Let me be the first to say that I am a proud American. I have lived here for 32 years and been through the prosperity of the Clinton administration and the subsequent disaster of the Bush administration (financially speaking). I take a rather poignant been there, done that attitude when it comes to travel and landmarks within the States. I have lived in San Francisco (twice), Washington, DC, and Tampa, FL; and I am about to relocate to the Netherlands.
Before I introduce the benefits of being a dual EU/US citizen, allow me to share how I obtained my Italian citizenship (Disclaimer: This is meant for educational purposes only and not as an official authority on how to obtain citizenship. The fact that I even have to state that gives you an idea of why I am heading to Europe).
Step 1: Do I qualify for Italian Citizenship? Yes. My grandfather was naturalized in the US after my father was born.
Step 2: Obtain Grandfather’s Birth records from Italian Comune This was located in his birth town of Terrasini, Sicilia.
Step 3: Search for Index Number of my Grandfather’s upon arrival into the USA The USCIS website allows you to look up the index number
Step 4: Order Grandfather’s US Naturalization forms (certified) from USCIS Not too expensive and, if anything, a great keepsake.
Step 5: Order certified copies of Grandfather/Grandmother’s and Father/Mother’s Birth, Marriage and Death certificates (if applicable). This can only be done in the city/county in which the record was obtained
Step 6: Get documents translated by certified translator (if necessary) I needed to get Grandfather’s birth certificate translated
Step 7: Get apostille on all documents An apostille is essentially an internationally recognized notary stamp/seal. This is required on documents needed for applying for citizenship
Step 8: Make appointment at Italian Consulate This is tricky. In San Francisco, it took me 6 months to get an appointment. Plan ahead!
Step 9: Italian Consulate Appointment Nerve-racking and exciting at the same time. They ultimately have the say in your Italian citizenship destiny. And no matter how much you thought you prepared, they can still reject your application. Basically (not guaranteed), if they accept your paperwork and send it out – you’re in good shape.
Step 10: Wait This is the hardest part. Knowing that you will receive your documents from the comune in Italy but knowing how they work, it could take months.
Step11: Receive you Documents form Italy stating your Citizenship has been recognized
Step 12: Make appointment to receive your Italian passport Most times, the consulate has a machine where they can make your passport on site
Step 13: Move to Europe
OK, so if the above seems daunting – it is. But the rewards that follow are tremendous.
Here is a short list of what I can do with my Italian citizenship:
- Live/work anywhere within the European Union
- My wife (as a US citizen) will receive the same benefits as EU citizen
- While traveling, enter customs thru EU citizen queue
- Start a small business in EU
Benefits (some) of living in the Netherlands as an EU citizen:
- Dutch healthcare is top notch
- Mandatory maternity leave (16 weeks of 100% salary paid)
- Six weeks of holiday leave
- Holiday bonus every May (8% on top of your salary to travel the world)
- Living history all around me (where in the US can you touch anything that’s over 200 years old?)
- Yes taxes are high – so are wages. Throw this argument away immediately.
- University tuition is subsidized by the government so students don’t go bankrupt trying to afford themselves a career after university
- Most children are fluent in Dutch, English, French and German by the time they’re out of primary school
- Short train ride to France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland
- Short flight to UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia