That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Permesso and Carta di Soggiorno

** To skip my nonstop tirade on how Italian bureaucratic State procedures can (will) cause 
aggravation, heart palpitations and other unwanted previously non existant physical ailments, 
simply scroll down until you see the big centered words: Permesso di Soggiorno

If you live in Italy, surely you know that most any procedure regarding State offices is complicated, mind boggling and, without exception, to be dreaded. Whatever your need, the Italian government is at your service to make life here more difficult than it already is. There's the ASL for all your medical exigencies. There's the Agenzia delle Entrate for all your tax and revenue responsibilities. There's the INPS for all your work/employment rights and duties ... I still don't know what INPS stands for - it's an acronym for something, but what? It wouldn't surprise me if it meant Italian Nincompoops Psychotics and Schizophrenics. Seriously, if I knew how to curse, I would do so whenever I find myself in any one of these places.
The people there are just big ol' retarded  retards and I mean that in the traditional sense:
To cause to move or proceed slowly; delay or impede. Occurring or developing later than desired or 
expected; delayed. Relatively slow in mental or emotional or physical development. 
Yes, bullseye. that would be them. The Italian State Office workers.

Permesso di Soggiorno means Permission of Stay, basically, it's a visa. Unless you are an Italian citizen or a citizen of an EU nation, you can not be within the country borders without one. Technically, not even a weekend tourist is supposed to be here without a Permesso di Soggiorno per Turismo. Besides the fact that almost no one knows about this law for the short term visitor, no one really cares enough to enforce it, either. So, let's just say, if I were coming to Italy for only a few days, I would forgo this time consuming formality and just feign ignorance. But that's just me and I was speaking hypothetically, of course. I would never really, actually encourage anyone to knowingly break Italian law. Nooooo. That's just what I would do, hypothetically speaking, of course. *wink wink. 

Things are changing here. See, that would usually be a positive statement if said anywhere else. Said here, in Italy, it just means, the obvious. Things are constantly changing. With every change of government party (frequent), with every appointing of new Ministers and Heads of State Departments (frequent), with every discovery of misused funds (frequent), with every ... you get the picture. They keep changing how the schools are run, how jobs are given, how taxes are paid, how homes are bought and on and on and on - it's really difficult to keep up. I mean, really difficult. So even the visa, the Permesso di Soggiorno, and how foreigners are allowed to arrive, stay and leave has changed - again. It used to be you would go to your local questura (police station), a horrible horrible place for foreigners in need of a visa, and you would wait for hours on end to eventually be yelled at, belittled and condescended to before being sent home because a) you failed to bring X document - you know, the one that was added to the list of requirements by the newly appointed Minister of SuchAndSuch, Signor SoAndSo, and this information has yet to be shared with the public? b) you failed to have X document stamped by That Department in That Office in That Building - you know, the department they just recently created after shutting down That Other Department so that Signor SoAndSo's nephew could have a high ranking state position with benefits and they have yet to inform the public about it? c) you failed to bring X document that should have been issued by That Other Department in That Office in That Building. It is of no concern to them that That Other Department no longer exists and it's no use asking them what in the world you can do, now, to remedy your situation. They don't know. All they know is, your case can not move any further along without X document. It's hardly their fault that while existing departments have been removed and new departments have been installed, no one has had either the foresight or the consideration to make any and all necessary changes regarding procedures that require That Other Department's authority or approval. Geez. You're so demanding. 

So, you used to have to go to the local questura. Now, you must go to the main questura. And everything is just. that. much. worse. Well, I don't want to frighten you. I mean, it may turn out that you are one of the chosen few to have a relatively not entirely negative and depending on how you choose to look at it kind of on the positive side experience. It could happen. But it usually doesn't. 

(and carta di soggiorno)
first issue, renewal, update
Disclaimer: The information given here is limited and strictly that which I have gathered through first hand experience.
This is, in no way, intended to be a full or thorough presentation of the foreigner's rights or responsibilities in Italy.
For complete (meh) information as offered by the Italian government, please visit HERE.  
(You will find, at the bottom left of that site, an option to choose between languages)
Also, this is based on procedures as of 2010 as I've experienced them. If you're reading this 
and the date is now past June 2011, I would ask that you seriously consider looking for more current posts 
regarding the Italian immigration laws because they are constantly changing their minds here.

