August 15, 1992
Italy substantially revised its citizenship laws (Law no. 91 of February 5, 1992, attached below). Prior to August 16, 1992, adult Italian citizens who naturalized with another country lost their Italian citizenship. In many cases they could also jeopardize even their previously born (or adopted*) minor children’s Italian citizenship. (See July 1, 1912, March 10, 1975, and April 27, 1983, above.) However, starting on August 16, 1992, Italians naturalizing with another country retain their Italian citizenship.
Also, living Italians who previously renounced their citizenship can quickly reestablish their Italian citizenship by declaring their intention at an Italian embassy or consulate, taking up residence in Italy, and then applying. Citizenship regained is not retroactive for the period when citizenship was lost. Children born or adopted* during the non-Italian citizenship interval are not born Italian citizens jure sanguinis (unless the other parent could pass Italian citizenship to the child). However, minor children who live with a parent who reacquires Italian citizenship are eligible to acquire Italian citizenship.
The laws on adoption in relation to citizenship are at least somewhat complex, and adoption was not specifically mentioned in many early citizenship-related laws. However, the 1992 law, especially Article 3 paragraphs 1 and 2, clarified the status of adoptees with retroactive effect.
Consulates should treat adoptees as follows:
- (1) Adopted children (and their descendants) may still make jure sanguinis citizenship claims through a biological Italian parent.However, in some jurisdictions original birth records are sealed or marked with phrases such as “not legal” and “for informational purposes only,” presenting special challenges in discovering or proving biological parentage. Also, the consulate is likely to record the surname from the adoptee’s old birth certificate, not the adoptee’s current surname. Changing the surname (if desired) may require additional legal action in Italy subsequent to jure sanguinis citizenship recognition.
- (2) If the adoption was legally recorded in Italy while the adoptee was still a minor, there should be no problem: the citizenship link was established at that point. (But if the adoption was legally recorded in Italy the adoptee is almost certainly already recognized as an Italian citizen.)
- (3) If the adoption was not legally recorded in Italy while the adoptee was still a minor, then some consulates hesitate to recognize a citizenship link. Politely ask the consulate to read Article 3 of the 1992 law and, if necessary, to seek guidance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- (4) If the adoption occurred while the adoptee was an adult (see March 10, 1975), then there is no citizenship link.