italian Citizenship Maternal Line 1948

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cidadania italiana materna

What is Italian citizenship maternal line 1948?

It is a judicial process for the recognition of maternal citizenship iure sanguinis, aimed at correcting a legal provision at the time that prevented women from passing on their citizenship to their descendants if they were married to foreign citizens. It is also known as maternal citizenship 1948.

Before we begin a historical analysis, it should be noted that children of Italian women born before January 1, 1948, and daughters born before that date, can begin the process of Italian citizenship through the courts by way of maternal citizenship.


This problem begins with art. 1. of Law 555/1912:

" Art. 1 - E' cittadino per nascita:il figlio di padre cittadino"

The child of a citizen father is a citizen by birth. Law 555 of 1992 did not mention a mother's child

maternal citizenship 1948

Article 10. Of law 555/1912:

La donna cittadina che si marita a uno straniero perde la cittadinanza italiana, sempreche' il marito possieda una cittadinanza che pelo fatto del matrimonio a lei si comunichi.

a married woman cannot take on a different citizenship from her husband, even if there is a personal separation between the spouses. A woman who is an Italian citizen and marries a foreigner loses her Italian citizenship if her husband has a citizenship that is communicated to her by marriage.

In other words, the legislation did not recognize Italian women married to foreign citizens as having rights that protected their personalization and the transmission of absolute values. It was seen as a loss of Italian citizenship or an interruption in its transmission.

In the case of Brazil, for example, Italian women or women of Italian origin (ancestry) married to Brazilian citizens, and their children acquired their father's citizenship by law

That is to say, until December 31, 1947, before the Italian Federal Constitution came into force, in a direct line of men, for example: great-grandfathers, grandfathers, fathers, children, all received citizenship by blood, but if there was a woman married to a foreign citizen in this environment, Italian citizenship via the mother did not transmit Italian citizenship to her children.

On January 1, 1948, the Italian Constitution came into force, with Articles 3 and 29 providing for equality between men and women. However, this rule was not immediately applied by the Italian public administration, which did not recognize the children of an Italian mother married to a foreigner as members of the country.


The case reached the Corte Costituzionale, which declared art. 10 of decree 555/1912 unconstitutional in the famous judgment 87 /1975, for violation of articles 3 and 29 of the constitution:


"The law clearly violates art. 29 of the Constitution by imposing very serious moral, legal and political inequality of the spouses and placing the woman in a situation of evident inferiority, automatically depriving her, by the mere fact of marriage, of the rights of Italian citizenship. As the referring judge pointed out, the provision does not benefit, in the Italian legal system, the family nucleus established by art. 29 of the Constitution, but is contrary to it, since it could induce women not to lose a job for which Italian citizenship is required or not to deprive themselves of the legal protection reserved for Italian citizens or of the right of access to public offices, not to enter into the legal act of marriage or to dissolve it once it has been consummated.

It must therefore be declared, with reference to articles 3 and 29 of the Constitution, that the provision referred to in the third paragraph of art. 10 of law no. 555 of 1912 is constitutionally unlawful insofar as it provides that a citizen woman who marries a foreigner loses her citizenship, regardless of her wishes, provided that her husband possesses citizenship which, as a result of the marriage, is communicated to him." (Translated)

After the Constitutional Court's decision, equality between men and women in terms of citizenship was legally provided for by Law No. 123 of April 21, 1983, art. 5 ("The minor child, even adopted, of a citizen father or a citizen mother is an Italian citizen"), and later by art. 1, point a) of Law No. 91 of 1992.

Thus, in the light of current case law, the principle that even the offspring of an Italian mother born before 1948 can have their status as an Italian citizen recognized iure sanguinis is now indisputable

However, the public administration does not automatically recognize such rights in the case of maternal Italian descent, and the sons or daughters of mothers born before 1948 must seek a solution before the Italian judiciary in order to declare such arbitrariness unconstitutional and recognize the transmission of citizenship to their children.

In other words, the son or daughter of the first wife born before 1948 cannot apply for citizenship through the maternal line administratively, but must go to court to have their Italian citizenship recognized, affecting even the descendants of this maternal line


Thus, in cases of maternal descent for Italian citizenship, only the children of an Italian mother and a father with foreign citizenship have the right to recognition of Italian citizenship if they were born after January 1, 1948, and this is done through consular administration. Sons or daughters born before 1948 are only recognized by the courts.


a)Children of the first wife born before 1948: The only means of recognition is through the courts


b) Children of the first wife born after 1948: Citizenship can be applied for via the consulate or via the Italian court (a reason to fight the queues at the consulate).

Let's take a few examples:

 This has created a patchwork where children of a mother born before 1948 cannot be recognized administratively (only judicially) and, on the other hand, children of the same mother born after 1948 can apply administratively.

In the case of children of the first wife born after 01/01/1948 (when the Italian Constitution came into force), although it is possible to apply for citizenship through the Italian Consulates in the respective states, we run into another problem: the famous queues at the Brazilian Consulates, which take more than 12 years to complete the process.

Conclusion: Citizenship for a woman's children born before 1948 must be processed through the courts, and for the first woman's children born after 1948, it can also be processed through the courts on the grounds that the reasonable duration of the process cannot be achieved through the consulate.

At present, therefore, Italian citizenship can be recognized by a judge for those who lost it under the 1912 Law and for their descendants.

Until the legislator intervenes by giving those concerned (especially descendants of women who immigrated to South American countries: Brazil and Argentina in primis) the possibility of obtaining jure sanguinis citizenship through their mothers, by submitting the relevant application to the competent Consulate or Office, it will be necessary to take legal action against the Italian State before the competent antenate court.

However, there is no disputing the need for a thorough analysis of the documentation for a legal action for Italian citizenship through the mother, who must fulfill all the transmission links with her descendants.

The declarants of the certificate must be analyzed if the parents were not married, documents must be attached if the parents were divorced, as well as the birth and marriage certificates, and the death certificate of the Italian if he or she left Italy during the Regno d'Italia.

Thus, a woman in the maternal line does not prevent the recognition of her right. Judicial maternal Italian citizenship can be recognized for cases before 1948 and after 01/01/1948.

The important thing is to use a specialist and competent professional to defend your rights.

The Piccolo & Rinaldi law firm based in Milan has specialist lawyers working in the area of Italian citizenship by mother's side.

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