Despite the sun pouring in through my kitchen window, a sharp frost rapidly melting I’m angry, frustrated and almost (but not quite) speechless. The nonsensical bureaucrats have got to me, I cannot begin to understand their actions. I have to share and vent my spleen.
No, it is not the Italian bureaucrats, it is the British ones. Because Italy has been my home for nearly ten years and spurred on by impending ‘Brexit’ with the wish to remain in Italy and travel freely, or, move to be with a future husband, and eventually retire even to another country within the European Union and because I do believe in a united europe, I am applying for Italian citizenship. You may well ask why did I not do this earlier. Simply I felt no rush but now circumstances have changed and I am spurred on to apply for citizenship of the country that I really love to call home and to remain european.
The application for Italian citizenship is now online. Twenty three pages, many of which do not apply to me, it is relatively simple to complete. Naturally the Italian state requires some background information on the applicant. In my case this is my British birth certificate, my passport (I can still retain my dual nationality so Liz and Phil will be my guardian angels when I travel) and a certificate called ‘Disclosure’ that states that I am not an undesirable person, a terrorist or a criminal. Logical I have no problem with providing these documents.
Now I have my birth certificate and passport, but having been in Italy since 2007 my discosure form was obviously out of date, so I have had to apply for a new one. UK – efficient, or so I thought no, Applications can be made online but only if you reside in the UK, applications from abroad require to be made by post. So I write to them, they write to me and send me a form which I complete and mail back to them, they produce the document and post it to me. How stoopid is that… International post is not exactly a precise science or speedy. Yesterday I received an email from a couple of my Bellaugello guests in the Netherlands thanking me for the Christmas card I sent (dispatched 06 December) and having taken the scenic route had just arrived!
So understandably I was a bit frustrated that I could not apply for said document online. Add to that the strange statement that private citizens can only apply for the most basic of Disclosure forms, not the full or enhanced disclosure I had previously had. Oh well my hope is that the Italian government will accept this basic form. So the form arrives, I am not undesirable, a criminal or a terrorist, my application is one step further on.
Now to send the documents to the UK to be legalised or ‘Apostilled’. The office is in Milton Keynes, pay online, (£14.50 postage) print the cover sheet, enclose the documents and post them by recorded delivery to the UK. Trek up to see Mimmo at the post office at Scritto. He kind of likes me at the moment, I send many letters from there and my parcels in arrival tend to somewhat mysteriously prefer to go to the post office than directly here to Bellaugello Gay Guest House. “Buongiorno, devo spedire un pacco in Gran Bretagna. Dev’essere tracciabile non raccomandata il livello piu alta.” ‘Recorded delivery’ Buzzing of Mimmo’s fingers on Poste keyboard, scratching of head, pushing of glasses up the bridge of his nose, ‘sorry Alec you cannot send a letter by recorded delivery to the UK, they have not got such an agreement!’ When you consider you can send recorded delivery letters from Italy to Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Somalia I find that rather weird, maybe the UK never really wanted to be part of europe. I was sending my disclosure and original birth certificate, not items I particularly wanted to loose, but no option I have no friends in Milton Keynes, Mimmo and I decided to send the letter ‘raccomandata’ – signed on delivery (if it arrives)….
Sit back wait, wait and then the yellow DHL van arrives with a parcel form the UK. I rush to open the package to discover a beautiful piece of embossed paper attached to my birth certificate – Apostille yes, but the disclosure certificate is returned not stamped. There is a covering letter explaining that they were unable to legalise the document as it does not have a signature. WHAT??!! this is a British Government official document with the ink barely dry, why is it not acceptable. Grrr…
The only suggested solution is to have a UK lawyer or doctor sign to confirm the document is genuine. Isn’t that what the legalisation office is supposed to be doing? This to my mind is mad, they are confirming the genuineness of a third party signature and his or her capacity to be truthful. Now the said signatory has to be in the UK, I’m in Umbria. By circuitous means I get the form to my UK based sister and ask that she obtains the requisite signature. Ok it took time, but a member of the legal profession signed the document, I paid again and scanned the receipt, emailed it to my sister and she popped the documents recorded delivery to Milton Keynes.
Yesterday I receive a further email from said cretins: (oh dear can I use that word? well it’s done and cogent)
They don’t have his signature on file?!! Presumably he will now have to get a person whose signature is on file to confirm the veracity of his signature, and the legalisation office will owing to ‘privacy laws’ no doubt refuse to confirm whether or not his suggestions are on their list… it goes on and on.
For me the bottom line is that the legalisation office is legalising a lawyer’s signature and the British government is playing games issuing official legal documents that cannot be Apostilled..
No doubt this story will be continued, but now I must go the Motorizzazione office in Perugia which closes at one – ‘per pranzo’ and start the process for the renewal of my already Italian driving licence, wish me luck.