Oct 192012

Today we received background checks from NY State. The background check itself was still blank. But it was accompanied by a letter than was signed and notarized that said that the background check would be blank. Odd. They can notarize a letter but can't notarize the background check. So I stapled them together and sent them off for apostille by the NY Secretary of State.

Unfortunately, even though I asked for the background check to be listed in my wife's married name and maiden name, they only came in her married name. Since she never used that name while living in NY, that could be a problem for the consulate or for Rome. So I sent a letter thanking them for sending the notarized background check but asking for another one in her maiden name.

Oct 182012

Today we received two letters concerning Amy's background checks from Indiana.

One was from the Indiana State Police, returning our request for the background check to be notarized. They said they tried to contact us, but Amy didn't say she got a call from them.

The other was from Safran, who digitized her finger prints. We asked for them to forward the request to the Indiana State Police. They sent it back to us.

Ugh. This is frustrating! I'll be responding to both. Again!

Oct 092012

Well, the NY State background checks arrived today. Despite noting that they needed to be suitable for apostille, both in the cover letter and on the application, they arrived unsigned. We're sending them off the the NY Secretary of State with a letter asking if they can apostille them and if not to please either call the NY State Police or send us a letter with clear instructions as to what they need in order to apostille a documents. It appears that writing in every possible margin of a form is not enough for people to issue signed background checks. Only TN sent them right (well, except for a spelling mistake).

Oct 042012

The background check arrived today from Indiana. All it says is "A thorough search of our files by NAME, DATE OF BIRTH, SEX, RACE, and FINGERPRINTS DOES not reveal a criminal history record …"

I forwarded it on to the Indiana Secretary of State for an apostille, which fortunately is free (unlike most states).

Unfortunately, the background check did not have a signature or a seal on it, so I don't know if it will be accepted for an apostille. So in parallel, I wrote the Indiana State Police again for another copy of the background check, hopefully with a signature and a seal this time.

Sep 242012

A jure matrimoni application requires "police clearance or certificate of criminal records issued by the central authority of each state of which the applicant has been a resident since the age of 14, accompanied by a translation into Italian."

Today, my wife obtained her finger prints from the Nashville Police Department ($12).

We need to pay for background checks: NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services ($60.75), Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ($29.00), Indiana Digital Finger Prints ($12), Indiana State Police Background Check ($10), and FBI ($18.00).

Sep 172012

Two letters arrived from Serradifalco, Sicily today. One had birth certificates for me and my two sons and the marriage certificate for me and my wife. The other had AIRE documents for me and my two sons; the AIRE is the registry for Italian citizens living abroad. It's now officially official. We are Italian citizens.

my Italian birth certificate (redacted of course)

our marriage certificate (redacted)

my AIRE registration as an Italian citizen living abroad

Jun 052012

Our family leaves on our trip to Italy this afternoon. I am attending a conference in Sardinia for six days, then we visit Sicily for eight days, and then Rome for five days. While in Sicily, we will be visiting the home commune of the Palmeri side of the family, Serradifalco, and the MIllonzi side, Montemaggiore Belsito. We hope to pick up copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate in Serradifalco. If we can, then we can get passports and start the jure matrimoni process for my wife.

Apr 242012

We received authentications from the NY consulate for my birth certificate and our marriage certificate for my jure sanguinis application and for my wife's birth certificate for her jure matrimoni application.

Basically, they stamped and dated the translations and attached them to the apostilled documents.

Now waiting for my applications for citizenship to be approved. Then we will apply for my wife's citizenship.

Apr 222012

Jure matrimoni applications need to be processed by Rome and apparently these can take a couple of years to work through the system. Here is information from a posting that gives some details for how to track and monitor the application:

Based on the information on this page:

You can track your application status on this page:

…after first registering on this page:

I was able to register successfully. And now I need to associate my registration with the JM application. To do that, I need some additional information from the consulate:

Numero Pratica
Prefettura di presentazione
Data presentazione

Application number, prefecture (I think probably Catanzaro – which must be the associated "state" office with our home consulate in San Sostene, Catanzaro), and the date the application was presented/sent. The application number is also associated with a type ("tipo) of either K10 or K10/C – I need to research this a bit more.

