia;
  • certificate from the Immigration Authorities (of Mozambique, Eswatini, Botswana) proving that the ancestor has not naturalized thus losing the Italian citizenship. If the ancestor resided in other countries, certificates of non-naturalization for each of these countries must be presented;
  • marriage certificate (if married);
  • if deceased, death certificate.

Of every direct line descendant born in the countries of the consular jurisdiction:

  • complete copy of the birth certificate with legalization;
  • if married, marriage certificate with legalization;
  • if deceased, legalized death certificate;
  • certificate from the Immigration Authorities (of Mozambique, Eswatini, Botswana) showing that he has not naturalized losing his Italian citizenship. If he has resided in other countries, certificates of non-naturalization for each of those countries must be presented;

From the applicant:

  • application form for recognition of Italian citizenship addressed to the Italian Embassy in Maputo;
  • complete copy of the birth certificate (with legalisation, translation into Italian and legalization by the Embassy);
  • if married, full copy of the marriage certificate (with legalisation, translation into Italian and legalization by the Embassy), photocopy of the identity document of the spouse (including the part where the residence is indicated) In the event that the interested party has contracted a marriage more than once, it is also necessary to present the certificate of all previous marriages and respective divorces (originals of marriage certificates and full copy of the divorce decree, (with legalization, Italian translations and legalization by the Embassy);
  • in the presence of minor children, a full copy of the original birth certificate (with legalization, translation into Italian and legalization by the Embassy) and a photocopy of the identity document of the minors (including the part where residence is indicated);
  • photocopy of the identity document (including the part where the residence is indicated).


  • To formulate the request, applicants must be at least 18 years old;
  • the residence declared by the applicant must coincide with that indicated in the identity document. If the latter has been issued for more than ten years, a residence certificate must also be presented;
  • the documents must be original, and if not produced in Italy, translated into Italian and legalized by the competent authorities or apostilled for the countries adhering to the Hague Convention on apostilles (The Republic of Mozambique has NOT adhered; the Republic of Botswana and the Kingdom of Eswatini acceded);
  • in the event that the documentation indicates conflicting data or general information, it is necessary to obtain the rectification from the issuing Authorities;
  • natural children recognized by the Italian parent when they come of age (after the age of 18) acquire Italian citizenship only if they express the will to acquire it within one year of recognition;
  • at the time of submitting the application, the applicant must pay an administrative fee of Euro 300 (POS or cash). The contribution must be paid in any case, regardless of the outcome of the assessment. The fee of Euro 300.00 is converted into local currency at the consular exchange rate in force in the reference quarter.

To apply for the citizenship application, it is necessary to make an appointment through the Prenotami portal.

For informational queries, write to