Q1. How did ICA start and what do you do?
Marco Permunian: Many years ago I traveled to New York City, where I was introduced to the Italian-American community. The way in which Italian culture had survived so many generations, combined with the passion and love that many still had for the motherland, sealed my desire to help Americans with Italian heritage claim Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (by right of blood). Therefore, in 2012, I founded ItalianCitizenshipAssistance.com, which is a very big team of legal experts, genealogists, professional translators, and dual citizenship attorneys based both in Italy and the US who help American citizens of Italian descent acquire Italian citizenship via consulates in the U.S. and abroad, via applications filed in Italy, or via judicial proceedings for cases which need to be filed in court. Interestingly enough, we at ICA saw an unprecedented surge of citizenship applications in the past 18 months. The events of 2020 on various fronts seem to have acted as a catalyst for many people of Italian descent to finally take advantage of their birthright and start the Italian citizenship application process.
Q.2 Who is eligible to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis?
Marco Permunian: You can apply for Italian citizenship by descent if your ancestor (who was born in Italy) was alive at the time Italy was unified as a nation on March 17, 1861 (or if he/she was born after that date). You can apply if your ancestor was never naturalized (or if he/she became a U.S. citizen after the birth of the child who was born in the U.S. and after June 14, 1912), and if none of your ancestors in your direct line of descent ever renounced their Italian citizenship. If there is a woman in your Italian lineage who gave birth to her child prior to January 1, 1948, you may not be able to apply for citizenship via an Italian consulate or municipality, but you might be able to file a 1948 case and apply via the court system instead. You can check out our website for more detailed information about the eligibility requirements.
Q.3 Which documents do you need to apply for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis and where can you apply?
Marco Permunian: In order to apply for Italian citizenship by descent you need certified copies of your family’s vital records, e.g., birth, marriage, death, and divorce certificates (if applicable) and your ancestor’s naturalization records or proof that your ancestor was never naturalized. In particular, you will need to retrieve your ancestor’s naturalization records or proof of no naturalization from NARA, USCIS, or the county in which the naturalization took place. All these records will then need to be authenticated with an Apostille, translated into Italian, and submitted to the Italian municipality or to the consulate that covers the jurisdiction where you reside. On the other hand, if you are applying via a 1948 case, you do not need to travel to Italy. Rather, you can sign a Power of Attorney and enable a lawyer to represent you in court.
Q4. Which would you say are the top 3 benefits of becoming an Italian citizen?
Marco Permunian: If you apply for Italian citizenship you will be able to pass citizenship automatically on to your minor children. In other words, you only need to register their births in order for them to be officially recognized as Italian citizens and the same will apply to future generations. Secondly, as an Italian citizen, you can access Italy’s high-quality, free universal healthcare. Finally, another benefit of becoming an Italian citizen is the ability to both live in Italy and to travel, work, or study in any of the EU’s member states without any restrictions or time limitations.
ICA also produces a very popular podcast (published on YouTube) on the subject of Italian citizenship. To watch the latest episodes, visit http://youtube.com/italiancitizenshipassistance.