Road to Italian Citizenship, Part Two: Obtaining Certified Documents

A few weeks ago I wrote about considering dual Italian citizenship. Hopefully, you’re not dissuaded by the initial hoops you have to jump through. In case you missed it, please click here for part one.

Hopefully now you’re thinking, “Yes, I qualify! Yes, I want to DO EEEIT!” Okay, awesome! But look, I’m not going to lie … now you’re starting the hard part: getting shit loads of certified documents and then having those aforementioned documents Apostilled.

APOSTILLE: additional authentication required for international acceptance of notarized documents. 

In the United States, an Apostille is a legalization issued by the Secretaries of the fifty states. It’s a separate page bearing the seal of the state and the signature of the Secretary of State, stapled to the document it legalizes.

Yeah, that’s right folks. After you receive certified documents you’ll need to send those to out to STATE for further authenticity.

Did I lose you yet? Before you grab that bottle of wine, keep going 🙂

As I wrote in blog one,  I claimed citizenship through my great-grandfather, Pasquale. I never met Pasquale, obviously, but as my ascendant I claimed Jure Sanguinis or law of the blood.

Before you even get STARTED, call or email the Italian Consulate and get an appointment. Trust me. It will most likely take almost a year for you to get in (maybe longer now). It will take almost that long just to gather all the documents.

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I have to file what again?!

To help organise what you’ll need, I’ve broken the process into FOUR separate categories:

  1. Certified documents. These are the long form birth certificates, death, marriage, and divorce. They must be certified copies. You will need to get them from county records.
  2. Certification of Naturalisation: County or USCIS. If you cannot find the certificate of naturalisation through the County courthouse, you will need to request your ascendant’s naturalization record through USCIS’s Genealogy Program, or a Freedom of Information Act request. OR, USCIS will issue you a document saying naturalization could not be found.
  3. Your Italian-born ascendant’s birth certificate from a Comune in Italy (and marriage!). You will need to write to the Comune and ask for them to send a copy.
  4. Apostille documents which link YOU to your ascendant. The state government conducts all apostilles. You’ll need them translated into Italian. Do NOT use Google translate, get yourself a legitimate Italian translator (unless you already speak it yourself, fluently).

Yes. It is a SHIT load of work! However, you’ll find that once you get started it moves quickly. You may also find a treasure trove of forgotten family history. Apparently, my great grandmother had property in North Italy. I also found countless pictures, letters written in Italian and even their original passports from Italy to New York!

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PART ONE: CERTIFIED DOCUMENTS

Depending on who you are claiming through, the list might be longer or shorter. To give you an example, here is a list of documents I needed:

  • Pasquale’s birth certificate (in Montegrosso, Italy!), marriage certificate to my great grandmother, Cristina (Calosso, Italy!) and his death certificate (Madera, CA).
  • Pasquale’s certificate of naturalisation (USCIS).
  • Cristina’s birth certificate (in Calosso, Italy).
  • Birth certificate for my grandmother, Adele (Madera). Her marriage certificate to Charlie, my grandfather (in Nevada — yes, they eloped!).
  • Charlie’s birth certificate. (Manteca, CA).
  • Birth certificate for my mother, Kathy (Madera). Marriage certificate to my dad, Tony (Madera).
  • Tony’s birth certificate (New York).
  • My birth certificate (Fresno, CA).

You may not believe it, but gathering certified documents is EASY. Just find the county, download/fill out the appropriate forms, send in a check and wait for it to arrive. For all my local documents, I just dropped by the county office to pick them up. Since none of my family members divorced that cut down on time and cost.

 Word of warning: New York takes a long time! 

This should come as no surprise, given the massive Italian population. For my dad’s birth certificate I ordered online, but it took over a month. In comparison, I received my other certified documents from California and Nevada in less than a week.

DHS_cis_WR_atPART TWO: USCIS AND NATURALISATION PAPERWORK

You might get lucky (I didn’t on this) and get all naturalisation paperwork from the local country courthouse. Until 1991, naturalized U.S. citizens were sworn in at a local or federal courthouse. As a result, many U.S. Counties’ courthouse records include naturalization records. Except when an applicant has his or her ascendant’s certificate of naturalization, a County record is always required. Remember that a County record must have the signature and seal of a County official.

