What’s likely to happen at your appointment with the Italian Consulate?

Assuming you already have an appointment with the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State where you reside AND assuming you have gathered all the required Italian Vital Records, Naturalization Records, US Vital Records (Apostilled and translated to Italian) including properly filled-out application forms, this is generally what you should expect when you walk into the Italian Consulate the day of your meeting: 

Some of the Consulates have their own buildings while others rent office space. No matter what the Consulate looks like, it’s worth remembering that these Consular offices are under Italian jurisdiction: you are literally walking into Italy. Before you are allowed in, you will be asked to show your ID to check if you have an appointment scheduled for that day.  You may quickly find out that you are not the only one there and may have to wait in line (for a while) until it is your turn.  

Each Consulate has slightly different procedures mostly determined by the space available; while in NYC (a building with several floors) you will eventually be asked to go upstairs where your interview is going to be conducted face-to-face with a Consular officer, other Consulates conduct the interview in the same “public” room. If that’s the case, you will be standing up at the counter and communicating through a plate-glass window with a slit in it to pass your documents. Don’t worry; although the setting might seem as bad as going to the DMV, it won’t be an issue if you know what to expect. 

The interview is about to start and the first thing the Consular officer will want to see is your valid Government Photo ID, US passport and proof of residence (normally a utility bill) to make sure you reside in a State or County covered by the jurisdiction of the Italian Consulate where you are applying. 

Remember: you don’t need to prove you are fluent in Italian during the interview, since it will be conducted in English. Knowing Italian is not a requirement to get Italian citizenship jure sanguinis (by right of blood) because all you need to do is prove through documentation that you are related to your Italy-born Ancestor and that your ascendants never renounced their rights to Italian citizenship. 

You will then be asked to show (or pass through the slit) all the documents that are part of your application portfolio. This will take some time, because the Consular officer must go through each document, making sure that:

First: you do in fact qualify for Italian Dual Citizenship through the lineage you are presenting

Second: there are no misspellings; the dates match throughout the documentation provided; the translations are accurate; your documentation is in fact complete. 

NOTE: The Italian Consulate will keep all the original documents (with a few exceptions regarding Certificates of Naturalization for living people). Make sure you keep photocopies or order more than one original copy for your records. 

Unless you have prepared a thorough list of discrepancies that you identified in your documentation, or you have even gone the extra mile to amend/correct them through the Division of Vital Records of the State that issued the document/s (if it’s allowed of course), you will receive an official list of “items” that need to be corrected and/or additional documents that need to be acquired. Sometimes this list is typed up but other times it’s not, so make sure you take copious notes during the meeting.  You will be given a certain number of weeks (up to six months) to correct and/or provide these additional papers. Make sure you ask what the deadline is, just in case. 

Please remember: since July 8th, 2014, all applications are subject to the payment of a €300 consular fee. Payment can only be made in US dollars, either by postal or bank money order or cash only. Check your Consulate website ahead of time to see what form of payment they accept. as well as the exchange rate which is updated at the end of each calendar Quarter.  The application fee is NON-REFUNDABLE, regardless of the outcome of the meeting.

Well, how did the meeting go? Odds are you won’t know right away even if your application is accepted with no changes required. The timeline is partially based on how long it will take you to fulfill the list of items to amend or add that the Italian Consulate gave you, along with their own internal processing procedures.  It’s worth noting that Consulates can take as much as two (2) years before they will notify you of the outcome. In that event, status updates are not available. Fortunately, we are hearing that more and more applicants throughout the US receive their Italian Citizenship within six months or less either by email or snail mail. 

Despite these long “waits”, in the end you will certainly say: “It was well worth it!"

If your appointment with the Italian Consulate is fast approaching and would like to have your documentation reviewed before their appointment with the Italian Consulate, SCHEDULE YOUR TELEPHONE CONSULTATION with us. 

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