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Citizenship by descent

Citizenship by descent (“iure sanguinis“)

As a general rule a child of an Italian parent (father or mother) is an Italian citizen.

Citizenship is passed on from parent to child without limitation of generation, on the condition that none of the ancestors has ever renounced their citizenship. Transmission of citizenship through maternal lineage is possible only for persons born after January 1st 1948.

A minor child living with a parent at the moment in which that parent becomes an Italian citizen also acquires Italian citizenship.


Ascertainment of citizenship

When a person claims to be Italian trough parents or ancestors but no proof of this can be found in Italian registries, it will be necessary to provide evidence that all ancestors have maintained, and therefore passed on, their Italian citizenship.

The legally competent authority to ascertain these facts depends on the person’s place of residence:

  • For residents abroad that will be the relevant diplomatic/consular office;
  • For residents in Italy it will be the Registry office of the town of residence.


Determining citizenship by decent

Italian citizenship can be acquired by descent at the time of one’s birth, as long as one parent was an Italian citizen at the time. Due to previous laws in force before the formation of the Italian Republic women can only transmit citizenship to children born after 1 January 1948. Prior to this date, only fathers could transmit the Italian citizenship.

Any claim for Italian citizenship must be supported by documentary evidence. Once the relevant documents have been produced to this Consulate General, they will be forwarded to the competent Italian Municipality for registration. Once the procedure has been concluded, applicants will be notified via email from one of our staff members.


Important Note

Under Italian law, children who were naturalized Australian citizens along with their parents prior to 16 August 1992, would lose Italian citizenship at the time. Please note that before 8 March 1975 adulthood in Italy was reached at the age of 21; after this date, it changed to 18.

After 16 August 1992, Italian citizens who acquire another citizenship, do not lose their Italian citizenship.



How to apply for citizenship by descent


The General Consulate of Italy in Sydney is competent for processing citizenship applications for NSW residents ONLY (Please note: The cities of Queanbeyan and Cooma are under the jurisdiction of the Embassy of Italy in Canberra). A proof of residence is required upon submitting the application.

Recognition of citizenship by descent can be lodged ONLY by Australian citizens resident of NSW and foreign nationals who are “permanent resident” of Australia, resident of NSW.



In order to lodge the application you will need to make an appointment using the online booking system “Prenot@mi”.

Please note that due to the strong demand there is a long queue for this service. The Consulate cannot accept applications out of the online appointment system.



  • Documentary evidence of citizenship of the main applicant’s parent/ancestor (old Italian Passport, Italian certificates, and any other documentation providing proof of the parent/ancestor Italian Citizenship);
  • If the parent/ancestor became Australian, original and copy of the Australian Citizenship Certificate;
  • If the parent/ancestor is/was not Australian, original and copy of the Australian visa or Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status (CERS) if issued after 16 August 1992 or VEVO – Visa Entitlement Verification Online (from the Australian Department of Immigration);
  • Simple copies of all birth/marriage/death/change of name/divorce certificates of all applicants, starting from the ancestor;
  • Simple copies of all applicants ID (driver license and passport);
  • Completed citizenship form (see the “Forms” section of our website);
  • As for the fee of this service and method of payment, please refer to our consular fees webpage.

Please note: If you do not hold all required documents on the day of the appointment, you are kindly requested to attend our office anyway to allow us to assist you with the application process and check what documents are still missing in relation with your specific application.

Pursuant to Act no. 89 of 2014 applications for grant of Italian citizenship by descent are subject to a 300 EURO administrative fee, payable in Australian dollars. Payments can be made either via eftpos (debit card only) or in cash.

N.B.: The above amounts are payable irrespective of the outcome of the application.

Updated and detailed information on Italian citizenship can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website.