We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dual Italian Citizenship- latest updates

When Italy gives you lemons ....make limoncello.

Lately I have been handed A LOT of lemons by the Italian government. In fact there have been so many of them I have lost count. Any one of these "lemons" hurled at me in the last two months might have been enough to stop me in my tracks, had it been 2 years ago. But today, there are no lemons, or pumpkins for that matter, thrown at me that will deter me from my goals.

Each of these obstacles or roadblocks are directly related to my quest to obtain dual Italian citizenship. I firmly believe that I should be granted dual citizenship by virtue of the fact that my mother is native born Italian, and had not yet become an American citizen at the time of my birth. If you check the regulations issued by the Italian consulate in the United States, those two elements meet the regulations. In my case, because I am a direct descendant of a native born Italian, there aren't any other requirements , except the one that says if the ancestor is your mother, you had to have been born AFTER 1948. I meet that one also. Once you determine that you meet whatever the stated requirements are, you must then gather the necessary documents. Each document must be an original certified copy, accompanied by the Apostille of the state which issued the document, and you must also have a notarized translation of each document into Italian.

I had been collecting documents for a year and a half. Every time I took the set of documents to the Italian Consulate in Philadelphia, they would tell me one more thing I needed to do. It seems the rules change often, and are also up for interpretation by whoever the clerk of the day happens to be. There were several occassions where, having made the 2 plus hour trip up to Philadelphia intending to turn in the set of documents, I turned around with a very heavy heart after having been told more bad news by some clerk in the Consulate office. Finally in November 2007, I had every last possible document. I returned to Philadelphia to finally process this stack of papers, and was told by the Consulate it could take another 2 years for me to finally obtain citizenship. I asked if there was any possbility to expedite the process, and was informed I could take the documents to Italy myself, where it was possible to obtain citizenship in anywhere from 1 week to a few months.

I made preparations to go to Italy, carrying my precious documents in hand. We did try to get the appropriate visa from the Italian consulate prior to flying to Italy, but we were told we didn't have the correct identification for the people who were renting us the apartment in Italy. Again, we had every document we had been told we needed, and now there was one more. There was no chance we could get this new item in the time frame we had left before our flight to Italy, as the landlords were away on vacation. Since we thought we could get citizenship in a few months, we decided to just go to Italy on our passports, knowing that you are only allowed to stay in the EU for 90 days.

On my second day in Venice, I took my stack of papers, all organized and labeled in order in a special binder, to the Commune office. Without even looking at my documents I was told that if my ancestors weren't born in Venice, they would not accept my application. They suggested that I go to the town my mother was born in. That information was not at all in sync with anything I was told by the Consulate in Philadelphia, but these people were not buying any discussion out of me.

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