Since I am married to an Italian citizen and have been living here in Italy for more than six months, I am eligible to apply for Italian citizenship. Documents I had to submit from the United States:
Criminal Record from the State of South Dakota
Criminal Record from the F.B.I.
Certificate of Family Status
Certificate of Residence
Copy of my Permit to Stay
Plus how knows how many photocopies of each document. After I got done photocopying everything, I literally had a stack of papers half an inch high. I turned everything in to the provincial preffetura on October 31, 2003 and was told I would have Italian citizenship by October 31, 2005.
In the mean time, I had to renew my Permit to Stay, which is basically the Italian equivalent of the Green Card. My Permit to Stay was set to expire May 2004 and was originally told to make an appointment to renew it two months prior to expiration. So in March my husband and I went to the police station to make the appointment. We were told the earliest would be in SEPTEMBER. My husband complained, and was able to get the appointment in August. So in August went back down to the police station with all required documents, and was told I would have my new permit to stay in February 2005. Excuse me people, but my permit is EXPIRED. Of course received the typical Italian response "No problem ma'am".
Then in October I had to go to the United States for my yearly visit, so my husband had stopped at the police station to see if by some odd chance my Permit to Stay was ready. Surprisingly it was, and my husband was told I just needed to come in with my passport to pick it up. So I went in, picked up my new Permit to Stay, and was told I needed to talk to the local Citizenship office. I had to have an interview, answering questions like how long I've been in Italy, do I rent or own our apartment, explain EVERY stamp in my passport, occupation and my level of the Italian language. Ok I am by no means fluent in Italian, but am able to go about day to day business in Italian no problem, and was able to understand and respond to this idiot's questions with no problems. After playing 20 questions and having my passport photocopied for the 5 millionth time, was again told I would have citizenship by October 31, 2005.
In October 2005 I was in the United States, and my husband stayed in Italy, so he made some phone calls on my behalf to find out what was going on as far as my citizenship. He was told my file was "stuck" in Rome, they were waiting and had been waiting since MAY 2004 for a copy of my Italian criminal record. I haven't even gotten as much as a parking ticket here, so they're not going to find anything criminal against me. My husband called again towards the end of November, and was told I had to call. So after I returned to Italy at the beginning of December, I called Rome to find out what the hell was going on. I was told the same thing as my husband. I told the gal, look my current Permit to Stay expires May 2006, and was told if I haven't heard anything by March to call again. Good ol' Italian bureacuracy.
Tuesday we went to an exhibit in Rimini, Italy for artisan production of gelato (Italian Ice cream), pastries and chocolate. This exhibit is an annual event held every January in Rimini, this year marking their 27th year. This was our first time attending, very interesting. The photo is of an old Fiat cinquecento (500) that one of the exhibitors had on display.
I returned to Italy the beginning of December. Flew Aerlingus again, Chicago to Dublin, my husband and I spent three days in Dublin, then Dublin down to Bergamo. At least this time around my flights were pretty uneventful. Now life is somewhat back to normal, back to teaching English, private lessons. Tomorrow my husband and I are going to Rimini Italy for the day, to attend an expo.