When I was young, I never thought I’d live outside of New York City. I never really thought about it because, really, the city is so big and so diverse that I felt it had everything I needed. I was born there, I went to school there, I wanted to work there and carve out a life for myself there. However the idea of moving abroad always appealed to me. I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Europe in high school and ever since I have nursed an active wanderlust, traveling as frequently as my wallet will allow. Moving abroad is like turning travel up to 11, and I’ve always dreamed of doing it even though I never intended to leave the city I still consider home.
I’ve interestingly discovered a few days ago that I can qualify to apply for Italian citizenship, via my ancestry. My great-grandparents on my mother’s side were both born in Italy, and because Italy (and many other European countries) has a “jure sanguinis” law (also spelled “jus sanguinis”, Latin for “right of blood”) which allows you to claim citizenship based on an unbroken bloodline (meaning no renouncement or loss of Italian citizenship) between you and your Italian ancestors.
Words cannot tell you how excited I am about this prospect! I’ve always had future plans to move to Europe, and getting an Italian citizenship would also grant me EU citizenship, which would allow me to live & work in any EU country without having to worry about Visas. (Hello, socialized healthcare!)
It seems like all I need to do is gather necessary documents proving my lineage to my Italian grandparents—this includes birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, divorce papers (if applicable), and other things from not only my grandparents but every generation between them and myself. So this will include my maternal grandparents and my parents. It will take me some months (maybe years, gasp!) to gather all the paper work, especially considering some of them will have to be ordered from Italy and all the American documents will have to be translated into Italian! And everything has to be notarized. Luckily for me, the Italian Consulate that is assigned to northern California is right here in San Francisco, so it won’t be an issue for me to bring my application there or to call and ask any questions I may have.
I’ve already called my grandma and she’s down to look through all her papers to see if she has any of these documents already. The first thing I need to figure out is whether or not my great-grandfather naturalized in the US before or after my grandmother’s birth. If it was after her birth, I’m good to go. If it was before, I’m shit out of luck.
Then, hopefully after successfully confirming I qualify, I’ll start with the birth certificates for my great-grandparents, ordered from Italy. This’ll be a fun process, right? Luckily there are other people on the internet who’ve done the same (here is one such example), and there’s lots of resources. I’m actually looking forward to researching everything, because it should teach me a lot about my mother’s side of the family.
For those worried this would interfere with my United States citizenship, it shouldn’t. I have absolutely no intentions to renounce my US citizen status and according to the research I’ve done that’s the only thing that should ever come up. Thus, this would allow me to have dual citizenship in both the US and Italy. Pretty awesome, I think.
Wish me luck?