Our Journey to Italian Citizenship

Our Journey to finally receive Italian Citizenship was a truly long, arduous process. It involved many scary instances, a TON of waiting, a lot money, and a lot of time. We started the process on September 3, 2014 and as of September 5, 2017, we are Italian Citizens. After all the stress and waiting i ask myself, “was it worth it?” The answer: ABSOLUTELY! This process brought us closer together as a family and was truly an adventure into our history.

I cant lie, there were many times during this process that i wanted to give someone a piece of my mind and i struggled mightily to keep it together because of being given the run around when we tried to get updates or even simple answers. All seemed lost after 3 years of no answers and i had basically thrown in the towel when all of the sudden, out of no where, an angel appeared! The Embassy of Washington D.C. made an amazing hire of a new employee!  Prior to her being hired, I really don’t know if anything was done for about 2.9 years and then, after this new hire, within a month, we were citizens! Talk about miracles! Special shout out here to big bro, Andrew who didn’t throw in the towel on this whole process and was still sending in Emails at the time of the new hire. Once this new hire saw that we had everything necessary and that we had been already waiting about 3 years, we immediately became a priority.

I wanted to give a run down of how we became Italian Citizens and some helpful facts.

  • Cost: around $1,000 – This includes tracking down documents, translations of documents, and the 300 Euro fee to officially apply.
  • Duration: For us it was a 3 year process, but some embassy’s are faster than others.
  • How – We were eligible through what is called “Jure Sanguinis” (Law of the bloodline). See details here: Jure Sanguinis
  • Jure Sanguinis (The way it works) – Imagine you were born in Italy and an Italian citizen and you immigrated to the United States and decided to Naturalize as a citizen and renounce your Italian Citizenship. As long as you had your kid prior to your naturalization, the “Italian blood” is considered to have been passed on to the child. If you naturalized as a U.S. citizen and afterwards had your kids, the “Italian blood” did not pass on.
  • Advice: Buckle in for a probably long and interesting ride and enjoy the process even when it gets confusing haha.

Tracing our Blood Line: 

  • Giovanni Innocenti – It all started with the amazing guy in the photo!
    • Born on May 5, 1883
    • Born in Labico, Italy
    • Came to the U.S. in 1908 (according to the 14th census of the United States in 1920)
    • Married to Ana Orsi in 1912
    • Had my Grandmother, Eleanora Innocenti in 1913
    • Naturalized as a United states Citizen on November 1, 1917 (For our family, any child born prior to this date to Ana and Giovanni are considered to have “Jure Sanguinis”)

Here is my Grandma who was born prior to the Naturalization of Giovanni:


Once we figured out we were eligible, we had to get the following documents (double check with what is actually on the official page of your consulate):

  • Naturalization, Birth, Marriage, Death records for Giovanni (aka John).
    • We had to request his birth and marriage from the “comune di Labico”
      • We contracted a third party organization to help us retrieve these
    • We requested the death records through a private company as well (quicker turn around than the government, but it is more expensive).
    • You will need to get Birth, Marriage, and Death for everyone in the “blood line” so for us it was GiovanniEleanora– My Momand us (the applicants)!
  • Naturalization records of Giovanni
    • For this we had to go through USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and do a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to get his official documents.
      • Third party agencies can help with this, but we went in person (by appointment).
  • Apostille – For all documents on the U.S. side it is necessary to have them sealed with an Apostille, it is basically an authentication of your document in conformity with the “Hague Convention”.
    • If you live in Maryland you can get these here
    • I would recommend getting all your U.S. documents together first before going.
  • Translations of U.S. documents – Every official document on the U.S. side (birth, marriage, death records) will need to be translated. We found an excellent translation service with very quick turn around here

Once all of this is together, you should be ready to apply! Check your local consulate’s requirements to be sure! You are required to apply at the consulate within your jurisdiction. Find your consulate here

This process was long, but receiving it now is an answered prayer for us and our family. Ultimately it was a really cool experience and brought us as a family closer together as we learned more about our heritage and where we come from. I cant wait to go and visit Giovanni’s hometown of Labico, Italy and see where he lived and grew up!

This is our crew at the Embassy and Johnny wasn’t able to make this photo!