Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Further frustrations in Lucy’s quest for citizenship—but a ray of new hope

Loyal readers of our blog may remember our fiasco of August 2, 2016, when we went to the Italian Consulate in an attempt to obtain Lucy’s Italian citizenship. We arrived one year and one hour too early, and they told us to come back on the same date in 2017. We have already booked transportation and a room for next August, and we have all the documents ready, so we figure it should be a slam-dunk next time, right?
Consolato Generale di San Francisco

Wrong, wrong, wrong! In re-reading the requirements, I noted that all the police statements of good conduct—which must be both notarized and accompanied by an apostille verifying their authenticity by the issuing state—must be no more than six months old. So we need to go back to Pierce County, the Washington State Patrol and the FBI to get new notarized statements and new apostilles. Okay, we can live with that. It will cost some money and take some time, but at least now we know how to do it.

But in looking even more closely at the requirements, I came across this statement: ‟The Italian spouse must be registered at the Consulate as an Italian Citizen Residing Abroad (A.I.R.E.).” When I had read this earlier, I thought: No problem, I became an Italian Residente All’Estero in 2011 at the very same consulate. I know I’m on the list, because I receive ballots to vote in the Italian elections at my address in Gig Harbor, as do my children and my sister.

However, I noticed last November that everyone in the family received a ballot to vote on the December constitutional amendment referendum except me. Why was that? Because in April of 2016, I became a resident of Montecarlo. And in an uncharacteristic and inexplicable example of Italian bureaucratic efficiency (yes, I really used those two words together), the comune in Montecarlo must have communicated with the consulate in San Francisco, and I was removed from the list of citizens residing abroad.

Does that mean that Lucy can’t get her citizenship by marriage at the consulate any more? I sent the consulate an e-mail, and in another example of efficiency, they answered right away: ‟Your wife cannot apply here if you are not a resident here. The first requirement for the application is the sharing of the residency; therefore your wife can apply in Italy after moving her residence there.”

So, cancel the appointment, transportation and hotel in San Francisco. Start the maze over again in Italy. Luckily, we have just arrived back in Montecarlo, so this is the ideal time to start. The ray of hope I mentioned is that maybe we can somehow complete this process in the next two months. One of the reasons we want Lucy’s citizenship is that it will lower the twice yearly property taxes we must pay. It will also mean that she won’t need to obtain a permesso di soggiorno if she stays in the country for more than three months at a time. Stay tuned for updates in this continuing saga . . .

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