Taking the Plunge – Applying for Dual Citizenship with Italy
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and apply for dual citizenship. It is likely to be a roller coaster of emotion—excitement, happiness, disappointment and frustration, sometimes all in the same day. You may even find a few skeletons in your closet or solve some family mysteries. I promise you it will not be boring.
It will help to be organized. Once you start collecting your documents, you may find yourself swimming in paperwork. It pays to get an expandable folder with sections for your documents. In mine, I have a section designated for each person, in both my direct- and non-direct lines. I have sections for documents that need certification, apostilles and translations. Some people make spreadsheets for documents coming in and going out, especially if they have multiple generations to go through or many amendments to make.
First, find out which Italian Consulate you will be applying through. Where you live determines your Consulate. A list of Italian Consulates around the world can be found at http://www.esteri.it/MAE/IT/Ministero/Servizi/Italiani/Rappresentanze. The citizenship section of each individual Consulate website will list the categories for qualifications, the documents you will need, and the procedures. You will find the citizen section under Consular Services. In some states the wait for an appointment can be long. I have had to wait a year for my appointment, which has given me plenty of time to collect everything I need. If your Consulate does not have a long wait period, you may want to collect most of your documents before making your appointment.
There is a chance that you won’t be absolutely certain that you are eligible until you have collected some of your documents. They include birth, marriage, naturalization and death certificates for all your direct-line ancestors and some for your non-direct line. For my case, which falls within Category 3, those in my direct line are my Grandfather-Father-Me. My grandmother and mother are considered my non-direct line.
If you know where your Italian ancestor was born, write to the Stato Civile of their comune and request a copy of their birth certificate; if they were married there as well, you should also request the marriage certificate. Write to them in Italian, as English is not understood in many of the smaller towns. If you don’t know the town where your ancestor was born, you may have to collect other documents to find out. There is an extensive database of Italian towns at www.italianside.com that you will find both helpful and interesting, and at www.italianside.net/community you can find templates for requesting birth, marriage and death certificates in Italian—very helpful.
Next: Collecting Documents continued