Il Ministro

On Monday we showed up at the Comune with homemade cheesecake brownies for Gianfranco. He showed us a responses from the Los Angeles and Chicago consulates to the effect that Tony and his ancestors have not renounced Italian citizenship. That was the good news. Then he said that as soon as all had responded, he would forward everything to the “Ministro,” and “we will see.” Now I’m left to wonder why he feels he needs to send the documents to the “Ministro.”

He failed to specify to which Ministry he needs to send them. As far as I know (i.e. according to detailed reports of others involved in their own jure sanguinis adventures), the Comune is supposed to make the final decision and declare the applicant officially Italian. And I gather this is supposed to happen immediately after receiving notification from each and every consulate. Nobody has mentioned their paperwork being sent off to some nameless central office. I fervently hope that Tony’s papers will escape such a fate, since here in Italy at least, that would mean months, if not years, of waiting with nobody to take brownies to.

I can think of only two reasons that Gianfranco made his remark. One would be that he is under the impression that jure sanguinis applications are similar to naturalization applications, such as citizenship by marriage. Marriage-based citizenship applications are submitted to the Ministry of the Interior, which then has 720 days (yes, that’s nearly two years) to make a decision. In that case, a simple discussion with Bruna, our valuable contact at the Centro Migrante, (or failing that, a talk with Giorgio’s friend at the Questura) would clear up his confusion and send us on a quick path to citizenship.

The second reason is the one I’m losing sleep over. Maybe Gianfranco is really doubtful of the legitimacy of our documents and is planning to hand it all over to some superior who will make the decision for him. That could mean many more months of waiting, and possible (I shudder to write the word) denial.

At this point, my interest in a quick resolution hinges on more than my desire to kick the nail-biting habit. I continue to reside without papers in Italy. It’s an uneasy state, to say the least. But as long as I stay quietly in Italy, chances of problems are remote. That’s good as far as it goes.

However, we have pending business trips to Turkey and possibly India. And one can’t keep the grandchildren away from the grandparents indefinitely. Besides, coconut oil is impossible to find in Italy. The long and short of it is, while we love living in Italy, we never intended to confine ourselves exclusively to her borders.

Since our “Schengen-time” is elapsed (three months allowed within any six-month period, and we’ve been here since March), we risk expulsion from most of Europe for ten years if we cross a border without proper documentation. The best we have is Tony’s receipt for an initial Permesso di Soggiorno. That makes him legal to stay in Italy, but not to travel through its borders.

We need three things before we can travel outside of Italy: #1 Tony’s citizenship recognition. #2 Italian passports for Tony, Axa and Raj. #3 A Carta di Soggiorno for me. This is a “permanent residency” type document. Some people have managed to go into the Questura and apply for a Carta di Soggiorno without resorting to the hopelessly backed-up postal system. If I apply through the postal system, all I will have for the next year or more is a receipt like Tony has now, which is not valid for travel. Better than nothing, but not exactly ideal.

In any case, our next move is to contact all the relevant consulates (besides L.A. and Chicago) and get someone to convince Gianfranco to just finish up the citizenship thing himself, whatever his reasons are for passing it on to the mysterious “Ministro.”

At least the weather’s turning. We’ve had some lovely, breezy days lately.