If, like me, you cannot locate these at County, you’ll need to search at Federal. It takes more time, but it’s definitely doable. Take a look at the USCIS Genealogy website. You’ll need to request a FILE NUMBER. I pulled some documents through Madera County which had my great grandfather’s case file number, but the rest of the documents were illegible. If you DO NOT have the file number, conduct an Index search. This will cost about $20-30 dollars.

Anticipate federal taking two or three months, maybe longer. Email them every few weeks and call. Ask to speak with someone. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. I hounded these people and they finally sent me what I needed. It’s not their fault, they have only a few staff members and too much demand. They will most likely not send you a certified copy, which is perfectly fine. Just remember to keep the envelope, as you’ll need that as proof for the Italian Consulate.

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PART THREE: WRITING TO ITALY

When I first started, I thought writing to Italy would take the longest. I’ve heard horror stories about the postal network and figured I’d have to write two or three times. Boy, was I totally wrong. I got them in few weeks! They even sent the postage back. Color me pleasantly surprised!

Hell, even locating where to send is easy. In my own example, I just googled “Comune di Montegrosso di Asti”. BOOM! 

Address: Via Re Umberto, 60, Montegrosso d’Asti, Province of Asti, Italy 

So, write to the “Comune” where your ascendant was born, request a birth certificate in “formato internazionale”, or in “estratto per riassunto” (showing his/her parents’ names), enclose three/four dollars for shipping and handling and a stamped, self-addressed envelope. When writing to the Comune, address your request to:

COMUNE DI ____________________
Ufficio Anagrafe – Stato Civile
(zip code) _______ (City) _____ (province of) ________
ITALY

I had a friend write a little note in Italian explaining I needed information to process my Italian citizenship. Maybe that helped speed up the process, I’m not sure! Either way, it’s incredibly easy.

California_Apostille_Service_Tel_1-707-992-5551

PART FOUR: APOSTILLE DOCUMENTS AND ITALIAN TRANSLATIONS

You’ve gotten everything above. AWESOME!! You’re really getting there. Now, only a few things remain:

  • Your birth certificate needs an Apostille and translated into Italian
  • All your marriage certificates, if any, with Apostilles and translations
  • All your divorce decrees, if any, with Apostilles and translations

For the Apostille, just look up the Secretary of State online, find the document needed, fill out and send with the appropriate check amount. You may need to provide a self-addressed stamped envelope (I know I did).

The Italian Consulate does not require you to go through a professional translator, which is great. So if you or a family member speaks fluently you can do this all yourself. By far, translations are the most expensive part of this process. I went through a family friend and had no problems. Please note, you do NOT have to get the Apostille translated, only the certified document. This is because they will send your birth certificate to the Comune in Italy. So for example, my birth certificate is now located in Montegrosso in their records which proves I’m an Italian citizen.

Now, this might have changed but when I applied for citizenship I needed to do a few extra steps:

  • Provide Adele’s (grandmother) birth certificate and marriage certificate with Apostille, and translation
  • Provide Kathy (mother) birth certificate and marriage certificate Apostille and translation

I needed to get those done to PROVE my blood line to Pasquale. Check with your Italian Consulate if this has changed. 

Once you have this all finished, you’re well on your way! BE PROUD! Celebrate with some wine and gelato!

In part three, I’ll discuss problems you might come across and solutions if they do happen. Grazie!

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You’re so close, you can practically feel the Italian beaches!
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67 Replies to “Road to Italian Citizenship, Part Two: Obtaining Certified Documents”

    1. hahaha! Maybe I wasn’t totally clear in my blog. I already have dual citizenship! This is for people who are looking to pursue it themselves, too! I’ve gotten so many questions from friends about it so I thought it best to write it all out for them to read in their own time 😉 But thank you!!

      1. It took me a couple of years to gets ll my documents together. My appointment with the Italian Consulate in Miami was on 5/6/15. The woman there was impressed that I had everything together and in order. “You should hear back in about three months”, she said. It is now 15 months later and still nothing. Very frustrating, but it may be the “Italian” way! My constant emails for updates have been ignored, so now I just wait.😟

  1. Know how to do it for Hungary? I imagine the process might be somewhat the same or similar…I dunno…? I envy you.

    1. I’m not sure about Hungary! I would definitely take a look at the Consulate. I didn’t even know I could do this until my dad happened to see it. You never know, maybe they have something similar! 🙂

  2. I am currently pursuing my dual citizenship through a service and have my appointment with the Italian consulate in Miami on 5/14/14. Last piece is to prove my grandfather never renounced his citizenship. Not sure how that is validated but will leave that to the service. Getting excited to get this completed.

