We have been asked several times why Gary & I are not just packing our bags and moving to Italy instead of going through the process of trying to obtain dual citizenship. Let me try to explain the Italian process as briefly as I can, without details, so perhaps you can understand our decision.
A Permesso di Soggiorno is approval or permit to stay to be in Italy for over 90 days. It’s a way for the government (through the police) to basically keep track of you, and must be obtained within eight days upon arriving in Italy.
This detailed process involves a great deal of paperwork, time and patience. Emphasis on patience! Paperwork must be done to perfection (verified by many postings on the Expat Exchange website, as well as, our immigration lawyer). This process can take months before you are notified online that your document is ready to be picked up in person. You also have to provide proof of income and health insurance somewhere along the line. You also have to notify the police anytime you move to a different town or city. They will check up on you – no doubt about it. This entire process (which I assure you I have not included the dreadful details) has to be repeated a year later; then two and three years later. Finally after (I believe its 5 years) you can apply for a Carta di Soggiorno which is Italian citizenship.
On the Other Hand
On the other hand, if we obtain dual citizenship we can come and go anytime we please and do not have to prove a certain amount of yearly income. We would also pay fewer taxes and be entitled to health insurance (large cost savings to us!) There are many other reasons including the citizens of Italy embracing us as one of their own, instead of a tourist.
Again, without details of a Permesso di Soggiorno, you can see that is an easier road to try and obtain dual citizenship. Realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have a parent or grandparent that never naturalized to an American citizen so; this road is not available to everyone. It may have cost us more now but, we are hoping for dual citizenship it will cost us less in the end.
So if you have been following our journey you are aware that we meet with the Italian Consulate on November 2nd. We will then know if all our time, effort and expenditures have paid off and she believes we have proven our qualifications. For the record, the application is for Gary. If he is granted dual citizenship, I will too by marriage.
Do you have a story about your adventure to share?