Mar 242012

Thanks to BBCWatcher on the Italian Citizenship Message Board (http://italiancitizenship.freeforums.org/guide-for-new-or-newly-recognized-italian-citizens-t218.html). Copied here:

Congratulations on your acquisition of Italian citizenship or recognition as an Italian citizen! This brief guide provides basic information on your most important rights, responsibilities, and privileges as an Italian citizen. However, this guide is not exhaustive, so please search the forums for additional advice, and please post to the appropriate forum if you have questions not previously answered. Also, please consult a professional expert (a competent attorney, for example) if you need legal assistance.

Your Birth Certificate

It's a good idea to keep an official copy of your Italian birth certificate together with your other important papers. To obtain your birth certificate, send a request via ordinary or registered airmail to your home commune in Italy. You can use one of the sample letters provided in the Templates forum. Your local consulate may require you to provide an official copy of your birth certificate if you are applying for a passport, for example.

As with all Italian public documents it is possible to order your birth certificate with a standard marca da bollo (tax stamp), currently priced at 14.62 euro. However, for most purposes, including passport issuance and renewal, it is not necessary to order a tax stamp with your birth certificate.

You may also wish to obtain official copies of your marriage, divorce, and/or childrens' birth records from Italy for your personal files, as applicable.

Your Name

Other countries may be more lax and forgiving, allowing common variations in how you provide your legal name in different settings. Italy is different!

To avoid complications and potential legal difficulties, always use your full and exact legal name in any interactions with the Italian or other European governments, in business affairs (such as opening a bank account or buying property), in religious affairs (baptisms, weddings, etc.), in educational affairs (such as enrolling in a university), and in all other settings where your name could be recorded officially or semi-officially. If you have a middle name, if it is part of your legal name you must always use it.

It's very simple: your legal name is the one that appears on your birth (or naturalization) record, as recorded in your home comune in Italy. Be consistent with all spaces, punctuation, and capitalization.

For married or divorced women your name is your maiden name, unless you legally changed your name in Italy. (Yes, you may be known legally in one country by your married name and in Italy by your maiden name. If that's true, be extra careful when somebody asks your name.) Unless you are also asked specifically and additionally for your cognome da coniugata (married surname, alternatively cognome da sposata or cognome del marito), you should provide only your full legal name, which is your maiden name.

So, at least for your European affairs, stick to the name on the Italian version of your birth certificate! Check for any errors in any document you receive (such as a passport), and if necessary promptly notify the issuer to get your name corrected to match your birth certificate exactly.

Your Passport and Foreign Travel

Please read "Your Italian Passport: An Operator's Guide" for comprehensive information about Italian passports.

Australia, Canada, and New Zealand offer young Italian citizens special "working holiday" visas which permit extended stays and temporary employment.

Carta d'Identità

Italy offers a national identity card (carta d'identità). Outside Italy, only Italian embassies and consulates in Europe can issue this card. Some citizens find this card more convenient to carry than a passport, and it is valid for travel between nearly all European countries and even a few countries outside Europe. If you live in the European Union and never leave the region, it works well. While you may obtain a carta d'identità if you wish, you do not require one if you have an Italian passport.

Carrying Identification

In Italy you must carry government-issued photo identification on your person (or have readily available beachside or bedside ) at all times. Otherwise the police can hold you pending verification of your identity. Your Italian passport or carta d'identità suffices.

Other countries also generally require you to carry photo identification, particularly if you are not a citizen of that country. If you're visiting a foreign country, be sure to carry the passport that you used to enter that country.

Tessera Sanitaria

The Italian health insurance card (tessera sanitaria) proves that you have Italian national health insurance coverage, plus it includes your codice fiscale (see below). You may obtain the tessera sanitaria if you establish residence in Italy and enroll in national health insurance. (See below.)

Codice Fiscale

The codice fiscale is similar in purpose to a U.S. Social Security number or tax identification number. It is available to both citizens and non-citizens. It is required to accomplish many routine tasks in Italy, such as opening a bank account and enrolling in the national health service.

If you live abroad, you may obtain a codice fiscale free of charge at any Italian embassy or consulate. While there are Internet sites that can provide you with your likely codice fiscale, please note that your number is not official and must not be used unless it is issued by the Italian government. Otherwise, the number is not listed in government records and will not work. In fact, it is illegal to try to use an unauthorized number.