    1. Craig,

      First off, congrats on being so close! That’s a huge accomplishment in itself.

      Are you claiming citizenship through your grandfather? If so, then yes, you’ll need to have his death certificate. You’re almost there, good luck!

      Cheers,

      Kassie

  3. Hi,

    I’ve been slowly researching how to go about acquiring my Italian Dual Citizenship for months now. I usually start then end up giving up after a few days of hitting brick walls and being redirected from agency to agency. Also, I live in NYC so you could only imagine…

    It’s so refreshing to come across you’re site. I’m in the same exact position you were in and have similar intentions for requesting dual citizenship. I’m trying to obtain citizenship through my Mom’s side of the family. Both of my Great Grandparents immigrated from Italy between 1905 and 1912. They did not meet till they were in the States so an Italian Marriage certificate is one less document to search for. I’m wondering, how in the world did you go about finding and acquiring the Italian birth certificates? The process is mind blowing. I’m looking to apply through my Great Grandfather; I also need my Great Grandmother’s birth certificate? Lastly, I only know the year they were born, not the actual birth dates, any advice on how to navigate the acquisition search? I’m lost.

    Any advice is monumentally appreciated!

    1. Hi MD! Thanks for your comment, I’m glad to help! Definitely don’t give up, it can be difficult but it’s very rewarding in the end.

      You’ll need to write to the commune where your great grandparents were born. For example, mine were born in the commune Asti. I found the address on the communes’ website.

      I pulled this from the SF consulate website: Your Italian-born ascendant’s birth certificate from a Comune in Italy a. write to the “Comune” where your ascendant was born, request a birth certificate in “formato internazionale”, or in “estratto per riassunto” (showing his/her parents’ names), enclose three/four dollars for shipping and handling and a stamped, self-addressed envelope. When writing to the Comune, address your request to : b. COMUNE DI ____________________ Ufficio Anagrafe – Stato Civile (zip code) _______ (City) _____ (province of) ________ ITALY

      Write a simple document (google translate helps, or ask someone who speaks fluent italian) with as much information as you have. Dates are incredibly helpful, but have their full names and the year at minimum. Be sure to say you are writing to pursue citizenship and learning more about your family history.

      I was lucky!! They got back to me within a month! They even sent the money back and provided a couple of copies! Good luck, let me know how it goes!!

      1. Hi,

        Thanks for getting right back to me with all of this information, every little bit helps! I’m still in the early stages of hunting and gathering but I’m sure I could use more advice as things trudge along. Here’s to hoping I could actually pull this off…

        Thanks!
        MD

  4. Hey, great post! Very Very helpful! I am just wondering about the certified documents,. I actually have every document in it’s original form! Can I somehow use these

    1. Hi Patrick, thanks! Glad you enjoyed. I would check the Italian consulate website to see what they recommend, mine is SF required certified documents. They normally have a document which says what you will need to bring. Good luck, it’s worth it! 🙂

  5. Amazing blog. This has helped me out so much in my quest for citizenship. Question: After submitting your documents at the consulate, how long did it take to hear back to hear your application was successful and how long did it take before you had a physical Italian passport in your hands.

    1. Hi Andrew! It took me about nine months total for everything, and apparently I was lucky. It helped because I had a job offer to come to the UK already in place; my mom went through the same process and I think it took her over a year. Once you get in with your paperwork it’s actually quite fast. I left the same day with my passport in hand. It’s just making the appointment and actually getting in which takes quite a while.

      1. I just sent my “completed” package to the consulate in Philadelphia, 2 weeks ago Friday. I hope no news is good news as I keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best…………..

      2. Congrats on getting it finished, you must feel so much relief. Ah yes, I remember that anxious feeling very well. No news is good news, indeed! Give it another couple of weeks then maybe send a follow up email. I think my mom’s took quite a few months, but the SF consulate is especially slow.

  6. Hi, I know this post was written a while ago but I am currently trying to obtain Italian dual citizenship through my deceased grandfather. He was never naturalised here in Australia and remained an Italian citizen whilst living and working here. Do you know what I will have to show instead? Thank you!