  • Who is required to apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno?   
Anyone who is presently in and wishes to legally remain in Italy - tourists (see first paragraph above), short/long term stay of employment, immigrants and all family members, etc.

  • Who is required to/can apply for a Carta di Soggiorno? 
Spouses of Italian citizens (or citizens of EU nations), children of spouses of Italian citizens (or citizens of EU nations) *for example: A Canadian man with children from a previous relationship and now married to an Italian woman. The children are not legally tied to the Italian woman. Therefore, both the Canadian man and his children will need a Carta di Soggiorno.


These are currently being issued in the form of a typical American identity card and they have a validity of varying times depending on the type of visa you receive. Don't be surprised if you are here for 6 months on a student visa and even though you had applied for your Permesso di Soggiorno the very moment you stepped onto Italian soil, you still haven't received your Permesso di Soggiorno by the time you are ready to return home. This has happened to quite a few people I know who have stayed for even longer periods of time. What's important is that you receive/keep your tagliando (basically, your receipt, your proof of purchase, so to speak) which testifies to your having applied for a Permesso di Soggiorno. Still, this is no guarantee that it will help you if you are asked to leave the country for some screwball reason. *shrugs - this happened to a friend of mine, an opera student who has been here legally for the past three years and since the day of her last timely renewal, she has not yet received her updated Permesso di Soggiorno. Having gone to another Italian city for a performance, she gave her passport and tagliando at the hotel where she was staying (passports/documents are required to check in) and because it is too much of a nuisance for Rome's immigration offices and the other city's immigration offices to have mutually shared information or any form of communication with each other, (I mean, they had in their possession a tagliando from Rome's main questura !!) she was deemed as an illegal and undocumented alien. The police came to the hotel and she was sent packing on a plane to South Korea within 6 hours. Madness. She was able to put things in order, but only after a month's time of ceaseless and hair-pulling frustration on account of Italian bureaucratic tendencies.

For most cases concerning a first issue/renewal/update of Permesso di Soggiorno, it's a simple matter of going to a Post Office (make sure it offers sportello amico, "friendly window", indicating that it offers immigration services, but most do, so you shouldn't have any problems). Once at the Post Office, you will need to ask for a KIT POSTALE (postal kit). You will be given a large envelope which will contain:

  • two types of forms, Modulo 1 and Modulo 2. Most people will have to fill out both of them, but some (updates, for example) only one. If you have multiple queries, meaning, a Permesso di Soggiorno is needed for more than one person (14 years and older), request a matching number of Kit Postale for each individual. Children under the age of 14 can be included in one parent's (or guardian's) Permesso di Soggiorno. 
  • 2 types of form legends (If I remember correctly, these legends are only offered in the Italian language) Here is a link to a multi-lingual legend that may or may not help you fill out your forms. 
  • a form to request an electronic permanent resident card (which, I believe, is obligatory) the form is actually a bolletino di c/c which is what's used in Italy to pay for various "payment due" services and accounts, i.e. bills. The cost is €27.50 and after paying (at the Post Office) you will receive 2 receipts, one of which you will submit with your request as proof of payment, the other you will keep for your own records.
  • a semi-pre-addressed envelope which you'll use to submit your application. The cost as reported on the upper right hand corner of this envelope is €30.00 (the form packet, that is, the Kit Postale, is free. The €30.00 is to be paid when you bring the semi-pre-addressed envelope containing your completed form(s) along with the required photocopies of documents, photos and any other relevant receipts of payment to the Post Office for submission) 
The forms contained in the Kit Postale are in Italian. If you are not fluent, you may have a great deal of difficulty understanding how to fill them out. If you are fluent, you may still have a hard time. In fact, even native Italians have some degree of difficulty ascertaining how to fill out certain sections, even with the help of the legends. Please keep this in mind and if possible, have some super smart, super patient Italian person with a knack for deciphering and/or making correct guesses give you a hand. 

