It is undeniable that finding appointments with the Italian Consulates here in the US is becoming a somewhat daunting task. No matter how many times a day you log in to the PRENOTAMI online booking system of the Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State where you reside, you keep getting the same message: Al momento, non ci sono date disponibili per il servizio richiesto (There are no available dates for the service requested at this time).
In addition, if found, appointments with many Consulates are booked several years out (2027 and 2028), to which you have to add 12 to 24 months for your application to be processed; this means you may be five to seven years out before your Italian citizenship is granted.
Is There A Way To Speed Up The Italian Citizenship Process?
The answer is yes: the Consulates’ unreasonable delays and failure to provide an appointment can now be viewed as a “denial of justice”, a condition for fast-tracking your case in front of an Italian judge who will ultimately grant you Italian citizenship.
NOTE: Based on Italian law, citizenship applications by right of blood should be processed by the relevant Italian Consulate within two (2) years from the submission of the request. Unfortunately, as we all know, most Consulates are unable to conform to the above timeframe. For this reason, you may consider filing a claim before the Italian Courts.
This option does not require your presence in Italy. In other words, you do not have to set permanent residency in Italy to petition the Courts. You do not attend any court proceedings in person. Because of this, many applicants are opting to take their case in front of an Italian judge.
What Is The Process Of Claiming Italian Citizenship By Petitioning The Italian Courts?
It is no different than applying through the normal administrative route of the Italian Consulate. The general rule is the same:
- If you fulfill the qualification requirements
- If your document portfolio is complete (no missing documents)
- If all major inconsistencies have been addressed and/or corrected
there is a good chance you will be granted Italian Citizenship.
However, by taking your case to Court, you will have to prove the following:
- You cannot book an appointment at the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State where you reside
- You are on a very long waitlist
- If you have an appointment, it is so far out (beyond the two-year legal timeframe)
If one of the following applies to you, then your case can be viewed as a “Denial of Justice”. This means that you, the applicant, have no other option but to enforce your rights directly through the Court.
What Is Required To Petition The Courts?
So, first things first, you will need to build your evidence:
You need to prove that you are registered within the PRENOTAMI online booking system of the relevant Italian Consulate and that you have tried for a long time, with no success, to schedule an appointment. You must take screenshots of the page attesting to the impossibility of booking an appointment, for at least 3 or 4 months (the more the better) before the claim can be filed in the Italian Court.
You will need to make sure that the screenshots show the following:
- Name/location of the Italian Consulate (San Francisco, New York...)
- The service required (Citizenship by descent)
- The exact date and time of the screenshot
- The Applicant’s name
It is advisable to take multiple screenshots every day, at different times, while following the Consulate's instructions, if any. Always gather as much evidence as possible, so the judge will see that that despite your extra efforts, it was impossible to book an appointment through the Consulate online booking system OR to have the application processed in a reasonable time.
NOTE: There are also cases where your appointment was canceled, and no substitute appointment was set, and/or no other option was given (such as submitting the document portfolio by mail). This notification from the Italian Consulate sent by email can be presented to the Court as evidence.
Are There Any Differences In Documentation Needed To Present To The Italian Courts?
Each Italian Consulate throughout the U.S. has slightly different documentation requirements; some only require lineage documents, others also require spousal birth and death records, etc.
The Italian Courts require all the records documenting every single vital event (birth, marriage or marriage, death, divorce records) for each direct lineage ancestor starting with you. All these documents, including the naturalization records, will have to be legalized with an Apostille. The translations to Italian will have to be performed in Italy because they must be certified by a local Italian court to be presented to the judge.
The documentation will have to be complete and consistent; if there are discrepancies they will have to be addressed with additional documents and/or amending the actual records.
How Long Does It Take A Judge To Rule On Italian Citizenship?
Assuming your document portfolio is ready, the timeline is generally between 12 and 18 months. It all depends on the calendar of the judge that will be assigned to your case. There will then be a hearing, and if the application is accepted, the judge may take up to six months to issue the ruling.
NOTE: since June 22, 2022, all citizenship-related cases are heard in the local court that has jurisdiction over your Italian Ancestor’s place of birth. These local courts coinciding with the Court of Appeal Districts are 26 in total: Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Brescia, Cagliari, Caltanissetta, Campobasso, Catania, Catanzaro, Firenze, Genova, L'Aquila, Lecce, Messina, Milano, Napoli, Palermo, Perugia, Potenza, Reggio Calabria, Roma, Salerno, Torino, Trento, Trieste.
What Happens After You Obtain Italian Citizenship By Order Of An Italian Judge?
- Your birth record will be properly recorded with the Italian town hall (i.e., the town where your Italian ancestor was born)
- With an official letter/email from the mayor of the Italian town, you will register with the AIRE (Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad) of the Italian Consulate here in the US that has jurisdiction over the State where you reside.
- Once the AIRE registration is successful, you will be able to book an appointment to get your Italian Passport. The appointment will have to be “in person” because you will have to be fingerprinted first. Some Italian Consulates issue the Italian passport on the same day while others will mail it to you.
My Italian Family TOGETHER with Mazzeschi, our affiliate Law Firm in Italy, can assist you. During our years of collaboration, we have successfully helped many applicants like you, fulfilling their dream of becoming Italian Dual Citizens. We don’t just give advice, we handle all the purchasing and preparation of your entire portfolio of documents, whether you apply at an Italian Consulate here in the US or you apply in Italy (including 1948 Challenge Courts Cases). Our experience spans the past 20 years, and we have expert knowledge of what each Consulate requires, as well as what the Italian Courts require. TO GET STARTED AND FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.
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