    1. I feel that my road to citizenship has come to an end; the consulate in Philadelphia , after my initial meeting said all paperwork was in order except for my birth certificate as well as my mothers needed to be in the LONG form. So back to the drawing board , I re- requested a long form on both, and weeks later after I received them, I sent them off to get the apostile; weeks later, I had them translated , and was ready to resubmit. This time, however , I made a huge mistake in sending them registered US mail, vs handing them over in person. This was in June 2014, and at this writing, that envelope is lost. Never signed for, nor delivered. I am sick over it. All that time and money and work, gone , due to the incompetence and indifference of the US postal service. I should have used Fed-ex. Let this be a lesson to all those who follow in my foot steps; don’t trust such valuable documents to our postal service. In a word, they SUCK.

      1. Craig, I am so sorry to here that they lost your envelope!!! I can’t believe that happened, I would have been devastated. Did you receive a tracking number to see if it made it? Perhaps it’s on someone’s desk? That’s not fair at all given all the time and work you’ve put into it!

    2. Michelle,

      That’s fantastic that you can claim through your grandfather! Because you’re in Australia I don’t want to steer you wrong; I would look at the Consulate General of Italy (in Australia) just to be safe. Although consulates normally require the same types of things, some may have different variations of rules (for example, using a professional or approved Italian translator). Here is their website: http://www.consmelbourne.esteri.it/Consolato_Melbourne/Menu/I_Servizi/Per_i_cittadini/Cittadinanza/

      Good luck!

  7. yes, there was a tracking number, at 3 months later, it still shows the item is ‘ out on delivery ‘ …. very frustrating and heart wrenching.

    1. I would have cried!!! Do follow up if you can. It sounds like you have poured your heart and soul into the process and journey, that’s so heart breaking you are so close to the end.

      1. I have everything in duplicates just for this exact reason. Buying a duplicate is usually only a fraction of the actual cost of only one. Lucky I have not had to use this yet.

  8. Thank you so much for all of the information. I have almost all of my certified documents now and I was wondering if I need to have them translated before I get the Apostille attached or if I can do that after? Thank you so much for your blog posts!!! They are very encouraging!!!

    1. Start on the translations as soon as possible. Remember, only the certified documents need to be translated, not the apostille. Good luck, you’re almost there!! 🙂

    2. Also I should have added, you can scan your certified documents and give the scans to the translator. That way, you can mail your certified documents to the apostille. Whew, I remember this oh so well…

      1. Thank you so much for the information and for getting back to me so quickly! So just to make sure, I do not have to get the Apostille attached to the translated document, only the original, correct? So as you said, I can have the translator working on it using a copy, while the certified documents are receiving the Apostille, right? Thank you so much for the help…this is such a tricky thing to navigate on your own! One more question…you said you had a family friend do your translations, correct? Did they just do them on standard white paper? Or do they have to be on official paper? Also, do these need to be notarized or anything to prove that the translation has been done correctly? Any advice or suggestions you might be able to offer me on this would be so appreciated! 🙂 Thank you!!!

      2. Not a problem, you caught me at a great time! 🙂

        It’s so daunting doing this on your own, but it can be done, as you’re doing now! Like I you, I read everything and asked questions.

        Your certified copies basically need to be confirmed as authentic documents, hence, getting an apostille. In California, they will mail the documents back stapled (so, certified copy & apostille for each document you send). Then, just paperclip the translation for each document.

        The Italian consulate in San Francisco did not require anything special for the translations. My friend did it on Microsoft word, then I printed it out as normal. It may be a good idea to double check on their website if you’re going to another consulate, but I sincerely doubt you will need to prove anything. Just make sure it is someone you trust, or a professional. I wouldn’t have given them to someone who said “yeah I did a semester of Italian a while ago…” LOL!!!

      3. Wow! Thank you for all of the information!!! This has been so helpful and reassuring! I will get on the translation thing immediately! I am so happy it all worked out for you and I hope I have the same luck. 🙂

      4. When I last wrote , my final documents were lost via the US Postal service , never delivered to its final recipient and hours of work and effort gone for good. However, on Dec 15, the envelope that I worked so long and hard for, was RETURNED to me, as ‘undelivered ( 6 months after it was mailed). I quickly readdressed it, and sent it again , this time with all the bells and whistles required for tracking and signatures with FEDEX and it was received. Now we play the waiting game to see what happens next. I am unsure of my status, but I will post again as things progress. Lesson leaned: perseverance friends, perseverance. ( that and never trust the USP for anything important).

