Hello again! Welcome to the continuation of my "Definitive Guide to Applying for Italian Dual Citizenship in Italy."
Just in case you haven't yet seen it, click here to catch up on Part One where I discussed assessing your eligibility and preparing for your in Italy application.
Now that we've got that over with, let's get right back to it. This continuation post will cover what to do once you arrive in Italy on your quest to obtain Italian dual citizenship during your stay.
Landing in the Italian airport
Okay, so you've read about the benefits of Italian dual citizenship, determined your eligibility, you've packed your bags, gotten ready and you're now flying to Italy. Great! Depending on where you are coming from, you will have to start the official process of applying in Italy in one of two ways.
Option 1: If you are flying to Italy from a NON-SCHENGEN AREA country, you will need to make sure that the Italian border officials stamp your passport. This is an essential part of the application, and serves to show the Italian government that a) you arrived when you said you did, and b) you arrived for the purposes of obtaining Italian citizenship as is your legal right (more on this later).
Here is a list of which countries belong to the Schengen Area.
Option 2: If you are flying to Italy from a SCHENGEN AREA country, you must make a dichiarazione di presenza (declaration of presence) at the local questura (precinct) within 8 days of your arrival.
Most Americans will be flying from the U.S. to Italy and will need to make sure there is a stamp on their passport.
Arriving in the comune
In the best scenario, you will have already found a place to rent, your landlord will have allowed you to sign, scan it and send back the rental agreement before you arrive or you will have already been given a dichiarazione di ospitalita' (declaration of hospitality) by him/her.
Once the above has been carried out, you will go to the ufficio di stato civile in the town you are living. While there, you will fill out a form and present your ID to become an official resident of the town. Here is where the codice fiscale you previously generated comes in as you will need it while filling out your paperwork. You will also need to bring your ID with you.
After you hand everything back in, the town may take up to 45 days per Italian law to send an officer known as a vigile to your home. The purpose of the vigile visit is to ensure that the address you put down on your paperwork is where you really live; it is a very informal visit. He'll probably just look around, chit chat for a bit and be on his way.
Note: many Italian towns do not take the full 45 days to send a vigile to your home; nevertheless, they have a window of 45 days per Italian law. Once the 45 days has passed without a visit, their implicit acceptance of your residence is implied and you will be put on the town registry.
After the vigile's visit
Once the vigile has visited, you can then go to the ufficio anagrafe in the town where you live. This is where you will hand in all of your documents for citizenship. One thing to note is that in smaller towns, the ufficio di stato civile and the ufficio anagrafe can be in the same building, same floor or same room.
You and the clerk will then go over your path to citizenship, he will examine your documents plus translations and apostilles and if everything is perfect, he will accept your documentation. At that point, he contacts the consulates back home to make sure that nobody in your line has renounced their right to obtain Italian citizenship: this is considered the last step.
Note: Unlike a consular application, there is no fee for applying in Italy. Also, Italy tends to be more lax about spelling variations and the vast majority of towns do not need non-line documents or death certificates. One thing to note, however, is that all American documents must be apostilled, even federal ones.
At this point, you are free to return to the U.S. or stay in Italy either a) up to the 90 days as afforded by your U.S. passport or b) indefinitely until your citizenship is recognized. In Part Three, I will be explaining how to obtain a permit to stay in Italy legally until your citizenship is recognized.
Since 2005, we've been helping people achieve their dream of obtaining their Italian passport or living, working and studying in Italy.
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