Do you hear that?
You’re not sure what it is but you can definitely hear something. It sounds like a quiet, distant murmur, almost too faint to hear at all.
It’s your wallet crying.
Face it, getting an Italian passport can be an expensive affair. Many people must gather a dozen plus documents, translate each page, and obtain legalizations. And if you’re not sure you qualify in the first place, you may have to pay a genealogist to help you figure it out.
Some of you might even want to hire a company like ours to do the heavy lifting. And while a service like this is a serious time and headache saver, it doesn’t come cheap.
That’s why as a service provider I realize my company is not for everyone. It’s also why I always give people tips on how to save money DIY-ing their Italian dual citizenship, even if it means they don’t use my services.
I believe so strongly that everyone who can, should get Italian dual citizenship that I’m going directly against my business interests in writing this post.
So here it is: a breakdown of how much Italian dual citizenship costs plus 3 tried and true ways to save money when applying.
First things first. What are the costs involved in obtaining Italian dual citizenship?
Costs for Italian dual citizenship vary greatly because there is no one way to gather documents and get everything ready.
Mainly, there are two schools of thought which will affect how much you can expect to pay:
- DIY Italian dual citizenship; or
- Using a service provider
DIYing your Italian Dual Citizenship Application
Some people like to DIY it and get everything on their own. This is practical for people who don’t mind tracking down their own records, doing genealogical research, flexing their Italian-speaking muscles to obtain Italian records, and who generally like to tackle a project.
If you DIY your application you will obviously not pay service fees. All documents you obtain will be at cost. However, there is always the trade off of time and money vs. ease of preparing everything, so it is up to you to decide what you prioritize.
People who DIY can expect to spend anywhere from over a few hundred dollars to $2,000-$3,000.
Remember that if you have to obtain court orders to unseal or amend records or obtain divorce documents, you still have to pay these fees even if you are not using a service provider.
Using an Italian Dual Citizenship Service Provider
Others like to hire an Italian dual citizenship service provider. People who are short on time, don’t want to bother with the hassle of tracking down documents, or who just want to trust a professional usually hire companies like mine to do all the hard work.
If you use a service provider, you can expect to pay a fixed project fee. Often this will include everything such as:
- Genealogical research
- Procurement of documents from Italy and your home country
- Naturalization records
- Obtaining an appointment for you
- Translation of your records
- Legalization of your records (apostilles)
- Court orders to unseal records or amend them, if needed
Full service Italian dual citizenship packages can range from $2,000 to $24,000 on the higher end of the scale, depending on how many generations you go back, if you want a full set of documents, need court orders, and/or want to apply in Italy too.
However, there are some fixed costs that don’t change no matter what. If you use a service provider, you can expect to pay a project or service fee on top of these.
- Vital records: Each state has its own fixed fee for vital records. They can vary from $5 all the way up to $30 or more. But if you know you have x number of documents from y state, you can easily calculate a ballpark estimate. For example, in New York City, birth certificates are always $15.
- Legalizations: Just like vital records, each state has its own set fee for legalizations. This fee varies from $2 to $25 or more. Again, if you know the number of documents you need legalized and from which state, you can easily calculate an estimate. Keeping with the New York theme, legalizations are $10 in New York State.
- Consular application fee: All consular applications are subject to a 300 euro administrative fee. This fee is applied to every person over the age of 18 applying, even if in the same family as another applicant.
So, if you’re going the DIY route what are some ways to save money? Here are the 3 best tips and tricks I have after 10+ years in the business.
3 Ways to Save Money on your Italian Dual Citizenship Application
Whether you are DIYing it or helping someone else with their own application, there are three excellent ways to cut costs. You’ll thank me later when you’re enjoying an extra aperol spritz as an Italian citizen after all the money you save!
Do you know any people that speak Italian? Now’s the time to use their help!
Italian-speaking friends are good to have for three reasons:
- They can help you search Italian records to find information pertaining to your ancestors.
- Your friends can call your ancestor’s hometown (or write them a letter) to find the birth or marriage records you need.
- Anyone who speaks Italian can translate your records into Italian, which you’ll need for your application.
A word of advice on translations: While Italian consulates allow anyone to translate your vital records into Italian, be sure to choose wisely. If your friend is truly fluent in Italian they should have no problem translating records into Italian at all.
However, if they are not confident in their abilities it is best to use their help just for obtaining records rather than translating them. You’ll still have saved lots of money by foregoing the services of a professional genealogist.
But back to translations… I once had to redo a translation done by a somewhat proficient Italian speaker who translated “informant (of a birth)” as “(mafia) informant.” So, your mileage may vary!
Use county court records instead of federal ones (if you can)
When you apply for Italian dual citizenship, your have to provide your ancestor naturalized after the birth of his or her child. You do this by obtaining naturalization records.
There are two main types of naturalization records:
- The C-File (this is the actual naturalization record)
- Everything else (this includes the petition, declaration, oath of allegiance, etc.)
You always have to obtain the C-File, which you can find at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
But the other packet can often be found in two places, either at the Federal level from the National Archives and Records Administration or at the County Clerk’s office in the county your ancestor naturalized.
(Note that this doesn’t always work, depending on when your ancestor naturalized).
Before searching with NARA, contact the county clerk’s office first. I have been able to obtain certified naturalization papers for as little as $5 before. They are the exact same records except without the fancy red ribbon NARA puts on them. That’s a huge money saver!
Pratiche.it – this is probably my favorite tip of all
Guys, this tip literally is seriously a good one.
If you don’t have an Italian friend who can help you to obtain your ancestor’s records from Italy, you still have options!
Pratiche.it is an Italian website that lets you do a number of administrative tasks. One of them is to order old birth, marriage, and death records.
If you don’t speak Italian, you can use Google Translate to navigate the website. Then, select “Estratto dell’atto di nascita” (for birth records) and “Estratto dell’atto di matrimonio” (for marriage records).
If you want a digital copy of the record it’s around 30 euros. If you want it mailed to you, it’s around 50. Most service providers I know charge just about double to obtain the documents for you.
So there you have it! Everything you wanted to know about how much Italian dual citizenship costs, plus 3 ways to save money. And now I want to hear from you. How much did you spend on Italian dual citizenship? Sound off in the comments below!
And as always, if you want to hire an Italian dual citizenship service provider, please contact us.