      5. Congrats craig what a huge accomplishment!!!! Now thats the way to start out 2015! Keep me posted, it looks like things are really moving! 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful information! Quick question:

    I will be applying at the Consulate in Los Angeles. I have my great-grandfather’s birth certificate from Italy and all the other needed documents to follow. My great-grandmother was also born in Italy, but I have been unable to obtain her birth certificate. I have their marriage license from Utah. Since I am claiming through my great-grandfather, will it matter if I don’t have her birth certificate?

    Also, does anyone have experience with the Los Angeles Consulate?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Michelle! You will need your great grandmothers birth certificate yes. Also, do remember that you will need to get their marriage certificate apostille and translated in Italian because they were married outside of Italy.

      I don’t have any experience with the LA Consulate. It may be worth looking into some of the forums to see if anyone else has gone through them. Good luck! 😊

      1. Hi Phoenix! Yes I am aware about the translations and Apostilles! Thank you! That’s unfortunate about my great grandmother’s birth certificate. My great great grandmother gave birth to her in Italy out of wedlock when she was about 14 and immigrated possibly under a different name. I’ve tried to find records, but it’s been pretty difficult to find hers. I was hoping since I can clearly prove the lineage through my great grandfather that I might be able to skip on that piece. Thanks again!

  10. Unbelievable ! Months later, after I considered throwing in the towel, I received the following ( 22- April- 2015) :

    “I am very happy to inform you that we have found your envelope, finally! This was an incredibly fortunate case, actually.

    This morning an officer working for the Public Ledger Building found an unopened envelope deposited in a separate and unused suite, on the same floor where the Consulate general is located. It was yours and it contained exactly the documents we were looking for.

    So we will now able to proceed with your citizenship. You will receive an official confirmation letter as soon as your papers are duly registered in Italy.”

    I will keep you posted as to its final result 😉

  11. Hi! Excellent read, thank you for your data! I am from Chowchilla and I am also in the process of becoming a legally recognized Italian citizen. My great grandfather’s name was Pasquale but I am going through my other great grandfather Antonino Perlongo. Interesting that we ended up in the same place (Madera, CA) and have family names that are similar. Once you submitted at the consulate, how long did it take to receive recognition? xx

  12. Craig, that is wonderful. I have completed my packet of information, which took about a year and now I wait another year and a half for my appointment. I had many complications: I had to appear in court several times to get name discrepancies corrected, as spellings and entire names were changed. Its been crazy. I needed help getting my documents and went through 2 diffferent agencies which were very bad before I found the third which got it done and most importantly, provided encouragement to keep going. Luminosa in Chicago. Now I wait…..

  13. Does anyone have experience with what the wait time is from appointment at the LA consulate to having the passport in your hand? I had originally heard that from the appointment it might take a total of 2-8 weeks, now i’m finding things saying 6-12 months! I’ve been making plans to be moving 3 months from my appointment date and am starting to worry. Any insight would be most appreciated!! xx

    1. Hi Elena, I’m not sure about wait times as I got pretty lucky getting my citizenship over 4 years ago. I know that wait times have increased substantially in the last few years. It took a long time for my mom to make an appointment. Are you moving far away? If so, it would be a good idea to see if you’ll need to make another appointment at a different consulate. 😦 check their websites for more info, hopefully they have someone who can help.

  14. You do not know how HAPPY I was to find your blog! And, Craig, your story is leaving me on pins and needles to see when you finally get this ordeal done! I do have a question, and it involves something you mentioned about having, “All your marriage certificates, if any, with Apostilles and translations; All your divorce decrees, if any, with Apostilles and translations?” I am getting dual citizenship through my mother who was born in Rome, Italy, and was still not an American citizen at the time of my birth. My father has since passed; I am divorced, and I was wondering: 1. Do I need to get my father’s death certificate (certified and apostilled)? 2. Do I need to get a certified copy of my marriage certificate (certified and apostilled)? 3. And do I need to get a certified copy of my divorce decree (also, certified and apositilled)? Seems like my father’s death, as well as my marriage and divorce shouldn’t play into this? Any light that you can shed on this will be greatly appreciated as this process is pretty trying, as you well know. Thanks in advance! Love your blog!

