Document preparations for the Italian citizenship by descent process

Regardless of whether you apply in Italy or through an Italian consulate, your Italian citizenship by descent case will be decided based upon your documents. So properly preparing the document package is the single most critically important factor.

Where you chose to apply – through an Italian consulate or if you apply in Italy – will determine what documents you need to submit with your request for recognition of Italian citizenship by descent.

While the basic documents are the same for all applications, there are significant differences in what documents are required when applying in the United States through an Italian consulate compared to applying in Italy. 

Here is everything you need to know to properly prepare your document package for the Italian citizenship by descent process.


What records does Italian law require to prove Italian citizenship by descent?

Italian law establishes that Italian citizenship passes from parent to child, generation to generation.

The only issues that interrupt this hereditary passage, under specific circumstances, are –

  • Naturalization
  • Renunciation


As long as neither of these issues occurred prior to Italian citizenship being successfully passed on, the line of citizenship remains intact and unbroken.

As citizenship is both hereditary and generational, for Italian Americans to prove Italian citizenship was passed on to them, they simply need to use specific records to outline their family tree and the unbroken line between themselves and their LIRA.

This is primarily achieved using 

  • US vital records
  • US naturalization records
  • Italian vital records


By creating a family tree using birth, death, and marriage records that connect you to your LIRA, combined with naturalization documentation, you can establish the unbroken passage of Italian citizenship by descent.

While these are the only records required by Italian law, where you choose to apply will determine what records you actually need to build your document package. 


Applying for Italian citizenship by descent through an Italian consulate

Italian consulates require the most documents in order to process cases for Italian citizenship by descent.

Furthermore, each individual consulate creates its own list of required and necessary documents – which does not need to be applied equally to all cases.

The same consulate can require one case to file additional records, while not requiring those same records for other cases. 

In fact, consulates don’t always know what documents they want, which is why consulates are notorious for issuing homework to Italian Americans applying for Italian citizenship by descent.

This homework is usually additional documents or measures the need added and were not generally foreseeable prior to submitting the document package to the consulate.

To make matters worse, consulates can issue homework without any reason, and even though the original document package may have sufficiently established Italian citizenship by descent if submitted elsewhere, the homework could result in being denied Italian citizenship by that consulate. 

All consulates require, at a minimum, –

  • Birth records [long-form] for all in-line + not-in-line ancestors 
  • Birth records [long-form] for all applicants 
  • LIRA’s birth record from Italy – Estratto per riassunto dell’atto di nascita
  • Marriage records between the LIRA and the applicant
  • Applicant’s marriage record[s] – if ever married
  • LIRA’s marriage record from Italy – Estratto per riassunto dell’atto di matrimonio – if applicable
  • Divorce records and a CONA for any divorces 
  • Death records [long-form] for all in-line + not-in-line ancestors
  • LIRA’s nationalization record or a CONE from the USCIS
  • The consulate’s filing forms for all applicants


In addition to these, consulates typically request additional documents, such as –

  • Census records
  • Ellis Island records
  • A-files
  • C-files
  • NARA document search results
  • State or county document search results
  • Various court orders
  • Military records
  • Social security records
  • Church records


Each consulate’s website provides an initial list of what documents they require for your document package – bearing in mind, consulates are notorious for issuing homework to amend the document package once it’s been submitted. 


Apply in Italy for Italian citizenship by descent

When applying in Italy, comune officials follow the letter of Italian law and only require what the law and courts require.

Thus, applying in Italy at a comune results in the least amount of required documentation.

The typical document package when applying in Italy requires –

  • Birth records [long-form] for in-line ancestors ONLY
  • Marriage records for in-line ancestors ONLY
  • Birth records [long-form] for all applicants 
  • Applicant’s marriage record[s] – if ever married
  • Divorce records and a CONA for yourself – if applicable
  • LIRA’s Italian records – Birth and Marriage [if married in Italy]
  • LIRA’s nationalization record or a CONE from the USCIS


Some comunes require death records, but not all comunes do. This is something you will need to find out early on and prior to coming to Italy to apply.


Documents for submitting a 1948 case in Italy

There are two ways of submitting a 1948 case in Italy:

  • Submit your 1948 case directly to Italy
  • Appeal your consulate 1948 Rule denial in Italy 


The biggest difference between the two is the time in which it takes you to get a final decision. 

If you first apply at an Italian consulate in the United States, then it took, on average, 2 years to receive your automatic denial. After receiving the consulate denial, you can then submit an appeal to the denial in Italy.

If you wish to by-pass the Italian consulate altogether, you can simply apply directly in Italy, either by moving to Italy and handling the matter yourself or by using a citizenship service to act on your behalf. 

The time it takes to get the final court decision in Italy will be essentially the same.

Submitting 1948 cases in Italy generally require the same documents as applying with a comune does, except 1948 cases require a Power of Attorney that empowers the citizenship service to act on behalf of the applicant.

