Sunday, November 9, 2014

How to Successfully Obtain Fingerprinting in Italy as US Citizen Preparing for an Italian Citizenship Request

After over a decade of living and working in Italy, I decided to ask for Italian citizenship.  The beaucracy is not fast or easy to navigate, especially as a US citizen not visiting my country during this process.

Since I didn't find the exact information online I needed to help me with the step of getting fingerprints in Italy to send to the FBI for a criminal background check, I would like to share the solution I pioneered here in Padua to help others in the future.

There has been a problem with the fingerprinting being that the FBI requires US citizens to send their prints to an address in West Virginia on an individual basis.  The information and forms for this service, what the FBI calls the Identity History Summary Checks, can be found on the following page:
However the Italian questura (police station), at least in my city of Padua, was refusing to leave me, the US citizen, with her fingerprint card after they had been taken.  They insisted that they would only be able to send those fingerprints to the US consulate or embassy.  Meanwhile, I verified that the US consulate and embassy do not want to receive the fingerprints or be directly involved in this process since it relates to Italian citizenship and not US requirements.  They basically don't want the extra hassle of sending the fingerprints to the FBI, plus there is the problem of how to pay the FBI for the summary check separately from providing the fingerprints, in that case. I would have had to travel to Milan and visit the US consulate to get back what had been taken in person in Padua, for no good reason.  That would have been ridiculous.

After repeated failed attempts and weeks of phoning and visiting the questura (with a small baby in toe!!) the following solution was found:  I gave the questura a standard document that the US consulate usually provides which explains that the consulate cannot perform fingerprinting due to the lack of proper facilities, PLUS, an email which was sent directly between the US consulate and the questura in which the consulate gives a nulla osta for the questura to be able to give me the fingerprint card after performing the fingerprinting.  The Italians want to have the US government allow me, an individual US citizen, to handle this process on my own.  The explanation on the FBI website was not official enough for their purposes.

In the end the wording for the nulla osta sent by the consulate was the following in my case:

A richiesta dell'interessata, si comunica che in base alle normative del Dipartimento di Stato, il Consolato Generale degli Stati Uniti d'America di Milano non รจ autorizzato a ricevere o inoltrare corrispondenza per conto di cittadini americani.
Pertanto, nulla osta da parte di questo Consolato alla consegna a mano delle impronte in oggetto alla Signora (nome) da parte di codesta On. Questura.

Distinti saluti
American Citizens Services Unit
US Consulate General Milan, Italy

Standard document provided by US consulate wording:

To whom it may concern (A chi di competenza)

This is to declare that this Consulate General is not authorized to take fingerprints and does not have the necessary equipment.  

U.S. citizens in need of fingerprinting services should therefore contact Italian authorities for assistance.

[Si dichiara che questo Consolato Generale non e’ autorizzato a rilevare impronte digitali e non dispone dell'attrezzatura necessaria.

Pertanto, i cittadini americani che necessitano di tale servizio dovranno rivolgersi alle autorita' italiane.]

Once all this was gathered and brought to the questura, I was able to get my fingerprints and take them home the same day.  Of course, there was a problem at the questura about how to clean my inked hands since there was no soap available for the general public in the bathrooms - but we eventually solved that problem too!

The FBI processed the prints in the time written on their site.

Hopefully with this information, other Americans can more quickly and successfully get their fingerprints taken while in Italy to start this process of obtaining Italian citizenship.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

New Baby - New Business

A year after having given birth to my lovely son, Adriano, I am launching a new line of art services. He inspired me.

I am offering my services in painting custom watercolor portraits of children and animals from photographs.  I currently have a shop listing for easy ordering and payment on ETSY.  Please take a look.

Soon I will be back with new posts.  It's been an intense year!

 portrait of a child with background

portrait of a dog