If you are thinking of obtaining Italian dual citizenship, it is an inevitability: at some point you’ll have to deal with your local Italian consulate. But with wait times exceeding more than 10 years in some jurisdictions, it may be incredibly difficult to snag a consular appointment.
Today, Italian dual citizenship is more popular than ever. Each consulate processes approximately 2,500 applications per year. With 10 Italian consulates and embassies in the U.S., that’s almost 30 applications. Therefore, it’s no wonder that people snatch up appointments the minute they go online. As a result, some people seeking Italian citizenship have reported trying frustratedly for multiple weeks to get a spot on the calendar.
In this post, we’ll explain what happens if you can’t manage to get an appointment and what options you have.
You Can Hire a Company to Get You an Appointment
There are companies that specialize in acquiring consular appointments, and not just for Italian citizenship. These companies have staff that snag open appointments the second they go online and then resell them to people. I’m still not quite sure how they do it, though I suspect they write scripts to trawl the websites at the right time.
My advice? Don’t use them unless you are in an absolute jam and need the appointment ASAP.
Frankly, consular appointments are free if you go straight to the source and they should stay that way. Ethically, I can’t recommend any company that takes a free resource and then resells it for a markup.
In any case, these services will run you about $400 per appointment so if absolutely necessary, be sure to include that in your budget.
You Can Sue the Italian Government
Did you know that if you’re unable to get an appointment or if your appointment was rejected, you have recourse? That’s right, you can sue the Italian government for recognition of your Italian dual citizenship.
Here are five ways resorting to the Courts can help you obtain your Italian passport:
When a Consulate Takes over 2 Years to Act on Your Submitted Italian Citizenship Application
If the consulate takes over 2 years to process your application, you can hire us to take it to court. As per Italian law, the application process should normally be completed within this time frame.
If Wait Times Are Unreasonably Long
If your wait time to get an Italian citizenship appointment is more than two years long, you can sue the Italian government. This is ideal for people in consular jurisdictions such as Boston, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.
When You Have a 1948 Case
Before January 1, 1948, Italian women could not pass on citizenship to their children. When your case involves a child born before this date to an Italian woman, you can petition the courts to obtain your Italian dual citizenship.
If Your Italian Female Ancestor Lost Her Citizenship Due to Marriage with a Foreigner
In the United States, Italian women marrying a foreigner lost their citizenship before the Cable Act of September 1922. If your female Italian ancestor lost her citizenship under these circumstances, you can petition the courts.
When a Consulate Rejects Your Application
You have the right to fight this decision in Italian courts.
What Happens When There Is No Consular Appointment Available at All?
Sometimes consulates like San Francisco show no appointments at all. What is a potential applicant to do in cases like these?
According to Italian law, action can be brought against the court only if the consulate has either rejected an application or has not finished/decided an application within two years. In these cases, the appellant shows the judge either the denial or the booking receipt of an appointment that is more than two years out.
But when you have no booking receiptat all, there is no actual proof of rejection by the consulate. However, by following the right procedures, attempting to get an appointment, and by attempting to contact the consulate, we can sustain the existence of proper contact with the consulate and show that the unavailability of an appointment date is equivalent to a consular rejection.
Thus, the complete lack of an appointment is tantamount to a rejection and entitles the applicant to a judicial remedy.
What Happens in Court Applications for Italian Dual Citizenship?
Proceedings start when a write of summons is filed with the Civil Court in Rome. You, the applicant, are the plaintiff and the Italian Ministry of the Interior is the defendant. Then, the court sets the hearing date by decree.
Your legal representative serves the writ and the decree to the Ministry of the Interior. In turn, the Ministry files a reply before appearing. You do not need to be present.
At the hearing, the judge will hear the case and check the paperwork. If more paperwork is needed, the judge adjourns. If not, the judge closes the hearing and decides on the case through an ordinance.
When one hearing is enough, Italian citizenship may be granted within 12-18 months.
After that, the ordinance is served to the Ministry to become final within 30 days if the Ministry does not appeal. Once final, the court will release an executable ordinance that will be served to the comune(town) of your ancestor’s birth to recognize you as a citizen. This last step may take another couple of months.