Overcoming the 1948 Rule

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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Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby vitomazz » 08 Jun 2014, 22:59

I'm writing this post so that I can both express my extreme gratitude toward my Italian lawyer Luigi Paiano and to help others in my position who are longing to gain Italian citizenship through their maternal bloodline and believe they cannot because of the 1948 law.

I began my quest for Italian citizenship in 1994 when I went on exchange in Bologna for 1 year. From that point forward I always wanted my Italian citizenship, but luck was not on my side. My GF was born in Italy, but naturalized as an American 5 years prior to the birth of my father. My GM was born unto Italians in the USA and by her own birthright was Italian, but gave birth to my father in 1943. So, I was snakebitten by 5 years on either side and was left only with the thread of hope that someday I could find a loophole or some miracle change in legislation that would enable the possibility of citizenship for me.

From time-to-time over the next 15 years I did research in hopes that something would change. Year after year nothing did, until in 2010 I saw a google ad on the side of the page that spoke of an Italian attorney. Lo and behold I jumped to his site and on it he spoke of lawsuits against the Italian government fighting against the discrimination of women... To jump to the future, I just got my passport at the Los Angeles consulate 3 weeks ago. Like anybody might, I had my doubts about giving thousands of euros to a foreign lawyer I knew little about, so I flew to Bologna to look him in the eye and to vet him out. After our meeting I felt confident and I proceeded to gather the paperwork over the next year.

I'll give a timeline on how the trial worked:

-June 2011: I initiated the case with 3 other family members, hiring Luigi Paiano's firm.
-January 2012: First Hearing
-February 2013: Second Hearing
-April 2013: Decision rendering citizenship
-April 2014: Final Paperwork from comune in which ancestors were born, allowing us to go to local consulate and get passport.
-May 2014: Passport in hand, done!

So it took nearly 3 years (court decision 2 years), but it was well worth the wait. Now I'm a citizen of Italy and about 25 others in the EU, can work in any single one of them. Some people would die for a possibility like that, I feel very fortunate.

If anybody has questions, or has doubts about the validity of these rulings you're welcome to contact me. This was a very important step in my life and if you endeavor for the same freedoms as I did I'll be glad to answer your questions. In bocca a lupo!
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby DRuss » 04 Jul 2014, 06:52

Firstly, congratulations and thanks for the detailed report of your experience.

However, I have a question:
-April 2013: Decision rendering citizenship
-April 2014: Final Paperwork from comune

May I ask which comune you were registered in? The reason being that 12 months seems like a long time between the decision and receiving your documents. Others seem to have received their paperwork in only a few months..
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby jennabet » 04 Jul 2014, 19:09

The response from vitomazz's commune was not unreasonable. The primary responsibility of a commune is to serve the needs of the people resident in it's municipality. At this time, many communes are working on big backlogs and are stretched to the limit due to the number of asylum cases they are having to deal with. In case you haven't heard thousands of undocumented immigrants are arriving on Italian shores every day.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby DRuss » 15 Jul 2014, 13:53

jennabet wrote:The response from vitomazz's commune was not unreasonable. The primary responsibility of a commune is to serve the needs of the people resident in it's municipality. At this time, many communes are working on big backlogs and are stretched to the limit due to the number of asylum cases they are having to deal with. In case you haven't heard thousands of undocumented immigrants are arriving on Italian shores every day.


We've been through this before, Jennabet. There is no provision within the law which gives priority to the requests of one group over another. In addition, I am not interested in your opinion as, in the past, it has been highly inaccurate and in many cases quite bigoted and racist.

So if Vitomazz is still reading, I would be interested to hear which commune or region his/her certificates were registered in, purely for interest's sake as others have had their their documents processed in much shorter timeframes.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby jennabet » 15 Jul 2014, 14:05

I didn't write my opinion for your benefit, DRuss. This is a public forum. You can take whatever you want from it. I would hope others do the same.

And for the others, there are no provisions in US law either for giving priority to one group over another but during difficult economic times when government cutbacks have occurred big backlogs do exist and unless you're the IRS, governments don't usually hire extra people to handle backlogs. The same applies in Italy.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby mler » 15 Jul 2014, 16:04

I would guess much depends on the comune. A year does seem rather a long time to simply register documents.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby DRuss » 15 Jul 2014, 16:19

mler wrote:I would guess much depends on the comune. A year does seem rather a long time to simply register documents.

Exactly. That was the reason for my question. I know a few of the larger comunes (Milan, for example) are notoriously slow in many areas. However, my comune (San Giuliano Terme - a small town just outside of Pisa) has been quite fast whenever I've had to deal with them. They produce vital record certificates within a couple of days and didn't take much longer to register my cousins when they applied through the consulates.

It would be useful to know which regions and/or towns are slower, just for reference.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby AdrianBattaglia27 » 15 Jul 2014, 17:53

Luigi Paiano won my 1948 case in April 2013, the reason it takes so long to get your birth records registered in your ancestor's comune doesn't so much have to do with the comune as it does with the legal process. Once we won my lawsuit recognizing my dad and me as Italians, we had to wait about 4 or 5 months for the tax office to request from Avv. Paiano payment of the tax on the judicial decree. Once he received their request he sent them payment as I had already wired the tax fee money to his lawfirm after winning. We then had to wait several months for the tax office to process payment and send the decree back to the court's clerk in Rome for final processing. That took a few more months. Then, once the clerk had my decree, we had to wait another two months for the statutory appeal period to lapse. The Italian government isn't appealing these 1948 cases anymore (let us hope this remains so for other people), so, once the decision was no longer appealable, Avv Paiano requested certified copies of the decision. It took another month or so for him to receive these. He then send them to my comune, Montemaggiore Belsito (PA). I asked my cousin there to see if he could get the sindaco (mayer) to expedite things (I had just met the mayer when I was in Monte in April 2013). Finally, after two months the certificates were issued. Total time elapsed since the date of the judicial decree to having my Italian birth certificate: about 1 year. I have an appointment in September with the NYC consulate for a passport (the soonest date I could get, summer is a bad time for such appointments and I suppose the NY consulate is very very busy).

