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Citizenship by descent according to the ius sanguinis criterion

The art. 1 of law no. 91/92 establishes that the child of a citizen father or mother is a citizen by birth. The principle of ius sanguinis, already present in the previous legislation, is therefore confirmed as the key 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.

Generally speaking, 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 generation limits; the transmission of citizenship through the maternal line, however, 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 person originally invested with the status of citizen (the emigrant ancestor) and, on the other, on proof of the absence of interruptions in the transmission of citizenship (lack of 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 transmission of citizenship has not been interrupted).

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

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

Regarding the methods of the procedure for recognizing the jure sanguinis possession of Italian citizenship, the same have been promptly formalized in Circular no. 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 no. 91/1992.

The recognition procedure develops in the steps indicated below:

  • ascertain that the lineage begins with an Italian ancestor (there are no generation limits);
  • ensure that the Italian citizen ancestor maintained 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 descent from the Italian ancestor through civil status documents of birth and marriage. In this regard, it is important to remember 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 ascendants have ever renounced Italian citizenship by interrupting the chain of transmission of citizenship, through specific certificates issued by the competent Italian diplomatic-consular authorities.

The applicant is responsible for submitting the application accompanied by the required documentation, regular and complete, aimed at demonstrating the aspects listed above.

Those who wish to begin the process of recognizing Italian citizenship must present the documentation referred to in the list below and the Application for the recognition of Italian citizenship ius sanguinis.

Documents to be presented (in original)

Of the progenitor (ancestor born in Italy):

  • original birth certificate (extract of the birth certificate) of the Italian ancestor, born in Italy and who gave rise to citizenship, complete with parents’ details. This document must be requested from the Italian municipality of birth of the ascendant. If the registry records were not yet in use at the time of the ancestor’s birth, the original Baptismal 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) showing that the ascendant has not naturalized and lost his Italian citizenship. If the ascendant has resided in other countries, non-naturalization certificates for each of these countries must be presented;
  • marriage certificate (if married);
  • if deceased, death certificate.

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

  • full copy of the birth certificate with legalization;
  • if married, marriage certificate with legalization;
  • if deceased, death certificate with legalization;
  • certificate from the immigration authorities (of Mozambique, Eswatini, Botswana) showing that he has not naturalized and lost 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 directed to the Italian Embassy in Maputo;
  • full copy of the birth certificate (with legalization, translation into Italian and legalization by the Embassy);
  • if married, full copy of the marriage certificate (with legalization, translation into Italian and legalization by the Embassy), photocopy of the spouse’s identity document (including the part where the residence is indicated) If the interested party has contracted marriage more than once, it is also necessary to present the certificate of all previous marriages and the respective divorces (originals of the marriage certificates and the full copy of the divorce decree, (with legalization, translations into Italian and legalization by the Embassy);
  • in the presence of minor children, a full copy of the birth certificate (with legalization, translation into Italian and legalization by the Embassy) in original and photocopy of the minors’ identity document (including the part where the residence is indicated);
  • photocopy of the identity document (including the part showing where the residence is).


  • To present an application, the applicant must be an adult;
  • the residence declared by the applicant must coincide with that indicated in the identity document. If the latter was issued more than ten years ago, a certificate of residence must also be presented;
  • the documents must be in 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 joined; the Republic of Botswana and the Kingdom of Eswatini joined);
    in the event that the documentation indicates conflicting data or details, it is necessary to obtain rectification from the issuing authorities;
  • natural children recognized by the Italian parent during the age of majority (after 18 years) acquire Italian citizenship only if within one year of recognition they express the desire to acquire it;
  • at the time of submitting the application, the applicant will have to 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 rate in force in the reference quarter.

To submit the citizenship request it is necessary to make an appointment through the Prenotami system.

For any questions, write to