Italy is one of the most preferred dual citizenship destinations for Americans for obvious reasons. The country has beautiful landscapes and offers a serene lifestyle. It makes an ideal location to spend your retirement years. It is even great for young families because it offers a host of growth opportunities for business and profession. You also get the benefits of Europe’s best education and healthcare system. Beyond these benefits, Italy has several routes for immigration, so migration isn’t as challenging as it can be for some EU nations.
A large segment of the US population traces its roots in Italy, making citizenship by descent the most popular route to acquire a second passport. You only have to prove your lineage and follow an administrative process to complete the process. But there’s a catch here- you can claim the right only through a male member under some circumstances. The Italian immigration law is discriminatory towards women in this context. But the country’s government has taken some tangible steps to address the concern and open options for those with maternal bloodline. Let us discuss the 1948 Rule in detail.
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The 1948 Rule- An introduction
The current Jure Sanguinis law for granting Italian citizenship states that females could hold citizenship rights, but could not pass them on to offspring born before January 1, 1948. Only men could pass citizenship to their children. The law made things complicated for families planning to immigrate because one or more siblings couldn’t make it just because of the year of birth. The 1948 Rule was implemented to do away with the flaw and complexity of citizenship by descent.
Essentially, you will have to apply through the Italian Court of Rome to claim citizenship through the maternal line under this rule. A court process sounds more challenging than the regular administrative process, but it is actually easier. Surprisingly, you may get a decision earlier, and there are good chances it will come in your favor. The only condition is that you have to validate your claim with proper documents and follow the requisite steps. It is best to have a 1948 specialist attorney to represent your case if you want to close it at the earliest.
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Eligibility for a 1948 Case
Even as the eligibility for a 1948 case sounds straightforward, it is easy to be overwhelmed by dates and laws. It makes sense to let your attorney assess it for you because they can help you pick the right route. After all, you would not want to waste time and money trying with Jure Sanguinis only to get your application rejected. You can directly approach the court and claim through the judicial route if you wish to apply through maternal lineage. Here are some steps to assess your eligibility through this rule.
- Start by assessing your line of descent by determining your direct Italian ancestor. If there is a woman in the line, you may be eligible for a 1948 case.
- If there is a female ascendant, determine the date she gave birth to her descendant. The woman’s date of birth is not important, but you must consider the child’s date of birth. If the child was born before January 1, 1948, you may have a case.
You can apply through the court if these conditions are fulfilled. The process is relatively easy as you only have to follow the legal steps listed for it. Whether you acquire citizenship through Jure Sanguinis or the 1948 Rule, your rights and privileges will be the same. The only difference is in the process, so you need not worry about how you get there. The rule aims to eliminate bias from the citizenship process, and it has achieved the objective. You need not worry about being refused your rights only because you have a maternal bloodline instead of paternal lineage. Go ahead and secure the claim through the 1948 rule.
The 1948 case process
The 1948 Rule renews the hopes of living an Italian dream for applicants with maternal lineage. Thankfully, you have a viable option, and you only need to understand it well enough to get through. You can click here for a complete guide on how the 1948 case process works so that you can be on the right track. But experts recommend seeking the assistance of a 1948 Rule expert to handle your case. Let us share the steps of the process to give you a fair idea about how to proceed.
Gather your documents: Whether you apply through the conventional route or file a petition in the court, documentation is the mainstay of your application. They validate your lineage, so the decision hinges on having them in place. The typical checklist includes the following records of your ancestors:
- Birth and death certificates
- Marriage registration records
- Divorce records
- Immigration and naturalization records
- Name change information
The idea is to trace your family background in Italy and validate the key life events of your ascendants. You may also submit some additional documents to strengthen your claim, although they aren’t mandatory.
Get translations for non-Italian documents: Italian is the only official language in the country, so the court will not accept documents in any other language. For this reason, you will need translations for all documents originating outside Italy. The process is simpler than you think. You can get certified translation by applying for Certificazione di Conformita di Traduzione with your local Italian consulate. A translation by a professional translator will also work, provided an Italian judicial officer certifies it.
Legalize your documents: Besides translations, you will also need to get your non-Italian documents legalized to be considered as valid evidence in court. You will require apostille-certified documents from the country of origin. An apostille stamp authenticates the documents officially, making them legal in Italy too. Remember that some foreign-origin documents are valid even without an apostille stamp. For example, your naturalization records from the USCIS will be valid even without it.
Connect with a 1948 specialist lawyer: You may connect with a specialist Italian lawyer right from the start of the process or do it after gathering your papers. It is sensible to collaborate at the earliest because they can show you the way and make things a tad easier for you. Choose a lawyer with experience and a successful track record with the 1948 court cases. They will have a clear understanding of the law. A local lawyer always sets you up for success because you need not be present at the hearings. Even if you spend on their services, you end up saving a fortune on airfares and accommodation in Italy.
Give Power of Attorney (POA) to your lawyer: At this stage, you will need to provide a Power of Attorney (POA) to your lawyer, empowering them as your legal representative. You must sign it and get it notarized before mailing it to the lawyer in the original. For multiple petitions with your family members, you will have to provide individual POAs on their behalf.
Mail certified documents: Apart from the original signed POAs, you will also have to mail the certified documents they will need as evidence in the court. Like POAs, these documents should also be original. Each document is crucial, so you must ensure it has the correct information and is translated and apostilled. Even a minor error can land you in trouble and even cause rejection of your application.
Initiate the petition process: Once your lawyer has the POAs and documents, they can initiate the petition process. At this stage, they will be in constant touch to discuss details and validate facts about your lineage in Italy. The more facts they know about you and your ancestors, the better they can represent you in court. You can also clarify doubts and concerns about Italian laws and policies during the process.
Get a judge and hearing date: After you file the petition, the waiting game starts. You will probably get a judge and case number in a couple of months. But some applicants may have to wait for a year for the formalities. Once you get them, a hearing date will follow closely. At the hearing, the judge evaluates your case and asks questions from your lawyer if they have any concerns. Most cases require a single hearing, though you can expect a follow-up. The final judgment comes a few months after the hearing.
At the final judgment, the judge will declare the final verdict for your 1948 case. They will even explain the reason for approval or rejection. You need not worry much because the success rate for these cases is reasonably good. You will probably get a favorable verdict if everything is in place. After the approval, you will get a court order to indicate the closure of the process. You will have to register your records with your ancestor’s comune. After the deal is sealed, you are all set to start a life in Italy. It doesn’t make a difference whether you have a maternal or paternal lineage now.