Registering All Life Events with Your Comune

Your home comune in Italy records all your significant life events, and you are required to keep your comune informed about these events. To assist Italians living abroad, there is a special registry called AIRE (Anagrafe degli Italiani Residenti all'Estero). Your local embassy or consulate manages your information in this special registry on behalf of your home comune and forwards authenticated official documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, etc.) to your comune for recording in their files. Thus, if you are living abroad, you only have to notify your local embassy or consulate of these significant changes. You do not need to contact your comune directly unless you want to obtain official copies of your family's records.

"Significant changes" means changes in your permanent residential address (even if you're just switching apartments or moving across the street; moves within Italy must be reported directly to your comune), changes in your marital status, and changes in your family's composition (i.e. birth or adoption of a child, death of a child, death of a spouse, or your death). If you are aware of significant changes in the past that have not yet been recorded, you should forward them as soon as possible to bring your records up-to-date.

Italy does not currently recognize same-sex marriages, although some other European countries do. (See below regarding European Union citizenship.) However, Italy permits transsexual persons to change their legal gender, so such changes should be reported.

Passing Citizenship to Others

Italy is primarily a jure sanguinis citizenship country. As an Italian citizen you pass on Italian citizenship to your children when they are born (and to any minors when you legally adopt them). As mentioned previously, you are obliged to register all changes in family composition. Birth (and adoption) registration with Italy gives legal effect to your progeny's Italian citizenship.

Technically Italy has certain rules for naming babies. According to Presidential Decree nº 396 (3 novembre 2000), and affirmed by Italy's highest court in 2008, Italian parents may not name their children the same as a living father or sibling, with a surname as their first name, or with a "ridiculous" or "shameful" name. Suffixes, such as "Junior" or "III," are not used in Italy. Prospective parents may wish to consult lists of Italian baby names, such as ItaliaNames.com. However, per Circolare 18 febbraio 2010 (nº 4/2010), these naming rules are at least somewhat relaxed for children born abroad with dual citizenship (the birth country's citizenship and Italian citizenship).

When you legally marry an opposite-sex partner who is not an Italian citizen, your spouse can optionally apply for jure matrimoni naturalization after a waiting period. You must remain married and living together through the entire jure matrimoni process.

Voting and Democratic Representation

If your permanent address abroad is properly registered in AIRE, and if you are old enough to vote (age 18; age 25 for Senate elections), you should automatically receive voting materials for Italian elections. You may vote by mail for your deputy (representative to the lower house, called the Camera, also known as the Chamber of Deputies), for your senator (representative to the upper house, called the Senate), in referenda, and possibly for certain other offices depending on where you live. (Italy is a parliamentary democratic republic, and Italians do not vote directly for the Prime Minister or President.) Or you may vote in person in your comune when the polls are open, as Italians residing in Italy do, as long as you notify your local embassy or consulate a sufficient amount of time before the election. Whether or not you are also eligible to vote in another country's elections is immaterial, at least to Italy. You can still vote in Italian elections.

Deputies and senators each have districts they represent. Italy has a small number of deputies and senators representing Italians living abroad. Districts outside Italy are very large geographically.

Italian citizens may stand for public office in Italy and are also eligible to work in the civil service.

Taxes and Laws

Italy is similar to most other countries in not taxing the income earned abroad of Italians permanently residing abroad. In other words, there is no inherent tax liability derived solely as a result of Italian citizenship.

Many visitors from outside Europe buy goods and then obtain Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds at the airport just before returning home from Europe. Italian citizens living abroad can still obtain VAT refunds on their European shopping trips, but they must also prove residence outside Europe. You may be presenting a passport from a non-European country to help prove residence abroad. However, if you are an Italian citizen you must always represent yourself as an Italian citizen to Italian government officials, including officials processing VAT refund requests at the airport. In that case, present your Italian passport (or at least clearly state that you are an Italian citizen) first, then present whatever evidence you are using to prove residency outside Europe.

AIRE-registered Italian citizens who move to Italy (to establish permanent residence) are eligible for a customs exemption.

You must obey the laws of Italy. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. If you are also the citizen of another country (i.e. a dual national), you must also obey the laws of your other country of citizenship. For example, if you are a citizen of both Italy and the United States, you are still subject to U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. You must also file an annual "1040" tax return with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and report all your non-U.S. financial accounts to the U.S. Treasury every year using form TD F 90-22.1.

