Applying in Italy is the desire of many people of Italian descent who dream of experiencing life in the Bel Paese (beautiful country) and visit the places where their ancestors came from.
To apply in Italy also has the real advantage of much shorter waiting times to obtain Italian citizenship compared to applying to one of the Italian Consulates abroad, especially in the US, but this does not mean that the process will be completed in a matter of weeks.
It is true that applying in Italy could take a couple of months, sometimes even less, however, much of the timing depends on how long the Consulate(s) relevant to the applicant take to respond, as for every application accepted in Italy the relevant Consulates need to confirm to the comune (Italian municipality) that no person in the bloodline has renounced their Italian citizenship, confirming this way that the bloodline wasn’t “broken” and therefore indeed the applicant has a right to be recognised an Italian citizen. This process is called non-rinuncia (non-renonciation).
The length of this process depends on how many of these Consulates the comune needs to ask for an answer to, which in turns depends on the number of Consular jurisdictions the ancestors of the applicant and the applicant themselves have moved into. For example: if an applicant’s birth and marriage certificates are from NYC and so are their bloodline ancestors’ documents, because no one ever moved away from NYC, then the comune in Italy will only need to wait for the answer of one Consulate, the Consulate of New York. However, if the applicant was born in Dallas, TX, married in San Diego, CA and their ancestors settled in Boston, MA and then moved and had kids in NYC, then moved again to Malibu, FL, then there will be five consulates to consult: Boston, Houston, San Francisco, New York and Miami.
Another issue that could slow things down is that one or more Consulates may come back asking for further documentation, which needs to be produced and then reviewed.
In conclusion, successfully applying for recognition of Italian citizenship in Italy doesn’t mean going to a comune and expecting that whatever documentation has been collected so far will be accepted and we will be done with it. The comune will need to carry out a careful analysis of the documents collected by the applicant and assess what is the next step. The help of a qualified service provider that is already familiar with the requirements of both the comune and the consulates will greatly simplify this step. There are virtually always errors in the documentation of the applicant, due to historical reasons. Some are overlooked and do not pose a problem, others need amending, others need further documentation to avoid amendments which sometimes could be impossible or very expensive to do. If one is already in Italy and only then finds out some US documentation needs amending, that is not ideal as it can lead to very long waiting times, on top of being very impractical to try and get paperwork done in another continent and time zone.
So it always pays to do plenty of homework and come prepared if attempting this process DIY, or listening to what the service provider says if assisted.
It should be obvious but it is worth specifying: due to the current pandemic, waiting times have lengthened because many comuni are working with reduced staff and before accepting new applications must finish going through those still pending. There is a significant backlog in some consulates too, mainly due to the lockdown and the consequent inability of their staff to be in the office and check archives. Some offices have only recently reopened, calling for inevitable patience until the state of the world returns to a relative normal.
Silvia Simioni, Co-Founder