Futura Italian Citizenship will send the Power of Attorney to you and you will need to sign and notarize the document. Once you have done that, you will mail the Power of Attorney along with the document package. 


How to properly prepare the document package?

Once you know all the documents that are needed for your document package, then you can begin to collect them and properly prepare them to be submitted. 

The time it takes to collect and prepare a document package varies greatly. In some cases, it only takes a couple of months. In other cases, it can take years.

Typically, the older the document, the more difficult it may be to locate – and as most Italian American roots date back to the 1800s, it’s relatively common to run into issues finding some documents. 


Where to get US records?

US records fall into two groups: 

  • State records
  • Federal records

State records

Birth, marriage, and death records are called vital records and are state records. Those records will be held by the appropriate state office where that specific event occurred. 

The good news is, many states, such as Ohio, are considered Open Records States, which means it’s very easy to obtain the vital records you will need. 

There are online services that assist with this, such as, however you can also order records directly from the state websites. 

Still there are some states that are not Open Record States and make the process more challenging. For example, in Virginia, only birth records that are over 100 years old can be accessed. 

Finally, there are some states, such as Louisiana, that deny access altogether. 

If it becomes impossible to get a birth certificate, then consulates and comunes will generally accept the Baptismal Certificate issued by the Catholic Church that baptized the individual. 

When it comes to divorce records, they could be vital records or court records – or both. 

If you require a CONA, you may need to ask around to determine what state office or official is the appropriate one to create and certify it. The CONA is not a common document in the United States, but most clerks of courts are aware of what they are and how to create them. 


Federal records

Naturalization documents, generally speaking, are federal documents. Every Italian American pursuing recognition for Italian citizenship by descent needs to begin their journey by submitting 


How to prepare US records?

Before you can submit any US records for the Italian citizenship by descent process, you must properly prepare them.

All US records must:

  • Have an apostille
  • Be translated into Italian
  • The translation must be certified


Apostilles for state records are done by the state that issued the record.

Naturalization records as well as CONEs must be sent to the US Department of State – Office of Authentications to receive an apostille.

Important – NEVER remove staples from any of the certified records.

It is also a good idea to keep all envelopes that records arrive in, as the time and date stamp could be important later on. 


Vital records from Italy – how to find them and get them?

Even though European countries have been keeping records for over a millennium, records from Italy can be the most difficult to get for your document package.

This is not because the records don’t exist, it’s because hundreds of years of records – in each comune – are under the responsibility of only a couple of people.  

So wait times are outrageous, and time taken to answer emails is time taken away from record searches, so don’t expect a quick email response.

Also, don’t bother trying to use the PEC emails. PEC emails only work between authorized users. As you are not an authorized user of the PEC system, your email will never be received.

Finding and getting Italian records will always require an Italian-based expert and document service. 

Futura Italian Citizenship provides one of the best and most reliable document services throughout Italy and works with comune records officials on a daily basis all over Italy. 


Document discrepancies

Some of the records that are needed for the process can easily be over a century old, and it is very common for old records to have discrepancies with names and or dates. 

This is especially common between Italian records and US records for your LIRA, as many Italian names, either intentionally or inadvertently, were Americanized on US documents. 

Major discrepancies are an issue that need to be amended or addressed before they are acceptable for submission. 

Minor discrepancies are typically acceptable – but this is up to the authority you are submitting your document package to [note the above image from the Italian consulate in Philadelphia]. 

An example of a minor name discrepancy that is usually acceptable, is –

  • Giuseppe vs Joseph
  • Elisabeth vs Elisabetta


This is considered a minor, and usually an acceptable, discrepancy because it is the same name – Giuseppe is Italian and Joseph is the American equivalent. Thus, there is little issue with understanding the 2 names identify the same person. 

Also, Elisabetta is a very common Italian nickname for Elisabeth, so again it is easy to accept that both names identify the same person. 

A major name discrepancy that requires amending or addressing would be –

  • Salvatore vs Samuel
  • Salvatrice vs Teresa
  • Pietro vs Paul


In all 3 of these examples, the American name is a completely different name than the Italian name. Thus, these two names do not identify the same person. 

Important to note

  • Italy will not amend names on documents – what Italy says, IS
  • Some US states will not amend names on vital records


If you have name discrepancies that cannot be amended, an OATS form is your only option.

Any discrepancies on applicant records should be fixed ASAP as those forms are relatively modern. 


Futura Italian Citizenship is very proud to be –

  • 🇮🇹 Among the few recognition services with nearly a 100% rate of client success
  • 🇮🇹 One of the most affordable providers while offering the same quality and spectrum of services as our $10,000+ competitors do.

Futura Italian Citizenship is also one of the few recognition services that are 100% Italian-based and deals personally with comune officials daily.

There is NO RISK to finding out how good your case for US-Italian dual citizenship is. 

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