Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Citizenship Update: The Headaches of Delayed Certificates

Back in April, an order had been placed for my great grandmother's birth certificate, and for a little over a month have been patiently waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Today, I decided to call the Archival department in New York City, in order to find out the status of my request. After 3 line transfers, my call was finally put through to the correct department. In summary, they were going to look into why it has been so delayed and has not been sent out. They then plan to mail me the certificate. Hopefully after my phone call, it will be arriving in the next few days. I am understanding how busy they may be, but the site and the phone recording both state it will take up to 30 days for it to be received. My birth certificate was also late coming in, after waiting a total of 45 days!

For those of you who are applying for dual citizenship, you know time is of the essence in having everything prepared on time.

As for an update on my last post, I had e-mailed the consulate located in Newark. Although they did not answer any of the questions I had posed in my e-mail, they did respond. Their response was for me to make an appointment with them, during which I am sure they'll look at me like I'm crazy when I say I'm applying in Italy.

I'm also still waiting for my aunt to find the papers for my grandparents, and for some odd reason, I have a feeling she does not want to give them to me. However, we shall see. My dad plans on making a trip up to Massachusetts some time soon, and when he does I'm make the trip with him. Maybe it will make her feel guilty and hand them over!

Is anyone else out there in the cyber world trying to apply in Italy? If so, share with us your experience by either posting your story in the comment section or by e-mailing me at I can promise your story will be featured on my blog!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Feature Friday: Brindiamo!

(picture from

Brindiamo, means 'let's toast!', coming from the verb brindare. It is also the name of a show on TV that I accidentally discovered. The show was created and hosted by Ornello Fado, who currently lives in the United States. The program showcases Italy's and the United States finest and most authentic Italian restaurants. Most of the episodes I have seen have been featured in New York City. The show is also a wonder insight not only of Italian cooking, but culture as well. You can even learn quick, easy, but excellent cooking recipes on the show, as she works side-by-side in preparing meals with the chefs.

You can view full episodes on the Brindiamo website by visiting: . Links to promos, podcasts, specials in Italy, and more can be viewed on the home page at:

The first episode I saw on the show was about Lattanzi Restaurant located at 361 West 46 Street in New York City. This caught my attention as Lattanzi is the maiden name of my great-great grandmother, and it would be exciting to see if we are at all related, in spite of the family emigrating to the United States from Rome.

Have you seen this show at all? Share your thoughts with me after having viewed some of the episodes!
Do you have the urge to try some of the featured recipes?

Drop me a line either in the comment section or e-mail me at:

Ciao Tutti!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Italian Citizenship Recognition Process

This post is the sequel to my preceding post. While searching the Internet for answers as to why the translator may think that her translations may not be recognized, there is a step to have them recognized. On the site, Expats in Italy, which features information on helping make the move to il Bel Paese, stories about fellow expats, and the like, I came across a guide which was shared on the sites forum. Since some of my readers are going through the same struggles and facing the same questions as I am, I thought it would be good to share with you any information I am able to find. (Since that is the main reason why I started this blog.)

(Source is from Expats in Italy and can be found in the forum under the title, "Getting JS  in IT with a side order of JM"

It is a detailed step-by-step of what is needed in order to apply in Italy. In the guide, the writer mentions an important step - certification of translations. This step is carried out in the consulate
. An official at the consulate reads over the translator's translations, and stamps them for use over in Italy. Tonight, I contacted my consulate to see if this would be possible to do. Remember, all consulates work differently in spite of being under the same government. If it is possible to mail my documents, I will readily do that, but with certified mail of course.... Even though I am a little worried about doing that. If that is not allowed, I asked if I would need to make an appointment for my papers to be stamped.

I will be sure to write about their response.

Hope all is going well with everyone's quest!

If you have any questions, please feel free to either leave me a message in the comment section, or e-mail me at . I will to the best of my abilities answer your questions. If it is something I do not know, I can at least direct you to a source that may have the answer to your question. If you have any information that may benefit other readers, please leave a post in the comment section, or e-mail me at the aforementioned e-mail address, and I will happily write a post on your advice.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nightmare on Elm Street

More like nightmare on the via to citizenship, but you get the point. Last night, I had a chance to speak with a translator who was recommended by the consulate in Newark, New Jersey, and also by the mother of a fellow dual citizenship candidate who I know from the university I studied at. If I decide the translator is worth the money, and helpful, I will revel who it is in a later post.

Yes, I could very well do the translations on my own, but what is required to be translated is very particular... so I have heard. Even the tiny fine print on the bottom of the certificates must be translated. What bothered me about the translator was not just the price, which is by the way, $50 per page, but also her, what seemed to me, lack of knowledge. She stated she is well-known at the consulate, and has been working with the consulate for quite some time. Once I mentioned that I wanted to apply in Italy, my doubts about her began to arise.

