Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Re-acquisition of Italian citizenship - Part 2: The paper chase
So, in April 2010, I finally received my naturalization certificate and contacted la signora Graziella at the Italian consulate in Vancouver. She guided me through the series of steps that I had to take and listed the various documents I needed to provide. Specifically: a criminal record from the RCMP, an affidavit that stated I was whom I said I was, 3 years of Tax returns (I guess Italy wanted to make sure I was not a bum) and, of course, a receipt stating I had paid a fee of some 200 Euros (at the time about300 Canadian dollars) to the Italian Government. All these documents needed to be officially translated inItalian. Note that I had already provided my birth certificate (born in Rome,Italy) and copy of my old Italian Passport.
To obtain the various documents was fairly straight forward. However, it was a bit of a challenge to ensure that all the documents met the expectations. For instance, the criminal record (I had no record) was signed by an RCMP officer, but his/her signature was not clear, so I had to apply for another one and ask for the signature to be very legible (when I re-applied, the officers and I had a few chuckles about this..... a sense of humour helps).
I was also made aware that, once all the documents were in order, I would have to meet the Consul and officially declare my intent tore-acquire my Italian Citizenship. Then I could apply for a VISA to stay in Italy for up to one year as I established my residence there (more about this later).
While I was going through the steps, I learned that the Internet can provide valuable knowledge. But it can also be an incredible source of confusion since the info that is posted could be either incorrect, or incomplete, or specific to particular circumstances. It is hard to sort which is which. After a Google search, a reliable website may not come out in the first 10 pages and to find a "gem" may be really difficult and enormously time confusing. With regard to re-acquiring the Italian citizenship, from reading and talking to consulate employees, I learned that one does NOT have to reside in Italy for one full year. Indeed, there is no determined period of residence, but the law does require the establishment of a residence in Italy (Art. 13, Comma C, Law 91/1992: "A person who has lost Italian citizenship shall reacquire it: c) if he or she declares the wish to reacquire citizenship and has established or establishes residence within one year from such declaration." ) I really wonder how many people, ex-Italians realize that and how many officials apply or are even aware of the letter of the law.
Between collecting the various documents, having them translated, and many other delays, it took quite a while to have everything ready. During that time, I frequently asked myself why I was going through all the loops, why I cared to regain my citizenship when, ultimately, I had no plans to live in Italy, I was not going to buy property there (in such a case there would be a tax advantage), AND there was no financial gain for me at all in being Italian. Furthermore, since my children were born when I was NOT Italian, my Italian citizenship, as the law stands now, would not benefit them were they ever want to have it.