I had my appointment with Mr. Cei yesterday morning at the San Francisco Consulate. I’m applying via my great grandfather, grandfather and mother.
I was 15 minutes early so I spent the time sitting in the waiting area that felt more like a bank than a reception area of a country. I guess I was expecting something a bit more grandiose. No one else was there except the receptionist who appeared on occasion.
He opened the door to a large office area and led me a desk in the corner. No one else was around and it was all very quiet. He even made a remark about it as I guess I and others assume that it’s normally very hectic.
He asked for my application and forms 2A and 2B. I had left my application on my desk at work but he said he would get me another.
We then went through my documents starting with my great grandfathers birth certificate. This was stapled to his marriage certificate and he commented that the Italian government must be in trouble as they moved to smaller staples.
Next was my great grandmothers birth certificate. Messina, her comune, emailed it to me so I printed out the attachment and the entire communiqué. He said it was acceptable.
Although the requirements have changed in San Francisco I was already in the process of having all documents related to birth, marriage and death translated and apostilles applied. So that’s how they were presented from here on.
The original letter that I received from USCIS stating that no record was found for my great grandfather. This one had numerous alias’s on it as his name was anglicized through the years and the census records from 1920 and 1930 had misspellings on them. The 1930 census listed him as PA so I wanted to cover all of my bases in the search.
The certified letter from USCIS stating that no records were found. For some reason this letter came back to me without any of the previous alias’s so I was a bit worried.
The certified letter from NARA stating no records were found.
A certified copy of his Declaration of Intent from the local courthouse. This was dated October of 1926, ten years after the birth of my grandfather, so I think I’m in the clear.
Certified copies of the 1920 and 1930 census. Since my great grandfather had filed a Declaration of Intent but never completed the process, Mr. Cei had asked in a previous correspondence to bring these along. The 1920 census was kept but not used due to gross misspelling of the family surname. The 1930 census was kept and used as the surname was correct and my great grandfathers status was listed as PA (previously AL on the 1920 census).
My great grandfathers death certificate.
My grandfathers birth certificate.
This one I didn’t have an apostille or translation for as I spent the last three months dealing with the Court of Philadelphia to have numerous errors corrected. The final copy arrived on December 30th, just in the nick of time. Mr. Cei said it was ok as is.
I can write up a post on dealing with the court if anyone is interested.
My grandfathers death certificate.
The marriage certificate for him and my grandmother. He remarked that it was light on information (Maryland, 1940’s) but better than one from Nevada. The joke was lost on me. I get that Nevada is a quick marriage state so perhaps Maryland is the same? They did elope, after all.
My grandmothers birth certificate. This he photocopied and gave back to me.
My mothers birth certificate.
My mother and fathers marriage certificate.
My fathers birth certificate. Again, photocopied and returned.
My birth certificate.
My marriage certificate.
He asked for my wife’s birth certificate but we didn’t get it in time. Apparently it takes seven weeks in California to obtain a long form version.
My great grandmothers death certificate. This was neither translated nor had an apostille been applied as it too came in days before the appointment. He took a look at it then handed it back to me.
We have no children so nothing else was submitted.
He handed me another application to fill out and between being very nervous and having horrible penmanship to boot I’m afraid that it was somewhat illegible. I was also getting confused on the dates as it’s day-month-year on the form where as we generally write month-day-year. I kick myself for leaving my nicely typed copy on my desk.
I signed the application and forms 2A and 2B, he signed them also and said, “Well that was a bit anticlimactic, wasn’t it?”
Yes, it was.
At least that part is over. He said he’d contact me if there were any issues and the confirmation letter should arrive in two to five months. He also asked me if I could get mail at the address I listed on the application. I responded yes, that’s my home as long it’ll fit in a small mailbox. He said it wouldn’t be a huge letter but I’d be surprised at how many people list addresses that can’t receive mail. I liked his humor quite a bit.
Thanks to everyone on the board who posted experiences and insight and jschotz for his informative posts on amending certificates via court order.
The only spelling errors that needed attention were those on my grandfathers birth certificate. I ended up having to get a court order for the corrections. I'm not sure if I posted that process on these boards or not but it is posted here.
My great grandmothers birth certificate was a challenge. She was born in Messina, Sicily and the city was devastated by the 1908 earthquake then bombardment in world war 2. I didn't think I'd ever find the document but after several emails I received a copy as an attachment. It was handwritten and her surname was spelled differently than that on the marriage certificate but the consulate let it slide.