If you are in the process of applying for Italian citizenship by descent, or even considering this adventure, you will want to know what updates are in effect. The good news is that the law remains the same, if you are the descendant of an Italian born ancestor you could be eligible to acquire Italian citizenship by descent. While the law remains intact, there are important updates, some are related to the Pandemic and others are not.
Italian Consulates in the US
Due to the continued COVID 19 Pandemic, each Italian Consulate and the Embassy in the US have altered their standard procedures. Some have canceled appointments altogether and are either rescheduling or asking applicants to reschedule online, others have switched to mail-in applications, some have continued to suspend scheduling new appointments, others are taking in person applications and have opened appointment slots. Currently, the best advice is as follows:
If you had an appointment at the Consulate and were notified to submit your application via mail, read all of the instructions along with the deadline for receipt very carefully. Be sure to note whether or not the application forms now require Apostille (something not required for in person appointments.
- If your appointment was canceled and you were asked to reschedule online, or you are ready to make your citizenship appointment, check that Consulate booking web page frequently for updates and to look for appointments. During 2021, the Consulates began to use a new scheduling system determined to be more efficient than the previous. Several of the Consulates have added informational videos to guide you through the scheduling system.
As always, it is important to keep up with changes in document requirements at your consulate and unfortunately the information on their website is not updated. When in doubt, email your specific question to the citizenship at the consulate. Many of the consulates officially state to ask them questions directly rather than relying on data found in various social media platforms. We have found that very specific questions, showing that you have read their website, get specific responses!
Apply in Italy
Although applying in Italy allows you to skip the long waiting line at the Italian Consulates, the local authorities are enforcing the requirement that the applicant must remain in the Italian Municipality as a resident until the final completion of the application. This has increased the required residency in Italy to be anywhere from 60-90 days and in some cases a bit longer. This change was not the result of COVID.
Applying Through Maternal Line 1948 Rule
For those individuals whose pathway to citizenship is only through a court case due to the 1948 Italian Law please note that the judges have been requiring US naturalization records of all Italian born individuals in your family in addition to those relevant to the female line. This is to ensure that there is no way to proceed through the normal venue of the Italian Consulate or Municipality. In addition, effective June 2022 these cases are no longer limited to being heard at the Courts at Rome but can now be heard at the City Court that has jurisdiction over the Town of birth of the Italian ancestor. This will help ease the Court at Rome from being overburdened and actually speed up the processing time! Although neither of these changes are COVID related, as a result of the pandemic the cases are being held by submission of written briefs submitted by the attorney representing the case which has also allowed for a timelier outcome.
In summary, while the Italian Law granting Italian citizenship by descent remains a unique opportunity, there are many intricacies to the process. Be sure to stay updated by reading the Italian Consulate websites, and seek professional guidance if needed!