This week I started the process of applying for Italian citizenship and passports for me and for our two children. I’m sharing my experience here in case it’s helpful to you. But please bear in mind that I have no expertise in this area, and I’m not in any way telling you how to do it – Italian bureaucracy is a thing of mystery, after all.
My husband’s parents moved to London from Sicily for work in the 1950s. They always planned to move back to Sicily, and when he was born in London they registered his birth with the Italian authorities. So he is both British and Italian. This means, I believe, that our two children, born in England, and I, born in England to English parents, can all become Italian citizens – as long as I can navigate the complex and inevitably frustrating Italian bureaucracy required to achieve that. (Very sensibly, my husband is keeping as far away from the whole process as he possibly can, because he has a lifetime of experience of how tedious Italian officialdom can be.)
Prior to the June 2016 EU referendum, applying for Italian citizenship had never occurred to me. I’ve always loved Italy. I studied Italian at University, I worked there as an English teacher and have spent many happy times there both on holiday and visiting friends and family. But I’d never thought about actually becoming an Italian citizen, or about contacting the Italian authorities to register our marriage, our daughter’s birth or our son’s adoption. Why would I? But since the referendum I’ve known, reluctantly, that it’s something that I had to do.
I voted Remain in the referendum because I thought that was the best and the right thing to do for the future of my family and of our country. (If you’d like to know why, do read my post How should I vote in the EU referendum?) I was devastated and astonished by the result, and by the toxic atmosphere of racism, arrogance, xenophobia and bluster which it has stirred up. Today I still believe that Brexit is a backwards step which is damaging our country, and I’m astonished that most of our politicians are going along with it. I’d still vote to remain in the EU if we had another referendum tomorrow. But as that’s not an option, it seems that the only way for my family to remain in the EU is for us to all become Italian citizens.
I did vaguely start researching the process of applying for Italian citizenship soon after the referendum. I went to the Italian Consulate website to try and work out what we needed to do. Straight away I had some queries, so I sent them via the website contact form. I quickly received an automated response to say that I’d receive a reply within six months. Disheartened, I left things for a while, hoping that maybe Brexit wouldn’t happen. But it really does seem to be happening, one way or another, and so I really do need to get on with the application.
So, the first stage seems to be to register our marriage, our daughter’s birth and our son’s adoption with the Italian Consulate in London. In order to do that, we need original certificates – photocopies aren’t accepted. The original certificates will not be returned to us by the consulate, so I can’t send them the actual original ones which I have at home. Luckily the UK General Register Office has a very efficient website, and I’ve ordered copies of our certificates from there, at a cost of £9.25 per certificate. It takes up to 15 days for the certificates to be delivered, and then I’ll have to arrange for them to be translated by an approved translator and legalised to show that they are genuine. After that, I think that I’ll be able to register with the consulate and then eventually to apply for Italian passports – I’ll keep you posted!
Over to you
Have you ever applied for citizenship of another country, or would you like to, and why? Please do share your experiences, as I’d love to hear about them.