Monday, 4 March 2019


Despondent, let down ... a few other words come to mind right now.

Back in January, I wrote a post here that began with frustration and ended with optimism.

Today, I can't muster optimism.

Yesterday, I received a registered letter from the Italian Consulate (yep, they did not want me to miss it) dated Feb 26. Not sure, why it had taken 6 days to get here, but that is relevant to the story. The letter was in Italian and even though I have been super diligent with my Italian lessons (not a day missed since I found out 43 days ago that I needed to learn Italian), I could not fully understand it. To add insult to the injury I was just about to receive in writing, in trying to download the free Google translate app, I inadvertently downloaded a paying, subscription-based app. Not off to a good start.

The letter advised that I had ten days from the date of the letter to present a certificate to the consulate showing successful completion of a B1 level (not beginner's) in Italian, or else my request for citizenship would be definitively rigettata and, yes, the rejection was in bold AND underlined.

I felt so cheated. After all, I had submitted ALL the documents that the online submission form had requested. It had taken me months and nearly 1000 dollars to convert the mumbo-jumbo of the convoluted process into understood outcomes and then collect the required documents. At my January interview in the Consular offices, I was asked for yet another $100 and was told to go and learn Italian, as this was a new, undocumented requirement, about which no details were yet available. Off-handedly, I was also told that the period I would be required to wait for a response to my application had changed, just like that, from 2 to 4 years. "See you in 4 years", she had said.

As you know, I was never opposed to learning the language of the country whose citizenship I was legally allowed to obtain. To the contrary. But, I have 3 days remaining to do so and provide proof of said learning. Failing that, and I will fail, I have to start the whole costly process again.

Should I pay all this money again and wait more than five years on the off-chance that my application will by then be viewed favourably?

Addio Italia.  Right now, I need to turn my head and look for my sunshine elsewhere.

PS If you feel like cheering me up, reading 'But you are in France, Madame' would help. Many thanks in advance.


  1. Ah, terribly frustrating, I'm sure, Catherine. But remember that in Italy, as in France, the primary bureaucratic response is to tell you "No." There are ways around this, but they require emotion, drama and persistence. I can't be sure it will work, but you may want to at least try to obtain another audience at the Italian consulate. Once there, you can (in Italian, ideally, with a lot of hand movements) try to explain to them how this sudden, unexpected and unwritten requirement will tear your family apart, as your children have all already been granted citizenship through their father. Try expressing how much it means to you to be able to one day live in Italy with them, that you have done your utmost to begin to learn Italian (always wanted to), are willing to hire a special tutor, but that the new requirement just did not allow you enough time. See if you can get an extension. You may also try contacting your Australian embassy in Rome to see if they can intervene on your behalf. Please consider these alternative approaches. It can't hurt to ask, and might help!

    1. Thanks Ellen. I did have a long telephone call yesterday along those lines but was told that the law is the law and it can be enacted retrospectively and bad luck if that means that you are caught up in the middle. There really was no willingness to try and find a compromise or obtain for all of us caught up in this (as I'm not the only one) a grace period. The lady to whom I was talking estimated that it would take 18 months to fulfil the testing requirements for the language certificates (now they know about what they want and have stated that the training and testing needs to be done through specific providers), then I would need to re-apply, re-pay my money and go into the line to wait my four years. That's a lot of time and money for what remains a still uncertain outcome...and if the laws change again in the meantime? You are right, though, that there must be something else that I can do. In most likelihood that will mean paperwork for every stay. I will have to look into it. I am surprised at how much I have been upset by this!