Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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scottshay
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Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby scottshay » 20 Apr 2010, 02:44

Ciao a tutti!

I have been gathering documentation for a few years now and was originally going by the docs required by Philadelphia till I figured out that I need to go to the Embassy in DC since I am in Arlington, VA.

My question is, what is the exact documentation that the Embassy requires (they don't seem to have a list like the consulates do)?

My citizenship would be through the following: great-grandfather born in Italy, moved to US, grandfather born in US before g-grandfather naturalized, mother born in US, then I was born in the US.

According to Philly, I needed: g-grandfather birth, marriage, and death certs, grandfather birth, marriage, and death certs, mother birth and marriage cert (she is still living), my birth cert. But reading up on this site, it sounds like I might need all the spouse stuff too?? (g-grandmother's birth and death certs, grandmother's birth and death certs, father's birth and death certs) Can anyone tell me if that is the case?

Also, for Philly it seemed they only required translations for docs pertaining directly to me, but it sounds like that might not be the case for the Embassy--do I need to have all English docs translated to Italian for them?

And finally, my grandfather's name was Alfreto Mattioli (birth cert) but other docs (marriage, death, and mother's birth certs) have him as Alfred Mattoli (first name Anglicized, and he left out the first "i" in Mattioli in his surname as an adult). Will this cause problems? If so, is there a remedy?

Grazie mille!

Scott

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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby DeFilippis78 » 20 Apr 2010, 13:04

They should have a website or an email to find out what you need. Did you make an appointment yet? When I made my appt with Philly they sent me an attachment through email what I needed to provide.

Alicia

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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby scottshay » 20 Apr 2010, 13:11

Thanks for the reply, Alicia!

Unfortunately, there is no actual info about the dual citizenship process on the embassy site, and my emails don't seem to get answered. I called and talked to someone last week and basically just asked if the doc requirements were the same as for Philly, and she said yes...but I've been reading contradictory things here (i.e., that they require more docs and more translations). So I was just wondering if anyone who had actually gone through the process with them knew the scoop. They did say it only takes a few days to get an appt (they only cover a very small number of people in DC and 2 VA counties, so I imagine they don't get a lot of requests...that's basically comparable to 3 large counties as opposed to dozens of states for the consulates!).

Scott


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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby scottshay » 20 Apr 2010, 13:28

Ciao Livio!

Thank you for the link! Unfortunately the site does not actually have any specific info about the documentation needed for applying for citizenship for those of us doing it based upon ancestral descent. So for example, my g-grandfather was an Italian citizen through whom I am claiming citizenship, do I need his wife's birth and death certificates or just his? (Philly says just his), for his son, my grandfather, I have birth, marriage, and death certificates, but do I also need those of his wife? (again, Philly says just his). Also, there is no mention as to which of these docs needs a translation into Italian (Philly says just those pertaining to me, but others on here have said they all do). I did search their site, and could not find this specific info, and I did not get a reply to my email (only sent last week, but it seems like I am more likely to hear from someone on here more quickly than I will from them). I just want to make sure I am as prepared as possible for the appointment when I have it so I don't waste their time or mine.

I'll keep my fingers crossed! I am very much looking forward to becoming a citizen of your wonderful country and to honor my heritage. I know my g-grandparents and grandparents would be proud! :)

Scott

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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby liviomoreno » 20 Apr 2010, 13:37

The Embassy may not require other documents than those required by the Consulate in Philadelphia.

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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby kontessa » 20 Apr 2010, 18:13

Hello, Scott. IMO, staff at the embassy in DC are wonderful, but just like other consulates, they may not respond in a timely fashion to phone messages or email. If Signora Provenzano is out of the office, you may not hear back from her for weeks. (I didn't file for citizenship in DC, but needed their assistance with other legalizations.)

Have you searched on the forum (or others) for DC specific requirements from others' posted experiences? (Not trying to drive you away from this forum, but sometimes you have to pick up bits and pieces from several to get a complete picture.)

Also, have you made a visit to the embassy? It's easy to get to. I THINK that you can go without an appointment, and then you could ask at the window if they have an application and a list of required documents. You may need an appointment to see Signora Provenzano, but maybe one of the other staff members legalizing documents can get you an application and maybe a list of requirements.

While you're waiting for the final word on what is or isn't necessary, I would gather all direct-line documents and translate just my own. Hopefully by the time you have that complete, someone from the embassy will have responded to your questions, you will have visited the embassy in person, and/or you've found the answers from a variety of online sources.

