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Italian Vital Records Translations Blog
After months spent collecting your documents, having them apostilled, translated etc...you are ready to apply for your Italian passport. How do you do it? Read on! (And thank the Tapatalk forum)!
Go to your appointment and apply for citizenship recognition.
There will be an application fee of 300 euro per adult. Bring enough local currency (in cash, in a variety of denominations) to pay the application fee unless your consulate describes another form of payment on their Web site.
When your application has been accepted and is deemed complete, wait for acknowledgment, from either the consulate or comune, depending on the consulate, that your birth has been registered in Italy and you may apply for a passport.
Apply for your passport.
For more information about Italian passports, please read Your Italian Passport: An Operator's Guide.
Get Your Italian Dual Citizenship in 2021: Fill out forms for you and your ancestors indicating that you have never renounced your Italian citizenship.
One way that an Italian citizen could lose that citizenship, as provided for in Law 555 of 1912, was by renouncing that citizenship at an Italian consulate while residing abroad or alternatively by formally stating the intention to renounce that citizenship while residing in Italy and then moving abroad within a year. This was distinct from losing citizenship via a foreign naturalization, as this renunciation was required to have taken place in front of an Italian governmental official, not a foreign one.
Thus if a person claims to have Italian citizenship by birth, or that an ancestor had been an Italian citizen, the consulate at which that person is applying will want to contact other consulates covering the areas where that claimant and his or her ancestors resided to verify that none of these people every formally renounced Italian citizenship.
This is generally a formality, as cases of Italians actually renouncing their citizenship this way were very rare.
To facilitate this verification, some consulates require that jure sanguinis applicants fill out declaration forms that state that the applicant and his or her ancestors in the applicant's direct line never renounced Italian citizenship and furthermore list all the places where those ancestors lived as an adult. (Since minors could not renounce, it doesn't matter where such people resided as children.) Whether consulates really contact all the other consulates that cover the places on these lists is unknown, although in a few cases at least it seems that the consulate did so.
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An apostille is an authentication of an official document that allows it to be used in a different country, provided both countries have signed the Hague convention on apostilles (technically, the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents).
Any document that will be submitted to Italy during the jure sanguinis application process that comes from a Hague convention signatory will generally need an apostille. What is actually being authenticated by the apostille is the signature of the official who signed the underlying document.
The apostille is a separate piece of paper that is added to the document, usually with staples. On this piece of paper is written the country for which the document will be used (Italy) and the name of the person whose signature is being verified. The signatures of local officials are kept on file at the department that issues the apostille.
In the US, each state issues its own apostilles for documents from that state, the apostilles being issued by the Secretary of State's office for that state. The US Department of State issues apostilles for federal documents. At the state level, the signatures of only some public officials, such as county clerks, the state registrar, or Superior Court judges, and public notaries are kept on file by the Secretary of State, so a document issued by a municipality would need to first be certified by a county clerk or state registrar (depending on the state) before it could then be apostilled.
Look at this topic for more detailed information about apostilles and how to obtain them in the US: requesting-apostilles-for-u-s-documents-t267.html
Apostilles are required for vital records issued by Hague convention countries (such as the US, but not Canada), except for some documents from select European countries that have an agreement with Italy obviating apostilles. Exactly which submitted documents will require an apostille varies from consulate to consulate, but as a rule of thumb birth, marriage, and death certificates for anyone in your line with require them and sometimes such documents for people not in your line as well. Court records, including official name changes, divorce decrees, certificates of no appeal for divorces, and declaratory judgments, all usually require apostilles. A church-issued marriage or baptismal certificate, when used as a substitute for a missing government-issued vital record, sometimes requires an apostille, and if this is the case, one would first have the document notarized, by the diocese or a public notary, and then have that notary's signature authenticated with an apostille. Sometimes a translator's certification of accuracy is required to be apostilled, especially if it is for a translation of a court record (the NY consulate is known to ask for this). (Note that for a single divorce often 2 or more documents will have to be apostilled - the divorce decree or judgment and the certificate of no appeal, and sometimes the translator's certification as well.) Naturalization-related documents from the US are not required to be apostilled if they are being submitted to a consulate in the US, but consulates in other countries, as well as comuni in Italy, may ask for them for US-issued documents and conversely consulates in the US require apostilles on naturalization documents from outside the US. If necessary, just about any document can be apostilled by having it notarized first, which is sometimes necessary when using older copies of documents that were issued long ago. However, no records letters and the like don't require apostilles.
