See what I did there in the title? The famous song is called “Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano,” which translates, “You wanna be an American.” But I turned that on its freaking head and renamed it “Tu Vuo Fa L’Italiano!” Word play!
Because I do want to be Italian. I spent a semester in Venice my Junior year, and have taken a total of four trips to Italy for school and vacations. I freaking love it. So I would love to become an Italian citizen, and honor the aspect of my origins I find the most interesting. I’m also Dutch, German, Irish and English, but beyond clogs and golf, those countries strike me as pretty vanilla.
Part of the song referenced above goes, “sient’ a mme: nun ce sta niente ‘a fa’!” which translates, “Listen to me: there’s nothing you can do.” But I’m an American, and there is something I can do. So tu stai zitto! Translation: Shuttupa yo’ face.
I am 1/4 Italian via my Grandfather, Anthony. His father, Rocco, came to gli Stati Uniti from Sant’Arsenio, Italy in 1910 via Ellis Island, with his wife Anna, and I think two of their children.
Photo of Sant’Arsenio I found via tripmondo.
My Grandfather was born three years later. According to an Italian law called Jure Sanguinis, which is actually Latin, not Italian, and is literally translated: “by the law of BLOOOOOD,” (a less literal translation — Citizenship by blood rights), I can get my citizenship via my great-grandfather as long as no one renounced their citizenship along the way. A post on Design Sponge about Italian citizenship alerted me to this awesome law, and now I’m going to take steps to get Italian/EU citizenship for me, my wife, and our son.
It is not a simple process. First, my Grandfather must have been born BEFORE my Great-Grandfather became a naturalized citizen. Luckily, though there are some veteran exceptions, since the repeal of the Alien and Sedition Act, a law from 1795 generally rules naturalization law in the United States. That law states that you have to be a resident of the United States for five years before becoming a naturalized citizen.
Using my math scientist skills, I took 1913 (the year Anthony was born) and minused 1910 (the year Rocco arrived and presumably began residing in gli stati uniti) and it equals 3. 3 is less than 5, so Rocco could not have naturalized by the time Anthony was born, so Rocco’s blood remained Italian, and was passed down to Anthony, which was passed down to my mom, which was passed down to me, which I can pass to my wife and son.
All I have to do is find a bunch of original documents proving all this, some of which I have to request from Sant’Arsenio, Italy, where my Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother were born, some of which I have to find at the National Archives, and some of which I have to find in Jersey City, where my great-grandparents settled and died; then I have to translate anything written in English that is related to my Italian blood relatives into Italian; and then fill out three additional forms, one of which I have to fill out twice.
Instructions can all be found at your local Italian consulate. Note that some consulates differ re what documentation they require. For me it’s the DC consulate, and they require:
1) FORM 1
2) YOUR MATERNAL GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE (from Italy)
3) YOUR MATERNAL GREAT GRANDFATHER’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE (from Italy)
4) YOUR MATERNAL GREAT GRANDPARENTS’ MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
5) YOUR PATERNAL OR MATERNAL GREAT GRANDFATHERS’ CERTIFICATE OF NATURALIZATION AND PETITION FOR NATURALIZATION
6) YOUR MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE
7) YOU PATERNAL GRANDFATHER’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE
8) YOUR MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER’S MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
9) YOUR MOTHER’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE
10) YOUR FATHER’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE
11) YOUR PARENT’S MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
12) YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE
13) FORM 2 — YOUR DECLARATION THAT YOU NEVER RENOUNCED ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP BEFORE ANY ITALIAN AUTHORITY, listing all your places of residence and relative years. Your signature must be notarized. Copy of your passport and proof of residence (driver’s license and utility bills, etc.) are requested.
14) FORM 4 — DECLARATION THAT YOUR PATERNAL/MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS NEVER RENOUNCED ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP BEFORE ANY ITALIAN AUTHORITY, listing all places of residence and relative years. If living use FORM 3, if deceased use FORM 4
15) FORM 4 — DECLARATION THAT YOUR FATHER/MOTHER NEVER RENOUNCED ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP BEFORE ANY ITALIAN AUTHORITY, listing all places of residence and relative years.
16) ANY PERTINENT DEATH CERTIFICATE/S RELATED TO THE ITALIAN ASCENDANTS.
With no basis, I estimate this will take me 18 months, but I figure that if I put this out on the internet, some of you will ask me about how the process is proceeding, which will spur me on to get this done.