Hello, I am researching what it will take to obtain

08/31/2020 - 11:22

Hello, I am researching what it will take to obtain dual citizenship.  In 2017 I met family in Italy and confirmed the birthplace of my grandfather.  I live in New Jersey and have looked at the New York Consulate website.  It seems my first step is to obtain my grandfather's birth certificate.  How would you suggest obtaining this?  I tried to reach out to the town where my grandfather was born, but no response.  Any other suggestions for accomplishing this?  Thanks so much!

Comment

Since you have a family in Italy, perhaps they can help you get the birth certificate. You would want the birth certificate to have an apostille added, to verify it. Also for documents in America you need to get an apostille for every document. In America an apostille comes from the secretary of state for the state where the document is from, and certifies that the original document was signed by someone the secretary of state knows is legitimate. In Italy I'm not sure where the apostille would come from.

The key thing to find out:  was your grandfather still an Italian citizen when your father was born? If he was naturalized as an American citizen before your father was born, you won't be able to proceed. But if he was naturalized after your father was born, you are entitled to dual citizenship. So seek out the naturalization papers, which you will need anyway. That is really your first step.

I have not done this process myself, but my sister and brother both did it (one at the Miama consulate, one at the Philadelphia consulate). By the way, the consulates don't provide documentation to each other. So if you have a sibling living in a different consulate area, they have to start from the beginning all over again! It is really upsetting to me because I live in the Boston consulate's region. If I were in Florida or Pennsylvania it would be easy for me to do this. But since I'm in a different consulate's territory it becomes difficult for me to accomplish it.

Good luck! It's definitely worth the trouble.

 

Thank you so much.   I joined a Facebook group to help me with this.   It’s very confusing.  I’m trying to determine how I can find out if my grandfather became an American citizen.  I submitted a request form but it says it could take up to a year to find out.  Do you have any suggestions on how to find out if he naturalized/became a citizen?  I have been searching in ancestry, but if you have any other suggestions I would I greatly appreciate it.   I truly appreciate all of your help!!! 

I recently successfully went through the citizenship process. You will need to obtain all of the vital documents of your grandfather, parents and yourself. i.e., birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates, as well as U.S. entry documents and U.S. naturalization certificates. U.S. documents need to be translated to Italian and receive an apostate for the issuing state's Sec of State's office. The apostate is simply a certification required for international use. If you have any minor children under eighteen they will automatically obtain citizenship with you. So you will need their birth certificates also. 

There are several services that you can work with to obtain the documents, translations and apostates. It's not cheap, but I would highly recommend you do some internet searches and hire a service. 

 

Thank you so much!  Congratulations!   This is definitely a complicated process.   I am trying to determine how I can find out if my grandfather became a citizen of the US before my father was born.  I submitted a request to the state of New Jersey, but this could take up to a year!   I did receive a print out of my grandfather’s birth certificate but I’m assuming it needs to be a certified/sealed document (and not just sent through email 😊).  The naturalization piece will be the first step.  Any guidance or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!   Thank you!  Georgeann 

GeoAnn,

You will need to get copies of your grandfather’s  U.S. entry and U.S. naturalization documents. The consulate will require them. If he had to renounce his Italian Citizenship that document would be included in his naturalization papers.  It’s called “The Oath of Allegiance”. My grandfather applied for U.S. Citizenship in 1930 and this was required at that time.

The U.S. documents require an apostille, certifying them as legit for international use. The Italian documents do not require any further certification, but I’m not sure that the consulate will accept  emailed copies. That’s a question for your consulate. My Italian birth and marriage certificates from the town were copies, but had colored stamps from the Comune (town) and I believe an ink signature from the official.

 

GeoAnn,

I strongly recommend looking into hiring a service to help. I didn’t know where to start, but they were able to get things organized and moving. I used them to obtain the Italian documents and the U.S. entry and naturalization documents. I obtained the U.S. birth, marriage, and death certificates myself. I also used the service to translate the U.S. documents to Italian and to obtain apostilles for the documents. All of this costs money, but that’s a decision that you will have to make.

One thing that surprises people is that the consulate keeps your original documents to send to your commune of origin. (grandfather’s birthplace). So, you may want to make copies of all your documents before they get sealed up with the apostilles.

Mike,

Thank you!  How would I find a service?  And how expensive (approx)?   Of my grandfather became a citizen before my father was born wouldn’t that mean that I can not continue to pursue?  If so, it might be expensive to spend a lot of money to find that out.   So sorry for all the questions.  I have a lot of research to do.  
 

last night I did find a section about naturalization on ancestry but there were thousands and thousands of records.   (I’m probably doing it wrong). The searches came up empty, but I was able to go through each record but as I said there were so many!

 

once again I appreciate your help.  This means so much to me.  To think I found relatives in Italy is so special but to get dual citizenship would be a dream!

 

Grazie Mille,

Georgeann

Ciao GeoAnn,

You should be able to research the naturalization of your grandfather at the National Archives. Take a look at this link:

https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration/naturalization

Also, if you talk with the citizenship official at the Italian consulate responsible for your area (which I'm thinking is the one in New York), they should be able to suggest an agency to help with translation. By the way, you should make an appointment with the consulate, since sometimes you can only get an appointment a year in advance. So make the appointment now. You can always postpone or cancel the appointment later if you don't have everything together by the time the year goes by.

