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Old Jul 24, 11, 10:33 am   #1
 
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Help in obtaining an Italian Birth Certificate

I will try to make a long story short, but will not leave out any relevent information.

I am trying to obtain copies of both my grandparents birth certificates. They were born in different towns, but I have the location and the exact dates of birth for each. I have written each comune twice (in English) asking for copies. I have not heard back. I have found a request form online (in Italian) which I am now tempted to send. Is there anything else I should know or should be doing? I have not sent a fee, but I have read any fee involved is usually waived for this type request. If I still do not hear back, I am tempted to travel to Italy and go to the comune in person.

Any suggestions??

Thanks
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Old Jul 24, 11, 11:38 am   #2
 
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Originally Posted by u2fan View Post
I will try to make a long story short, but will not leave out any relevent information.

I am trying to obtain copies of both my grandparents birth certificates. They were born in different towns, but I have the location and the exact dates of birth for each. I have written each comune twice (in English) asking for copies. I have not heard back. I have found a request form online (in Italian) which I am now tempted to send. Is there anything else I should know or should be doing? I have not sent a fee, but I have read any fee involved is usually waived for this type request. If I still do not hear back, I am tempted to travel to Italy and go to the comune in person.

Any suggestions??

Thanks
Have you tried to obtain the certificates at the nearest Italian consulate?

The regulation is the same for every municipality, although processes may change.
For instance, in Rome you can apply by mail, provided that you send a copy of your ID/Passport (passport in your case) and a stamped envelope with your request. No fee for birth, death and marriage.
Don't waste time with email. Most of the local govts don't reply even to consulates...
There're agents that can handle such requests.
In Italy, civil status certificates are 'public'.

If you can share details about the towns, maybe the italian-speaking FTs can be more helpful.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 2:40 pm   #3
 
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I am gathering this information for the purpose of obtaining Italian citizenship (blood right).

The Chicago Italian Consulate website is very specific in telling me what documents I need to present and they provide very useful information and links, but other than this, provide little individual or personal help. The request form I previously mentioned was obtained thru their site. They are not about to get this information for me - they expect me to get it and present it to them.

When I wrote the Comunes, I did not provide ID. Do you think I should have? I live in Chicago, USA. The 'blood right' is thru my mother and my last name different then my grandparents.

Lastly, my grandfather was born in 'S Elia Fiumerapido', my grandmother in 'Alfadena'. They were both born over 100 years ago and have passed away.

There is no doubt is anyone's mind I qualify for citizenship - it is just a matter of presenting my documents. In the US, we have a 'debt crisis' and everyone in the government is looking for a way to cut. Sending birth certificates half way across the world is exactly the type of thing they would eliminate. I hope this is not happening in Italy and keep wondering if there is more I should be doing.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 5:55 pm   #4
 
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call them on the telephone:

The City Hall is located in Piazza Enrico Risi, phone ++39 0776 351801, fax ++39 0776 351801; the E-Mail address is sindaco@comune.santeliafiumerapido.fr.it.

they probably speak english, if you do not speak italian. i have called small towns for a number of things. they are extremely helpful.

"Sending birth certificates half way across the world is exactly the type of thing they would eliminate. I hope this is not happening in Italy and keep wondering if there is more I should be doing. ' I DON't know what this comment is supposed to mean. certain documents must be in hard copy, and probably should be in hard copy. those debt worrying gopers would never believe obama if he did not come up with a hard copy of birth cert. they probably still probably don't believe.

birth certs from back then may be weird looking documents. my mother's cert from IL in 1912 is from a church, and was issued about 6 months after birth. it has errors that are crossed out and corrected.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 8:06 pm   #5
 
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call them on the telephone:

The City Hall is located in Piazza Enrico Risi, phone ++39 0776 351801, fax ++39 0776 351801; the E-Mail address is sindaco@comune.santeliafiumerapido.fr.it.

they probably speak english, if you do not speak italian. i have called small towns for a number of things. they are extremely helpful.

"Sending birth certificates half way across the world is exactly the type of thing they would eliminate. I hope this is not happening in Italy and keep wondering if there is more I should be doing. ' I DON't know what this comment is supposed to mean. certain documents must be in hard copy, and probably should be in hard copy. those debt worrying gopers would never believe obama if he did not come up with a hard copy of birth cert. they probably still probably don't believe.
Thank you for your very good suggestion.

I hope my "Sending birth certificates...." phrase did not come across the wrong way. I appreciate the help I am getting. All I meant by my statement was that if I wrote my own state, or the next state over, they would not send copies of a birth certificate without me paying a fee - and, if anything, these fees are going up. It would be very understandable if fees were required in Italy also and the reason I have not heard back is because I did not include one. (Although this does not appear to be the case). In addition to fees, I kept wondering if I could have done more - for instance, provide ID, give the reason for my request, provide a phone number....