I hope this explains things. The added time between winning a 1948 ruling and receiving your Italian records has nothing to do with the comune per se, but with the incidents stemming from this legal procedure compared to applying through a consulate (in non-1948 rule cases).

AB,
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby mler » 15 Jul 2014, 17:57

That explains a lot. As far as comuni are concerned, I've found Napoli to be very efficient. They surprised me. :D
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby DRuss » 15 Jul 2014, 18:22

Thank you for the explanation, Adrian. That makes a lot of sense. It seems that most of the delay is due to the tax office and only two months (in your case) was attributed to the comune.

Mr. Paiano advised me earlier this year that it would take 6 months from the date of the last trial, so it's possible that he found a way to speed up the process, or maybe that was just the average processing time.

In my case, I'm confident that my comune won't take longer than a couple of weeks. It's very much a tourist town with very few residents, and as a result, is very well funded.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby AdrianBattaglia27 » 15 Jul 2014, 18:30

You are most welcome, there were some very uninformed opinions being posted about the time delay and I figured it best to set the record straight for people.

I can't comment on what Luigi has told you personally, but I will say that with me he tended to provide estimates of time hedging on a longer period but as it turned out it took a bit less time except with the appeals process and tax dept. in which case it took as long as he had said it *could* take. As for comunes, I wouldn't presume anything at this point, best to just sit back and be patient, make sure you got all your documents and take care of everything that only you can do, and from my one experience, the Italian judicial/bureaucratic processes will roll on, sometimes quickly, more likely slowly... but before you know it you'll have your Italian citizenship!!

A
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby jennabet » 17 Jul 2014, 12:49

Readers might find interesting a classic Italian film from 1960 called "Made in Italy". It contains familiar, detailed scenes of the frustration experienced by an Italian man at his chaotic commune when attempting to update his residence. Of course, things have improved since 1960 but from my own, personal experience, it's really not all that different. Italy is and always will be Italy.

My advice is be prepared and above all be patient. Don't think that being a squeaky wheel because you may have paid a hefty sum for recognition through the courts will get you expedited service. Italy has a socialist society/culture and regardless of your lot in life everyone is treated with respect for the individual when seeking citizen services through his commune. As it should be.

My own commune is very well funded and has an approximate additional 10,000 Italian residents from May through October. However, the long line for citizen services forms outside the building every day 12 months a year but is considerably shorter during August when like most other communes in Italy it's operating on a skeleton crew and Italians know not to expect to get anything done during that month.

Also, the Italian tax authority is called Equitalia. And yes, you can expect delays there as Equitalia as been especially busy since 2012 going after lots of tax dodgers, with good results for the Italian economy, I might add.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby DRuss » 17 Jul 2014, 13:01

jennabet wrote:Readers might find interesting a classic Italian film from 1960 called "Made in Italy". It contains familiar, detailed scenes of the frustration experienced by an Italian man at his chaotic commune when attempting to update his residence. Of course, things have improved since 1960 but from my own, personal experience, it's really not all that different. Italy is and always will be Italy.

My advice is be prepared and above all be patient. Don't think that being a squeaky wheel because you may have paid a hefty sum for recognition through the courts will get you expedited service. Italy has a socialist society/culture and regardless of your lot in life everyone is treated with respect for the individual when seeking citizen services through his commune. As it should be.

My own commune is very well funded and has an approximate additional 10,000 Italian residents from May through October. However, the long line for citizen services forms outside the building every day 12 months a year but is considerably shorter during August when like most other communes in Italy it's operating on a skeleton crew and Italians know not to expect to get anything done during that month.


Thanks, but your story doesn't provide any useful information. As I understand, your comune is understaffed and slow. Why don't you tell us which one it is? I know from my own and my relatives' experiences that my comune (San Giuliano Terme) is well-staffed and efficient.



jennabet wrote:Also, the Italian tax authority is called Equitalia. And yes, you can expect delays there as Equitalia as been especially busy since 2012 going after lots of tax dodgers, with good results for the Italian economy, I might add.

The tax authority is actually called Agenzia delle Entrate. Equitalia is merely a publicly-owned debt-collection firm.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby jennabet » 17 Jul 2014, 13:34

AdrianBattaglia27 wrote:Once we won my lawsuit recognizing my dad and me as Italians, we had to wait about 4 or 5 months for the tax office to request from Avv. Paiano payment of the tax on the judicial decree. Once he received their request he sent them payment as I had already wired the tax fee money to his lawfirm after winning. We then had to wait several months for the tax office to process payment and send the decree back to the court's clerk in Rome for final processing.

AB,
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Equitalia and NOT Agenzia delle Entrate does the billing and processes the payments.
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Re: Overcoming the 1948 Rule

Postby mler » 17 Jul 2014, 13:52

DRuss, your family comes from a lovely part of Italy. I tend to think that the smaller comuni are more efficient, but sometimes even the large ones surprise. It's always been easy for me to deal with Napoli. Who would have thunk it! :-)
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