After taking the better part of four years to collect all my documents–birth and marriage and divorce and death certificates going back generations– to apply for recognition of dual Italian citizenship, getting them certified, translated, and stamped with Apostilles, I thought I was ready to trek to the Italian Consulate in San Francisco and hand over my stuff.
It wouldn’t be long, I told myself, before I was holding an Italian passport as an official Italian citizen!
Now, I knew I wasn’t just going to saunter over, hand my two reams of documents across the counter, get a handshake and a congratulations, and be handed my official Italian citizenship certificate.
What I didn’t expect was that I would not be able to get any appointment! No sauntering. No trekking. No appointments at all. The calendar was full for the next two years which is as far in advance as you can apply for an appointment. I could not book an appointment!
Huh? How can this be? At least a two year waiting period? No openings at all before then?
I called the Consulate, thinking perhaps I was looking at this wrong. Nope. I was advised to keep checking every day for an opening and the best time was midnight when the computers cleared the cancellations.
Yah, well, that lasted about a week as I got up early for work, and didn’t have the energy to play on the computer for a half hour in the middle of the night on the off-chance the calendar wouldn’t show a red X for every single day in the next two years.
Since where you live dictates which Consulate has jurisdiction, I even debated moving to another jurisdiction if I could get an earlier appointment than years away. I checked out the LA Consulate website. No online calendar for them. No, you had to call a particular phone number at so many dollars per minute (seriously!!!) and that company would tell you the earliest availability.
Ok, I’ve spent four years and thousands of dollars so far, so why not spend a few dollars more to see if I could get an appointment at the LA Consulate. And if that worked out, then I’d figure out how to move to that area.
The fellow on the phone was nice enough. He checked the calendar and reported that he was pleased to be able to offer me an appointment four years down the road. You read that right: FOUR YEARS away!!! He may have been pleased; I was not. Uh, no thanks.
This is ridiculous. There are that many people waiting to apply for dual citizenship to create such a backlog, or is there only one person in the entire United States designated to deal with this?
So I was stumped. I had gotten this far, jumped through every hoop placed in front of me, and now I could not see a way forward.
I languished at this point for several months. Until I read a magazine with an article about ‘Fast Track’ to recognition of dual Italian citizenship. ‘Fast’ sounded good.
According to the article, moving to Italy (better than moving to LA!) and submitting my documentation there was an option. Because the towns (especially the smaller ones) generally weren’t overloaded with petitions for dual citizenship, the process would be much quicker, this article promised.
I bought into it. Fast track! Gee, I liked the sound of that. It sounded so….fast!
Hmm. I can reside in Italy, hand in my documents, and get recognized for dual Italian-United States citizenship. Sounds better than good. What can go wrong?