Calling them is a very good idea and I will do that within a day or 2.

Thank you again, and thank you Alice11 for the good information.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 8:19 pm   #6
 
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I presume you know this but you will also need "proof" your parents were born before, or without your grandparents, giving up their Italian citizenship.

Each town in Italy is a little different. Older certificates might not even be with the government, sometimes you must find church records (the war destroyed many in certain areas). I've had various experiances finding documents around central and southern Italy and it would help getting someone who speaks Italian write or call for you. I speak Italian, and have dual citizenship, and even then it can be "interesting" for me doing things here that require documents or research.

This is a country where you normally have to go three different places to get a passport,for example. Things are not normally as easy as the US. I don't mean to discourage you at all, but the Italy America Chamber of Commerce, or a University's Italian students might help you translate to write or call in person.

As others have said re:e-mail, they don't even reply to the consulates. I've seen that first hand with communication between the Italian Consulate in Houston and my town of residence in Sicilia.

There are several online websites with stories and helpful tips for getting Italian citizenship (google, bing, etc can help you find them). They even talk about how each US consulate operates, and the waits in Italy.

I know people that have waited 3-5 for Roma to answer, and others were it has taken 8 months. That is Italia. Good luck.
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Old Jul 25, 11, 1:12 am   #7
 
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Obtaining Dual Citizenship

I acquired Italian citizenship for my wife and three sons. It's not easy, but worth it in the end. As mentioned, there are websites dedicated to helping you through the process, and they will make it much easier. I wouldnt try without one. Don't remember which I used. We could not get my grandfathers birth certificate from his small southern town. Eventually, I had to send my son over there to get it. Letters, and emails, and phone calls don't really motivate them. Then I had to get the marriage certificate of my grandparents. Fortunately it was in NYC, but the church had long ago been torn down.

They have records of everything in NYC, but not of their marriage. Seems on Ellis Island they misspelled his name, so identities never quite matched.
Finally, we had everything needed. We went to The consulate in NYC. They basically screamed at us, told us we could never become citizens despite having the documents, and they basically through us out.

So, we went to the Consulate in Houston, and it was completely different. We were welcomed. They gave us some minor forms to fill out. We gave them pictures. Couldn't have taken more than an hour for all of us to get the citizenship. Italian passports arrived a few weeks later.

Overall, unless you have unlimited time and patience, I would work with a company to assist you in this. Good luck.
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Old Jul 27, 11, 7:36 pm   #8
 
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I have also looked into this and have contacted the small town my grandmothier is from, again no response. My guess is (at least in my case) tha the town is so remote that the people actually do not speak much English, and I speak no Italian.

I'm out of luck on the citizenship though. Moms mom was born in Italy, but Mons Dad was US, so the line stopped with my mother. Bummer for me
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Old Jul 28, 11, 5:05 pm   #9
 
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Italian Citizenship

Geepmaley, I'm not sure you are right about giving up.

Grandfather born in small town, Italy, had to fly son there to get B certificate.
Grandmother born in USA.
Mom and Dad born in USA.

I had to first get citizenship for my dad. I did all the paperwork for him. Then when he became a citizen, I applied and got mine. When I got my Italian citizenship, my two sons applied, and got it through me. Then, I shared mine with my wife. We're all Italian citizens now, through one link; my grandfather having been born in Italy, and not having renounced his Italian citizenship, enabling it to be passed on.

A real challenge was that when we found out about this process my father was about 90 years old, and no longer in very good health. He became an Italian citizen in the last few months of his life. But it was a great gift for him to pass on to us.
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Old Jul 29, 11, 8:02 am   #10
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I've also been out of luck in obtaining an Italian birth certificate (my own!)...
Consulates will not help you do this.
It's a small comune in the south
Sent an email, no response. Sent a letter (on my consulate's template), a copy of my passport and an international reply coupon for postage: no response. I called, but as my Italian is not that great, they were rude and said that they didn't have the time to try and understand what I needed and that I should send a fax... did that and no response. I chased an Italian friend so that she could call: the responsible person was away on holiday.

I'm probably just going to fly over there in a couple of months, show up and see what happens.