If you are arrested in Italy you have no immediate right to see an attorney, but you may provide the name of your attorney to the judge in writing. You may remain silent except that you must provide your full name, date and place of birth, and indicate whether you have been previously arrested in Italy.

Military Service and National Security

Italy abolished all compulsory military service as of January 1, 2005. However, as with most countries, if there is a future national emergency the Italian government may order eligible Italian citizens, particularly young adult males, to report for military duty. That said, at least since World War II Italians residing abroad have never been recalled to Italy for compulsory military service.

Only Italian citizens are eligible to volunteer for Italian military service. There is no Italian equivalent to the French Foreign Legion, for example. The Italian military permits gays and lesbians to serve openly.

Italian citizens who are also citizens of other countries may have certain restrictions in obtaining the highest security clearances. This issue could affect employment in certain sensitive government, military, and defense industry professions in either or both countries. Complications in obtaining or retaining security clearances are particularly prevalent when the second citizenship is sought or acquired as an adult.

If you are also a male U.S. citizen age 18 to 25 (inclusive) you are still required to register with Selective Service no matter where you live in the world. And all young males resident in the U.S., legally or illegally, must register.

Right of Abode (and Other Fundamental Rights)

Perhaps it should be obvious, but as an Italian citizen you have the right to live in Italy permanently, and you are eligible for the same tax benefits as any other Italian when buying property. You may take any legal employment in Italy. Italian citizens are also citizens of the European Union. You have very similar rights of abode and employment in the European Union, in the European Economic Area, and in Switzerland. As of January, 2012, this combined area comprises 31 countries, including Italy.

If your spouse and/or dependents are not EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, they may accompany you if you establish residence within the EU/EEA/Switzerland and if they apply for legal residence as family members of an Italian (EU) national. Your non-citizen spouse may seek employment. If you die while you are all legally resident together within the EU/EEA/Switzerland, they may stay (with some caveats), and your spouse may still seek employment.

Italy does not recognize same-sex spouses or partners, so the rights described above are not presently available within Italy to households headed by same-sex couples. Court cases are pending. However, many other European countries (including Switzerland, with its majority Italian speaking canton Ticino) fully recognize households headed by same-sex couples as long as the relationship is legally established and documented in some jurisdiction, such as a U.S. state.

The European Union Web site provides a great deal of information on your EU citizenship rights and responsibilities.

You also have a special treaty right of abode and employment in Panama.

Social Security, Education, Medical, and Other Social Benefits

Italy has a Social Security system, but its pension benefits are largely reserved for those living and working in Italy for at least five years. Italy has Social Security treaties with certain other countries, including the U.S., that establish various reciprocal rights to benefits based on combined contributions.

Italian citizens may enroll in Italian universities and may qualify for government scholarships, although general tuition rates are already substantially lower than in many other countries. Italian citizens are eligible for the ERASMUS exchange program. Italian citizens who have resided in the EU for a sufficient number of years (typically five years) are eligible for EU tuition rates at all European universities. Some EU countries have no residency requirements to qualify for tuition benefits. For example, Italian citizens may attend public universities in Sweden without owing any tuition. Of course, Italians living in Italy have full access to primary and secondary education.

Italians resident in Italy may enroll in the national health system. Italians with national health insurance temporarily visiting other European countries enjoy reciprocal coverage. Italians permanently residing in another European country may enroll in their national health system. AIRE-registered Italians residing outside Europe are eligible to obtain a maximum of three months per year of free emergency medical assistance when visiting Italy. The Italian national health system is funded through payroll and other taxes, but Italian citizens only need to prove residence in Italy to enroll.

There are many other benefits available to Italian citizens residing in Italy, including the social allowance (which offers some financial security to low income Italians), disability insurance, maternity benefits, and paid parental leave among others. The Italian government also funds long-term care, such as nursing home care, for Italian citizens residing in Italy who have exhausted their savings.