    1. Hi Laura, and thanks for reading / writing. I went thru the Consulate in Philadelphia, and truth be told, since I was applying for dual citizenship on my mothers side and her dad ( my grandpa) , they asked for NO documents based on my dads side of the family. While I was prepared with his ( my dad) birth cert, ( no death since he is still upright) , the consular agent did not want nor need it. They did want my parents marriage certificate. As far as the marriage & divorce papers, I am unsure as I am not divorced and neither are my mom & dad. I will suggest that if you have them or can access these documents, and if there’s not too much more added expense, gather them, get them apostatized, and translated, as my visits have shown, these folks love paper. I started this journey in may 2002, and the longest stretch was getting my grandpas birth certificate which took over a year. The agents in Philly are not very helpful or forthcoming with answers to your questions and the process seems to be designed to dissuade people from going this route of jure sanguis. But keep your fingers crossed, as there is light at the tunnel’s exit, as evidenced by so many others who have gone before us with happy success. I shall keep you posted as I wish you the best of circumstances. 😉

      1. Just to follow up with Craig, it does say on the Consolato Generale d’Italia (Chicago) the following: all certificates must be certified. US birth/marriage/divorce records from the Italian side (not the other side) must have an apostille. The apostille doesn’t need to be translated. All documents relating to the ITALIAN side must be translated into Italian. Documents do not need to be translated for the non-Italian side.

        Don’t know if that helps at all. The document I found is under http://www.conchicago.esteri.it

  15. Hey there! Amazing website! I am in Thailand and will be going to the consulate here to turn in my application and all my documents. Just wondering if you would know if I need to get my USA document translations authenticated in the US first before being sent here to Thailand. Would I need to know if they can have English documents able to be authenticated for translation? Thanks!

    1. Hey Phil, how was your experience applying in Thailand? I’m thinking of doing it but not sure if they have anyone familiar with juris sanguinis applications.

  16. I can’t express how happy I am to have found this particular post. I’ve been going crazy for over a year with trying to get answers to all the questions I have about dual citizenship. The craziest part is whenever I call the Italian Consulate, they keep telling me, “Look at the website for information.” It’s like they want you to fail at getting all the correct documents! Anyway, I’d like to ask you about translating your birth certificate into Italian. When it was done, was every single word on the certificate translated into Italian or just the information about you? (For ex: around the border of my certificate it says “this document has multiple security features to deter fraud…or in the corner it says “this is to certify that the above is correctly copied from a record on file…”) I’ve been trying to find a sample translated birth certificate but there’s nothing out there. -___-

    1. Hiya,

      Just to be safe, I made sure everything on the document was translated into Italian. That includes all the titles and everything else. They were okay with it. Also, you don’t necessarily NEED to use a professional translator. I had my friend who speaks Italian fluently do it for me. But make sure it is someone you trust, not someone who only took a few years in high school! 🙂 Good luck!

      1. Hi Phoenix,

        Your responses have been extremely helpful and very much appreciated!

        I was hoping you could assist with a few questions. I know where my great grandfather and great grandmother were born (Padula, Salerno) and actually have scans of their birth records and marriage certificate. Obviously this makes it much easier to request the official documents from the commune.

        Besides requesting the documents in “formato internazionale” or in “estratto per riassunto”, do I have to request any apostille or certification from the Italian commune? Is it safe to assume that the commune will understand which type of certification I need if I indicate that the request is for dual citizenship?

        Also, did you include euros with your request? And did you include (I’m assuming) a self addressed envelope with Italian postage?

        Many thanks in advance,

        Jackie

      2. Hi Jackie! I’m glad it’s been helpful for you. The apostille is only for your documents here in the US. The documents they send you from Italy (which, of course will be in Italian) are all you need for those documents. When I sent them over I used google translate and my friend who speak Italian, with a note asking what I needed. I sent it over with a self addressed envelope. I went to the post office and requested some international postage (can’t remember what it was called) but I spent maybe 8 dollars for two letters? Either way, they mailed it back to me with he documents and didn’t take the money/postage I sent! Every commune is different though, I’m not sure what you can expect. Try to find a website online about the commune and registry and use the google translate option to see what it says. If there’s any doubt at all, I advise you to get in touch with your consulate.

