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  • Writer's picturePaola Slajmer

A 1948 case

As her next-in-line ancestor was born to an Italian mother prior to 1948, Lucretia had to pursue her Citizenship by descent through the Court of Rome

Interviewing Lucretia Concini, an American client who had a 1948 case. As Italian women could not transmit Italian Citizenship prior to 1-1-1948, this discrimination is challenged in Court using an Italian lawyer. The judicial path can be actually less burdensome than an administrative one in terms of documents required. Once Lucretia had her Italian Citizenship recognized, she was able to settle in the UK as a permanent resident as a EU citizen before the #Brexit deadline.

How did you learn that you could apply for Italian citizenship?

This was such a journey for me. At first, I thought I had an administrative case. However, the proof of non-naturalization was not strong enough to ensure my case would be accepted at the consulate. My ancestor for this line had 2 draft cards; one said ‘Naturalized’, another said ‘Alien’, and 2 out of 4 of his census records said ‘NA’ (the others said ‘NA’). Of course, the ones that said ‘NA’ had the next person in my line on them. So, after finding out that a consulate or apply-in-Italy route was no-longer an option, I shifted to a judicial 1948 case.

In hindsight, nothing can be more apt. I am an ardent feminist, who abhors the endemic influence of patriarchy. My paternal grandmother loved me fiercely. It was fitting to be deemed an Italian citizen since birth by using her line. I viewed it as the greatest gift she could ever give me. I love her and miss her, every day, and I think of her, and my ancestors, whenever I see my passport. I owe them everything.

How long did it take to collect all the records?

Once I found out the line I needed, collecting all of the records did not take an extremely long time. This is because my family did not move around much; I was able to collect all the US records from one small city in the United States. It took about a year.

Name the hardest and the easiest part of your journey:

1948ers are at an inherent disadvantage when compared to consulate cases. We do not have the same rights and protections as Italian citizens until our birth certificate is transcribed in the comune records, post successful court hearing. That is hard, especially if you are vulnerable. 1948ers depend on the whims of a judge. I will say, from personal experience, that if you have a need, and can provide appropriate documentation for it, a judge may decide to help you. But again, this depends on the arbitrary decisions made by the judge. The judge can also say ‘no’, and push your case further out. These issue is coupled with the fact that 1948 case is guaranteed to be a success. Compare this to consulate cases, who are not only guaranteed to become Italian citizens since birth if they qualify; consulates can also rush services (such as recognition, when an applicant provides them with a letter of employment).

The easiest part of my journey was working with translator extraordinaire, Paola Slajmer. Paola Slajmer was an incredible asset throughout this process. Paola made herself available to answer any question, no matter how ridiculous I felt asking it, and made me feel as if none of my questions were superfluous or irreverent. 1948 cases, as a process, are marred with uncertainty, and Paola Slajmer made me feel absolutely confident that at least one aspect of this journey was guaranteed. I breathed a lot easier knowing my translations were in Paola Slajmer’s hands!

Did your family join or support you in this journey?

I was the only person on my 1948 case. Nobody else in my family was interested in acquiring Italian citizenship.

A word of advice for prospective applicants:

‘Piano piano’! Little by little! Very rarely does this process move in leaps and bounds. Oftentimes, it is a series of very small steps, towards your goal of being an Italian citizen since birth. It will often take longer than you think.

it is a series of very small steps, towards your goal of being an Italian citizen

How long did it take to get recognized?

I started this process in 2016 and was recognised in 2021. A significant amount of time was spent saving money in order to hire an attorney. 1948ers are also at a disadvantage in this regard; court cases are often much more expensive than obtaining citizenship at a consulate.

Have you already visited your Italian Comune or do you plan to?

Because of COVID, I have not been able to visit my comune yet. I certainly plan to, and I sent my Anagrafe a Christmas card this year!

Your first trip with your Italian passport was or will be to:

Probably to get married in Italy (I have dealt with enough bureaucracy in my life for now, and this is the easiest way to avoid bureaucracy in this context), and then I will thank my Anagrafe in person. Anyone who qualifies for this opportunity is incredibly lucky. There are children who are born in Italy, raised in Italy, and who speak Italian who cannot obtain citizenship, because they are the children of migrants. In my opinion, despite all the headaches, we in the diaspora who qualify for Italian citizenship should all be very thankful, and should fight for the rights of those children who are born in Italy and do not qualify.

Congratulations and buon viaggio!


Service provided:

- translation from Italian to English of her Italian birth record, in order to apply to the Settlement Scheme before the #Brexit deadline.

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