Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizenship

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Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizenship

Postby ReasonedFaith » 17 Nov 2010, 04:45

My story is a rather tragic, heartbreaking and perplexing one. My great grandfather came to South Africa in 1901 as a railroad construction worker from Vintimille Italy. He subsequently met my great grandmother who was black and had 8 children with her, 3 of which died very early on and he bought a farm and became a winemaker living with her. All of the children, my grandmother included assumed his surname and all were given Italian names. I have obtained records and affidavits relating to this. Due to the laws in South Africa at the time, interracial relationships or marriages were not permitted so they lived together for 16 years and followed the African tradition of Labola which technically made them common law man and wife. Unbeknown to my grandmother and the family, my great grandfather had another family in Italy. A common law wife and 7 other children. I have records in my possession, which I just got hold of today, in which my great grandfather made a formal application for his common law wife and children from Italy to come and live with him in South Africa in 1901. The request from the Italian Vice Consul refers to him as being an Italian citizen. The irony behind this is that at least 3 of the childrens names listed in this document from his common law wife are exactly the same as those given to the children he had in South Africa, my grandmother included.

From 1917 onwards my great grandfather started suffering mental problems and my grandmother and her siblings were sent to an orphanage due to his inability to care for them. Because my grandmother and her siblings were classified as coloured (mixed race) their paternal mother was not permitted to care for them due to her being black and the laws not permitting this sort of thing. My great grandfather was then committed to an asylum in 1918 until his death there in 1922

In over twenty years, my great grandfather did not send for any of the members of his other family nor did any of them ever hear from him again in that time. I have a letter in my possession from one of his sons who was in Menton France at the time of writing in 1922 requesting information on his by then deceased father. I have official documentation in the form of old lawyers, court, consulate and embassy records to corroborate the story above. My questions would be as follows:

Would my grandmother have qualified to be an Italian Citizen jure sanguinis in light of the fact that she was technically an illegitimate child, but was given my great grandfathers surname and would I be able to apply for Dual Citizenship in this manner through my grandmother and great grand father? My father was born after 1948. Your suggestions or comments would be highly appreciated.

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ricbru » 17 Nov 2010, 10:06

Hello, since parents of your grandmother where not married at time of her birth, you can not qualified to apply.

This is the complete list of papers you need to have in order to apply, I hope it helps, bye Riccardo

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Italian Citizenship from: FATHER GRANDMOTHER - GREAT GRANDFATHER

Father - Grandmother - Great Grandfather: Your paternal grandmother was born in your native country, your paternal great grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, your father was born after January 1st, 1948, and neither you nor your father nor your grandmother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship. If citizenship is acquired by birth in your country and you meet all these conditions, you qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. You must obtain certified copies of the following documents:

Your paternal great grandfather's birth certificate from Italy
Your paternal great grandmother's birth certificate
Your great grandparents' marriage certificate (If married outside of Italy, you will need an apostille and a translation into Italian.)
Your paternal great grandfather's certificate of naturalization OR statement of "No Records"
Your paternal grandmother's birth certificate (with apostille and translation)
Your paternal grandfather's birth certificate
Your grandparents' marriage certificate (with apostille and translation)
Your father's birth certificate (with apostille and translation)
Your mother's birth certificate
Your parents' marriage certificate (with apostille and translation)
Your birth certificate (with apostille and translation)
Your marriage certificate, if applicable (with apostille and translation)
Your spouse's birth certificate, if applicable
Birth certificates for all your children under the age of eighteen, if applicable (with apostille and translation)
Any applicable divorce decrees/certificates (with apostille and translation)
Death certificates for anyone listed above (with apostille and translation, if for your father, grandmother or great grandfather)

All certificates must be new “CERTIFIED COPYâ€

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ReasonedFaith » 17 Nov 2010, 10:40

Thank you very much for the valuable information ricbru. Would this be true:

Hello, since parents of your grandmother where not married at time of her birth, you can not qualified to apply.


Even though my grandmother was given the maccario surname by her father and he lived with his South African wife for 16 years and were traditionally married? Would she still not be eligble to be considered blood line to her father?

