What to expect at your citizenship appointment

What to expect at your citizenship appointment

Wed 26 Jun 2024 3:06 PM

As your journey to claiming citizenship by descent reaches the final stages, the day will come to submit the application and you may wonder what will actually happen at the appointment. Many of you will have been preparing a long time for this moment and might be experiencing a mixture of excitement and nerves. Here, we will outline the final steps that lead up to the citizenship appointment, what to expect on the day of the appointment and any follow-up responsibilities directly afterwards.

Booking the citizenship appointment

The path to a citizenship by descent appointment involves much preparation, from determining eligibility to gathering vital records, legalizing the documents, and translating them into Italian. For those living abroad, the next step is securing an appointment at the local consulate that covers the jurisdiction where you reside. Booking an appointment for any consulate takes place through the online Prenot@mi system. Each consulate may release appointments on different days at different times. Be sure to check the website of your local consulate for specific scheduling procedures and appointment requirements.

If applying from within a municipality in Italy, it will be necessary to make an appointment at the citizenship office in the town hall of that municipality. First, you must establish residency in the municipality where you intend to live and file the application. The municipality will require a property deed or rental agreement to show proof of residence, so a hotel or Airbnb will not be suitable. Subsequently, the local police will verify that you are residing in the property where you declared your residence within 45 days. It’s important to remember that each municipality may have different procedures related to citizenship applications, so be sure to check with the comune before beginning.

Appointment at an Italian consulate

It is advisable for the applicant to arrive early at the consulate on the day of the appointment, as any delay may result in the cancellation of the appointment. Generally, there are a few levels of security when entering a consulate, and especially after the COVID pandemic, where safety and security are of the highest importance. You may need to check in with multiple personnel before arriving at the appropriate citizenship department. Also, in most cases, only the individuals with an appointment are allowed entrance.

One concern for applicants is if they will be required to speak Italian at the appointment. Rest assured that there is no language requirement and the consulate staff will speak English. Remember that claiming Italian citizenship by descent is the act of applying for recognition of your birthright retroactively. It is not a naturalization application and there is no test of your general knowledge of the country, the laws, history or culture.

While each consulate may conduct the appointment differently, a requirement for all appointments is presenting identification and documentation. You will need to present your photo ID, passport and proof of residency, showing that you reside in the jurisdiction covered by that consulate, for example, a utility bill or bank statement. You will need to submit the vital records pertaining to your Italian lineage, as well as your Italian-born ancestor’s naturalization records or proof they never naturalized. The clerk may ask questions about the individuals in the records for clarification. They will check the documentation for discrepancies and verify that what has been submitted is sufficient to make your claim for Italian citizenship. If there are major discrepancies or obstacles that the clerk identifies, they will inform you of further amendments or supporting documentation that needs to be retrieved.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that all citizenship documentation will be kept by the consulate, so if there are any records you would like for your own reference, be sure to photocopy them before the appointment. There will also be a consular fee to pay in order to complete the application. Be sure to check what payment methods are accepted by the specific consulate you will be addressing before you attend the appointment.

Lastly, you will not know the outcome of your claim on the day of the appointment. There is still further processing that needs to be completed by the consulate, including verifying that no individuals in the lineage renounced their Italian citizenship. By law, the consulate has 730 days to process the application, but in most cases, a response is issued between 6 and 12 months. You will be notified by mail or email, depending on the consulate.

Appointment at a municipality in Italy

If you are applying at the citizenship office in the comune where you are residing, you will attend the appointment in person along with a completed citizenship application and supporting documents demonstrating the link between yourself and your Italian-born ancestor. The appointment will proceed similarly to that at an Italian consulate. The clerk, who will speak Italian, will require the vital records of the individuals in your Italian lineage as well as your Italian-born ancestor’s naturalization records or proof they never naturalized. Generally, municipalities in Italy only require the records pertaining to the individuals in the Italian lineage and not the out-of-line spouses’ records. However, this is not a definite rule and it’s advisable to consult the individual municipality for further instruction.

As with consulate applications, you will not be informed of the status of your Italian citizenship claim on the day of the appointment. Processing time varies depending on the municipality as the clerk will need to review the records and work with the consulates abroad that have jurisdiction over the states where the documents originated. This is to determine if the applicant or any of the applicant’s ascendants ever renounced their Italian citizenship.

What happens after being granted citizenship?

Once you have been recognized as an Italian citizen, you will be informed that your vital records are being registered in the municipality in Italy where your Italian ancestor was born. It is a requirement for those who have acquired Italian citizenship at a consulate and whose place of residence is not in Italy to be registered with A.I.R.E., the Registry of Italian Citizens Residing Abroad within 90 days from the citizenship recognition date. A.I.R.E. is an online database of all Italian citizens residing abroad, giving them access to the services they are entitled to as citizens, such as registering vital records and applying for a passport. The passport application will also take place at the local consulate and an appointment is required to submit the passport application form. For those residing in Italy, individuals can first apply for the carta d’identità(photo ID card) at the comune and then apply for a passport at the questura (local police headquarters).

If you have further questions regarding your citizenship appointment or any step of the application process, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@italiancitizenshipassistance.com or visit www.italiancitizenshipassistance.com for more information.

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