Bel bambino was born Italian and will soon be able to add the Australian flag to his belt. He is automatically entitled to be an Australian citizen since I am an Australian citizen. I downloaded the application off the internet, filled in the form, sent certified copies of our passports and birth certificates, residential proof and photos and of course paid the fee. It should have been a very easy, straight forward process but thanks to the comune here the paper work too a little longer then normal.
Our first issues with the comune was when I asked them to sign a part of the form and the back of bel bambino's photo. It was very simple, name, address, phone number but the lady would not sign it since she said she could not understand. Fair enough you say, but she speaks a little English and admitted that she understood name, address etc... She wanted me to go to the Australian consulate which happens to be far away in Rome and officially translate the documents. She also wanted to stamp the front of bel bambino's photo which is not allowed.
Part of the citizenship form says the photo must be clear, unmarked and here she was hovering over it with her big, fat comune stamp. I tried calmly and then not so calmly explaining that the forms had to be sent to London and they didn't want a stamp on the front of the photo. In Italy apparently to verify identify one has to stamp the front of the photo and this woman could not comprehend that in another county a stamp was not necessary. She told me that if I sent the form without the stamp then I would be stopped by police when I tried to leave the country. I had no idea what she was on about, I was flabbergasted whilst trying to understand her strange mutterings. Then, to make matters worse her colleague said why didn't we just fly to Australia and do the citizenship there!..........Um, because bel bambino is not Australian yet and if we fly to Australia on his Italian passport 1. we will have to apply for a tourist visa 2. it will cause problems in the future when we process his Australian citizenship 3. it costs thousands and I means thousands to fly there 4. and it takes a day just in the plane so when do I have time or money to do this?
Bel marito dragged me out of the comune just before my screaming fit started. Well at least we got an international, multilingual birth certificate from them, he said.
Or did we.
After finding someone else authorised to sign the documents, we sent the forms off to London. British people being as efficient as they are meant that a few days later, just as the post reached them, an officer from the Australian High Commission called me. Does bel bambino have a different surname from his father asked the lady? No, I said confused. It seems as though the birth certificate is wrong then, said the very kind and understanding lady. What?
I grabbed a copy and low and behold the good old comune had written the wrong names in the wrong boxes. Stupid me for not having checked the document myself, but I assumed a birth certificate would have the correct information. Bel marito too never thought to check. I was so embarressed and so, so angry since I am in a hurry to get this citizenship which takes 1 month to process.
We went back to the comune the next day. Bel marito asked me to stay outside. Me being me meant I couldn't just stand around outside, and when I over heard that the lady was trying to white out the mistake and type over it with a type writer I marched in. We cannot send that to the Australian High Commission! I cried. Why? It will be correct. They probably already think I'm mad sending an incorrect birth certificate and now if I send a white out typed thing they will just laugh and through the application back in my face!!
I was sent back outside again since I can't always control my temper. Finally bel marito walked out with a clearly printed, correct Italian birth extract. No more international birth certificates for us.
So now we are waiting, hoping that the extract arrived, that the citizenship comes so we can go to Rome and get bel bambino his Australian passport in time for us to fly down under in January.
It really, really drives me crazy living in Italy some times.