Did you know that you can apply for Italian citizenship by descent in Italy as soon as you have all your required documents? This was granted through the Italian Ministry of Affairs (“circolare n. 32, del 13 giugno 2007”).
Rather than waiting 1-2 years (or longer) to get an appointment at most of the Italian Consulates in the US, you could file your citizenship application in Italy. Under the Italian Law, US citizens of Italian descent can apply for Italian citizenship in Italy in any of the Town Halls that will offer this service. The town itself does not need to be the place of birth of your Italian ancestor (but this could be an option). The challenge is finding a town willing to provide this service. The processing time in each town varies, some towns complete the process within 3 weeks and others can take 90 days or longer.
This is an excellent opportunity to both enjoy a relaxing vacation in Italy while also obtaining your Italian dual citizenship. Since you are claiming your Italian citizenship, why not also take the time to enjoy and learn Italian culture and life while the paperwork is being processed. This is a unique opportunity to understand and relate to your Italian ancestry that not many can partake in.
The document requirements are very similar to those of the Italian Consulates in the US with some key differences. Below is an example of the documents that you would need to submit if applying through a paternal grandfather:
Your grandfather’s Italian birth certificate; certified petition for naturalization showing that US citizenship was obtained after the birth of your father, or Certificate of Nonexistence of Naturalization issued by USCIS; your grandfather’s death certificate (some towns do not require the death record)
Your father’s birth, marriage, death certificate, if deceased (as above the death certificate may not be required)
Your birth, marriage, and birth of minor children if applicable.
All of the above documents need to be authenticated with Apostille and professionally translated into Italian. The Italian translations also need to be legalized.
The steps in the process are as follows:
- Obtain the required documentation
- Locate a town in Italy and speak with the Town Registrar to see if they are willing to have you apply there, ask for a list of their required documents and expected time frame to complete the process
- Locate a rental home in the town
If you are flying into Italy from a non-Schengen area (e.g. if you arrive from the US) and the town has guaranteed that your application will be completed within 90 days then you will need to make sure that the Italian customs officials stamp your passport. This is an essential part of the application, and serves to show the Italian government that a) you arrived when you said you did, and b) you arrived for the purposes of obtaining Italian citizenship as is your legal right. If the town that you are applying for citizenship takes longer than 90 days you will need to set up residency.
We are developing a program for clients to process their application for Italian citizenship in 3 weeks or less in a town in the region of Basilicata (this is the region famous for the Sassi of Matera, the stone dwellings where “The Passion of the Christ” was filmed). Please check back with us soon for more information!