      3. Hello from Virginia ! It has been 11 months since my papers were sent to Italy from the Consulate in Philadelphia and I am still wondering how can I ( if possible) get a status check on the progress. I do not have much experience with the new representative , Laura Paoloni, so if anyone has any positive feed back , please feel free to share. Thank you as always for your continued assistance and great additions to this blog.

      4. Craig, there should be an email for you to send to and enquire. 11 months! Wow, it’s gotten so much longer. My mom had to wait almost a year as well. I’m praying you get a speedy response very soon! Best, Kassie

  17. Thanks for the fast response! The information is very much appreciated.

    Many of the websites I’ve come across don’t make it obvious that you can simply request documents from the commune and that these documents will be accepted for citizenship purposes. I think that is because services charge $$$ to procure the documents. Rightly so I suppose if you have no information on your Italian relatives, but I already have historical scans of their birth/marriage certificates along with all of the pertinent information.

    I lived and studied in Italy, so while my Italian is rusty, I am fairly confident that I can at convey to the commune what I need. I also have the consulate standard forms so I’m hoping that emailing the commune will help expedite the process.

    Thanks again!

    1. You are so right, Jackie. You CAN do it yourself though. I did it. Anyone can do it. Don’t feel pressured to spend the money and have a service do it for you. The problems arise when a) they can’t find anything (most records for great grandparents were held at churches) and b) they are inundated with requests. If they can’t find anything they will send you something back saying it couldn’t be found. Also make it super clear about the surname. I found in my record searching that they misspelled my great grandfathers surname when he arrived in New York on the registry lol. So, just ensure you put as much information in your letter as you can: surname, place of birth, date so it makes it easy for them. And keep all envelopes they return too which should have the Italian postmark.

      Good luck!!!!

  18. I finally received my letter of recognition ! Now I have to schedule an appointment at the consulate in Philadelphia, take some passport photos, fill out a form and show up with a cashiers check and I am done ! Hooray !! Anyone have any final suggestions as I make my plans to schedule my last visit to the consulate ??

    1. Congratulations!! You made it! I went to a professional photographer (who also did passport photos) and made sure to bring in the guidelines for the photo they need. I like my photo very much. A lot better than any driver’s licence I’ve owned! Best of luck and congrats for making it through. It’s all worth it in the end!

      1. Thank you very much ! I went to Walgreen’s and got photos taken that are , well. not that great , but I really don’t care. Its taken over 6 years back and forth so finally light at the end of the tunnel….

    2. I got my passport at the Miami consulate and was in and out in an hour with passport in hand. Bring cash, your photo, and paperwork and it should be a breeze. Buona fortuna!

  19. Hello!

    I have requested all of the birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates for all my family members (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents) that connect me to my Italian ancestor. I was planning on requesting apostilles and translations for all documents associated with my Italian bloodline;
    -great grandparent’s marriage
    -great grandfather’s death
    -grandma’s birth
    -grandma’s marriage
    -father’s birth
    -parents’ marriage
    -parent’s divorce
    -my birth

    Does this look correct? Do you think there are additional documents I need apostilled and translated? Similarly, do you think some of these documents do not need apostilles and translations? I have also requested the following documents for my non-Italian bloodline – do you think I need these?
    -great grandmother’s death
    -grandfather’s birth
    -grandfather’s death
    -mother’s death

    Also, since I am applying for citizenship, it is assumed my father and grandmother are also eligible. If we apply together do we need separate copies of all the relevant documents?

    Thank you!

  20. I’m in a very similar situation as many who have already commented. I had my appointment at the Miami Consulate with my dad and brother early February 2016. We were told all our records were excellent and I should have approval within a 2-3 months. Only issue with the paperwork was a few documents needed to be translated. We were told this wouldn’t be an issue, just get the documents translated and mail it to the consulate and all would be fine. We sent it in within 2 weeks. We followed up several times and did finally get a response back in June that the translated documents were received and our application was being processed in the order received.
    I have heard nothing since then and am feeling a bit hopeless. We sent in another email and mailed a letter early January and have received no response.

    Any suggestions on what to do at this point? What has been the average wait time for approval? I’m willing to travel to Italy, if needed, but don’t know how to go about it or if this is even an option. Any tips would be very much appreciated.
    Thank you!

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