 You can use the Kit Postale if your query pertains to:
* The following is not a complete list of request types. To see the complete list, please visit the official site.
  • UPDATING/CHANGING/ADDING information on current Permesso di Soggiorno presently in your possession (change of address, change of marital status, add/remove children, new passport). In Italian: aggiornamento della carta di soggiorno.
  • those WAITING/SEARCHING for EMPLOYMENT (from what I understand, this is for people who have come here to Italy with a valid work visa, have since lost their jobs and wishing to remain, they are searching for another position. The site does state that "the loss of employment does not constitute a valid reason for reissue of a Permesso di Soggiorno" also "the foreigner in possession of a Permesso di Soggiorno for Work who loses his employment, even through his own actions, i.e. resignation, can be enrolled in the master list at the Centro per l'Impiego, Unemployment Office, for the remainder of the validity as indicated on his Permesso di Soggiorno, in any case, not for a period less than six months.") In Italian: Attesa occupazione.
  • those WAITING for REACQUISITION of ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP. In Italian: Attesa riacquisto cittadinanza.
  • RENEWAL of POLITICAL ASYLUM. In Italian: Asilo politico rinnovo.
  • those who currently hold any other type of Permesso di Soggiorno and wish to CHANGE it into one for MOTIVI FAMILIARI (family/relative), namely, those who having come to Italy for work, study, etc. and have since married an Italian citizen. Also if there is children, they, too will need to change the status of their visa. (There are times when a person will begin their legal residency with a Permesso di Soggiorno for reasons of work or study when their real intention is to have one with Motivi Familiari. I don't mean that they come here with the intention of a fake marriage or "visa marriage" - rather, I mean, for various reasons, among them the many red tape obstacles within the Italian system, those who have already met, fallen in love with and sincerely intend to marry or have already married their Italian partner, are unable to apply for or receive a Permesso di Soggiorno per Motivi Familiari, so they apply for and receive another type of visa.) In Italian: Conversione permesso di soggiorno
  • FAMILY. This is different from the Motivi Familiari. Motivi Familiari is for those who are legally bound to an Italian citizen (and in most cases to a citizen of an EU nation). This, FAMILY visa is for those who are related to foreigners legally residing in Italy. In Italian: Famiglia. For those requests concerning minors aged 14-18, the procedure in Italian is called: Famiglia minore 14-18 anni.
  • various WORK/EMPLOYMENT situations. In most cases, you will be requesting: Lavoro subordinato or Lavoro subordinato-stagionale. Other work visas are: Lavoro autonimo, Lavoro casi particolari previsti.
  • those who are MISSIONARIES of officially acknowledged religions in Italy. In Italian: Motivi religiosi.
  • STUDY. In Italian: Studio. If you are in possession of a student visa, you are permitted part-time employment with hours that do not exceed the maximum number of 20 hours per week, or a total of 1,040 hours annually. 
  • TOURISM. In Italian: Turismo. I believe that this is the easiest Permesso di Soggiorno di receive and as mentioned above (Motivi familiari) some people have found it the simpler and sometimes only method to receive legal, albeit short term, residence in Italy. The tourist visa is typically for a duration for and not to exceed 6 months. This is usually, but not always, time enough to get other procedures started - procedures that you can only do while physically within the Italian borders, but are expected to do while still in your home country; procedures that require certain documents that can only be obtained by first having legal permission of stay in Italy, but then, of course, you can't have a permission of stay because you need to first present those certain documents that can only be had with possession of a permission of stay. And round and round we go. So, despite the many horrors because of all too many laws that are never enforced except to cause you the maximum degree of inconvenience, there is a strange and wonderful consequence called: the loophole. And if you're smart, you'll find many. And if you're really smart, you'll use them to your advantage. And in this way, you will become one with the Italian people - the loophole finder and put it into practice people. 
*IMPORTANT - USE ONLY BLACK INK AND CAPITAL LETTERS WHEN FILLING OUT THE FORMS CONTAINED IN THE KIT POSTALE (you will only get one copy of each form, you will have waited in line all morning to get those forms, the last thing you want is to have to go back and do that all over again just because you missed/didn't understand the part where it says: scrivere in stampatello con penna nera.