About a fee... I think I heard that they could choose to charge a small fee to pay for shipping, but that many comunes just waived that. I've read of services that can charge to get the certificates for you.
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Old Jul 29, 11, 12:14 pm   #11
 
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Consulates: when abroad, it's up to them to support citizens and non-citizens with any bureaucratic issue. Yet, they are not in charge of the so-called 'Servizi Demografici' -birth certificates and such - and there's no single IT system, or integration of systems, in the public sector. I mean, a consulate officer can not just log in a DB, find the record you're interested in, click on 'email/print'. Thus they can't issue the certificate you need.
The consulate is a sort of middle-man. They get requests, notices etc. and they forward them to the Municipality. By registered email. Then, they get the information / documents back and then they deliver them to you.
This way to manage relationships among public bodies delivers issues, delays and such. It's simply unreliable.

Back to the municipalities: overall regulations are nation-wide, but whether Birth / Death certificates are free, it depends on specific decisions of the municipality. Legally speaking certificates may be e-certificates, eg. in PDF, and you're supposed to may be able to request certificates and such by email or through any IT system complying with specific regulations. This may be true for standard certificates and in Rome or big cities, or even smaller towns led by some decent mayor, but real life is pretty different, especially in small towns with poor resources. In this case, you can hardly find a web portal where you can download the certificate, paying the fee by credit card...
Local staff is usually quite friendly and helpful, so once you get in touch with them, they can manage to sort it out, but on other hand, staff is usually 'obsolete' - old, unskilled - and most of the employees don't speak English at all.

Certificates are 'public'. 'Public' means that everybody interested in may apply and get one of them. This means that also agents, lawyers and such can get a copy (eg, for their clients). So you can make use of them.
I have no idea about agents' fees , but if the research is tough - and it may be, like FlyingHoustonian pointed out - I wouldn't be surprised if it would be cheaper a ticket in low season to FCO and get Alfedena or any other town by car..
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Last edited by Alice11; Jul 29, 11 at 12:22 pm.
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Old Jul 29, 11, 12:27 pm   #12
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The consulate is a sort of middle-man. They get requests, notices etc. and they forward them to the Municipality. By registered email. Then, they get the information / documents back and then they deliver them to you.
I wish they would be willing to do that but I've brought this up twice with the Madrid Consulate and they just say that I need to do this by myself and they won't help (they state this on their website too). Can't blame them really, I imagine that they are a bit swamped with other things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alice11 View Post
I have no idea about agents' fees , but if the research is tough - and it may be, like FlyingHoustonian pointed out - I wouldn't be surprised if it would be cheaper a ticket in low season to FCO and get Alfedena or any other town by car..
I just made up my mind and bought a cheap-ish Ryanair ticket to BRI (very close to my Comune). I hope that I can find someone to call them for me before I travel, but in any case I'll see how it goes personally (and finally have a look around the land of my antecesori...)
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Old Jul 29, 11, 6:02 pm   #13
 
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Geepmaley, I'm not sure you are right about giving up.

Grandfather born in small town, Italy, had to fly son there to get B certificate.
Grandmother born in USA.
Mom and Dad born in USA.

I had to first get citizenship for my dad. I did all the paperwork for him. Then when he became a citizen, I applied and got mine. When I got my Italian citizenship, my two sons applied, and got it through me. Then, I shared mine with my wife. We're all Italian citizens now, through one link; my grandfather having been born in Italy, and not having renounced his Italian citizenship, enabling it to be passed on.

A real challenge was that when we found out about this process my father was about 90 years old, and no longer in very good health. He became an Italian citizen in the last few months of his life. But it was a great gift for him to pass on to us.
I think the key for making it work for you was that your father's father was born in Italy. In my case, it was my Mother's Mother (who is dead and died a US citizen). I looked into this a couple years ago and I think the bloodline only goes one generation through the mothers side, so my mother's father would have had to been born in Italy (which he was not) If I am mistaken, that would be cool. Thx
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Old Jul 29, 11, 6:28 pm   #14
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I think the key for making it work for you was that your father's father was born in Italy. In my case, it was my Mother's Mother (who is dead and died a US citizen). I looked into this a couple years ago and I think the bloodline only goes one generation through the mothers side, so my mother's father would have had to been born in Italy (which he was not) If I am mistaken, that would be cool. Thx
It's not really a generation thing... What happens is that Italian women only transmit citizenship to descendants born after 1948. There's some info on that here.

That website (Expats in Italy) also has some sample letters for requesting certificates and records.
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Old Jul 30, 11, 6:44 pm   #15
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U2fan,
My mother and I are also in the process of applying to become Italian citizens. We hired an agency near Chicago, ICAP to secure my great grandfather's birth certificate from Sicily and US Naturalization paperwork. They have a person in Sicily who got the birth certificate fairly quickly. The naturalization paperwork took about 4 months as there was some confusion with the birthdate. We have also utilized their translation services.
Good luck with your search.
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