Consular Services for Citizens

Italian embassies and consulates provide a range of services to Italians residing abroad. In addition to the AIRE-related services mentioned above, embassies and consulates also provide emergency services. For example, the embassy or consulate often can help facilitate emergency evacuations from areas of conflict or natural disaster (such as Libya in early 2011). Consular officials are available to visit Italians arrested abroad and help arrange legal representation, although Italians are still responsible for obeying local laws and for legal costs. The embassy or consulate also typically maintains a directory of competent medical professionals in the area, and they may be able to facilitate emergency medical treatment locally or medical repatriation to Italy, although you are still responsible for costs if you are able to pay. It is advised to have the telephone number of the nearest Italian embassy or consulate readily available (stored in your mobile phone, for example) in case you require emergency consular service while abroad, particularly outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland. You are also advised to register details of any upcoming foreign travel through the MFA's Web site DoveSiamoNelMondo.it (in Italian). Please note that if you enter a particular country using your other passport (whether or not you are required to use that other passport), the Italian government may not be able to provide much emergency consular assistance to you in that country.

The Italian embassy or consulate can also help authenticate foreign official documents (issued within their jurisdiction), legalize documents, and/or translate documents into Italian (or recommend competent translators). In some cases the embassy or consulate can help Italians promote their businesses abroad, particularly the export of more Italian-made products and services.

If there is no Italian embassy or consulate in the country you visit, or if the embassy or consulate is unreachable due to an emergency such as civil unrest, you may contact any other EU country's embassy or consulate for emergency services only.

Italians also enjoy full access to the several Italian Cultural Institutes in major cities outside Italy. The Institutes promote Italian culture, commerce, and language. Many embassies, consulates, and ICIs invite area Italians to special events, such as social gatherings, Italian national holiday celebrations, and artistic performances. There are also Italian Chambers of Commerce and other membership organizations in many cities around the world.

Italian Language, History, and Current Events

Most Italian citizens are fluent in the Italian language. There are numerous opportunities to learn the Italian language. U.S. residents may wish to subscribe to the Italian language newspaper America Oggi, published daily. (Sunday-only subscriptions are also available.) ICN Radio broadcasts a 24 hour schedule in Italian in the New York City area on an FM radio subcarrier, and the broadcast is also available on the Internet. Visit the Learning Italian forum to find other recommendations.

Italy has a rich history, but did you know that Italy did not exist as a nation until 1861? Start learning more about your country's history.

Every day more history is being made. You can follow major news events in Italy by visiting ANSA's English site. (Italy's ANSA is analogous to the U.S. Associated Press.) Of course there are many more sources of news about Italy, especially in Italian. If you'd like to discuss Italian politics (in English), try the Expats in Italy forum "Understanding Italian Politics."

There are many Italian associations and clubs outside Italy, including the National Italian American Foundation. Many Italian embassies and consulates maintain lists of local associations and clubs.

Losing (or Giving Up) Your Citizenship

There are only a very few ways you can lose your Italian citizenship. Naturalizing as a citizen of another country does not affect your status as an Italian citizen, for example. Italian law changed effective August 15, 1992, to permit that.

As you might expect, the Italian government can strip citizenship (with retroactive effect) from anyone who represented themselves fraudulently or inaccurately in any citizenship application.

Italy no longer requires you to renounce another country's citizenship if you become an Italian citizen through naturalization. (And there has never been such a requirement if you are recognized as an Italian citizen jure sanguinis or if you acquired citizenship automatically when you legally married an Italian male before April 27, 1983.) However, some other countries may interpret Italian naturalization (i.e. "voluntary" acquisition of citizenship), in particular, as an act of renunciation. That depends on the citizenship laws of the other country. Presumably you already understand these ramifications.

There is generally no problem when Italian citizens choose to serve in foreign militaries or as foreign government officials. However, the Italian government still technically has the legal power to strip citizenship in such cases by following due process (i.e. a best-effort notice, then a waiting period to allow the citizen to reverse course and end foreign military/government service). The Italian government has rarely exercised this power and then only when the foreign power is expressly hostile to Italy. (The Italian government exercised this power during World War II only to retroactively restore citizenship after Italy's fascist government fell.)

As a separate matter, if you are thinking of voluntarily renouncing your citizenship of another country now that you are recognized as an Italian citizen, please review discussion #1 and #2 to understand the potential advantages and disadvantages.

Mar 222012

I contacted the Nashville Police Department and they said that they can take official fingerprints for use by the states and the FBI for background checks.

