italian dual citizenship: applying in italy, part one

{the entrance to our "town hall," aka Palazzo Vecchio; photo via Wikipedia since we haven't taken one yet}

It dawned on me today that I haven't written a dual citizenship post in quite a while. We made more (and major) progress today, so it's probably time that I post a bit.

On our first full day here, we met up with Georgette, a great new friend that I met via the Expats in Italy forum. She has been nothing short of our personal savior when it comes to helping things get done here in Italy with the dual citizenship.

The first office we visited was the Stato Civile at the Palazzo Vecchio (side note: can we talk about how ridic it is that our local government office is above the Uffizi?). We waited for a bit and were able to talk with someone, but found out we were at the wrong office. In fact, we wouldn't come back to that particular office until we were much further in the process. It's where I will return once I official have residency.

Georgette suggested that we walk up a flight of stairs to the citizenship office. This is the office where, a few months from now, I will formally make my application for dual citizenship. We figured they could potentially be helpful in educating us on the process up until that point.

We were able to talk to a very helpful gentleman that told us we actually needed to go to the Anagrafe (kind of a like a registration office), state our case, and get an appointment to come back to apply for residency. That ended up be exactly right.

Thankfully, Georgette had printed out Circolare n. 28 and n. 28.1, two minor Italian laws that declare it legal to do what we're trying to do. This is definitely not a common thing and most people have no idea what we're talking about. Having the laws handy was extremely valuable.

We were able to schedule an appointment for February 2 (today!) to come back and formally apply for residency, which is the first step toward citizenship.

Part Two (detailing today's action) coming in an hour or so...

italian dual citizenship: another trip to the philly consulate...

...and another positive experience. Why the surprise? I have heard SO many nightmare stories about this consulate, yet I've had nothing but positive experiences with the people there. I was there to get 7 more document translations certified and it went very smoothly.

I follow these simple guidelines when visiting the consulate:

  • Budget a lot of time. The Philadelphia consulate, in particular, is always packed and you will spend a few hours there even when taking care of a seemingly simple task.
  • Be patient. Patience is not one of my virtues, but I know that patience is an absolute necessity when dealing with the overworked folks at the consulate.
  • Be sweet as pie. When the woman behind the desk apologized to me today ("Today you were not so  lucky, I'm sorry for the wait"), I said "That's OK, I don't mind waiting. Thank you so much." I got the most gracious smile in return.
  • Be prepared. Papers not collated? End of the line. Cash not on hand? End of the line. Missing original copies of things? End of the line. They do not mess around at the Italian consulate. Do yourself a favor and come prepared.
  • Know that they aren't doing you any favors. I watched a girl walk into the consulate today, announce that she had decided to study abroad at the last moment and explained that she needed a study visa -- by TOMORROW. That entitled attitude gets you nowhere -- and fast -- with Italians.

Over the course of two visits, I've spent a total of 5 hours at the consulate in Philadelphia. I've overheard conversations about study visas, healthcare, dual citizenship, marriages, and just about every other consulate service possible. What has shocked me the most is just how poorly the consulate workers are treated by the non-Italians that come in for various reasons.

If you somehow swing an appointment for dual citizenship and the person sitting across the table is in a bad mood it's probably for a good reason. Be cordial, kind and understanding to them and I guarantee it will get you further.

Countdown to Italy: 4 Days


italian dual citizenship: how to find a translator

colosseumwithflagAt a certain point in the Italian dual citizenship process you'll want to start thinking about how you will get all of the birth, marriage and death certificates that you've collected and certified translated into Italian. The quality of your translations is exceptionally important, so this is not a step to be overlooked or taken lightly. Whether you are applying at a consulate in the U.S. or in Italy itself, your application can be rejected due to poor translations.

You have the option of translating the records yourself, but if you want to be absolutely sure of quality you can outsource to a professional translator. How do you find a translator?

We've compiled a list of tips to get you started:

  1. Call the consulate - Some consulates absolutely require that you use one of their pre-approved translators. If this is the case you will obviously want to use someone on the list! While others don't have this requirement, the suggested list that they provide can be extremely helpful. Call each person and ask for a quote for both individual documents and your entire lot. Also, ask to see samples of their work.
  2. Try search engines - You may also want to try using your favorite engine to search the terms "Italian translation" or "Italian translator" followed by your city or state. You may find talented local translators that don't advertise in other places. Once again, ask to see samples or work and get price quotes.
  3. Use - This site boasts hundreds of qualified translators, including companies and individuals based in Italy. Using this site allows you list a job and ask for bids. It's a great way to let the professionals come to you.

Quality is key, so if your translator provides a finished product that doesn't meet your standards, be sure to let them know so that the work can be redone.

This article was originally written by me for Find it here.

italian dual citizenship: top 5 resources

While thousands of people have received Italian dual citizenship, the resources and information available for you online are still fairly limited. Most people spend hours searching message boards for answers to common questions and concerns.

To help with your Italian dual citizenship quest, we've compiled a list of the top resource websites for finding information about requesting records, establishing your eligibility, translating documents and applying for Italian dual citizenship.

  • Italian Consulates: while the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC provides some information about the citizenship process, many of the regional consulates provide the best information. We recommend reading the San Francisco, Philadelphia and Miami consulates' websites for more information. Pay close attention to the consulate that services your state, as it's their rules that you'll need to abide by.
  • in addition to serving as the home of a consulting company that provides research services, this website also provides a wealth of information about qualifying for citizenship and how to begin the process.
  • National Italian American Foundation: as you might expect, the largest Italian-American organization in the country provides useful resources for obtaining your Italian dual citizenship.
  • ICGS's Message Board: full of useful stories from those that have done it before or who are in the process, this message board is a great resource for solving tough questions and addressing challenging situations.
  • ItalyLink Message board: another great message forum full of real life experiences.
  • Expats in Italy: our favorite resource by far, this site is full of not only citizenship advice, but also information about moving to and living in Italy.

If you have questions that can't be answered by one of these resources, try searching "Italian Dual Citizenship" followed by your question. It may take a bit of sifting through the results, but you can almost always find someone that has been in your exact situation and how exactly they solved the problem.

I originally wrote this article for and it appears here:

italian dual citizenship: translating your own documents

Once you've established that you qualify for Italian dual citizenship and requested your records, the process of translating records becomes your next step. If you speak and write the Italian language fluently, you can translate your own records. This will save you considerable amounts of money and time.

Whether you translate the records yourself or pay someone else to do it, the quality of your translations is exceptionally important. The consulate at which you apply (or the local Italian province, if you apply in Italy) will need certified translations in order to process your Italian dual citizenship application.

Here are a few quick tips to remember when translating your records: 1. Search the web for record translation templates. Seeing how similar documents have been translated, and particularly the legal words used, will help you immensely when you translate your documents for Italian dual citizenship.

2. Format your translation to match the exact layout of the record. Make use of headlines, subtext and other types of font effects to make clear where important elements of the document appear in translation.

3. If you have a design program available, consider using design element like borders, horizontal lines and other effects that mimic the original document.

4. Translate all seals and certifications. Not all consulates and local Italian provinces require this level of detail, but it's a good way to ensure your translations are accepted when you apply for Italian dual citizenship.

5. Reference message boards for assistance with particular legal jargon that appears confusing.

When in doubt, hire a professional translator to review your documents. Select a translator with experience in legal documents.

This article was originally write for and is available here: