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

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dual Italian Citizenship- the quest continues....

From Venice to La Spezia--

The next week I boarded a train for La Spezia, 6 hours away from Venice. Fortunately for me, my mother has cousins still alive in La Spezia, and I had met them for the first time just a few months before. My mother's cousin ( who likes me to also call him my cousin) took me to the Commune office in La Spezia where we met with the director of Status Civile, the highest up person we could have handle this. After looking at my documents, this man gave me the sad news that he believed there is a law which says my mother lost her Italian citizenship and became an American instantly when she married my father , who was an American soldier stationed in Italy during WWII. That sounded pretty odd, since I know for a fact that my mother studied and passed the US Naturalization test obtaining her US citizenship when I was 5 years old. This man suggested I fly back to America and have the Italian consulate issue a declaration that says my mother didn't loose her italian citizenship upon marriage. The next morning I went back to Venice.

I wasn't prepared to give up. The Italian consulate is not known for returning phone calls or answering email, but I emailed them to try to avoid having to return to America to handle this situation. Miraculously, they responded to my email in a week's time. They said they would not issue any such declaration, but I should go back to La Spezia and tell them that all I needed was my mother's naturalization papers- and I had to be born before the date on that certificate. No problem. I had all that covered. I was starting to feel better again. Maybe all I was going to need was one more trip back to La Spezia.

The following week, I went to La Spezia again by train. My cousin and his niece who speaks English beautifully went with me again to the Citizenship office at the Commune. I was feeling like old friends with the Director by now. This time, after looking at the email the Consulate sent me, and reviewing all my documents again, he decided that my case was not to be handled as "Juris Sanguis". Instead, since I was in fact born an Italian but lost my citizenship involuntarily when my mother Naturalized, all I needed was a declaration from the Italian consulate requesting that I be allowed to reclaim my own Italian citizenship. There are laws that allow for this, and he gave me the law and section numbers to refer to. My cousin's niece is a quick thinker, and she asked why this declaration couldn't be made by some office right here in italy, since we are already there. The Director thought for a minute, then told us to go have coffee for 20 minutes while he made some phone calls to find out what could be done to help.

I don't drink coffee, but I surely needed a cup of tea at that moment. Every time I am told some different story by the Italian government I can feel my blood pressure creep up the scale. It won't be long before I will probably pop from all the stress. When we returned to his office, he had great news. He had been in conversation with Dottore Parducci, the expert on these kinds of situations. Dott. Parducci had devised a 4 step plan for me to obtain my citizenship, and he was confident I could do all this back in Venice. OK, so I was being sent back to Venice. I knew I should have dug my heels in and demanded this declaration right then and there. I knew that, but that isn't the way anything is done in Italy. I certainly was not going to create a fuss. If I demanded anything, I thought for sure I would never get my citizenship. I needed to have mutual respect and cooperation here.

On our way out of the office we had a good laugh as we envisioned this Director presenting his findings on my case at some National Symposium as he kept saying my case was so unusal and he had spent time researching it.

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