These, for some strange reason, are still in the form of an 8x10 piece of paper with photos stapled on haphazardly and they are (in theory) without an expiration date. In other words, those who hold a Carta di Soggiorno have the right to stay in Italy indefinitely. But as with most things in Italy, theory, rules and regulations never correspond to what is actually put into practice. This means, you will, at some point, have to renew your Carta di soggiorno. For instance, by law, this document is without expiration, yet right on the document itself, there is an expiration date. You may ask, "Huh?" I know, I know. Read on. The expiration date is actually in reference to the document holder's photo. The photo should be renewed every 5 years. So you might think it is a simple matter of changing your photo to a more current one. And this only goes to show how so very little you know about the many and various ways the Italian government can and will contradict itself. To update your photo after 5 years as required by law, you will have to entirely renew your doesn't-have-to-ever-be-renewed Carta di Soggiorno. Okay? Got it? Good. This is also the case for updating information: change of address, new/renewed passport, add/remove children/dependents, etc.
* Did you know you have to report to the comune, also, and notify Big Brother of every change of address? Yes, indeed. In fact, the first time applying for either Permesso or Carta di Soggiorno (and possibly with every change of address) they will send police to your place of residence to confirm that you do, in fact, live there. But of course, you won't know when they will come. It could be a few weeks, it could be a few months. They will come, check to make sure your legal name is posted on the building's buzzer/intercom system, check to see it is labeled on your mailbox, check to see it is posted on the nameplate of your front door and finally check to see that you are home. Once inside the house, they will check to see that the square meters correspond to the number of people residing in your home. If you are married to an Italian, like me, they'll probably be really nice and not even check past the foyer and instead laugh and make idle chit chat with your husband. As I've heard it told by friends and acquaintances who are not married to or living with Italian citizens, the checker-uppers are not so amicable, but rather stern and nazi-esque.

Typically one is given a Carta di Soggiorno because he or she is married to, or in some other familial way, bound to, an Italian citizen (and in most cases to a citizen of an EU nation). There are other reasons you may be entitled to one, but I don't know what they are. Please visit the official site for complete (so they say) information.

For procedures pertaining to a Carta di Soggiorno, you will have to go to the (dreaded) MAIN (not local) questura. Don't expect to be home for lunch (Italians tend to lunch at 1 or 2PM), even if you've been given an appointment and that appointment is for 9AM.
*The official Italian immigrations website states that procedures for Carta di Soggiorno can be done through a Kit Postale BUT before you get your hopes up, please know that every single person I know who has ever tried this, has failed and has been redirected to go to the MAIN questura. So if your particular case pertains to a Carta di Soggiorno and if you want to save time and aggravation, I highly recommend that you go first to the MAIN questura and determine if you can, in fact, use a Kit Postale. It may end up being a long morning, but it might save you months of waiting for a result that will never come because you just plain did it wrong. But if you rather enjoy wasting your time waiting in lines for the better half of your day on a monthly basis hoping you'll learn some news about the status of your application all the while being mistreated and all of this to no real purposeful end, then by all means, pay no regard to my advice and knock yourself out.

PLEASE NOTE: if you are married to an Italian citizen and are in possession of a Carta di Soggiorno and your child, who is not legally attached to your Italian spouse, turns 14 years of age, he or she MUST apply for his or her OWN Carta di Soggiorno. You will need to make a trip for yourself, as well, since now, your Carta di Soggiorno (the one that in theory should never ever ever expire) must be updated since you are now removing your child's name from your visa. Please keep in mind that when at the MAIN (not local) questura, and you receive a number for your specific procedure, you will need to request another number for your child's application, as well. Don't assume that the clerk behind the window will make an exception for you. You will end up waiting all morning and afternoon for your number to be called/shouted/screamed, arrive at the window, (hopefully) finish your application and by the time the clerk tells you he/she can not (will not) proceed with your child's application without a number, you will go back to the other line to receive a new number and it will be closed because of the late hour and you will have to take another day off work and your child, another day off school, so you can come back the very next day for more fun and excitement. More than a few people I know have had this exact experience.
*Also, your child, when applying for his or her first Carta di Soggiorno, will need to schedule an appointment for fingerprinting. This will be an all day event. Dress weather-appropriately and pack a snack. If you have small children that you must bring to the questura, bring any and all things that may even remotely entertain or pacify them.The questura is many things; it is not, however, a kid-friendly place.

