October 29, 2012 by JL Walker
My list of questions in hand (virtually at least), I dialed (clicked, actually) the number. A prerecorded menu, a few more clicks, then on hold. This is what I’ve kept putting off, afraid of the answers I would hear through my headphones as I got closer to the €6 ’90s-computer-grey microphone to read off my list full of question marks. And then, it was all over and I had the info I needed, including, however, one of my fears coming true.
Tolto il dente, tolto il dolore (get rid of the tooth, get rid of the pain), as they say around here, which, if you’ve ever had a toothache that resulted in a pulled tooth, you would understand. It’s an Italian proverb basically urging you to get rid of a painful situation as soon as possible.
After pulling the painful tooth, this is what I learned from 3 different telephone calls to various levels of US law enforcement:
- At least for the state of Ohio (this could also apply to all 50 states), there is no need to request local police records since the township will send them automatically to the state Office of the Attorney General. The local police officer I spoke with suggested I contact the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) to request my records from the state of Ohio.
- I then called the Ohio Attorney General and they explained that they will send me a fingerprints form to fill out and send back allowing me to request the release of state criminal records. If the postal system doesn’t swallow it up, this form is now on its way to my apartment.
- The last call I made was to the FBI. The lady I spoke with was able to clarify a few things for me (yes, I can open the sealed brown envelope that contains my fingerprints to make sure it has been filled out, and yes, after I receive the records that her office sends, I will need to send them on to the State Department to get an apostille).
For my FBI records request, my fingerprints are visible and the “card” has been filled out. I also filled out the request form available on the website, as well as the payment form. Lastly, I wrote a letter, making the whole thing more official and a little more polite, which also includes my contact info. I just have to add a €1.60 stamp (the price has recently doubled for a normal letter, including postcards!) and find a nice red mailbox in Milan to pop in the envelope, then wait the 6 weeks for my request to be processed. Once this letter has been posted, I will have thus activated the first official document that I should receive to include in my application for dual citizenship.
My biggest fear before making these phone calls was that I would have to repeat the first level I’ve already completed, the Fingerprints badge, because something had gone wrong during my first try. And it looks like this might be the case, because I failed to record a set of fingerprints for state criminal records. I just might have to re-do that step in the process, that level of the game. But at least this time I know the rules before I even start.
The moral of this story is that after lots of pointless procrastination, I performed a relatively painless task by making a few phone calls. The tooth is gone and so is the pain of waiting and worrying!