Italian Dual Citizenship – Is it worth it? | Page 2
I decided to forge ahead and find out if I qualified. The guidelines for eligibility are contained on several websites that help you through the process (Google: Italian Dual Citizenship) including www.myitalianfamily.com or www.italiandualcitizenship.com . (I did not use either of these companies nor do I endorse them or any particular company. I am only using these links for reference purposes to help steer you on the right track to start your search. There are many companies that can help you through the process for a fee.)
So, I discovered I was in fact eligible for Italian citizenship through my paternal grandfather who came to the USA in the early 1920’s. He arrived at Ellis Island in New York City and established work as a shoemaker in his newly adopted country. He met my grandmother (a U.S. citizen), got married and my father was born a year or so thereafter. At the time my father was born, my grandfather was still not a naturalized US citizen, which meant in the eyes of the Italian government, my grandfather was still an Italian citizen. It also meant that my father, being the son of an Italian citizen, was also Italian even though my father was born in the USA and was American by birth. In addition, my father’s children and all future descendants were eligible as well. In other words, I as well as my brothers were eligible. My son, and grandson and all future generations are eligible. Spouses of qualified citizens are also eligible however, the last time I checked, a spouse needs to speak Italian at the minimum of an intermediate level and the wait for processing is several years. The Italian government under Jure Sanguinis also recognizes same-sex spouses. Whether or not the rules and qualifications have changed since 10 years ago must be verified so be sure to either check one of the website companies dealing with Jure Sanguinis or the Italian consulate to see if these rules and qualifications still apply. (Italian Consulates are located in the USA in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Check to see which Italian consulate presides over your state of residence.
Before you even start this journey into the possibility of dual Italian citizenship, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with your family’s history particularly your ancestor’s places of birth and dates of birth. It is also helpful to know when your ancestors left Italy and emigrated to the U.S. or any other country. You also need to know when your ancestor’s U.S. naturalization took place. A lot of this information can be found on www.ancestry.com and U.S. government immigration websites. It is possible that you may qualify for Jure Sanguinis under one or more of your ancestors depending on each circumstance. The process of investigating all the needed information is labor intensive. It is totally up to you as to whether you delve into this on your own (I do not recommend it due to the work involved) or hire one of the companies that specialize in helping you obtain citizenship. Most of these companies have Italian attorneys on staff trained in the laws of Jure Sanguinis. The cost, depending on the complexity of each individual case can run into the thousands of dollars so be prepared with as much family information as possible before contacting one of these companies. The fewer hours spent by these companies in obtaining information and documents about your family, the less cost to you in most cases. Do your homework and find out exactly what work will be performed by these companies if you decide to hire them.
So, I decided to jump into this project with the help of an Italian immigration attorney. I did most of the preliminary work myself. I started down the long road of first obtaining birth certificates, marriage certificates and death certificates of my grandparents and parents as well as the naturalization certificate of my grandfather. Then I needed my birth certificate, marriage certificate and divorce certificate as well. For those of my ancestors who were born in the USA that was not difficult. I was able to obtain endorsed certified copies online for a fee. The difficulty started when trying to obtain these certificates from Italy. My knowledge of Italian at that time was minimal so my attorney helped me with these requests. The waiting game then began. I waited months to receive the requested documents from Italy never knowing if the request was ever received by the city hall of the commune in Sicily. I did receive them a few months later but no correspondence on status ever took place. I then had to have the documents I obtained for my USA born ancestors translated into Italian. Then, once that was completed, I had to have an “apostille” attached to these documents. An “apostille” is an authentication issued to documents for use in other countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961, Italy being included. I had to make a special trip to New York City in order to have this done.