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ricbru » 17 Nov 2010, 10:44

At this point the only problem is that your great grandparents never got married, there is not a marriage certificate or record of them, and since there is none, the paperwork is not complete (see the all listed documents above), and unfortunately your application would be denied.
The paperwork MUST be complete and not discrepancies on the records are allowed.
I hope it helps
bye Riccardo

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ReasonedFaith » 17 Nov 2010, 11:07

ricbru wrote:At this point the only problem is that your great grandparents never got married, there is not a marriage certificate or record of them, and since there is none, the paperwork is not complete (see the all listed documents above), and unfortunately your application would be denied.
The paperwork MUST be complete and not discrepancies on the records are allowed.
I hope it helps
bye Riccardo


I have a sworn affadavit in my possesion dated 6 October 1921 from my grandmothers mother stating that they had lived together for 16 years and got married in the black traditional custom of Labola. I also have my copies of my grandfathers will in which he leaves moeny to his children from my great grandmother. Dont ask me how but I even have South African police reports attesting to the fact that my grandfather, a european, was living with a native women. Would this not suffice?

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ricbru » 17 Nov 2010, 11:14

Have you got only that affidavit? Dont you have a marriage record of them of traditional custom of Labola? if you have that kind of their marriage record, you can start to collect the paperwork.
As I already said, you risk to collect everything, put apostille and translations on all your documents, and you risk, after all time and money spent, your application is denied.
I know you want italian citizenship so hard, at least you can always try and risk to have application denied.
Good luck for everything
Riccardo

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ReasonedFaith » 17 Nov 2010, 11:19

ricbru wrote:Have you got only that affidavit? Dont you have a marriage record of them of traditional custom of Labola? if you have that kind of their marriage record, you can start to collect the paperwork.
As I already said, you risk to collect everything, put apostille and translations on all your documents, and you risk, after all time and money spent, your application is denied.
I know you want italian citizenship so hard, at least you can always try and risk to have application denied.
Good luck for everything
Riccardo


Unfortunately the traditional custom of Labola was not legally recognised at the time due to South Africa's oppressive racial laws. It's just really disappointing that my Grandmother wouldn’t be recognised due to being born out of wedlock even though there are legal documents in my possession which shows that my grandfather lived with my grandmothers mother for 16 years :cry:

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ricbru » 17 Nov 2010, 11:43

I understand how you feel.
If you have time and money enough to start this journey, just do it.
You know you are risking, and be ready when the italian consulate could deny your application.
At least you tried
Good luck
Riccardo

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby mler » 17 Nov 2010, 13:10

Your path is more difficult because of the lack of a marriage certificate. I am, however, more optimistic about your chances for success than is richbru. Italian citizenship law requires that you prove you are qualified through the blood line. It does not require that the children be legitimate. Even though you do not have the marriage documents, your other documents demonstrate the Italian blood line.

That your ggf officially recognized his children goes a long way to proving the blood line. You ARE qualified. As richbru notes,, it is possible that the Italian consulate may be difficult to convince. I tend to think, though, that you have enough documents to convince them of the legitimacy of your claim. Were I in your position, I would at least make the attempt.

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ricbru » 17 Nov 2010, 13:21

Mler, he is qualified, yes, but what if the consulate says,
" a marriage record is missing and you need to bring it with apostille and translation",

and if Reasoned faith proves that it is all he has, the consulate says,

"i'm sorry, the paperwork is not complete, you can not apply without that marriage record!"?

I told Reasoned faith to risk if he wants to, there is a lot of time and money involved also feeling is involved, and someone saying I'M SORRY , from a deskfront of consulate, is not nice at all, he could feel like a building falling on him, if he wants he can risk, it is up to him if he wants to attempt, he know where he goes thru
ciao riccardo

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ReasonedFaith » 17 Nov 2010, 13:38

ricbru wrote:Mler, he is qualified, yes, but what if the consulate says,
" a marriage record is missing and you need to bring it with apostille and translation",

and if Reasoned faith proves that it is all he has, the consulate says,

"i'm sorry, the paperwork is not complete, you can not apply without that marriage record!"?

