There are many steps to take when applying for an Italian citizenship, and one of them may seem more unusual than others: getting the Apostille. This is a type of document that you need to use when you are outside of Italy and applying for Italian citizenship. Some people are confused about the purpose for the Apostille and whether or not it applies to them.
Let’s review in more detail here:
The Apostille Convention (also called the Apostille Treaty) was initially drafted in 1965 by The Hague Conference on Private International Law. During this convention, legislators outlined the ways in which you could receive paperwork in one country but use it for an official purpose in another country.
The Apostille is a document that serves as a certificate of authenticity. It authenticates any kind of public document, including signatures and stamps, and the public official who originally certified it.
An Apostille usually looks like a single sheet of paper or sometimes an adhesive sheet with a ribbon on the original document.
Think of it as a notary but on an international, governmental scale. It allows a country to validate a document under its own area of domain, rather than having to get the document re-certified again in the next country.
The person issuing this certifying document differs depending on the country where the original document is coming from. For example, in the UK, the Apostille would be issued by the Foreign Commonwealth office. But in the United States, it changes depending on whether the document is a state-level or federal-level document. In cases of federal documents, the Apostille is granted by the Department of State in Washington, D.C. State-level documents require the Apostille to be issued by a law-appointed state authority, such as that state’s Secretary of State Office.
Please do keep in mind that some U.S. states have particular laws about the ways in which you can get documents Apostilled. Some of these states require intermediate authentications by way of a letter of exemplifications or other means.
As an example, an original birth certificate from the New York City Department of Health has to have a page signed by the Deputy City Registrar verifying that the birth certificate is a certified copy and part of the actual record. It also has to be authenticated by the New York County Clerk before it can move on to its Apostilled destination.
In some cases, you may not be able to get an Apostille if a vital record document is too old, or if the original registrar who certified the copy is not in office anymore. There are other rare cases in which an Apostille may be denied, but since this is an internationally-recognized process, there is plenty of certainty.
Need help getting an Apostille or other documents for your Italian citizenship? Contact us directly, and we can help you get started.
This page was last updated by Jason LoPresti