Friday, March 11, 2011

Cittadinanza si! Passaporto no!

Monday, April 7
Ari takes us both to the comune in Pescia today, where I receive a certificate of residence all’estero, officially “an Italian citizen who lives abroad.” We are sent to the tabaccaio next door, where for 14.62 euros I buy a marca da bollo, an official tax stamp, which must be affixed to the certificate, and then I pay an additional .80 euros at the comune. We also receive copies of my birth and marriage certificates in Italian. All of this takes place fairly swiftly, because Ari inquired here on my behalf more than two weeks ago, and they told him to come back in ten days and my documents would be ready.

We ask about the possibility of Lucy applying for citizenship. The Italian Consulate in San Francisco said she is eligible to apply immediately for citizenship because we have been married more than three years. For that, we are told, we must also apply in San Francisco.

We stop outside the office to take a quick celebratory photo of Ari, me and my certificates. Now we go again to the questura to ask about getting a passaporto. I found out when I had dinner with Enrico’s family that I can’t use somebody else’s address to get an Italian ID card instead of a passaporto, because it would add to that person's property taxes to have an additional person listed as an occupant. This leaves the passaporto as the best option for photographic identification as an Italian citizen.

The police officer is reluctant. It will be difficult to get a passaporto because we don’t have an address here. My citizenship paper says I am a resident all’estero. We could perhaps find a way to get around this, he says, but it would be less expensive and more legal to do it in the U.S. Here we would also have to buy another marco da bollo of 40 or 50 euros in addition to the 100 euros that the passaporto costs, he says, so why would we want to do that anyway?

“Va bene,” I say. I will do it in the states. We already know we have to go to the Italian Consulate for Lucy, so we will wait. There is no pressing need for Italian photo ID, and at least I now have a certificate in hand to prove my citizenship, in the unlikely event the need should arise.

We also go to the finance ministry to get my codice fiscale, roughly the equivalent of a social security number.  I am denied this as well. While I don’t have to actually be a resident for the codice fiscale, I have to list an Italian address to receive it. We can’t use the agriturismo address, because it is in the province of Lucca, and Pescia, though only five miles away, is in Pistoia.

“What about your cousin’s address,” Ari asks me. “We can use that.”

“I don’t have his address with me,” I answer.

Ari explains this to the clerk, who gives us a form that I can have Enrico fill out, stating that he is providing hospitality to us, and this won’t affect his taxes for the purposes of the codice fiscale. As I walk out the door, I remember that I do have Enrico’s address with me. It is in my backpack, but it is too late. The clerk already knows that I don’t live there. If I had just pulled out the address when he asked for it, he probably would have accepted it without any further questions. Che stupido! I’m not sure when I will see Enrico again, so the codice fiscale will have to wait. We thank Ari profusely and he takes us home.

Maybe next fall, when my summer work slows down, we can take a family trip to San Francisco—with all our children and maybe even sister Linda and her family—to get passaporti per tutti.


  1. Great accomplishment - a trip to SF is always nice, too.

  2. Well, you got some papers! How come Mom has to do hers in the U.S.?

  3. It's because we are residents "all'estero." Until we have a residence here, our "comune" for doing business like that is the Italian Consulate in San Francisco.


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