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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby scottshay » 20 Apr 2010, 19:07

Thanks so much for the reply, Kontessa! I was able to speak with Signora Provenzano last week, and she was quite helpful, but I did not ask all of the questions I should have at that time. I am trying to get back in touch with her. But I think you are right--a trip to the embassy is not so difficult from here, so I may just try that if I am unsuccessful in contacting her again by phone/email. I believe I have all the documents I need, except I did not get my great-grandmother's birth cert (when I was in Italy last year to request it, they could not find it and said they would notify me if they did, but they never got back to me). I have my great-grandfather's birth cert and death and marriage certs. I am hoping that is enough!

I will check out other forums as well (any advice on any good ones? this one has been a wealth of info so far!)

grazie!
Scott

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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby kontessa » 21 Apr 2010, 08:40

As for the missing birth record for GGM - IMO it shouldn't be a problem since the embassy doesn't seem to require non-direct line documents. If it IS a problem, you will find out during your appointment. (I doubt this will be an issue though.)

You will also find out if there is a problem with the spelling of your surname. If it IS, you may be instructed to have the spelling corrected before your paperwork can be processed. The work/money involved in that process will depend on which state issued the documents - easy to get corrections in some states while others require court-ordered amendments. Others may see this as a waste of time, but if you have any free time (what's that, right?), you may want to just research vital record amendments in the state where the documents originated, just in case you are told during your appointment that the changes need to be made.

All in all, looks like you need to get to your first appointment to find out exactly what you have left to do!! Why not just go ahead and make an appointment with Signora P since they are fairly easy to obtain?

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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby scottshay » 21 Apr 2010, 12:44

Thanks Kontessa! That is probably a good idea to just make an appt. I don't have the apostilles yet (another few weeks), but I suppose it makes sense just so I can get an idea of exactly what they need. The docs are all from PA, so I will check out what it might take to amend them.

Thanks so much for your help!

Scott

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Re: Question about applying at the Italian Embassy in DC

Postby scottshay » 12 Apr 2011, 05:33

It's almost a year later, and I just wanted to follow up on my original post in case any reads this looking for info about applying in DC. Long story (below!) short, my letter from the Embassy arrived earlier this month stating that my documents are being forwarded to my comune in Italy and that I am officially recognized as an Italian citizen via Jure Sanguinis.

So here's the long story (with some tips for those of you applying in DC!)...

My journey started 6 years ago when my cousin mentioned that we might be eligible for Italian citizenship (of course we had no concept at the time that we were already Italian citizens and that the process is actually of recognition of that status, rather than acquiring it). I was quite dubious as to whether this could be true...as someone who lived abroad in my youth (Germany) I knew how stringent many of the European laws were regarding acquiring citizenship. I did a little research and found out that it was indeed not just a gimmick, and then started the process of trying to figure out whether or not we qualified, which was not entirely clear at all with all of the conflicting information I read online. At first it seemed I wasn't eligible because I was going through my mother (-grandfather-great-grandfather). She was born in the early 1940s and I wasn't sure what to make of the 1948 law change, but eventually realized that it meant that, since I was born well after 1948, she was able to pass citizenship on through me. The next hurdle was, I had to figure out whether my grandfather was born before or after my great-grandfather naturalized in the US.

This was no easy task, as my great-grandparents both passed away before my mother was born, so even she never knew them, and my grandfather passed away when I was a young teen (as did my grandmother). My mother had no idea at all, since she was so far removed from it all. At this point life got the best of both me and my cousin, for various reasons, and we put this on the back burner.

Fast forward 2 years, and my cousin went about researching the naturalization issue locally (she still lives where I grew up in PA and where my great-grandparents and grandparents once lived). She was eventually able to get local documents regarding GGF's naturaliztion, and we found out that they had, indeed, only naturalized well after my grandfather had been born. So that was looking pretty good. But even at this point we had no idea whatsoever where my great-grandparents were from in Italy, so finding birth and marriage certificates would be quite difficult. I signed up for a paid Ancestry.com account, and that really helped me. I was able to find census and ship manifest information that helped me to find out where they came from. Once I had that, my spouse and I took a trip to Italy (I had only ever been there once before as a teenager, and only to a small border town). We visited Rome, Venice, and my great-grandparents' hometowns in the Gran Sasso area. Since it was a small town, we asked around to see if there might be any living relatives still there (we really didn't think there would be), but lo and behold, we met a man who turned out to be my mother's second cousin. He filled us in on much of the missing information about my GGF's family. It was an incredible experience! We were also able to get copies of my GGF's birth and marriage certificates there.