First, she did not seem to know anything about applying in Italy. Ok, not many people are as crazy as I am, and not as risk-taking as me either. So I will not hold that against her. Secondly, she then said she did not know if she would be recognized as a translator over in Italy. Maybe I will not hold that against her either as maybe she was thinking of qualifications that differ between the two countries, and her translations may not be valid there as they are here. But, what really bothered me was that she stated that the apostilles on my documents may not be recognized either. As far as I know, all the documents are forward to the comune to which you are applying, and is used for international purposes. So why would they not be recognized?

What is your opinion?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Long Road of Retrieving Documents, Part II

This is a re-post of a previous post as to update readers in case they are interested in my progress of collecting the documents I need for my citizenship. Please see the bottom of this post for most recent updates.

The Long Road of Retrieving Documents

I’ve decided to post a time line of gathering all the necessary documents so that those of you who are deciding to apply for dual citizenship can have an idea of the length of time. For those of you taking this journey into consideration, do not only think of the length of time, but the expense.
The road begins…
Mid-May 2009 – discover the possibility of dual citizenship after hopes for a “permesso di soggiorno per motivi di lavoro” visa are shattered. My research began with
Tips: Having some general information about the individuals you are researching would be wise. Important information such as birth dates and dates of death, also reduce the stress of your search. If you do not happen to be lucky with having any dates, having just the names will give you results. Any information you can squeeze out of relatives also helps.
Around the same time, I contacted the NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration, to inquire about naturalization records for my great-great grandfather.
June 1, 2009 – wrote letter to the comune of Carrara, Italy.
After having consulted a volunteer from a Heritage Center and discovering that my family was in fact from Carrara, Italy (as in Carrara marble), I decided to write a letter to the comune. Each comune has a website and/or listing for phone numbers and fax numbers. My comune’s site is in Italian only, so have a person, who speaks and read Italian, handy.
June 9, 2009 – received e-mail of ‘No Records Found’ for my great-great grandfather’s naturalization records.
I quickly e-mailed the kind lady for a letter that stated such. She was very quick to mail it out. I received the paper in 3 days!
Tip: The NARA does not give any certified or stamped copies for a ‘No Records Found’ letter.
June 23 – July 23, 2009 – search came to a halt due to trip to Italy! :)
Late August – received many documents from Carrara!!!!Re-sent naturalization records search to USCIS, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
This had to be the best day so far! There was so much information included in the package they sent me.
Late September – received great-great grandfather’s death certificate
October 4, 2009 – Order my great grandmother’s birth certificate from the Archives in NYC. (My second attempt at the search) My grandmother’s death certificate was also ordered from Massachusetts. It’s strange that the funeral home only gave us a photocopy and not an actual copy with a stamp or seal.
Tip: If a search is done, and no document is found, you do not get a refund, even if you have no document. A letter will be sent stating that no document was found and that there will be no refund.
October 17, 2009
Received my grandmother’s death certificate after waiting about 2 weeks for it to be sent from Massachusetts. Upon her death we were only presented with a faxed copy. Now we have a stamped official one!
*Latest Update!* Received letter from USCIS about no naturalization records being found. (This is the biggest hurdle, besides actually waiting for your application to be processed!) I had read on the Italian Citizenship site that I refer to that it was taking many request up to 1 year to receive a response. That’s just for them to locate the document. Not including having to then submit more paperwork to receive a copy!
I received mine in a little less than 3 months!
During the end of 2009, not much time was spent on collecting documents.

April 2010

Notarization of 4 of my documents: great-great grandfather's death certificate, great grandfather's birth certificate, mother's birth certificate, great grandparents' marriage certificate.

April 14: ordered my birth certificate, father's birth certificate, and grandmother's birth certificate

May 2010: received father's birth certificate, along with letter of exemplification

May 13: sent father's birth certificate to be notarized

To date, I have the following documents:

1. great-great grandparents' birth certificates and marriage certificates from Italy (total: 3 documents)
2. great-great grandfather's death certificate (1 document, notarized)
3. great grandfather's birth certificate (1 document, notarized)
4. great grandparents' marriage certificate (1 document, notarized)
5. grandmother's death certificate (1 document)
6. father's birth certificate (1 document, currently notarizing)
7. mother's birth certificate ( 1 document, notarized)
8. great grandmother's certificate (1 document pending arrival)
9. USCIS letter of 'No Records'
10. NARA letter of 'No Records'

Documents still needed:

1. grandfather's birth and death certificates (2 documents)
2. parents' marriage certificate (1 document)
3. grandparents' marriage certificate (1 document)
4. Manhattan and Bronx letter of 'No Records'
5. great grandparents' death certificates (2 documents, though not important)
6. grandmother's birth certificate (1 document)

Will I be done before August 31st? Hmmm

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Citizenship Saturday: Review of Vital Chek

Has anyone used this website at all to order your documents for the dual citizenship process? If you have, please share with us your experiences in the comment section. If not, continue to read.

