Orange is my favorite color

I’ve been collecting paperwork now for almost 3 years to apply for Italian citizenship. I have most of what I need. The person responsible for citizenship applications at the San Francisco consulate has been on leave for something like 9 months. The queue before she left was already nine months so when the voice recording said she would be returning, I started war-dialing immediately.

The bad news is the delay didn’t get shorter while she was gone but the good news is I have a date! August 19th, 2008 is when it will all go down.

This has been an interesting process. The part I expected was the bureaucracy of it all; from reading other accounts online, this is simply a process that takes a lot of time and patience. We’re talking about getting two governments to cooperate on something that neither of them really like (dual-citizenship) combined with very few people actually doing the work.

The part I didn’t expect was the surprises I’ve learned about my family. The most surprising is that my great-grandfather’s name wasn’t really his! Although everyone knew him as Dante – even my dad thought he was named after him – it turns out his real name was Prospero. I heard he was never naturalized having returned to Italy some years later but it turns out that he did become a citizen. This turns out to be great news: it means I don’t have to wait 18 months (or longer!!) to get a declaration of non-citizenship from the US Immigration Service.

I have been sweating some major bullets over this name discrepancy as each consulate decides what level of mismatches they will accept or not. My grandfather’s birth certificate lists his father as Dante while all other paperwork names him as Prospero. The prospect of having to get official updates or changes is part of what has made me drag it out this long but the semi-official word from the consulate is that it should be OK.

Brow wiped, spirits uplifted, feeling better. I’m excited!


  1. Jen said:

    on January 12, 2008 at 9:37 am


    I stumbled upon this blog in my quest to find out what the interview would be like when I finally go for my dual citizenship sometime in the next 3 months. I dispared a little when I read that you won’t go for your interview until August of this year. Bummer….

    If I remember, I will try to give you a heads up on the whole ordeal. Good luck!


  2. brian said:

    on January 13, 2008 at 10:21 am

    @Jen – that would be very appreciated! I still need to translate my docs but otherwise I’m just waiting. Are you going to the SF consulate as well?

  3. Jen said:

    on January 13, 2008 at 12:54 pm


    Actually, I’m in NY. I’ll be making a nice trek to NYC soon. My mom set this whole thing up because her and dad were born over there so it was easier for us to set up this whole thing than it was for you.

    I’m hoping there isn’t too much of a discrepancy between consulates over the US. ::crosses fingers::

    Oh! I read somewhere else (I dunno if this person was talking out of their ass or not but…) that if you’re a US citizen and claim citizenship somewhere else, you give up your citizenship here, but if you were born overseas, and the country you were born in allows dual-citizenship and moved here, then you can be a citizen of both. ??? Do you anything of that?

  4. brian said:

    on January 13, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    As I understand it, giving up your citizenship here was once the case but is not any longer. Americans are now permitted (but obviously not encouraged) to hold citizenship elsewhere at the same time.

  5. Jen said:

    on March 14, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Brian,

    Remember me? Well, I had my appointment in NYC today for my dual citizenship. What a nightmare! I’m hoping it’s easier for you than it is for me.

    Me, my mom and my two sisters all went today to become dual citizens. We all came back empty handed. They told us that my mom can’t become a citizen unless she proves it through bloodlines with grandpa’s birth certificate because she’s been an American for too long and forgot to update her files in 1997. Plus, she’s not even in the computer. I can become an Italian citizen once I find a long form of my birth certificate and have it translated and notarized and then I need to attach an Apostille to it. Why me? Because I was born when my mom was still officially Italian. My mom became an American 4 months before my middle sister was born, and so she can’t be a citizen either, plus she’s too old. My little sister is still a minor and she could be a citizen only if my mom were still Italian. (But we can all fix this with my grandparents’ birth certificates… but still… it means we all have to come back.)

    What a nightmare! I hope I don’t have to miss another day of work again for all these shenanigans. Hopefully I can do all the rest of this through email/fax/mail.

    Hope your appointment goes better.

  6. brian said:

    on March 15, 2008 at 9:44 am

    @Jen – thanks so much for returning to leave a note! That is quite terrible! It sounds like your lineage is a bit more complicated than mine. I too was wondering about the post-meeting follow-up… fax/email/phone or if you have to schedule another appointment? I don’t really want to find I’m missing something basic and then wait another 12 months!

    My stuff is coming along well; I have all of the documents save one backup document from the INS. I don’t really need it but it’s extra ammunition to confirm that my great grandfather wasn’t a US Citizen until after my grandfather.

    I did however just get a quote for translation – $40 per document! Ouch! That is going to set me back $400!

    Good luck with your next steps, fingers crossed for you!

  7. nina capozzola said:

    on April 12, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I am 32 years old, I live in the San Francisco bay area, i’m a programmer (was at microsoft for five years), orange is my favorite color, and i have been working on my italian citizenship since 2006. it was pretty freaky to come across your blog.

    well thanks for the information, it’s really useful (and inspiring) for me even at this stage (i have most of my documents and i’m heading up to the consulate this week to hopefully finally make the appointment).

    good luck!

  8. brian said:

    on April 12, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    @Nina – that is pretty freaky! One word of advice: you can send an email or fax to get your appointment – I don’t know if they will see you without an appointment so just send an email to Anna Marie.

    And good luck back at you!

  9. nina said:

    on April 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Hey Brian,

    Thanks for the tips!

    With so few of us going through this strange bureaucratic journey, it’s good to find each other.

    I’ll keep you posted.


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