I officially began my jus sanguinis campaign on March 2nd, and let’s just say…it’s been interesting.
When I begin to research something of this nature (meaning, something highly complicated and bureaucratic), I check sources of ALL kinds: The companies who want you to pay them for things you could do on your own, the forums for people doing the same thing or who have done the same thing, AND official government websites. When sorting through all of these resources, it is very easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out. So, the first thing I did after digging through all of the information was figure out what documents I absolutely needed.
This sounds like a simple enough task, but haha, you’d be surprised at how incredibly difficult is it, especially when the Italian consulate you need to submit your materials to does NOT have a list of what you need in order to apply on their website. This, I learned, is paramount. It does not matter what other consulates require…it only matters what YOUR consulate requires. If I had followed what random people on forums or the websites who you pay to do the research and acquisitions FOR you said, I would’ve paid for at least six more documents (apostilled and translated, not to mention the court order cost) than I needed. I don’t know about you, but even entertaining the notion of a consulate official waving a dismissive hand at documents I didn’t need after going through THAT much to get them makes me want to scream. Save yourself the time, frustration, and money and check with your consulate first.
Something else I learned is that Italian government entities may move slowly. Being completely unable to obtain the official list of required documents from my consulate (I am under the jurisdiction of the Detroit consulate), I decided to email them, despite the fact that I’d read most emails are completely ignored.
My email was sent on March 2nd; I received a reply on March 13th, so not too bad!
If you, too, are under the jurisdiction of the Detroit consulate, I’ll make it easy for you:
So, basically, they’re only interested in the naturalization records or lack thereof and the birth and marriage certificates of the direct descendants of the Italian citizen, it seems. This is in stark contrast to what I’d read about needing EVERY birth, death, and marriage certificate from EVERY parental person between my great-grandfather and me.
Ok, so since the list has been in my possession, I’ve become confident about knowing what materials I need. I felt that the appropriate next step was to figure out what documents will take the most time to acquire, and go after them first. Here is my best guess, from slowest to fastest:
1. Great-grandfather’s Italian birth certificate
2. Proof of record non-existence from USCIS
3. Court order for birth certificates [Let me explain at a later date!]
4. Great-grandfather and great-grandmother’s marriage certificate
5. Grandma and Grandpa’s marriage certificate/Mom and dad’s marriage certificate
6. Birth certificates for Mom/brother/me
I knew from the get-go that I’d need all of these documents, so on March 2nd, I started on 1 and 2.
Great-Grandfather DeMasi’s Birth Certificate
I’m fortunate enough to know a native Italian person who was willing to help me, so I asked him to contact the teeny-tiny Southern Italian village (or commune) my family is from. To my amazement, the commune responded to my friend quite quickly; he emailed on March 12th and received a reply on March 14th. When he emailed, he included my great-grandfather’s parents’ names and the date of birth from his naturalization petition (do try to include this information, as well, if you are trying to acquire a birth certificate).
The commune stated that they did find a certificate for Bisnonno DeMasi with all information being accurate except his birth date, which was 11 days off from the birth date he had reported on his naturalization petition. [Bisnonno is Italian for great-grandfather, by the way!] Oh, my…he really was absolutely inept at dates, wasn’t he?
The commune said that they’d need my full name (first, middle, last), birth date, place of birth…all of the same information of all of the relatives I have tracing back to my bisnonno, a copy of my photo identification, a statement saying why I want the birth certificate, a stamped envelope to send it to me IF they can find it, AND 20 days for research. And yes, I found it strange that they’d need 20 days when they said that they knew they had it.
I have typed a response letter in English, put it in Google Translate, then sent it to my friend to have it edited; he has edited it and sent it back, but my fucking printer is jammed up, so I can’t print and send it yet. I had to buy a damn claw grabber on Amazon so that I might be able to pull the two tiny pieces of stuck paper out.
Proof of Record Non-existence
This step was MUCH easier.
The concept is that if a person never naturalized, there should be no record of their naturalization. So, if my bisnonno did, in fact, rage quit the process of naturalizing, there should be nothing there, but you need the USCIS to attest to this.
It was relatively easy to send away for proof. Go here: http://www.uscis.gov/uscis-tags/unassigned/faq/how-do-i-get-certification-non-existence-record-or-no-naturalization-record-deceased-immigrant
Then type up a letter using their instructions and send it off to the address.
I sent my letter on the night of March 3rd and have yet to receive a response.