We need to go to: 200 James Robertson Pkwy at the Criminal Justice Center

They have "standard cards supplied by the FBI for fingerprint submissions that are used for regular background checks." 

They said, "Yes, we can do it. The standard fee is $9 for the first set and $1 for each additional set of prints if needed. We are open Mon-Fri from 7AM to 6PM. Please make sure to bring the form with you."

Mar 222012

To obtain a Tennessee background check, we need to download the application from here : http://www.tbi.state.tn.us/background_checks/backgrd_checks.shtml

This is the form: http://www.tbi.state.tn.us/background_checks/TORIS-master-memo.pdf

We need to write on it that it needs to be notarized.

We can go to the TBI and get it done in person while we wait:

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
901 R.S. Gass Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37216
(615) 744-4000

Then we can take it downtown to the Secretary of State to get it apostilled.

Division of Business Services
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Snodgrass Tower, 6th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243

Mar 222012

Here is the web site for obtaining a personal FBI criminal background check: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks

Here is the specific information on making a request: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/submitting-an-identification-record-request-to-the-fbi

Step 1: Complete the Applicant Information Form.

  • If the request is for a couple, family, etc., all persons must sign the form.
  • Include your complete mailing address. Please provide your telephone number and/or e-mail address, if available.

Step 2: Obtain a set of your fingerprints.

  • Provide the original fingerprint card. Previously processed cards or copies will not be accepted.
  • Your name and date of birth must be provided on the fingerprint card. Fingerprints should be placed on a standard fingerprint form (FD-258) commonly used for applicant or law enforcement purposes.
  • Include rolled impressions of all 10 fingerprints and impressions of all 10 fingerprints taken simultaneously (these are sometimes referred to as plain or flat impressions).
  • If possible, have your fingerprints taken by a fingerprinting technician. This service may be available at a law enforcement agency.
  • To ensure the most legible prints possible, refer to the Recording Legible Fingerprints brochure.

Step 3: Submit payment.

  • Option 1: Obtain a money order or cashier’s check for $18 U.S. dollars made payable to the Treasury of the United States. Please be sure to sign where required.
  • Option 2: Pay by credit card using the Credit Card Payment Form. Don’t forget to include the expiration date of the credit card that you are using.
  • Important note: Cash, personal checks, or business checks WILL NOT be accepted.
  • Payment must be for the exact amount.
  • If the request is for a couple, family, etc., include $18 for each person.
  • If the request is for multiple copies per person, include $18 for each copy requested.

Step 4: Review the FBI Identification Record Request Checklist to ensure that you have included everything needed to process your request.

Step 5: Mail the required items listed above—signed applicant information form, fingerprint card, and payment of $18 U.S. dollars for each person or copy requested—to the following address:

FBI CJIS Division – Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

Note: Although the FBI employs the most efficient methods for processing these requests, processing times may take approximately eight weeks depending on the volume of requests received.

Update 22 Mar 2012

I called the FBI today to ask about the specific procedure. After calling the central FBI office, they gave me the telephone number for their WV office that handles background checks (1-304-625-2000).

They first pointed me to the web site I had found earlier doing a google search: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks

You need to follow the instructions to "Submit your request directly to the FBI" which links to this page: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/submitting-an-identification-record-request-to-the-fbi

You need to fill out the application. Easy enough.

There is a specific finger print form on the FBI web site (FD-258), with a link right from the above page. They said that it can be printed out on regular printer paper.

They did say to make sure it was filled out exactly right.

You can (and should) get your prints done by a local police department. In Nashville, they charge $9 for the first set and $1 each for any additional sets. The person seemed to suggest to bring both a filled out form and a blank form in case the police want to fill in the information themselves. The police will (well, should) check ID when they do the prints.

Once you have the application, finger prints, and payment, you send everything in and get the background check back. I didn't ask how long it normally took. From reading other posts elsewhere, I gather that background checks like this "expire" so you don't want to get them too soon in the process. I read someplace that they're only valid for something like 6 months.

For a jure matrimoni application, you likely need to get the FBI background check apostilled. So it's critical that you include another piece of paper that explains why you need the background check authenticated and apostilled. And they recommended also writing at the top of the application that you need it authenticated so that it can be apostilled clearly. 