The first time I used Vital Chek, my mother's birth certificate was ordered. New York used to provide these strange looking certificates after the birth of a child. They were tiny black sheets, which over time, my parents' began disintegrating. Think of a carbon copy of a document! In essence, my parents were wandering around birth certificate-less. My mother's birth certificate arrived quite quickly, and she was happy to have a newer copy, which hopefully will not fall apart so easily. Since ordering her document last year, it seems as though New York has made it more difficult to acquire certificates....

In April, my father and I ordered my birth certificate, his birth certificate, and his mother's birth certificate. Somehow, his came the fastest. Though it still came a month after having ordered it. My grandmother's birth certificate order was cancelled. In spite of it stating we had provide a copy of both the front and back of his driver's license OR a copy of a current utility bill. This was not good enough. A copy of the driver's license had to be sent several times because it was supposedly "illegible". On the last try, we sent a copy of his original birth certificate and a copy of her death certificate. Everything checked out fine. Vital Chek had finally accepted the papers. However, it was canceled by the Department of Health stating we also needed to provide a copy of our utility bills. The process will have to be started all over again for her papers, and they only gave a partial refund, after charging me an extra $30 for each document I ordered for some reason unbeknownst to me.

After over a month, my birth certificate had still not come through. As I had previously experienced, the agency takes forever to respond to e-mail. The last time I had e-mailed them, it took two weeks for them to respond. Whoever sent the e-mail stated it would be better to call. Ha! The other day, I tried to check the status of my document on their website, but it would not allow me as it had been over 45 days since the order date. After being annoyed by hearing nothing from them, I decided to call.... which lead to nothing as well. The automated message stated I may have to wait up to a half hour, as the volume of calls was high. I thought to myself, 'perhaps calling later in the day, my chances will be better.'

Well, no need to call! I was finally sent an e-mail stating my papers would be arriving soon! Now, if only I knew what happened to my order of my great grandmother's birth certificate from the archives......

What a headache!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Italy v. America: Animosity in America

For those of you who have been away from America for some time, I'd like to post some news on the current turmoil churning here. Everyday on the news channels, there's an abundance of information about Arizona's newly imposed immigration laws, Obama's health care reform package being passed, as well as other eyebrow-raising news.

Arizona's New Immigration Law

On Friday, April 23, 2010, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a new bill on illegal immigration into law. Those opposing the law, have called it, "racial profiling", and "Nazism". Its aim is to identify any illegal immigrants, prosecute them, and have them deported from the country. Before the passing of the law, President Obama has stated he wished to have a federal overhaul on immigration laws, however, in order to counter what was considered an irresponsible act taken on by Arizona's governor. The new Arizona law would consider it a crime if an individual was not carrying his/her appropriate immigration documents, and give police the right to detain those who were suspected of being in the country illegally.Countries, such as France, also allow occasional inspection of papers to review the legitimacy of the presence in the country.
As late as 1907, immigration laws in the United States have required aliens to declare their intention within the US as either permanent or temporary stay. Law during this period also legalized the President's right to refuse entry into the country if it posed detrimental to the US's labor conditions. In 1927, immigration law "made entry by an alien at other than a designated place or by fraud to be a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both." The law allowed for deportation of the alien or be held in prison until the termination of the imprisonment. (Sources from United States Immigration Services,  Legislation from 1901-1940.)  

Many of the immigration laws have been in place for 100 years, and by Arizona imposing its own set of laws, it thereby adds a state penalty for those immigrating illegally.The United States has had trouble with illegal immigrants for quite some time, and the federal government has failed to instill or produce and laws to help control the problem, thereby causing the state to come up with its own solution.

Unfortunately, in this case, those who are illegal immigrants who are stopped to show proper documentation, can confuse this with racial profiling. Unfortunately a majority of the individuals are from Mexico, and in my opinion, it is unfair to those who follow immigration laws and wait years to become citizens. There are many individuals who are also trying to escape from their country due to issues such as poverty, etc. Those who are here illegally are not taking away the work of Americans. Many Americans think they are too good to stoop down to do menial work. (If there's an abundance of hard laborers, and not many American takers, that says a lot by itself.) However, the problem is that they are here illegally, and it costs the legal taxpayers money in order for illegal immigrants' children to be educated in the public schools, as well as, pay $11 billion per year on unreimbursed healthcare. How legal Americans are not able to have health insurance, but illegal immigrants are able to obtain it, is mind boggling. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that under the healthcare reform bill, the average government subsidy per person would cost $4,600, and increase to $6,000 by 2019. This would increase the estimates of American taxpayers spending $11 billion per year for the healthcare of illegals to $30 billion.