 

 

 

Thank you so much. I will look at that link.  The NYC consulate is not allowing reservations for appointments due to Covid.  I keep looking but it isn’t open yet.   
 

As you said, the first step is finding out if my grandfather became an Italian citizen before my father was born.  Did most Italians become citizens right away?  (Wow, I wish I asked me questions when I was young). 
 

approx how much do you think it would cost for a service to do this?  Thousands?

thank you so much!

georgeann 

p.s. GeoAnn, I found one more link that might help you:

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Naturalization_and_Citizenship

 

 

GeoAnn,

The National Archives web site provided by Ravina looks like it should be a good source or a first step. I only knew that my grandfather applied for U.S. Citizenship and renounce his Italian Citizenship  from a cousin. It never occurred to me that he would be required to renounce his Italian Citizenship.

If you do some internet searches for dual citizenship or Italian citizenship you should be able to come up with some services. I’m reluctant to give the name of the service I used since I had a lot of problems communicating with them. I believe they were upgrading their office technology at the time, but I don’t want to get sued for bad mouthing anyone.

I kept track of the costs for a while, but when they started to add up, I didn’t really want to know. Total cost, depending on the number of documents you need, should be over one thousand, pushing two. I think the U.S. entry documents alone were around three hundred or more. I don’t remember the exact cost. I believe obtaining certified U.S. birth, death, and marriage certificates was about thirty-five dollars each. Translations were around twenty-five  per page, and the apostilles were another charge. Obtaining the Italian documents is an additional charge.

Documents that I needed;

From Italy

Nonno’s and Nonna’s birth certificates

Nonno’s and Nonna’s marriage certificate

 

U.S. documents

Nonno’s U.S. entry and Naturalization papers.

Father’s birth certificate

Father’s marriage certificate

My birth certificate

My marriage certificate

George Ann, perhaps you have siblings or cousins living in the same consulate's area who would share the cost of the grandfather's documents? Also, you have the advantage of relatives in Italy who could help get the documents. As for the renouncing of Italian citizenship, I don't think that would matter - Italy based citizenship on blood. You can't change your genetics! So my message is don't give up!

Ravina,

Renouncing Italian Citizenship is a factor. Once an Italian gives up his citizenship, he can no longer pass citizenship to future descendants. That's why the first step, or expense, should be to investigating his U.S. Naturalization. The consulate will require those documents. In my case, I had a family recourse that knew about my grandfather's U.S. Naturalization, well after the birth of his children. 

Thank you.  Yes, the Naturalization seems like it's a critical piece.  I did submit a request for more information, there was a $65 fee, but it said it could take up to 14 months to get the information.  

I continue to look on the sites and Ancestry, but i cannot find a match for my grandfather.  I will keep looking!

I believe my paternal grandmother was born in Italy as well, same town as my grandfather, and my maternal grandfather was born in Italy.  I should have a good chance, but I don't know about their Naturalization.   I don't know if this is something our ancestors had to do or could they stay in this country and an italian citizen.  Seems like they would have to renounce their Italian citizenship to stay here.  

I'll keep searching.  I truly appreciate your help!  

Thank you again,

Georgeann

GeoAnn,

It’s only In recent decades that an immigrant needed an official status to remain in the U.S. There has never been a requirement to apply for U.S. Citizenship. Even today someone can remain a “Legal permanent Resident” indefinitely. But for a while, renouncing other citizenship was a requirement.

Italian citizenship can be passed through the maternal blood line if the applicant was born Jan 1, 1948 or latter. If you fall into that category, you can use either your  paternal grandmother or your maternal grandfather. My grandfather became a U.S. Citizen, but I don’t believe my grandmother ever did.

GeoAnn,

It sounds a bit macabre, but if you’re not sure where your ancestors were born, their death certificate is a good place to start. It should contain mother and father’s name and the place of birth. If your lucky, maybe the town and not just Italy. You will need the certified death certificate of which ever ancestor you use.

Also searching the Ellis Island data base (https://www.statueofliberty.org/discover/passenger-ship-search/) can identify the date of entry. It will also show the town of residence listed by the passenger. But the documents offered foe sale on this site won’t be acceptable to the consulate.

I believe I have my grandparents death certificate.  I will look.  I did get an email birth certificate for my grandfather recently, but I will need a stamped/certified copy, right with an Apostille.  So many new terms!  

I was just on the Ellis Island site and was disappointed that you had to purchase everything.  I don't mind purchasing the documents, but i need to see the specifics to determine if i have the correct relative.  I think my family names are common because I found many out there on ancestry. 

 

Appreciate your time once again.  I have more digging to do!!  But it's fun!  

I believe I have my grandparents death certificate.  I will look.  I did get an email birth certificate for my grandfather recently, but I will need a stamped/certified copy, right with an Apostille.  So many new terms!  

I was just on the Ellis Island site and was disappointed that you had to purchase everything.  I don't mind purchasing the documents, but i need to see the specifics to determine if i have the correct relative.  I think my family names are common because I found many out there on ancestry. 

 

Appreciate your time once again.  I have more digging to do!!  But it's fun!