They made a clear distinction between having it "authenticated", which apparently means the FBI affixing a seal or a signature to the document (kind of like what NARA does on census records perhaps), and having it apostilled, which must be done by the US Department of State.

To get the FBI background check apostilled (which the US Department of State called "authentication"), I first called the federal government information hotline at 1-800-333-4636. They gave me this web site: http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/

They said to make sure you include a cover letter with your name, phone, mailing address, email, etc. and the country that the document is being used in. They also recommended using FED-EX or UPS – not the US Postal Service – because USPS mail to the State Department apparently needs to be screened and can delay the mail by several weeks (for some reason, FED-EX and UPS don't go through the same screening process).

They said it should take about 10 business days to have the FBI background check apostilled/authenticated by the State Department.

Mar 222012

I found this web site for obtaining criminal records from NY State – http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/ojis/recordreview.htm

I emailed RecordReview@dcjs.ny.gov:

I am a US citizen by birth and am in the process of finalizing my dual Italian citizenship.

My wife is eligible for Italian dual citizenship by marriage. As part of her application, she needs to obtain "police clearance or certificate of criminal records issued by the central authority of each state of which the applicant has been a resident since the age of 14". She was born in NY and lived in NY until she finished college. My wife was never accused, charged, or convicted of any crime, so we expect it to come back clear.

One complication is that the police clearance / certificate of criminal records must be suitable for an apostille by the Secretary of State of NY. So it needs to be signed and certified. I understand from others who have applied for Italian citizenship by marriage that the criminal record someone might get by applying by the usual methods is not suitable for an apostille and hence is not acceptable by the Italian consulate for citizenship applications.

What is the process for obtaining a signed and certified police clearance / certificate of criminal records suitable for apostille from NY State?

Update 22 Mar 2012

Here is their response:

"… we will have to do is send you out our cardscan packet in the mail. So we will just need a mailing address. once you receive the packet you will fill out the form and take the finger print card to a local police station to get finger printed on. Once all that is completed you will mail to the address on the form. Once we receive it will process it and it will take us 7-10 business days to process and we will get the background check out to you with the sealed and notarized letter."

Mar 212012

Now that the jure sanguinis application for me and my children seems to be moving along, I am starting to get information together for my wife's application for Italian citizenship jure matromoni.

This is information from the Ministry of the Interior web site:

Granting of the Italian citizenship to foreign citizens married to Italian citizens and to foreign citizens who reside in Italy

FOLLOWING MARRIAGE TO AN ITALIAN CITIZEN (ARTICLE 5 OF LAW 91/92, as subsequently amended and supplemented)

According to article 5 of Law No. 91 of 5th February 1992, citizenship can be granted following marriage, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The foreign or stateless applicant must be married to an Italian citizen for at least 2 years and he/she must have his/her legal residence in a municipality of the Province for at least 2 years from the date of the marriage. Legal residence means that the applicant must be enrolled in the register of the population and at the same time he/she must hold a valid permit to stay.
  • If the spouses reside abroad, the application can be submitted three years after the date of the marriage.
  • The above periods are reduced by half if the spouses have natural or adopted children
  • Until the adoption of the decree granting citizenship the spouses must not be legally separated and there must not be dissolution or nullity of the marriage or cessation of its civilian effects

Here is some information from the Detroit consulate brochure:

Before submitting the application the marriage must have already been registered at the Town Hall in Italy and the Italian spouse must be registered at the Italian Consulate as an "Italian Citizen residing abroad" (A.I.R.E.). Payment of Euro 200.00 and the following documents:

  • birth certificate of the applicant;
  • certified full copy of marriage certificate issued by the Italian Town Hall;
  • certificate of residence of the applicant.
  • certificate of citizenship of the Italian spouse (this will be issued by the consulate of residence at the time of application);
  • certificate of family status (same as above);
  • police clearance or certificate of criminal records issued by the central authority of each state of which the applicant has been a resident since the age of 14, accompanied by a translation into Italian.
  • F.B.I. Clearance with finger prints form (in addition to the above certificate/s), with translation into Italian.

The fee must be paid prior to the presentation of the request, through international bank transfer or through Eurogiro network. When making your payment use the following guidelines:
IBAN code n. IT54D0760103200000000809020
Reference of payment – For citizenship by marriage please indicate: "ISTANZA DI CITTADINANZA PER MATRIMONIO"

From the Italian Dual Citizenship Message Board, I've learned that it can take over 2 years for the application to be processed by Rome.