These estimates do not even include all the other expenses American taxpayers are paying for due to Obama's many other overhauls and bailouts. Continuing to reprint money is not the solution. With millions of Americans out of work, many are baffled, including myself. An estimate by the IRS stated that only 49% of Americans paid their taxes for 2009!
Where is all the money coming from to pay for all of these expenses?

To be continued next week....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Love Thursday: Le Memorie dell'Estate

As I was looking through some of my notebooks from my last semester in college, which was amazingly a year and a half ago, I found a composition I was required to write in one of my advanced Italian classes. That semester, I studied literary terminology, such as metaphors, similes, etc; poetry; symbolism in Italian films; and the likes. The composition I found was one in which we were required to write about our childhood using metaphors and similes. It's cherished dearly as it contains some of my most fondest memories of when I was little. The original was written in Italian, but I've provided the translation at the bottom.

Un anno prima che sono nata, i miei genitori hanno comminciato ad affitare un grande appartamento a Woodbridge, New Jersey. Avevamo una cucina in cui si poteva mangiare nella mattina prima di partire per la scuola. Fuori della finestra in cucina, c'era un albero dei ciliegi che sempre sbocciava i pioccolissimi fiori rosa nella primavera. Vicino alla cucina. c'era un grande salotto luminoso con le porte a vetri da cui si poteva uscire sul balcone. Davanti a queste porte, si poteva sempre trovare i nostri gatti che si sdraivano per terra, crogiolando nel tepore del sole.

Ogni giorno dell'estate, i miei amici, mia madre ed io, camminavamo alla piscina locale. L'erba circontava alla piscina era sempre coperta con le coperte e le asciugamani. Alla piscina diventavo un pesce perche' mi piaceva nuotare tutto il giorno, uscendo dall'acqua con le mani potate. Anche se mi venivano i brividi con le labbra blu e battevo i denti, rifiutavo uscire dalla piscina e mi sommergevo per non ascoltare mia madre che voleva che uscissi. Tornavamo a casa abbronzati con le guancie rosa. La sera, i miei amici ed io giocavamo fuori di casa. Vicino a casa c'era un grande campo. A notte, l'erba era un mare nero e l'unica luce che c'era, era quella emessa dalle lucciole che catturavamo. Nel buio doppio, la luce dalle lucciole era piu' brilliante e loro sembravano come le stelle che scintillavano nel cielo.

Le memorie dell'estate al appartamento erano meravigliose. Quando ci siamo traslocati, siccome non c'era una piscina alla casa nuova, mio fratello ed io, dovevamo cercare un modo per riprenderci dal calore soffocante nel giardino. All'inizio, questo era devastante per noi. I nostri genitori hanno comprato un trampolino e una rete per la pallavolo. Mettavamo un annaffiatoio sotto il trampolino o vicino al trampolino per bagnarci. Mentre saltavamo sul trampolino, l'acqua creava un spruzzo leggero. Quando giocavamo a pallavolo, mettavamo l'annaffiatoio vicino alla rete. Comunque, mio fratello ed io, abbiamo deciso che l'annaffiatoio non poteva mai rimpiazzare la piscina.


A year before I was born, my parents began renting a big apartment in Woodbridge, New Jersey. We had a kitchen in which we could eat in before leaving for school. Outside the kitchen window, there was a cherry tree that always blossomed little pink flowers in the spring. Next to the kitchen, there was a big living room with french doors from which you could go out onto the balcony. In front of these doors, you could always find our cats that laid on the floor, basking in the warmth of the sun.

Every day in the summer, my friends, my mother, and I walked to the local pool. The grass surrounding the pool was always covered with blankets and towels. At the pool I became a fish because I liked to swim all day, coming out of the pool with pruned hands. Even if I shivered, with blue lips and my teeth chattered, I refused to get out of the pool and I would submerge myself so I couldn't hear my mother who wanted me to get out. We returned home tan with rosy cheeks. At night, my friends and I played outside. Next to the house, there was a big field. At night the grass was a black sea, and the only light there was, was that emitted by the fireflies that we captured. In the thick dark, the light of the fireflies was more bright and they seemed like stars that twinkled in the sky.

The memories of the summer were wonderful. When we moved, since there wasn't a pool at our new house, my brother and I had to find a way to cool off from the suffocating heat in the garden. At first, this was devastating for us. Our parents bought a trampoline and a volleyball net. We would put a sprinkler under or close to the trampoline to get ourselves wet. While we jumped on the trampoline, the water would create a light spray. When we played volleyball, we put the sprinkler next to the net. However, my brother and I decided that the sprinkler could never replace the pool.

What are your most fondest memories of your childhood? Leave a comment about your story, in either English or Italian, or send me an e-mail at

Happy Love Thursday!