So here’s the next instalment in the story of our family journey to become both Italian* and British – and it’s a bit of an exciting one because it includes the moment when I ACTUALLY SUBMIT MY APPLICATION! But there’s a lot of tedious admin stuff to get through before that point – sorry about that. In case you’re wondering why we’re applying for Italian citizenship, it’s because of Brexit – you can read the first part of the story here. Basically, my husband’s family are Italian but he was born in London, so he’s both British and Italian. This means that, hopefully, our kids and I, who were all born in England and are all British, can also become Italian – as long as we can navigate our way through the long and complicated application process. I’ve been sharing our experience of applying for Italian citizenship, step-by-step, in order to help other people who are going through the same thing*.
UK Criminal Records Certificate
When I wrote my previous post about this I’d just applied for a certificate from the police to show that I don’t have a criminal record. This certificate arrived two weeks after I applied for it. I then had to apply via the FCO website to have the Police Certificate legalised (the link for that is here), at a cost of £35.50. The legalised certificate arrived by post a week later.
I then sent the legalised Police Certificate and my birth certificate (not the original, but a copy that I’d ordered from the General Register Office) to the same translator that I’d used previously (Gabriella Barra – from the London Italian Consulate list of approved translators) for certified Italian translations. The fee for this work was £70. I received the certified translations by post four days later.
Receipt for 250 euros
At this point I thought that I had everything that I needed in order to submit my application for citizenship. But when I checked the London Italian Consulate website I saw that there was (so I thought, although there were actually a couple more unseen hurdles ahead) one more tricky thing that I needed to work out how to provide. I had to pay the 250 euro application fee by bank transfer, which sounds straightforward. But the complicated bit was that I had to get an extremely detailed receipt for this transfer. The receipt had to include the following information:
Beneficiary Account Name: “MINISTERO DELL’INTERNO D.L.C.I. – CITTADINANZA”; address: Via Cavour 6, 00184 ROMA
– Reason for payment: Citizenship Application name and surname of the applicant;
– International Bank Account Number (IBAN code): IT54D0760103200000000809020;
– Receiving Bank Name: POSTE ITALIANE S.P.A.
– Receiving Bank BIC/SWIFT code: BPPIITRRXXX.
I tried to make the transfer using my online banking app, but it was impossible for me to enter the necessary information to generate the required receipt. So then I called my bank, but they were also unable to create a receipt as specified. So I then drove to my bank’s nearest branch, 13 miles away, to see if they could help. Luckily the very helpful and patient staff there figured out a way to generate a receipt with all the required payment details. So that was a relief.
Single PDF file
I now had to scan all of the required documents and create a single PDF file with them, so that I could upload everything easily with my application. I hadn’t combined documents in this way before, but I searched on Google and eventually managed to put everything into one PDF (I have a Macbook and followed this advice from Apple on how to do it).
Submitting the application
Feeling that I had everything ready, at long, long last, I went to the Italian Ministero dell’Interno government website to submit my application. This website is in Italian. The process started off OK, and I was methodically and carefully entering my details, but then I was asked to enter the details of my PEC.
I’d not heard the term PEC before and I had no idea what it was, but I couldn’t continue with the application without one, so it seemed pretty important. I messaged a very helpful friend in Italy to ask her and she told me that a PEC is a secure electronic mailbox. She said that I could create one for myself through PEC Legalmail. I went to this website (which is all in Italian) and followed the steps to create my own PEC secure email address. However, in order to activate this email address I needed an Italian tax code.
This step made me panic initially, as I had no idea how to get an Italian tax code as I live and work in the UK. I asked my friend in Italy, but she didn’t know how I could do it. I then found this Tax Code section on the London Italian Consulate website, which explains how private individuals can apply for an Italian tax code, free of charge, online. All that was needed for this application were copies of my current passport and proof of address. So I followed the instructions and applied through here. I received confirmation of the application straightaway, with an estimated wait of four to six weeks to receive a tax code. In fact, I received my Italian tax code after just 10 days.
Now that I had a tax code, I was able to activate my PEC secure mailbox, which I did.
Applying for Italian citizenship
Finally, a year and a half after starting on this journey, I was able to submit my application for Italian citizenship. I’ve been told that it may take around four years from this point for my application to be processed.
What about the kids?
Our daughter’s and son’s applications are with the Italian authorities, and we’ve been told that it could take up to two years for them to be processed. So far we’ve been waiting for a year for my daughter and 16 months for my son.
The previous parts of this story are here:
Over to you
If you’d like to share your own experiences of applying for citizenship of another country, or if you have any comments or queries about these posts, please do add to the comments section below. Many people have been contacting me about what we’re doing, and it’s really interesting to hear about your experiences. Good luck to anyone else who’s going through the process, and I’ll keep you posted on we get on!
* I’m sharing the detail of this journey in order to be helpful, but I’ve not been through a process like this before and I have no legal training, so please do not rely on my experience for your own application.