On the message board, I found this about getting an FBI background check apostilled (http://italiancitizenship.freeforums.org/apostille-for-fbi-record-t1077.html): 

9. Does the FBI provide apostilles*?

(*An apostille is a certification that a document that has been “legalized” or “authenticated” by the issuing agency through a process in which various seals are placed on the document.)

Yes. The CJIS Division will authenticate U.S. Department of Justice Order 556-73 fingerprint search results for international requests by placing the FBI seal and the signature of a division official on the results if requested at the time of submission. Documents prepared in this way may then be sent to the U.S. Department of State by the requester to obtain an apostille if necessary. This procedure became effective on January 25, 2010 and will apply only to documents finalized after that date. Requests to authenticate previously processed results will not be accepted. This procedure replaces the letter formerly provided by the CJIS Division that indicated the service was not provided. The apostille service is not provided to individuals requesting search results for Canadian immigration, as it is not required for this purpose.

More information from the message board:

"You need a criminal background check in every state he has resided in (ie. had a license or utilities registered in his name). For the criminal background checks, you need to contact the state government and ask for a copy of this that is appropriate for apostille by the Secretary of State (SoS). The SoS is who you will send this form to after you've received it. Appropriate means they have notarized it before sending it to you. I received a couple of un-notarized copies which would not be accepted by the SF consulate as I had to notarize them myself before the SOS would apostille them. … For the FBI check, you need it for visa/immigration purposes and as it is only valid for six months, you might not want to get it too far in advance."

"Try asking for an "authenticated" background check. It has to be "authenticated" before it can be apostilled. Good luck! It just means that they put their seal with a signature that can be verified on it."

"I am beginning the process of getting my husband Italian citizenship through marriage. I spoke to my local consular officer (NY) who told me that I need to collect the certificates of good conduct from each state of birth and residence, and to have each one "legalized" by the Italian Consular authority responsible for that area (i.e., a criminal history from Rhode Island must be legalized by the Italian Consulate in Boston)."

"The U.S. is not one of those countries hostile to the acquisition of second citizenships, so that's not a worry."

"Just remember to say, 'suitable for Apostille.'"

"FBI fingerprints – I called our local police department about this. They do the fingerprinting but the officer who answered the phone wasn't sure if the department had the cards/forms. A poster on another forum wrote that he/she was told by his/her local police department that they don't provide them. The form (FD-258) can be downloaded from the FBI website. Just google From FD-258. I don't know if these copies would be acceptable. The poster indicated that you might want to contact your local FBI Field Office."

"I first had them taken by an authorized outlet for state and government fingerprints (CA requires fingerprints too, so there are many places that do this). State ok'ed them. The Government sent them back stating that they were not clear enough and giving tips to re-take. I had them retaken at the certified place for free, but when I sent them back to the Government, same result. Desperate, I called the local police department almost in tears, and explained my dilemma. They told me to come in and they would try. I apparently have really really bad fingerprints (so they said – they called it potter's hands). They were very very careful (and in fact took the best of three sheets they did) and thankfully, the Government finally accepted them and issued the all clear. Long story short, I'd use the local police. Just be sure they are careful."

"I am reading that you have 3 months to get to the consulate for the background checks."

Oct 182011

I thought we were all set with probably the simplest part of our application for dual citizenship: birth certificates for my wife and myself.

Well, my wife informed me that we only have short form certificates.

She learned this when she went down to the local social security office to get an error corrected on her records. It turns out they wouldn't accept her birth certificate. While it was an official copy with a raised seal, it was only a short form, not a long form, so they would not accept it. Apparently, what we both have seems to be the same kind of short-form birth certificate that President Obama originally released that the "birthers" had a cow over until he released his long-form birth certificate. 

my short-form birth certificate (redacted, of course)

We're mailing out requests to the City of Buffalo Clerk's Office to get official, certified, long-form birth certificates today at $10 a piece.

That makes the running total cost so far $186, and we've completed just a handful of steps. And that doesn't include the money I've spent over the past few years filling in the basic genealogical information with ancestry.com subscriptions.