Well, the road to true love never did run smooth. Which is the ongoing refrain of this decade-long quest for Italian citizenship. As I mentioned several weeks ago, I did submit all my documents using the Italian Ministry of the Interior’s online application process. Not having heard from them in a while, and being concerned about the six month document expiration rule I mentioned before, I emailed the extremely helpful Adrianus at the consulate, and politely asked how things were going.
He presented me with the unfortunate news that as well as a criminal report from the FBI, I needed to submit one from my US state of residence. Fortunately when the application instructed me to list every address I’d lived in since the age of fourteen (I KID you NOT), I had taken the simple approach and only put my parents’ address in California. Because anyway, Italians are weirdly serious about registering your residency in a new place, up to and including sending the police to check that you really live there before you get inscribed in city hall. It would be very hard to draw a line on whether many of the places we’ve stayed for a few months actually count as residences from an Italian point of view. So I drew the line of least bureaucracy, and now I’m incredibly relieved to “only” need a criminal report from the state of California.
And all that involves is getting more fingerprints taken, mailing them to the California Department of Justice, them mailing the criminal report to my mom, my mom taking it to the state capitol to get an Apostille, them sending the Apostilled document back to my mom, her mailing it to me, giving it to my translator, having her attach her translation and stamps and seals and signatures, getting a second Apostille for the translation, scanning the whole thing, uploading it to the Italian Ministry of the Interior’s open application for my citizenship, and then the hopefully still friendly Adrianus approving it.
All within the space of less than two months, since that’s how much time is left before my FBI document expires. And if that were to happen (heaven forbid!) I’d have to start the whole process over with that document, which would probably result in more of my documents expiring in a sort of perpetual-motion vicious circle of endlessly toppling dominoes that would keep me inside a never ending hell of Italian red tape. It’s Kafkaesque, if not Lovecraftian: a nightmarish bureaucracy loop presided over by some sadistic, capricious, and incomprehensible foreign deity.
But that is not going to happen. It most certainly is not. Because yesterday I went back to Almere to get my fingerprints done by the guy who is certified with the US government to do it. If you ever need fingerprints done for the US while living in the Netherlands, I recommend John at Vissers Security Services. He did my fingerprints for the FBI report back in November. This is what Almere looked like then.
It’s a suburb of Amsterdam where people live when they want a more laid-back lifestyle outside the bustle of Amsterdam. And of course, real estate is cheaper out there, so it’s easier to get a bigger house and a nice garden. There’s even a company building a high-tech off-the-grid eco-village there right now. Nice town.
Anyway, I went back today, and it looked like this:
Seasons change, but I keep trying to get Italian citizenship. Stay tuned for what I hope will be boring but fear will be exciting updates on the next steps of the process, which I fervently hope will eventually culminate in some kind of tearful oath of allegiance and one more passport to keep track of on Familia Family vacations.