I had also sent off to USCIS to get official naturalization records at around that time. It took several months. The first set I received were really, really bad photocopies that you could barely read and with much redacted. For some odd reason, another copy showed up a week or two later, and these were actually color photo copies that showed exquisite detail. Those are the ones I would evenutally use.

Two of the biggest issues I ran into along the way were that my grandfather had no birth certificate (he was born at home and somehow managed to never need one, even though his older brother had had a delayed birth record created in 1942). There was also no official marriage certificate for my grandparents (they had parental issues, as my GM was a PA Dutchwoman with an anabaptist background, and my GF, an Italian Catholic; the story was, they got married "somewhere else" officially, then married unofficially in the local Catholic church. So I had my GF's baptismal record and their church marriage certificate from the local church. I also had to order birth certs for me and my mom, and death certs for my GGF and GF. All of this took about 3 years total, until I went to the Embassy in DC in August, 2010. I did not need an appt--it is basically just walk right in. I believe the citizenship window is open from 10:30am to 12:30 or 1pm? I think you can also call for an appt but have never tried that. It can't hurt to call ahead to make sure someone is in.

One of the first issues I encountered was that they will tell you your mother/father should apply for recognition first. I was prepared for this (from reading about it on the boards), and had an affidavit, signed and notarized and apostilled, from my mother, stating that she had no intention of applying. That seemed to satisfy them on that (there is no actual requirement that they do this). The next issue was the lack of official birth and marriage certs for my GF. That seemed to be a big stumbling block. But perhaps the most difficult is that my GF dropped an "i" from his surname as an adult so the papers I did have didn't match on the surname (to his parents) exactly. I really didn't know what I was going to do about that. I certainly wasn't going to change my mother's birth and marriage certs, and my birth cert to have the "original" spelling of their surname.

I was told that it would be 6-7 months until they even looked at my documents. I was pleasantly surprised in Nov. (only 3 months after my initial visit) to get a call from the Embassy. They told me they had started the process, but I would need to address the birth and marriage cert issues.

To tackle the birth cert issue, I contacted the PA Vital Records office in Harrisburg and was put in touch with a woman who was SUPER helpful. She told me I needed to get a court order for a delayed birth record for my GF. I hired a lawyer and as you might guess, they were somewhat clueless about the process, since it's a pretty rare thing. They researched it, and I gathered the church records, military records, and social security records for my GF, each showing his date of birth and sent them to the lawyer as part of the court petition for a court order for the delayed record. I also had a brilliant idea of how to kill 2 birds with one stone. I requested that mg GGF's name be spelled in the original format, and my GF's name be spelled with the new spelling on the birth certificate, thereby showing that despite the new spelling, he was indeed the son of my great-grandparents. Since the new spelling was his official name in all of the documents (except the baptismal cert), the judge had no problem with this. $1500 later, he signed the order, I sent it to Vital Records to the attention of the helpful woman, and within days, had the delayed record of birth. Two down, one to go.

As for the marriage cert, oddly enough neither my mom, her siblings, nor anyone else still alive had any idea where my grandparents were officially married. We had a date and that was it. It was definitely not in PA. So I requested that the Maryland Archives do a search of all the northern counties, but that turned up nothing. I then had the bright idea (don't know why I hadn't thought before) to have my cousin check the local newspaper archives around the date of their marriage, and sure enough, there was an announcement days later that they were married in Winchester, VA (for some odd reason). I sent off for a copy of their marriage cert, then had it apostilled, and I returned to the Embassy in January, 2011 with these new docs.

(One thing to note, I did not need translations for ANY documents except my own birth certificate. Also, I have a Word template I created for the translation of the official PA state birth cert; if anyone needs a copy, just message me.)

After I handed in the docs, I emailed the Embassy every few weeks to find out the status. I generally received a reply within a week. Just a few weeks ago, I received an email saying that the docs were in order and would be sent to my comune in a few weeks. Today, I got the official recognition letter in the mail from the Italian Embassy! They stated that my documents would be sent to my comune to be registered and also noted that I am obligated to communicate any changes in status or address.

So it is official, and I am so excited!!!

I appreciate all of the help people have given me from this and many other boards. It really has been invaluable. Best of luck to all of you who are going through the process now!


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