After two and a half years I finally received my Italian passport! This is the story of how I gained citizenship and the process from start to finish:
So, in 2018 I decided that I would get the ball rolling and see if I could gain citizenship. I had no idea of the process or the correct path I should take. While working in London I decided to try and visit the Italian consulate as I was working nearby, once there, I realised it was appointment only. Looking back, it shows how little I knew about the process and the administration that would be part of my life for the next couple of years.
After an email to the consulate, I was informed that there was a check list of documents and requirements needed before booking an appointment, more on this later! First, I had to see if I was eligible to apply and there are a few different ways this can be done. In my case it would be through the blood line on the male side of my family known as JS – Jure Sanguinis. This involves having a direct line from your ancestor that was born in Italy and emigrated to your country of birth, in my case England. The first thing which is very important, is to find out if your relative was naturalised. Basically, this means whether or not they renounced their citizenship or if they became a UK citizen. Also, around this time, I became aware of online groups that were to play a major role in terms of advice and also support throughout the process. These online groups are invaluable and helped each other as there are an untold number of hurdles and brick walls people come up against. I really appreciated their guidance.
So, after some research, I found out that the Milton Keynes Legalisation office was the place to contact. This was a major hub for all paperwork that was to be needed throughout the process but also to see if I could even get past the first hurdle.
First stop, I had to see if my great grandfather Antonio has been naturalised. I completed the form and sent it off to the national archives and waited for a reply. After a few weeks, I received an email saying that there was no record of my grandfather becoming naturalised and this meant that technically it made all descendants Italian from birth. After paying the admission fee for their certificate proving the above, I could now move on to the next step. The certificate had an expiration date so I had to make sure that this didn’t expire.
This is the bulk of the process and this takes as long as it takes for you to locate the relevant documents, many people have issues locating these documents and it is really a time-consuming process phone calls, emails, talking with relatives.
For the Jure Sanguinis process:
I needed to locate every birth, marriage and death certificate for every male in my family from my great grandfather – grandfather – Dad, and finally myself.
First, I had to see what I already had which was my documents and my father’s documents. This left my grandfather’s and my great grandfather’s. As fortune would have it, my aunt had been researching the family, so even though we didn’t have the documents we knew the way to apply for them.
I’ll now skip to when I had a complete set of documents. The new process was to send them off to Milton Keynes to be authenticated/apostilled a process where a certificate is attached to the documents. There is a charge per certificate and they are not guaranteed to be approved and this process took many months. During this time, it is advised that you start trying to book an appointment at the consulate which can be a wait of up to more than a year! This was, and is for many people the hardest part of the process, the way the appointments are gained is through an online system called the prenota. You create an account and a calendar shows dates with the first available appointments many months away. At 7pm on selected days, thousands of people sit in front of their computers waiting for a green number to appear before trying to click on it. If you get that far selecting a time, then finally typing in a capture about 10 digits long with upper end lower case letters – it is near impossible and for the first few months I doubted it could be done. I know people that have been trying for over a year and most nights you don’t even see the date go green, within seconds it’s red and has been taken… another night passes.
The Day I Snagged an Appointment:
Due to the pandemic, their appointments had stopped being released and it was with help of a friend who I met through the online community that advised me that new appointments may be going back on line – at the time mentioned, I logged on at 8am …. nothing 9am …. nothing, then with no warning a block of green appointments appeared maybe 20+
I skipped ahead a month or so as I believed people would be competing for the earlier appointments. Typing as fast as I could, I selected the date, the time, and finally entered the capture……….. success!
I now had an appointment to have my documents reviewed……. great or so I thought.
Once you have your documents apostilled you have to have the English documents translated into Italian. I chose a translator from the approved list on the consulate website. This generally means you start looking at your own documents that you have seen many times in more detail, this is when I noticed there was a discrepancy on my grandfather’s death certificate. My grandfather’s middle name was Giorgio which even my father and aunties where unaware of as since overtime his name had been anglicised into George. This is very common and there are many issues with names like Dominico – Dominic etc. Also, the person who witnessed and signed the death certificate was no longer contactable and without a letter from them this could not be changed.
The General Registry Office:
After contacting the local registry office and being referred to the general registry office I was informed I could apply for a note to be added to the death certificate which is either an AKA, otherwise known or as formally known. These again are sent away with the administration fee and there are no guarantees that they will be approved. I must say, even though they are strict, the staff at my local registration office were great and very helpful. I told them my appointment was approaching and they really helped speed up the process and they even had to go to another town as the documents was so old and kept in another department. Once the document arrived – I resent for translation and awaited my appointment.
The Day Arrived!
On the day of the appointment, I travelled to London and was one of the first in the queue and waited for 2 hours for the doors to open – (the queue can be 200 people long in the space of 20mins).
My confirmation email was checked and I was sent in for security checks before being sent to the office for my appointment. The appointment went straight to business and this is where constant checking of your application pays dividends. The officer went through my documents which were in the correct order of each member of the family this really helps. Everything went well until we got to the discrepancy… I told the officer in advance and she nodded and said I was right to get the note and it was all in order. After that I was relieved and knew the rest would be fine. I was told I would receive a confirmation email saying that I had been recognised as an Italian citizen within a couple of months. After 2 months of waiting and trying to forget about it I received the email! I now had to book another appointment but luckily not through the same system. My appointment was scheduled for another few months away…
The Final Day – Passport Day!
On the day – I went through the same process and arrived at the consulate, waited a couple of hours and was in the first few people to be shown in – I went to the desk, presented my MOD1 form which you can print from the consular website along with the check list and photos needed for the passport. I paid the fee and I was told to take a seat, 20mins later I was handed the Passport and it was over… I walked through the doors, out on to the street and floated past the queue of people in various stages of their own process.
Then I stopped and took a second to look at what had taken me over two years to complete and posted the following picture 🙂