So, I thought that it was about time that I updated you on my family’s progress towards getting Italian citizenship. At the moment my husband’s Italian and British, while our two children (one of whom is adopted) and I are British. Because of Brexit, and because we’d like to still be European, we’re trying to register with the Italian authorities so that the whole family can be both British and Italian. As I’ve said before, I’m no expert on this process, but I’m sharing my experience in case it’s helpful to others.
In my previous update (Applying for Italian citizenship – part 2) I said that I’d sent our marriage certificate and our daughter’s birth certificate to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to be legalised. These documents arrived back with me 11 days later, duly legalised, with a stamped official Apostille certificate attached to the back of each one. The next step was to get these translated – but I wanted to leave that until our son’s adoption documents were also ready for translation, so as to make things easier for the translator.
Registration of adoption
Registering our son’s adoption is more complex than registering our daughter’s birth, but luckily we’ve been given some very helpful advice (via email) by the Notary Department at the Italian Consulate about how to do this.
The first thing that the notary told us to do was to update my husband’s details on the online register of Italian citizens living abroad (known as AIRE), because, according to the records he was unmarried. After a few false starts (it’s not the most user-friendly website that I’ve seen) he managed to update his details on the AIRE system.
The notary told us that children adopted by Italian citizens automatically acquire Italian citizenship once the Adoption Court Order is registered with the parent’s municipality in Italy. In order to register our son’s adoption she said that we’d have to complete an application form and provide full form birth certificates from both before and after adoption, as well as the Adoption Court Order. The birth certificates and the Court Order needed to be legalised and translated.
The tricky thing here is that we don’t have our son’s pre-adoption birth certificate. When I emailed the notary to tell her this, I was amazed by her sensible reply. She said: ‘If you don’t have the pre-adoption birth certificate, we will just proceed without it.’ So that’s alright then – phew!
I then emailed the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to find out how to legalise an Adoption Order, as this isn’t listed on their website as one of the documents which can be legalised. They replied four days later saying that they can legalise a UK Court Adoption Order, as long as it’s either signed and dated by the court official or certified by a practicing notary or solicitor. My son’s Adoption Order isn’t signed by the court official, so I found a local solicitor to certify it (they charged a very reasonable £5 to do this).
I then realised that we don’t have a full-form post-adoption birth certificate for our son. I called the UK General Register Office to ask about this and they explained that the Adoption Certificate (which I already have a copy of, having ordered it from them at the same time as getting copies of our marriage and our daughter’s birth certificates, as explained in my post The one where I decide to apply for Italian citizenship) functions as the post-adoption birth certificate. So I now had all of the documents that I needed to register our son’s adoption with the Italian Consulate.
I then sent the certified Adoption Order and the Adoption Certificate to the FCO to be legalised, in the same way as I had done with the marriage and birth certificates (as explained in Applying for Italian citizenship – part 2). I received these legalised documents a week later.
Translation into Italian
I now had four documents ready for translation from English into Italian: our marriage certificate, our daughter’s birth certificate and our son’s Adoption Order and certified Adoption Certificate. The Italian Consulate in London has a list of approved translators to use for this work. When I downloaded the list I recognised a translator on there who I knew from when I used to work for a translation company in my twenties (small world). She was happy to translate the documents for us and quoted a fee of £160 for the whole job. I scanned the documents and sent them to the translator by email. A few days later she posted the Italian versions to me by Royal Mail Special Delivery, sealed and certified as true and accurate translations.
Registration of marriage and birth
I now had all of the required documents to register our marriage and our daughter’s birth with the Italian Consulate in London. There is apparently no need to visit the consulate in person in order to do this – it can be done by post, following the instructions on the Italian Consulate website.
I downloaded and completed the forms from the website to register the marriage and birth, and was ready to post them to the Consulate along with the legalised certificates and translations, and a self-addressed prepaid Royal Mail Special Delivery envelope in case anything needed to be sent back to us. However, I couldn’t work out what the fees were for registering the marriage and the birth. There’s a page on the Italian Consulate website called ‘Consular fees’ but that doesn’t show what the fees are for this. I sent an email to the Consular Registry Office to ask them about fees, but I received no reply. In the end I emailed the helpful and efficient notary who’s advised us about registering the adoption and I ask her about fees. She told me that there are no fees to pay at the Consulate to register the marriage and the birth!
So I’ve now sent off the documents by post. I’m hoping that I’ve done everything correctly and that our marriage and our daughter’s birth will be registered with the Italian Consulate at last.
Appointment at the Italian Consulate
In order to register our son’s adoption, my husband and I have to go to the Italian Consulate to see the notary in person. We have to take with us our son’s certified, legalised Adoption Order and Adoption Certificate and translations, our passports, and our son’s passport. We’ve made an appointment to do this. Our son (to his great relief) doesn’t need to come with us. As long as everything’s in order, the notary will forward our documents to the authorities in Italy, and our son will be an Italian citizen (but still also a British citizen) – I think!
Here are the next instalments of this story:
Applying for Italian citizenship – part 4
Applying for Italian citizenship – part 5
Applying for Italian citizenship – part 6
Applying for Italian citizenship – part 7
The previous parts of the story are here:
The one where I decide to apply for Italian citizenship
Applying for Italian citizenship – part 2
Over to you
Have you applied for citizenship of another country, or would you like to do so?
MARK FIRMAN says
Hi. I have enjoyed reading your notes and, taking a deep breath, am just about to start the process for myself. Like you, I think Brexit is a huge damaging backwards step for the UK. My wife and I had always dreamed of seeing our our years in Italy but it looks like this will not not be easily possible unless I gain Italian citizenship.
I think my situation is a little more complex in that my mother was born in Italy. I was born in the UK.
She became naturalised in the UK before my birth which is, I believe, quite a barrier. We do have quite a lot of family still in Italy. I believe that it may be possible, albeit hugely tortuous, but I want to pursue this as far as possible.
I think my first step is to write to the conuslate to ask whether or not my situation is hopeless and wondered whether you could advise which department is the correct one, at the consulate, to approach.
Amy help/advice would be appreciated.
Gretta Schifano says
Hi Mark, that does sound complicated. I’m sorry but I can’t give any advice about who to contact, as it seems to be very difficult to get a reply from the consulate to enquiries. Could you ask your family in Italy to go to the local town hall to ask for advice on what to do from that side? Gretta
Cathy (Mummytravels) says
Thank goodness for helpful experts- and while there are so many steps, it seems that once you know what to do, it’s going smoothly (insofar as these things do!). Good luck with the rest.
Gretta Schifano says
Thanks Cathy – I think we’re getting there!