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 è 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.


  1. Nice Info! There are many people who wish to get the citizenship of particular country and different countries has its own rules for providing it.

    EU Passport Italian | Italian Passport

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  3. Quick question, the form FD-258 can be printed and used for the fingerprints? or does it have to be ordered? I am having trouble with how to obtain it. I know the FBI even gives you the chance to download it online. My husband and I are having doubts that the police here in Italy won't accept it. Also where can I go get my fingerprints done professionally. I have heard that there has been some cases that some fingerprints are not readable and one has to re-do it. Which I hope it won't be my case. Thanks in advance

  4. Sayda, you can print the fingerprint forms directly from the FBI site on regular photocopy paper. In my case, the Questura in Padua did the fingerprints and we did 2 copies just in case one wasn't perfect. Everything was accepted by the FBI with no problems.

    You should contact the Questura directly in advanced to make an appointment and provide them with the documents they require. Every Questura seems to have its own rules but I wrote about the specifics I found in Padua.

    As for a professional service, I do not know where to send you. It's a free service if done at the local Questura.

    Good luck! Be patient! You'll get it done!

  5. Hey Irene,

    My name is Joe Pinzone and I'm casting an international travel show about expats moving abroad. We'd love to film in Italy and wanted to know if you could help us find expats who have moved there within the last 15 months or have been there for 3-4 years, but recently moved into a new home. The show documents their move to a new country and will place the country in fabulous light. The expats on the show would also receive monetary compensation if they are filmed. They must also speak English fluently and can be buyers or renters for their homes. If you'd like more information, please give me a call at 212-231-7716 or skype me at joefromnyc. You can also email me at Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Joe Pinzone
    Casting Producer
    P: 212-231-7716
    Skype: Joefromnyc

  6. The gorgeous post learned a great deal Thanks greatly!

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  7. Thanks for the info, Irene! I am in Belluno and looking into it for citizenship. One question - were you required to have the apostille for your background check, or did they accept the FBI document as is?


  8. Thanks for the info, Irene! I am in Belluno and looking into it for citizenship. One question - were you required to have the apostille for your background check, or did they accept the FBI document as is?


  9. Thank you very much for this helpful post! I am also in the process of filing for citizenship (I'm married to an Italian), but having trouble finding consistent information. If you have time to answer a few specific questions, it would be greatly appreciated!
    1. Is the FBI background check necessary; will a state check with apostille suffice; or are both needed? Must they be submitted within 6 months of receiving them?
    2. What is an official translation? If I make a translation and have a professional translator sign it, is that enough, or must it somehow be notarized?

    Thank you so much!!

  10. Italian citizenship assistance program in the U.S. will answer all of these questions and can take care of facilitating your background checks.

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  12. I must admit that your post is really interesting. I have spent a lot of my spare time reading your content. Thank you a lot! Canadian Fingerprinting Services

  13. Can I just say THANK YOU! You wrote it in 2014 and it helped me in 2022!:) thank you so so much! God bless♥️

  14. 3 November -good evening, from Milan. fingerprinting in Questura is free but they need a letter requesting fingerprints (for Italian citizenship) so that police officers can proceed and enter in system officially and provide the service. Tecnically from the Consolate. They won't so does anybody know how to get a "lettera di richiesta"?