Important Change to 1948 Italian Citizenship Cases

Since Italy offers citizenship jure sanguinis (by right of blood), many of our Dream of Italy readers are pursuing getting their Italian citizenship recognized. Usually this process goes through a U.S. consulate, but in some cases, it’s more complicated. Those whose Italian ancestors were women born before 1948 must file their citizenship application in court in Italy due to a rule stating that women from this time period could not pass down citizenship to their descendants.

You can see in the PBS TV special, Dream of Italy: Travel, Transform and Thrive, how Kathy is pursuing her Italian citizenship in court in Italy, as the Italian courts have deemed this so-called “1948 rule” discriminatory against women. Here, our friend Melanie Holtz of tells us about an important change to these cases. You can read Melanie’s advice and much more about Italian citizenship and gaining an Italian passport in our book, Dream of Italy: Travel, Transform and Thrive, the companion to the PBS special. 

Recently, the Italian parliament passed a bill that essentially changes where 1948 cases (and other citizenship-related cases) will be heard. Starting on 22 June 2022, new cases will begin to be heard in the local courts, in the jurisdiction where your immigrating Italian ancestor was born. These cases will no longer be heard only in Rome. The courts where they will be handled are located in Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Brescia, Cagliari, Caltanissetta, Campobasso, Catania, Catanzaro, Firenze, Genova, L’Aquila, Lecce, Messina, Milano, Napoli, Palermo, Perugia, Potenza, Reggio Calabria, Roma, Salerno, Torino, Trento and Trieste.

The update is as follows: 36. All’articolo 4, comma 5, del decreto-legge 17 febbraio 2017, n. 13, convertito, con modificazioni, dalla legge 13 aprile 2017, n. 46, e’ aggiunto, in fine, il seguente periodo: «Quando l’attore risiede all’estero le controversie di accertamento dello stato di cittadinanza italiana sono assegnate avendo riguardo al comune di nascita del padre, della madre o dell’avo cittadini italiani»

If you’ve already begun your case in Rome, then your case will continue there. Additionally, if your case begins before 22 June 2022, then it must be heard in Rome.

This new procedure should ease the caseload in Rome considerably and shorten the processing time for 1948 cases overall. This is a positive and proactive step in the right direction!

—Melanie Holtz

Dream of Italy
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