This very moment, one year ago, I was taking my Italian citizenship oath at the Italian Consulate in San Francisco, California. Little did I know standing there with that giant grin on my face, how critical that moment would be in six months.
My Italian citizenship ceremony was an emotional experience. It was intimate and significant. In case you missed it (or want to see them again!) here is a short video clip and a few photos from the ceremony where I took my Italian citizenship oath.
Italian Citizenship Ceremony Video & Photos
You can see the relief, exhaustion and joy on both of our faces.
For luck and for sentiment, Paolo wore the same shirt, wedding tie, blazer and pants to my ceremony as he did for his American citizenship ceremony.
I’ll be honest, I spent the next few months trying to will myself to feel the gravity of being a dual citizen. I knew it was a big step, but the weight of the moment wasn’t there immediately. Most likely because this time last year, there were no signs COVID-19 was about to decimate both of my countries, Italy and America.
Moving to Italy in 2020
Had I not become an Italian citizen when I did, I would not have been able to move to Italy in 2020. I never would have been allowed to board that repatriation flight to Italy back in April. Between that and European COVID travel restrictions on American citizens there is a very real chance Paolo and I could have been separated for lord knows how long, to see our parents.
Becoming an Italian citizen when I did has meant waking up to church bells. Seeing a doctor without fear of medical bills. Traveling through Italian wine country, enjoy Italian wines and indulging in the world’s best pizza regularly. It’s meant nothing short of happiness.
All of this to say, I’m enjoying my life during a very, very difficult year (damn you 2020) because I did not wait to live my life. If you are at all curious if you qualify for dual citizenship, find out now. Start the application process immediately, do not wait! Do it now. I repeat, do not wait!
There are two reasons I’m bullish about starting the process for dual citizenship immediately. One, because it’s a long process. It’s not immediate or automatic with marriage. It took Paolo five years and me six years to gain dual citizenship. Two, with the wave of nationalism sweeping the west, things will only get harder.
New Law for Italian Citizenship 2018
As of 2018 new Italian citizenship applications require a demonstrated “adequate knowledge” of the Italian language. Applicants must speak a B1 level of Italian defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – CEFRL (threshold or intermediate level).
I’ve openly shared my struggles with learning to speak Italian. Had I waited, what might have happened to my life in 2020, is a question I’m glad I don’t have to answer. I repeat, do not wait! If you’re curious about gaining Italian Citizenship find out if you qualify today.
How to Know If You Qualify for Italian Citizenship
There are three main ways to gain Italian Citizenship and that second passport. Marriage or Civil Union, Right of Blood and Naturalization. I say main because there are other more obscure methods that are detailed in my previous post 3 Ways to Get an Italian Passport.
Dreams are meant to be chased. The longer we wait, the further away they will get. Don’t wait. We all know we are not guaranteed tomorrow. We know in the end our biggest regrets are for what we did not do.
On this, the first anniversary of becoming an Italian citizen, I’m celebrating the life I have being the life I’ve dreamed of because I did not wait. I am celebrating a life without regret.
How about you? What are your dreams? Are you living them now? What’s holding you back? What set you free to live them?
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I hope you’ll join me tomorrow for a very special post! An interview with a Canadian expat who shares why Milan, how she found work in Italy, and the pros and cons of life as an expat in Italy. Then Friday I’ll pick back up with Verona and another Italy Pic of the Day!