AT THE QUESTURA YOU WILL NEED: patience, self control, love for fellow man .... tranquilizers. 

While different visas and different procedures will require different articles, below, is a list of items you will most likely need in any situation. Of course, do check according to your particular case and do not use this list as your only guide. This is only meant to be a general summation/an idea of what one will, on average, be requested to provide.

  • originals of EVERYTHING !!
  • photocopies of EVERYTHING !! Passport; Permesso di Soggiorno (if applicable); certificates of employment, study, marriage, birth, etc.; Although once, the clerk was kind enough to photocopy a document for me, this is not the general rule. They will, in fact, send you to fend for yourself, looking for a shop that offers photocopies and is still open in a neighborhood with which you are not in any way familiar. If in a good mood (unlikely), the clerk may give you (unclear) directions to a nearby shop. More likely, they will not. Also, keep in mind that there is a very good chance that you will never be asked to present most of the photocopies they have specifically asked for and for which you've spent more than a day's worth of time waiting for a shop assistant to very slowly go about photocopying each and every original document. BUT in this land of Murphy's Law (If something can go wrong, it will), it is better to be safe than to beat yourself silly with a brick to your head until you lose consciousness in order to escape the realities of this nation that render you dazed and confused on a daily if not hourly basis. In other words, it is better to go there prepared.)
  • notarized (nulla osta) translation of documents in a language other than Italian (these are usually issued at your Embassy)
  • proof of financial autonomy for the duration of your stay in Italy (or bank statements, or in the case of familial visas, proof that the host Italian/resident is able to support you, or proof that you are able to support yourself) Again, these things are required, but depending on the clerk, you may or may not be asked to present them. 
  • a marca da bollo for €14.62 (you will find these at tobacco shops, tabaccheria, which can be identified by a rectangular sign with a capital T outside their business). Just ask for "una marca da bollo da quattordici e sessantadue")
  • four color photos (you can get these at any photo machine and they cost 4€)
For some visas (in particular the Permesso di Soggiorno kinds using a Kit Postale), they may request: (and don't forget the photocopies)
  • health insurance policy
  • certificates/diplomas of Study
  • certificates/affidavits of enrollment/employment

When first applying/receiving either a Permesso or a Carta di Soggiorno, you will be given an appointment to be fingerprinted at the main questura. Don't think that the hour of your appointment is in any way an indication to when you will actually be seen. But do show up on time anyway, if only to be consistent in this game of "I'll do everything you want, when you want it and how you want it while you do everything humanly possible to test my patience, my mental and physical well being, my hope threshold and, lastly, my self control and will power over going postal."  

Thanks for visiting/reading this post. 
I sincerely hope that this has been helpful. 
If you have any questions, I solemnly swear to do all that is within my power and sanity to help if I am able. 


Anonymous said...

hey mate,
i realise this is an old post (nothing seems to have changed, the description is perfect).
i still havent received my permesso but i have my tagliando.
im about to move from Salerno to Senigallia, do you think it's important i change the address on my permisso or its not worth the bother and i could plead ignorance if there's a problem?
would really appreciate your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I can see you wrote this in 2010, we are in 2016 and nothing has changed or should i say 2017 since we are almost done with 2016. people still get treated the same way as they were treated in 2010 which is far worse than horrible. They keep changing rules and when you present your documents not knowing that the rules has been changed, no explanation will make them further your request for you. The worst part of it is you are asked to go and bring that one document in three or four months time. If this happens twice and you are applying for a one year permesso di sogiorno, you only get 6 months instead of a one year because all loving Italians deducted the 6 months time wasting from it and it only means one thing, in 6 months time, you will visit hell again!

Jordan Lui said...

Great post! This is exactly the pain I am going through currently. I whine to the people back home and say that I truly believe this arduous process is designed to send you all over town to put your dollars into transit and restaurants as you suffer and try to figure this process out.


Anonymous said...

Hello..i just want to ask something i have carta di soggiorno...but i came back to my hometown and it's 1 year and 3 months already that i stayed here in Philippines...and i'm planning to go back in i have to process something about my documents or should i only buy ticket going to rome??

Anonymous said...

you dont need to process anything. Just book your ticket to where you are going.

Unknown said...
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Tahir Asdfg said...
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