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May a person who wasn't recognized at birth by the father (who is an Italian citizen) subsequently apply for citizenship on the basis of the DNA test results?

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Possibly, if the result of the DNA test leads to change of the birth record in a Civil Registry (A.P.R.) of an Italian municipality stating that a Italian citizen is the father

  • the citizenship of the father will be known to the Civil Registry

For an adapted birth certificate issued outside of Italy, this would probably have to be verified by a responsible Italian authority (such as a consulate) before registration in Italy.

Based on the Italian Foreign Office Citizenship information quoted below, correct entries in the Italian Civil Registry seems to the best way to achieve citizenship based on descent.


Italian Citizenship
Italian citizenship is currently regulated by Law No. 91/1992 (and related implementing regulations: in particular, Presidential Decree No. 572 of October 12, 1993 and Presidential Decree No. 362 of April 18, 1994) which, unlike the previous Law, revalues the importance of individual intention in the acquisition or loss of citizenship and recognises the right to hold more than one citizenship at the same time.

The principles on which Italian citizenship is based are the following:

  • citizenship acquired for having Italian parents/ancestors (“ius sanguinis”);
  • citizenship acquired for being born on Italian soil (“ius soli”) in some cases;
  • the possibility of dual citizenship;
  • the declaration of willingness to acquire or renounce citizenship.

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citizenship acquired for having Italian parents
Article 1 of Law No. 91/92 lays down that a person acquires Italian citizenship when born of a father or a mother who are Italian citizens. Hence the principle of ius sanguinis - already enshrined in the previous legislation - is reaffirmed as a key principle for the acquisition of citizenship, while the ius soli remains an exceptional and residual case.

While explicitly stating that also the mother can transmit citizenship, the Article fully acknowledges the principle of equality between men and women as regards the transmission of the status civitatis.
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Hence the conditions required for such recognition are based, on the one hand, on the demonstration of descent from the subject originally having the status of citizen (the ancestor who emigrated) and, on the other, on the proof that there were no interruption in the transmission of citizenship (failed foreign naturalization of the ancestor before the birth of the children; absence of declarations of renunciation of Italian citizenship by further descendants before the birth of the next generation, thus proving that the transmission of citizenship did not stop).
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The recognition procedure develops with the following steps:

To ascertain that lineage started with an Italian ancestor (there are no limits of generations); to ascertain that the Italian ancestor retained Italian citizenship until the birth of the descendants. The lack of naturalization or the date of any naturalization of the ancestor shall be proven by a certificate issued by the competent foreign Authority. Descent from the Italian ancestor shall be proven by means of civil status documents of birth and marriage; said documents shall be duly legalized, if requested, and accompanied by an official translation. In this regard, it should be noted that the transmission of Italian citizenship through maternal lineage is possible only for children born after January 1, 1948, e.g. the date of entry into force of the Constitution. It should be certified that neither the applicant nor the ascendants have ever renounced Italian citizenship, thus interrupting the transmission of citizenship, through appropriate certificates issued by the competent Italian diplomatic and consular authorities.

The applicant shall submit the application accompanied by the required complete documentation designed to prove the requirements and conditions listed above.

The application shall be submitted to the Consular Office of the district in which the foreigner of Italian origin lives.

Loss of Citizenship
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Women who, after January 1, 1948, automatically acquired foreign citizenship as a result of their marriage with foreign citizens or as a result of their Italian-born husbands becoming naturalized citizens of other countries did NOT lose their Italian citizenship. Nevertheless, in order to maintain the civil status records in order, those women (or their descendants) shall express their desire to maintain said citizenship to the competent consular authorities through a statement of uninterrupted possession of citizenship.


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