In the past two days, I’ve been dealing with paperwork to apply for my Permesso di Soggiorno, my permission to reside in Italy. It’s involved a lot of running around, but I have successfully slain the application and have my receipt, which allows me to relax a little, as my eight day deadline has been met.
I had read in a number of places that one goes to the Post Office for many of the everyday functions of the bureaucracy. I’d been under the impression one went there to get the application packet for the Permesso. My brother said that he hadn’t done it that way, and that going directly to the Questura would be faster. That said, yesterday morning we set off bright and early for Pordenone and the Questura office.
We waited around outside in the frosty morning for the office to open, and inquired at the front window, only to be told we had to wait at the next door down. Still outside in the frost.
We waited for another fifteen minutes or so until the second door opened and we were given a number. I had been told that Italians do not do “take a number” or “wait in line” but here we were, doing both. When we got up to the desk, the officer informed us that we had to go to the Post Office to get the application packet, fill it out, take it back to the Post Office, and that they would make an appointment for me at the Questura, so we should go and do that.
Duly chastised, but slightly warmer, we headed off to Aviano, where the line at the Post Office was about two hours long. My brother, understandably not eager to wait so long, said we should just go out to Montereale Valcellina, and see if the line was shorter there.
Indeed, there was no line at all in Montereale. He spoke briefly to a woman in a little office and asked her about the procedure. Apparently it’s only recently that all Post Offices have applications available, and they were not too familiar with the process, but we were handed a packet and sent along our merry way. The forms, of course, are all in Italian, as are all the instructions.
Most of it was fairly straightforward, though one of my brother’s friends helped us out with some of the less obvious stuff. There were a couple of places were she wasn’t sure, so we decided we’d save those questions for the Post Office the next day, and went off to the Aviano Inn for some pizza.
This morning, after procuring a bite of breakfast, we got photocopies of the documents from my visa application packet that were required for the Permesso application, which included a copy of all of the pages of my passport. We also got the marco di bollo or tax stamp (€16) that had to be affixed to the application. That done, we headed back to Montereale to talk to the people there. The same woman was in, and was able to answer most of the questions, but wasn’t sure which of the payment options we were supposed to tick for an elective residence visa – most of the ones they have seen are for people coming to Italy to work. She suggested we go to Maniago, to the union office, where they regularly helped people with the application process.
A short drive to Maniago brought us to the union office, which wouldn’t be open until 3pm. The post office would close at noon. Obviously we were not going to get anything done today if we waited for that, and we had other things that needed doing, so we headed back home and my brother checked the Questura’s website, where we found out which option we needed to use; the fee for the one to two year Permesso is €127.50. That allowed me to fill out the final form, and we were off to Montereale again, where we finished everything up, paid for everything, and got the receipt for my application.
My appointment with the Questura is the morning of January 2nd, about two weeks from now. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable amount of time, actually, especially considering the holidays between now and then.
Tomorrow we have to go back down to Montereale and talk to the police and the city offices to register my residence and see if we can get my Codice Fiscale now, or if I have to wait until I actually have my Permesso first. I need the Codice in order to get a phone number and a bank account here.
By the time we were done at the Post Office, I was having a serious blood sugar crash and shaking pretty badly, so we drove back to Aviano for some lunch, then wandered through the weekly market, which was just closing down. Fruits and veggies were got, and then we headed back home, where we have other work to do.
I’ve seen a lot of people talk about the difficulties of the process. So far it hasn’t been too bad, but it should be noted that I’m comparing it to the Veterans Administration, with whom I had to fight for 12 years to get my disability pension. I figure anything less strenuous than that is probably a win in my books. The fact that I have my brother to help me navigate this process also makes an immense difference. I don’t have enough Italian to do more than ask where the bathroom is as yet, and he’s been doing most of the talking for me.
I’m looking forward to being able to communicate with people rather than just standing there looking puzzled.