The 1948 Rule- Italy Eases Immigration Through Maternal Lineage

As thousands of Americans apply for Italian citizenship by descent, many of them end up being disappointed. It is because they have maternal lineage rather than paternal bloodline in the country. Surprisingly, the Italian immigration law is biased against women as they cannot pass on their citizenship right to children born before 1948. You can even imagine a situation when your siblings born after 1948 can claim under Jure Sanguinis, and you cannot, just because you were born before 1948.

Thankfully, the Italian government realized the flaws in the rules and came up with a solution. The 1948 Rule applies to applicants who want to claim the right to citizenship through a maternal ancestor. While it wouldn’t let you apply through the regular administrative process, you can go ahead through the court. It sounds complicated, but 1948 cases are simple. You may even expect things to go faster than the usual process. If you plan to apply under the rule, here is a complete guide to show you the way. 

The 1948 Rule

According to the Jure Sanguinis guidelines, a woman cannot pass on her citizenship to a child born before January 1, 1948. Only men are eligible to transfer the legal right of Italian citizenship by descent. It means you will not qualify for the process if your Italian ancestor was a woman and had given birth to you or your ascendant before 1948. You could lose the right even if your grandmother or great-grandmother, not just your mother, is the ascendant you want to claim through. 

Italian Supreme Court decided that it must do something to address the situation, so it came up with the 1948 Rule. The rule defines a judicial process for applicants who want to apply through the maternal bloodline. You have to follow a series of steps in the court rather than the consulate to complete the process. Even as a judicial process sounds daunting, it is simpler than you imagine. It brings new hope for people who had to struggle with the situation just because of not having a man in their lineage. 

Understanding your eligibility

The 1948 Rule is specifically meant for applicants who do not qualify through the conventional Jure Sanguinis process. But there’s a catch regarding the eligibility, and you must fulfill some norms to go ahead. These include:

  • You must have a female relative in your direct bloodline in Italy.
  • She must have given birth before 1948 because females were not permitted to transfer their citizenship to their children prior to 1948, 

If she gave birth after 1st January 1948, the child would get Italian citizenship automatically because females got the same rights as males that year. In that case, you can apply through the standard process. The dates and eligibility criteria may sound confusing to a layman. It makes sense to collaborate with an Italian citizenship specialist as they will have the right guidance for you. After all, applying through the administrative process will be a sheer waste of time and money if you do not qualify. Conversely, you can rely on the 1948 Rule to claim your right through the maternal lineage and close things at the earliest.  

The step-by-step process for the 1948 cases

Once you are pretty sure about your eligibility under the 1948 Rule, you can go ahead with the process. Since it is a judicial process, the common misconception is that it will be long, complicated, and expensive. But it is neither because you have a simple series of steps to follow. As long as you follow them and have your paperwork in place, you will get your claim within an optimal time span. Having 1948 specialist lawyers representing your case is an added advantage. You can visit to get a detailed overview of the process. We have a short step-by-step guide to explain the process for the 1948 cases from start to end.

Step 1- Documentation 

Like the administrative process, the 1948 Rule also requires the submission of documents to validate your ancestral connections in Italy. But you cannot just present documents as they are. You will have to process them to ensure they are considered valid in the Italian court. Here are the steps you will have to follow:

  • You will need to gather documents and certificates validating the life events of your ancestor and tracing your lineage. These include records of birth and death, marriages, divorces, name change information, immigration, and naturalization in another country. Apart from these essential records, you may collect more documents to add value to the case.
  • The documents originating in Italy are good to go for the court process. But you will have to get legalization for the non-Italian documents. The death certificate of a grandparent in the US will not be valid until you get it apostille-certified. The apostille stamp officially authenticates foreign documents so that they become acceptable in the Italian court. 
  • Legalization of non-Italian documents is half the work done. You will have to get translations for them. Since Italian is the only official language in the country, the court will not accept documents in any other language. You must get them translated and certified to ensure validity as evidence. Your local Italian consulate can provide Certificazione di Conformita di Traduzione as a translation service. You can also get the translated documents certified by an Italian judicial officer.

Find a 1948 specialist attorney 

After gathering the documents, you are all set to file a petition in court. It makes sense to find a 1948 specialist attorney to represent you in the Italian court. These lawyers know the rules well enough and have experience with these cases, so you can trust them to secure a favorable verdict for you. Additionally, it is feasible to hire a local professional as you will not have to fly down to Italy to attend the proceedings. 

  • You can have the lawyer representing you in the court by providing a Power of Attorney (POA), duly signed and notarized for the purpose. Your family members will have to give individual POAs to the lawyers on their behalf for representing them as well.
  • Besides the POA, you will also have to mail the other certified documents and records to them. Make sure that you check every document carefully to ensure that things are in place because they can make or break your case. Any error or omission can delay the process or even risk rejection. Since photocopies are not valid as court evidence, send the original documents only.
  • After your lawyer gets the documents, they will start the petition on your behalf. Expect them to be connected with you at this stage because they will need crucial details and facts to strengthen the case. They can also help you by clarifying your doubts and queries about the prevailing laws and policies. You will feel more confident when you have a seasoned attorney handling your case in the court even in your absence.

Step 3- Hearing and verdict 

The final steps of the 1948 case involve the hearing and verdict by the court. It is a waiting game, just like you have to wait for your turn with the administrative process. The entire process may take a few months to complete.

  • You will have a judge and case number assigned to your case by the court in a few months. At times, the waiting period may go up to a year, depending on the current number of cases in the court. Once they are assigned, a hearing date follows closely. At the hearing, the judge will examine the case and seek clarifications for their concerns, if any. Your lawyer will address them as your representative. You can get through in a single hearing in most cases, though a follow-up hearing may also happen. The final judgment comes a few months later.
  • At the final judgment, the court declares the verdict for your case. The judge will also give the reasons for approval or rejection of your application. The success rates of the 1948 Rule run high, so approval will probably not be a problem if you have a genuine case. After getting official approval through a court order, you will have to register the records with your ancestor’s comune. Once the process is completed, you can move to Italy and enjoy all the rights and benefits of being a citizen here.

The 1948 Rule is quite similar to the administrative process for Italian citizenship by descent. You have to collect similar documents, legalize and translate them, and submit them to the court instead of the Italian consulate. It is best to have an expert Italian citizenship lawyer with a specialty in the 1948 Rule to handle your case. Since these lawyers have a good understanding of the process, they ensure that everything is in place. Moreover, hiring them eliminates the expense and hassle of traveling to Italy for court proceedings and hearings. You can trust them to manage things on your behalf and secure the rights you deserve.  

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