It is undeniable that the rising number of applicants and the subsequent backlog of pending applications, combined with the delays caused by the Pandemic, are why appointments for Italian Citizenship by Descent are challenging to find.
One thing that we should note is that Italian Consulates should not be blamed, because several steps have been taken in the last 12 months to manage this growing demand:
- One example is the arrival of a new online booking system called Prenot@Mi launched in 2021, offering a more versatile, secure, easy-to-use system equipped with a "waitlist." All Consulates here in the U.S. have adopted it except for Chicago.
NOTE: the old system called Prenota is still alive. Those who are not registered should sign up and search for cancellations that could become available until approximately July 2023.
More resources are being assigned to the citizenship offices of most Italian Consulates.
The good news is that in the last six months, almost all Italian Consulates have reopened their calendars. Some appointments are live, and others are made available only once a month (i.e., Boston), but don’t be surprised if the earliest availability is around 2025.
Let’s not forget that putting together a document portfolio is a long process in itself; acquiring old documents from Italy and the U.S. is not easy, especially when dealing with states such as New York. In addition, inconsistencies in name spellings and discrepancies in dates must be corrected, and amending records takes time.
Nonetheless, processing times at the Consulates are getting longer, and some calendars are already fully booked for the next three years and have been closed for the time being.
In addition, in accordance with Art. 3 D.P.R. 362/1994, Italian Consulates have up to two years to process an application and provide a response, so many of you who have already submitted your application up to or even over two years ago may still be waiting for a response from the Italian Consulate.
So, what should you do if you are stuck with no appointments available for the near future or if you are still waiting for a response after submitting your application over two years ago?
You have the option to obtain Italian citizenship by submitting a claim for citizenship before a judge in the Italian Courts. Recently, several cases have been brought before the Court for "lack of appointments." The failure of the consulates to provide an appointment within a reasonable time can now be viewed as a “denial of justice”, a condition for fast-tracking the case in front of the judge who will ultimately grant Italian citizenship. This option does not require establishing residency in Italy.
Please note that in order to petition the Italian Courts, it is imperative to prove that the applicant cannot book an appointment at the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the State where they reside:
- Screenshots of the webpage attesting to the impossibility of booking an appointment, taken every day for several weeks at different times, are required.
- If Consulates are not making available any new appointments within a reasonable timeframe, copies of their automated response stating why they are not reopening their calendar are required.
- There are also cases where your appointment was canceled, no substitute appointment was set, and/or no other option was given (such as submitting the document portfolio by mail). This notification from the Italian Consulate sent by email can be presented to the Court as evidence.
These court proceedings are very similar to the 1948 Cases and the Involuntary Citizenship of Female Ancestors by virtue of marriage. The timeline from the moment the claim is filed in Court and the Final Judgement is issued may be between 16 and 24 months, but it is really based on the judge's calendar.
NOTE: This timeline does not include the time it takes for applicants to put together their entire document portfolio to be completed before filing the claim in the Court.
My Italian Family®, together with our affiliate Law Firm in Italy, Mazzeschi, can do everything for you. During our years of collaboration, we have successfully assisted many applicants like you fulfill their dream of becoming an Italian Dual Citizen. Discover who we are by learning about our international Team of Experts who have the right qualifications and experience to take you through this complex journey. Call us at 1-888-472-0171 or visit www.myitalianfamily.com for more information.