Posted in this&that

“Becoming Italian” joins “In other words”

Moving “Becoming Italian” blog to “In other words.”

Becoming Italian

Se posso solo districare i documenti! If only I can untangle the documents!

Word of the day: Apostille

As it is with life, things get in the way. The past few months have provided much to keep me occupied with little time left for getting ready for Italy, and, alas, even less time for blogging about the experience. So with that stumble behind me, I’m determined to get back on track.

And, especially because our plans have changed: my husband, who has dragged his feet for some time about retiring so we can move to Italy before I become un piegati vecchia strega a bent old witch, has decided to retire next spring! We plan to move sometime between July and October, 2015.

Which means I have a lot to do. A lot. A whole big lot. Not only am I going to be only part way through my citizenship efforts, but I also need to yard sale, eBay or donate everything we own. Fortunately, we sold our last home a couple of years back, so that’s not a problem. Still, the enormity of it all is travolgente overwhelming.

This is where my organization and event planning skills come in handy. I’ve recovered from being stunned and am happily making lists to keep me on track.

Currently at the top of the list is getting new certified copies of: my birth certificate, the divorce decree from my first marriage, my marriage license, and my legal name change (I dropped my father’s last name but didn’t take my husband’s), and apostilles for each of them. (An apostille is a letter of certification the indicates the validity of the attached document, i.e., my birth certificate.) Then they go to the translator.

I’m also on my way down to the County Sheriff’s office to have my finger prints taken. This is an easy step but they won’t really come in to play until six months prior to my request for citizenship. At that time they will be attached to those letters of “good citizenship,” declaring my lack of criminal activity in California, Oregon and Washington – the three states I’ve lived since birth. Those letters can’t be more than six months old when I submit them, so everything needs to fall into place in a particular order.

Which leads me to consider the idea that dual citizenship for non-Italian spouses is meant to be nothing less than a maze to test patience … and to that I lift my glass of limoncello and vow not to let them beat me! I’m going to live in Italy.

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First step to Italy

I have decided it’s time to take a bite of a big project and start to chew. The project: Becoming a dual-citizen of Italy. I thought I’d just grab up my documents and send them off – well, not really. Having finished my husband’s dual-citizenship paperwork almost two years ago, I knew it would not be an easy process.

Seems, however, that my request to become a citizen of Italy by marriage will be just a tad bit more involved. My husband is Italian by descent and, therefore already part of the fold. Ciao! Benvenuto, figlio mio! Siete uno di noi! Hello! Welcome, my son! You are one of us!

My request for citizenship requires many more pages, apostilles and translations. I must show proof from every state I’ve lived in (and the FBI) that I am not a criminal.  I must register my divorce papers (from a better-forgotten one-year union when I was 21) as well as my current marriage certificate, in the commune of my husband’s family – Caserta, Campagnia, Italy. They need confirmation of all this (and several other little tiny things) before I can begin the application process.

There are so many steps and they all have to be taken in a specific order – I understand it can take up to two years to complete them. I hope to be living in Italy by then, which will likely confuse the process further. And, yes, I know there are services you can pay to do this. I’m not saying I won’t revert to that at some point. But, just not yet.

I thought I’d give it a try myself, first, and also thought it might be “fun” to document the process. Once in Italy, I can have a good laugh at what it took to achieve La Dolce Vita! The Sweet Life! And, yes, I know there are services you can pay to do this. I’m not saying I won’t revert to that at some point. But, just not yet.

If you’re on this road or have been down it, I’d love to hear from you.

PS. I am learning Italian still, so use translation assistance often. Forgive my mistakes, or better yet, correct me!

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I'm a writer making my way through life and offering observations as I go. Old enough to know better but that doesn't stop me.

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