For a compilation of what was and was not required to be apostilled at various consulates, look at this topic:
Apostilles can be obtained for documents by walking them into the proper office, without an appointment, and getting them back the same day or by mailing them to the proper office and having them mailed back, generally in a few weeks. The costs is typically several dollars per document. The topic linked to above as well as the following one (particular to NY State) have more information on how and where to obtain them:
Be careful not to remove the staples that attach an apostille to the underlying document. If you have a document amended, you should obtain a new apostille for it, so it is probably a good idea to make sure all corrections are completed before obtaining apostilles. When a document has to be authenticated by a consulate, the apostille will have to be done beforehand, since one of the things they will be verifying is the apostille.
Since an apostille is an authentication of a signature, some offices will not apostille documents more than a few years old, or those signed by someone no longer in office. Exactly where the cut-off is varies by state or country, but if you have a very old copy of a document, it is usually necessary to order a new one. Also keep in mind that since it is the county clerk's signature that in most cases (in the US) is being authenticated, even an older document that was issued locally could theoretically be certified now by a county clerk and then apostilled with no difficulty.
If a country, such as Canada, Brazil, or most African countries, does not issue apostilles, there still may be some sort of governmental legalization process required for a document in order for it to be used in another country. The topic linked to above on documents that require apostille also discusses these sort of legalizations when they have arisen. In general, when using a document from a foreign country (other than Italy of course) for your application, ask the consulate in the issuing country, which will have to authenticate the document, what sort of legalization will be required from that country's government.
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Check out these blog posts as well: write me an email!
So, you collected your ancestors' documents, treated any discrepancies, got them apostilled. Now it's time to have them translated into Italian. This post is partly taken from the Tapatalk forum, partly from my own 10 year experience doing this job. Requirements for applicants in Italy vary, so I wrote what works specifically for in-Italy applications.
Documents to be submitted for the application process that are not in Italian and will be transcribed in the records of the comune must be translated into Italian. In particular, this includes applicants' birth, marriage certs, and, when applicable, divorce records, as well as any birth certificates for applicants' children. Some other documents used in the application also need to be translated, but exactly which ones depends on the consulate or comune at which ones is applying.
Generally, vital records for direct line ancestors, even if they are not applying for citizenship recognition, must also be translated. Sometimes documents (i.e., birth and death certificates) for the spouses of these direct line ancestors are required to be translated as well. Naturalization-related documents, including no-records letters and census records, from the US do not have to be translated if they are being used at a consulate in the US, but may be required to translate if they are being used at a consulate outside the US. As a general rule, all non-Italian documents used when applying at a comune in Italy must be translated. Furthermore, non-Italian documents from one country must always be translated when used at another country outside of Italy.
Translated by whom?
Some consulates, such as that in Boston, will translate documents for you, at least if they are issued in the area covered by the consulate. Some countries, such as Germany, have officially certified translators, which are required to be used for translations of documents from that country (the consulates in these countries should have a list of such translators, since they are obligated to verify their signatures). In the US and Canada there are no such certified translators, but some consulates maintain lists of translators they have approved for translations and it is advisable to use someone on their list, although it isn't always required.
Many consulates in the US will accept translations done by the applicant ("self-translations"), so long as they are of good quality. They don't actually verify that you are the one that did the translations, so you could, for example, have a friend do them. Using Google Translate or similar applications/websites is not prohibited, but not recommended either, because consulates will often reject translations that are obviously written by someone not that fluent in Italian, even when the important information is clear.
For some special documents, such as court orders or divorce-related documents, some consulates (NY comes to mind) will insist that these be professionally translated even as they accept other documents, from the same applicant, that are translated by someone who is not a professional translator.
Which parts of the documents need to be translated?
If you submit your documents in Italy, the general rule is that EVERYTHING needs to be translated (yes, that includes apostilles and legalese).
Translator's certificate of translations
In Italy, translators need to go to court to certify translations. So, the certificate is issued by the court. Any certificate issued by the translator has no legal value.
If you want to read more on this topic, check out these other blog posts I wrote:
Need help with official translations? Just hit reply, I'll be happy to help!
This week's post is short and sweet. Just a checklist of how to treat discrepancies in Italian dual citizenship documents. Because they happen a lot! As usual, thanks to the Tapatalk Forum.
So, how do you go about treating discrepancies on your documents?
a. Determine which discrepancies require amendment.
b. Amend documents.
c. Write affidavits for minor discrepancies.
d. Obtain letters from Italy (such as a "positivo/negativo") to resolve discrepancies.
e. Obtain letters from vital record officers concerning discrepancies that cannot be amended.
f. Obtain court orders to amend discrepancies or declare that a person named on one document is the same as that named on another (a "finding of one and the same," a.k.a. a "declaratory judgment").
Need help with document translations? Just shoot me an email, I'll get right back to you!
I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.