I had my citizenship appt in Chicago last week. It took about 1.5 hours after waiting a half hour or so. I met with Margherita at a window and stood there while she reviewed my documents against my application form, all done very, very carefully. She was quite nice, and we spoke English. (My Italian is crap.)
I am very lucky to have had no issues finding documents, etc. I'm going through Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandfather. The only issue was that my mother's name is Victoria, yet her marriage certificate states "Vicky". Once I have that document corrected, I scan it to Margherita, and once she gives the ok, I mail the entire application and documents back to her for processing. She also gave me one additional form regarding my three minor children.
By the end she asked to see photos of my three kids, so all went seemingly well! I was thrilled to get her direct phone # and email from her for future questions. Hopefully in 2012 I will have this complete! Thanks so much to this website for feedback and advice.
Hi Josh, Well, I am still waiting for my letter of recognition. I had to amend a document and didn't get everything officially submitted to her until the week of Christmas. My brother, however, had an appointment in San Francisco in December and got his letter in January! Lucky him!
My Mother is also applying for citizenship but via San Francisco. I am the only one who left CA. Margherita did not ask about other family. My Mother is divorced, and so it seemed generally accepted to just say nothing of this and make it easier on everyone. However, my Mother forgot her "instructions" and volunteered the fact that she's divorced during their appt, so now she has to get her decree, apostille, etc. At least this did not seem to affect my brother or sister. SF seems much more relaxed about all this than Chicago. If I were you, I might go ahead and get the divorce documents in place, especially if it's your parents. I had to amend a document to change my Mother's name from "Vicky" to "Victoria", which took two months. SF didn't even care about this at all, and my brother had to do nothing. SO, if there's any way that Chicago would find out about a divorce, I'd just go ahead and get the documentation in order if you can. They are waaayyy particular.
One more small thing - when I arrived for my appt she told me I was late. She said my appt was at 10am (which it wasn't) but she'd go ahead and see me at 11 since no one else was there. (I'd come all the way from South Dakota!) I couldn't argue, of course, but I wished I'd had a copy of the email they sent me with my appointment information. Just in case there's an issue, you might want to have that!
She told me within the first 10 minutes of the appointment that I definitely qualified, we just had to go through everything. I wish you the best of luck! Let me know if I can help with any other questions. Angela
Angela, Thanks for the great information! I'll be traveling to Chicago from Wyoming, so I want to make sure I have everything in order. I have a few more questions, if you don't mind.
By "letter of recognition," are you referring to a letter from the comune in Italy, or a letter from the consulate?
When you submitted the Form 3 part of the application, who did you have sign it? I assume it was your mother? Did you submit a copy of her driver license or passport and a bank statement or bill showing her address? There is a statement at the bottom of the form asking for this, but it is unclear to me if it is referring to the applicant or the person completing Form 3.
Also, did you receive an email before your appointment confirming the date and time? If so, when did it arrive?
Josh, By "letter of recognition" I am referring to a letter my brother received from the consulate. I was always under the impression that we waited for a letter from the comune, or the consulate waited for that, then sent us a letter. Since he received a letter from the SF consulate literally a couple weeks after he finalized his application, it seems that the final "approval" was done actually at the consulate. THEN his papers were sent to Italy, but he was already applying for his passport by then, which he received in no time. (He also says I have to apply for this in person in Chicago, with letter in hand, but I hope that's not the case for me!) Hope this isn't confusing!
Re: form 3 "Living Italian Ascendant I had my grandmother sign it, after I filled it out for her with all her years of residence, etc, then had it notarized. I also brought copies of her CA photo id card and a bill showing her address, though I don't know what they need it for. They took it but didn't say anything about it. Odd.
I did not receive an email confirming my appointment, which was made 9 months prior. I had no contact with them once I received my appointment date, until I showed up months later. It's such a crazy process. I also felt like an idiot not speaking Italian, but at least I was dressed appropriately and had everything organized in a small binder by generation. She liked that. I was very very nervous!
Feel free to ask any other questions. I'm so glad I can help! She also had me fill out a form about my kids, which is on the website somewhere. Apparently this was added in November, and it wasn't in the original instructions. It's at least a simple form, and may not even affect you. I was thinking she was going to request copies of my children's passports, but she never did. (I've gotten them all ready just in case.)
Apparently, the consulates are not consistent in the way they acknowledge citizenship recognition. In New York, as in SF, the consulate sends you a letter of recognition once they approve your application and sends your documents to the comune for registration. In Newark, you are not considered officially recognized until there is confirmation of registration.
In NY, I was able to obtain my passport with only the consulate's letter. It was actually several years later that I actually wrote to my comune to obtain a copy of my registered bc. The Chicago approach is a bit more time consuming, but it will get done.
If you believe that your documents have already been sent out for registration, you may want to consider writing to your comune for a copy of your registered bc. This would expedite the process.
Well, this makes more sense then if the consulates process letters differently! My brother is more upset than I am that I haven't gotten my letter yet. It's really only been 3 months so I'm not surprised. Like you said, Chicago is probably waiting on a letter from the comune (which took 4+ months just to send birth certificates) so I will patiently wait.....
I only have direct experience with NY and Newark, but I seem to recall a post indicating that Chicago uses the Newark approach. But you don't have to wait for this. Send a letter to the comune requesting your recentlyregistered bc. Naples sent mine within a week and that city does not have a reputation as the model of efficiency.
The more recent documents are much easier to locate. Several templates for letters requeting your own bc can be found at italiancitizenship.freeforums.org
I'm curious, what states did your documents originate in? Was it mostly California? A majority of mine come from California, but others are from Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, and Nevada. They're all apostilled, but I am wondering if this is going to be an issue for the Chicago consulate. I've heard of some consulates requesting documents be approved by the consulate for which jurisdiction they originate in--another step in the process.
Documents that will be recorded in Italy that originate outside of the consulate you are applying will have to be authenticated by the consulate with jurisdiction. So if your BC is from CA you will have to have it authenticated by either LA or SF.
That's interesting, I hadn't heard of this. Most of my documents came from California, with a couple more AR & MO. I wasn't asked to have anything authenticated anywhere else (So far), so hopefully it's all ok.