I’m on the way to becoming an Italian citizen! This morning I had my official interview to submit my documents for my application through my marriage. It was successful! My husband was recognized as a citizen at the end of 2018 after preparing his documents himself that proved his blood line. He is fortunate that his paternal grandfather kept his Italian citizenship throughout his life.
My paternal grandfather became an American citizen in 1925 and had to renounce his Italian citizenship (Dual citizenship was not allowed.). In the time of fascism and to easily travel back to the United States from Italy (He returned home to Sicily a few times.), it made sense. So, through marriage is my path.
Now, I wait for the powers that be in Rome to do their review. It could take months, even years! But so be it. It is a dream of mine to be an Italian citizen. I am a proud American too; however I look forward to calling Italy my home someday in the future.
NB If you like my Sicily inspired face mask, you can purchase the designs I created from Zazzle at https://www.zazzle.com/store/sicily_shop/products.
Since posting my news, I’ve received a few questions and request for advice on this process. I will give you a few tips based on my personal experience thus far.
Obtaining Italian Citizenship through Marriage AKA Jure Matrimonii
I’m not going to go into too much detail, because really you should consult the website of the consulate in your jurisdiction for how to go about this. But here are a few words of advice:
- If you are living outside of Italy, you must be married to your Italian spouse for three years before starting the process (Confirm this as the law may change in late 2020.).
- Because you are required to prove a proficiency in Italian language equivalent to an advanced-intermediate level, start studying now. The test is not easy, and it’s not worth starting anything else in the process until you’ve received a passing grade on the CILS Livello B1 for citizenship exam.
- The test is only offered twice a year (usually December and June), and you have to make an appointment at sanctioned testing locations to take the test. There are limited seats at most locations. Find out where you need to go and make your appointment early!
- Study for the test. Get a CILS Livello B1 book and familiarize yourself with the exam. I speak Italian well and read/write in Italian pretty well (I learned Italian after graduating from college because I love it!). I’ve been studying consistently for almost 25 years. I studied for this test like one studies for the SAT. Don’t take it lightly. The format of the test is not intuitive to Americans.
- Once you know you’ve passed the language test, then start your online application for your citizenship through marriage. Your test/passing grade certificate will take a few weeks to arrive, so this is when you can begin the online application and requesting the police reports.
- You need to know all of the addresses of everywhere you have lived in your entire life. I had to look up myself online to see what came up in a search. I’ve lived in many places and had to consult my parents for help. Why is this important? Because you have to request police records/criminal records (or really lack there of) from every state in which you’ve lived since you were 14 years old. For me that was 4 states and an FBI report as well.
- You’ll need to submit fingerprints to obtain your criminal records (AKA police reports or some other name like “history” etc). The Italian Consulate website will instruct you about where to start, as will the websites of states from which you need to request the reports. There are at least three steps to this process. Have patience and do them all at the same time so you get the paperwork within a timely fashion because they expire! Carefully keep track of where, when, how because it can be confusing if you have many to do like I did.
- Each one of the criminal reports (or lack there of!) once you receive them must then be Apostilled by the state from which they came. And the FBI report will receive one from the U.S. Department of State.
- All of your documents must be translated into Italian by a professional translator. Again, just follow the instructions on the consulate website! I hired someone who does these for a living, and it was totally worth it. Don’t do this yourself because it may cause problems later on the Italy side.
- Just follow the instructions.
- Have patience.
- The good news was that even though the police reports have an expiration date of 90 days, the consulate recognizes them for 6 months from the date they are issued. As a result, don’t wait to submit your paperwork through the application portal on the website. Once you have everything, submit it all at once, right away.
- Create one long .pdf document of all of your police reports. You can only upload one document to the submission field for “Criminal records,” for example. So, my document contained my four states’ and FBI reports and translations and Apostilles. This is true for the birth certificate, etc too. One file per document request.
- Once you submit the test results, police report, birth certificate… everything exactly as is stated on the consulate website, then the minister at the consulate will contact you about bringing them in person or mailing them. You must have an appointment. You can’t make an appointment. They contact you.
- So today, this is what I completed.
- This is just phase one, where I am now. I’ll update this post once I get through phase two.
- Phase two… the minister from the consulate sends everything to Rome. Once there, four different departments/ministries will review said documents. They have up to 48 months for such a review. And so, now, I wait.
- Have patience.