I told Reasoned faith to risk if he wants to, there is a lot of time and money involved also feeling is involved, and someone saying I'M SORRY , from a deskfront of consulate, is not nice at all, he could feel like a building falling on him, if he wants he can risk, it is up to him if he wants to attempt, he know where he goes thru
ciao riccardo


Thanks Mler and Ribru. Both your posts have merits and are preparing me for the kind of questions I need answered. This is a very peculiar scenario for me. What does one do in a case like mine where repressive and archaic laws prohibited the union of black and white marriages in my country? Could a case not be made from that perspective? Especially in light of the fact that the consulate in South Africa would be aware of past laws of this nature in my country? I also do not understand how marriage can cloud the notion of “by blood rightâ€

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ricbru » 17 Nov 2010, 13:50

When you get the birth certificate from Ventimiglia, there could be the marriage annotation on it, with the italian wife, so the consulate could ask you if you have like the death record of the italian wife (there was not divorce or separation at that time), and if your great grandmother was like the second marriage wife for him, and for sure ne needs papers, proves of certificates. As the italian law says, comparing to italian style, kids are born after the marriage of their parents.
If there is not annotation about italian marriage on his birth certificate in Ventimiglia, it is good for you, and hide this situation to the consular office, and you can state that the south african law didnt allow marriage between a white and black, and you prove you have the affidavit of 1921.
Good luck
Riccardo

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby JavaisLife » 17 Nov 2010, 17:14

ReasonedFaith - I am not a lawyer, nor do I have any idea of how the courts work in South Africa. ...

I agree with Mler, your main goal is to prove your bloodline. It seems you have that information. Granted, there is a tremendous doubt involved in your case - so, I'd look into applying at a lenient consulate. As well as considering that your application be years in the making.

Perhaps it is possible you can bring in official documents stating how the African tradition of Labola is the same as common law marriage. You could consult a lawyer to petition a court asking if a proper marriage license can be created? I am aware that people have petitioned courts to re-create a birth certificate w/ the proper documentation. Perhaps an official document can be created? I'd explore my options.

Are both of you GGF's and GGM names on your father's birth certificate? Proper date of birth for your GGF as well? If so, it should help.

However I also agree with Ricbru, you have a difficult application and I would consider what costs are involved and what this is worth to you. Perhaps, as I mentioned earlier - making this more of a long term goal will not only reduce the costs of obtaining paperwork, but it can also remove some of the anxiety of having to gather all the information w/in a short time period.

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby mler » 17 Nov 2010, 21:54

There are several things here that appear to work in Reasoned Faith's favor.

He states that his Italian marriage was a "common law" marriage. This means no marriage certificate and no need for divorce papers.

His ggf gave his surname to his South African children. This probably means that he is listed as "father" on their birth certificates.

I recognize that the consulates "require" birth, marriage, naturalization, and death certificates. In practice, however, many have obtained citizenship recognition with one or several documents missing.

The document that is most significant is, of course, the birth certificate. The marriage and death certificates provide additional confirmation that the parties named on the birth certificate are connected. Since Italy does not require legitimacy to claim Italian citizenship, it seems that other "connecting" evidence should be acceptable. Reasoned Faith will also be applying in SA, and it is likely that the consulate officials there understand SA law. That can only help.

Of course, there are never guarantees, but Reasoned Faith's extensive paper trail should prove to be very helpful.

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Re: Query From South Africa - Do I Qualify For Dual Citizens

Postby ReasonedFaith » 18 Nov 2010, 04:35

JavaisLife wrote:ReasonedFaith - I am not a lawyer, nor do I have any idea of how the courts work in South Africa. ...

I agree with Mler, your main goal is to prove your bloodline. It seems you have that information. Granted, there is a tremendous doubt involved in your case - so, I'd look into applying at a lenient consulate. As well as considering that your application be years in the making.

Perhaps it is possible you can bring in official documents stating how the African tradition of Labola is the same as common law marriage. You could consult a lawyer to petition a court asking if a proper marriage license can be created? I am aware that people have petitioned courts to re-create a birth certificate w/ the proper documentation. Perhaps an official document can be created? I'd explore my options.

Are both of you GGF's and GGM names on your father's birth certificate? Proper date of birth for your GGF as well? If so, it should help.

However I also agree with Ricbru, you have a difficult application and I would consider what costs are involved and what this is worth to you. Perhaps, as I mentioned earlier - making this more of a long term goal will not only reduce the costs of obtaining paperwork, but it can also remove some of the anxiety of having to gather all the information w/in a short time period.


Hi Javaislife, thank you for your post. I am still waiting for the department of home affairs to send me my Grandmothers birth certificate. I just pray that the birth certificate lists my GGF's name as the father or else I dont know what I will possibly do. Therein lies another problem, I dont know whether home affairs permitted a black women to list a Caucasian man as the biological father to their children those days.

Having said that, in light of the documents that I have in my possession I like your suggestion about petitioning the courts. It will be costly but if my GM's birth certificate comes back without listing my GGF's name it would be my only recourse. :cry:


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