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[ id=5236 w=150 h=180 float=left] Obtaining Italian Citizenship
Last night, the American Italian Cultural Center in New Orleans hosted a seminar on obtaining Italian Citizenship. The speaker was Arnaldo Partesotti, Honorary Consul of Italy. The seminar was well-attended with about 25 participants, four of which were CSBA members – Chris Caravella, Diane Dempsey, Raymond Laque and Toni Serpas.
For us, the main question is “Am I eligible to obtain dual citizenship”. I’ll review the guidelines in this memo.
First, you must be descended from an Italian citizen on your paternal lineage. This rule was altered to include descent from an Italian citizen on your maternal line, but the child of that Italian ancestor must be born after January 1, 1948. For most of us, only the paternal lineage will apply.
Secondly, the child of that Italian ancestor must be born before that Italian ancestor became a US citizen. US citizenship prior to 1992 required that the applicants renounce their former citizenship, so children (and their descendants) born after their father obtained US citizenship are not eligible for Italian citizenship. Ancestors who were never naturalized, present a difficult situation because there is no documentary evidence of this. One attendee mentioned that it was possible to get the state department to issue a document stating that the ancestor never naturalized if this is indicated on a census record. Mr Partesotti had not heard of this but it is certainly worth investigating further if the situation applies.
Thirdly, you must obtain the birth, marriage and death certificates of every ancestor between (and including) yourself and that ancestor who held Italian citizenship. This, again, can be problematic. Many of our ancestors who were born outside of major metropolitan areas never had certificates issued for their birth. You can try getting an affidavit declaring the birth but there is no guarantee that this will be accepted.
Another obstacle mentioned by CSBA member, Raymond Laque, is a change to surname. Most of our ancestors just adopted an altered surname with no official documentation ever obtained. Remember that this is a bureaucratic process and it is not always consistently handled amongst the Italian Consulates in the US. Even if some of these obstacles apply to your case, you may overcome them whereas someone with the same problems had not.
The process generally takes 3 years to complete if everything is in order. Having Italian citizenship relieves you of the burden of getting a visa for work or extended stays in Europe (Italy is part of the European Union, so your Italian citizenship applies to all EU countries). The process of buying property is also easier. But, as Sal Serio (president of the Cefalutana Society) pointed out, he is entitled by birth to have Italian citizenship and it is a matter of pride and honor above all.
Good Luck! I’d like to hear about your experience if you want to pursue or already have pursued Italian citizenship. I, personally, fall in that category where my grandfather, being born in Alabama prior to 1900, never had a birth certificate issued. I’d like to have Italian citizenship but I don’t know of it’s worth the trouble of overcoming this problem.
Please send me an email if you would like a copy of the handout from the presentation.
President, Congregazione di San Bartolomeo Apostolo
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L’arte di essere saggi è l’arte di
capire a cosa si può passare sopra.
A Carolina Basile,
a Tommaso Salerno,
ad Aldo Cannella,
a Maria Ferraro e
a Rosa Lo Muscio i Migliori
Auguri di Buon Compleanno
Oggi si festeggia S. Leonardo.
Auguri a tutti coloro che festeggiano
il loro Onomastico sotto quest0 Nome.
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