Italian Citizenship Through the Courts

What is Italian citizenship trought the courts?
Italian citizenship through the courts is another option for applying for Italian citizenship, in addition to applying through the Consulates in Brazil or directly in Italy.

The judicial application is submitted to the Italian courts, through a lawyer who is qualified to act professionally in the country.

The judicial route can be used in various situations which will be explained below, but nowadays it has been chosen especially by people who no longer want to wait in the long queues at the Italian Consulates in USA.
Location of applications has changed

Until the beginning of 2022, all applications via this route had to be filed at the Court of Rome. But after the reform of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure, the place of filing for Italian citizenship has changed.

It must now be filed with the court of your Italian ancestor's place of birth (the competent court) (the dante causa is the expression that means the person who gives cause - the person who gave you the right to apply for Italian citizenship).
It's worth noting that one of the aims of this change is to speed up processes and ensure that trials take place in less time.

How does the judicial process for Italian citizenship work?

The documents required to start the process of Italian citizenship by court are the same as those required to apply in the USA, with the exception of requesting the deaths of descendants. The only death certificate required is that of the Italian dante causa.

The only difference in terms of documentation is that you need to add two more documents. But rest assured, they are simple and easily acquired: the application protocol and the power of attorney for your lawyer to represent you in the action.
Step-by-step process for Italian citizenship through the courts

The judicial process for Italian citizenship goes through many different stages, from the beginning of the research and search for documents to the final records once citizenship has been confirmed.

1. Confirming whether you are entitled to Italian citizenship;
2. Gathering the necessary family information from the Italian antenate to organize the family tree;
3. Search for the necessary certificates (birth, marriage and death) for everyone in the direct line (from the applicant to the Italian ancestor);
4. Analyze the documentation to check that everything meets the requirements and that there are no missing documents;
5. Make rectifications (if necessary);
6. Organizing the documents and preparing the application;
7. Filing the application with the courts (applications are sent to the court corresponding to the Italian antenato's place of birth);
8. Waiting for the result;
9. Registering with AIRE (Anagrafe Italiani Residenti All'estero), the register of Italian citizens living outside Italy;
10. Apply for an Italian passport.

Remember that, first of all, you need to hire a lawyer as legal proceedings must be represented by a lawyer.

Cost of documentation

Fees vary according to the number of documents required, i.e. the more distant the ancestor, the more documents will be needed. You also need to be aware of possible rectifications. In legal proceedings, it is important that the documentation is always correct, otherwise the claim may be dismissed (denied).

And always make absolutely sure that there is no doubt as to the legitimacy of filiation, after all the blood bond is the basis of this right. Example: declarant of birth. A child whose father was not the declarant of his birth, where there is no marriage, can be a complicating factor in legitimizing the bloodline.

Translations of documents and the Hague Apostille are required for these documents. The cost of these services varies according to location and the number of documents to be translated and apostilled.

The convenient part of the lawsuit is that a family can use the same documentation and there is a division of costs. And the best part is that the family doesn't have to leave Brazil to have this right recognized.

Italian citizenship by judicial or administrative means?

In most cases, the decision on the type of application can be left to the applicant. In other words, you can decide how you would prefer to apply, either through the courts or by administrative means.

The case of Italian citizenship via the mother's side

Descendants who have a woman in the line of transmission of Italian citizenship need to pay attention to one date: whether these women had children before 1948.

If so, they will have to apply for citizenship through the courts. Next, when we talk about the types of Italian citizenship process via the courts, we'll explain this situation in more detail.

Documents required for Italian citizenship via the courts

The documents you need to apply for Italian citizenship through the courts are as follows:

- All the certificates of your relatives in the line of descent back to the Italian ancestor (birth, marriage and death (only of the dante causa - if applicable), including their certificates;
- Birth or baptismal record of your Italian ancestor (Estratto dell'Atto di Nascita or Certificato di Battesimo, only one of the two and both obtained directly from the place of birth in Italy);
- Negative Naturalization Certificate (CNN) of your Italian ancestor, which proves that he did not become a naturalized Brazilian citizen;
- Power of attorney for your lawyer;
- Protocol of the citizenship application at the Consulate.
Please note that divorces must be included in this documentation, as well as other documents to prove the family bloodline.

Types of Italian citizenship process via the courts

Find out now about the types of cases indicated for Italian citizenship through the courts.

Italian citizenship through the courts against the queues

This is the case we explained earlier. Because of the long wait for recognition of Italian citizenship via the Consulate, more and more people of Italian descent are opting to apply via the courts instead of the queues at the Consulate.

According to the Italian law that regulates the recognition of citizenship, applications must be concluded within a maximum of 730 days, which is not the case in most cases.

So if you've applied through the Consulate and still haven't been recognized, applying through the courts could be the solution to getting Italian citizenship faster and without leaving the USA.

Italian citizenship through the courts via a mother

As explained above, if you have a woman in the line of transmission of Italian citizenship, you should pay attention to the date of birth of that woman's children. If the children were born before 1948, the application must be made through the courts.

This is because, until the publication of the Constitution of the Italian Republic (which came into force in 1948), Italian women married to a foreign citizen gave up their Italian nationality. As a result, they no longer had the right to pass on their nationality to their descendants.

After the 1948 Constitution, Italian women had their right preserved, thus passing on Italian nationality to their children. So if your family was born after that date, don't worry, this is not the case for you.

On the other hand, if your family's situation applies to Italian citizenship via the mother's side, applying for it through the courts is the right course of action.
Action for judicial notification for Trentinos

This action is for a very specific case: to guarantee the recognition of the descendants of people who were born in the current region of Trento, a territory that belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

When rule ended in 1920, citizens living in the region were considered Italian. However, this status was not formally recognized, which meant that Italian citizenship was not passed on to their descendants.

To rectify the problem, the Italian government issued a law that was in force for 10 years (from 2000 to 2010). In short, the law gave these people the right to have their Italian citizenship recognized.

If you are looking for Italian lawyers specializing in Italian citizenship via the courts, please contact us.

How long does it take to get Italian citizenship through the courts?

The time it takes depends on several factors: complexity, the workload of the judges and courts, the region of the process being completed.

No lawyer can promise a deadline for the completion of a court case. What can be given is an estimate at the time, influenced by the factors we'll see below:

Factors influencing the duration of a court case in Italy.

a) Jurisdiction: In the past, jurisdiction was centralized only in the Court of Rome. There has been a decentralization where the competent judicial body can be one of the 26 Italian courts;

b) Immigration: Courts with a greater number of Italian immigrants who have landed mainly in Brazil and Argentina will over time be the courts with the greatest number of cases as explained in point a. Example: Venezia court has jurisdiction over the entire Veneto region

c) Court structure: Some Courts have more judges than others or more specialized courts;

d) Number of lawsuits filed in the previous year;

Question: How long will it take to hear a case in an Italian court in 2024?

Currently the average is from a few months to 1.5 years / 2 years.

It should be noted that the timeframe quoted is for the judicial process itself and does not include the time it takes to search for Brazilian or Italian documentation, translate apostilles or make rectifications if necessary in Brazil.

Does the length of the judicial process for Italian citizenship depend on the Consulate?

No: The judicial process does not depend on the consulate, but on the jurisdiction of the Italian antenate's place of birth.

Consult an Italian lawyer specializing in Italian citizenship and international law for more precise and specific information about your case. They can provide detailed guidance based on your personal situation.