Permesso di Soggiorno, Part 2: Il Succo del Discorso

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I’d like to pick up the thread that I started a couple of weeks ago concerning the much-prized Permesso di Soggiorno.  Perhaps I’ll even (attempt to) dispense with the sarcasm temporarily while I explain this convoluted process.

(If you haven’t read Part I yet, click here first:  Part I – The Quest for the Holy Grail to get up to speed.)

At this point I’m assuming that—by some confluence of divine acts—you have the application packet in hand.  (Did I just resort to sarcasm already?)  From here on, I’ll be referring to Mod. 209, Modulo 1 for NON-EU citizens.  There are eight (8) pages in all.  The exact document in “.pdf” format can be found here if you want to follow along:

Permesso di Soggiorno – Modolo 1

Also know that what I will discuss here will be the “standard” answers which should apply to 90% of Americans.  My advice is by no means definitive and you should certainly consult our so-called friends at the Sportello Amico if you have any doubts.  And it might not hurt to consult with a qualified nonna to have the malocchio removed before you begin, too.

The first thing to note is that you MUST complete the forms in black ink only.  I made the mistake of filling mine out in dark blue ink the first time, which gave the postal clerk a great deal of satisfaction when she instructed me to go have a proctological exam—I mean, to go home and start over. (Maybe I misunderstood her instructions—my Italian is far from perfect.  However the general sentiment behind her words required no translation.)

The second thing that you see is the little space for the Marca da Bollo, €14,62.  You can buy this stamp at any tobacco shop and affix it to the space provided.  If this seems sort of cheap, don’t worry, they’ll be asking you for more money later in the process.

Let’s look at some of the individual lines in the form.  The first line asks for the name of the Questura that you’ll be applying to.  Again, for our purposes, this will be Roma.  In fact, the next line asks for the abbreviation, which is RM.  (3) Your Last Name, (4) Your First Name, (5) the same abbreviation, RM, (6) the name of your comune, which again is Roma.

In the next part, (8-12) are possible answers to question (7), so just pick one and only one.  For our example, it will be (8) rilascio, which means the first issuing (“release”) of the permesso.  In the next column, choose number (14), permesso di soggiorno, and then the code for the type of residency you are requesting in (16).  I’ll provide a link to a list of those codes on my blog.  In fact, here it is: Reference Documents

You can skip (18-20) because we are assuming that this will be your first issuing.

If you are filing for yourself only (and not other family members), write “1” in boxes (22) and (23), and “0” in boxes (24) and (26).  This also assumes that you’ll not being completing Modulo 2, which is for permission to work in Italy.  Unless you have already obtained a work visa, do NOT submit this additional form.  It will only slow down the process to the point where time itself begins to move backwards.

For box (25), count the total number of pieces of paper that you are including with the application form.  These will be items such as copies of your passport pages, financial documents, healthcare information, etc.  We will get to all of that eventually, so you can leave the box empty for now—just don’t forget to fill it in later!  Then put the date that you fill out the form in line (28) and sign your name in the box (29) provided.

Line (31) asks for your codice fiscale, if you have it.  If you don’t, no worries.  And we’ll be discussing this document in another blog post.  The codice fiscale is sort of like your social security number—it tracks your financial (and other) activities for the government.  Then (32) your marital status (“A” for single, “B” for married), (33) your sex (“M” or “F”), and (34) your birthdate: day/month/ year.  My American friends, don’t forget to double check this because even when we’re aware of the difference, our brain naturally wants to write: month/day/year.

Questions (35) and (36) refer to the enclosed instruction form where you’ll find abbreviation codes for your country and citizenship.  For the United States the code is simply USA.  (37) Asks if you are a refugee (I assume not, leave it blank). In (38) write the city of your birth, in English, of course.  You’d be surprised how many people try to write NUOVO YORK.

*Regarding this section of the form, I received an interesting comment by a reader.  He says that we need to be careful that the information on the Permesso application matches our passport exactly. Read his advice here: Reader comment: City of Birth

In section 4, mark the box (40) for passport and leave (41-43) blank.  Line (46) refers to the agency authorizing your passport.  Simply write “01,” which means the federal government.

In line (48) write the date that you arrived in Italy (again, day/month/year).  The “frontiera” means the border where you entered, for example “FIUMICINO,” for the airport in Rome.  The lines (50-53) refer to your visa.  (I’m assuming that you have one, otherwise we wouldn’t be torturing ourselves with all of this.)  Write the official number of your visa in (50) as well as the type of visa in box (51), which in your case will be “D,” meaning more than 90 days.  Then choose either single (52) entry or multiple (53).  It should already be stated on your visa and most likely it will say “multiple.”

Question (54) asks the reason for your visa.  For example, study (studiare) or elective residence (residenza elettiva).  Line (55) asks the duration of your visa, which is typically 365 days.  In (56 and 57) they want to know the dates your visa is valid, from and to; day/month/year.

Section 6 deals with renewals, so you can skip (58-64) entirely.

In section 7, they want to know where you’ll be living.  They can (but probably won’t) stop by to verify this information.  In (66) put RM for the Provincia di Roma, and in (67) write the word ROMA for the Comune di Roma.  In line (68) write out the name of your street, for example: VIA DEL CORSO.  Then in (69) your street address, for example: 123 B.  Some buildings have a “scala” or staircase number/letter designation.  If yours does, put in in (70), and if it doesn’t you can write, “UNICA,” meaning there’s only one staircase.  Line (71) asks for you apartment number.  The CAP (72) is the postal code, like our US zip code.

Take a breath for a moment; it’s a lot of information.  In fact, step out for a coffee or a cigarette or a shot of grappa if you need to.  I’ll wait.

OK, back to it…

Obviously (73) asks for your email address and (74-75) asks for your landline phone number and cellular number, respectively.  If you don’t have one, then leave it blank or use the landline number of the person that you’re living with, if they have one.

In Section 8 they want to know if there is an alternative address where you might be reached, such as a friend or relative’s house.  If not, leave it blank.  Or if you want to have a little fun with them, write Piazza Colonna, 370.  It’s the Prime Minister’s address.

The next section which begins on (85) should not apply to you.  In fact, I’m having a difficult time imagining just who this would apply to.  Certain dwellings require an official endorsement that they are fit for human habitation.  So unless you’re planning to set up home in a barn or under a bridge, just leave this section blank.

Let’s skip down to (94-95) where they are asking if in the last six years, you have had other official addresses in Italy.  I’m assuming that you haven’t, otherwise you’d already know how to navigate your way through this nightmare and you wouldn’t be reading this just for its entertainment value.  Well, maybe you would.  But I doubt it.

So now we can move all the way down to (112).  In this section they’re asking if there are other persons in your immediate family who are applying for their permesso at the same time as you.  Again, this gets a little more complicated and it was my initial assumption that we were going to keep this as simple (ha!) as possible.  And since most of you will not be requiring this additional guidance, I will end my discourse here.

Hopefully I achieved at least one of my objectives, which was to carefully escort you through this labyrinthine quagmire of senseless paperwork.  My other goal—resisting the temptation to publicly slander the Italian bureaucracy with fistfuls of sarcasm—appears to have been less successful.  Oh, well.

But do not imagine that we’re done yet.  I’ll be posting Part III of this series in a couple of weeks.  In this future post, I will help you prepare for battle against that most feared of enemies, the Italian Post Office.  Forza!

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Comments

  1. Renee Wright says:

    Rick, I just love these! I need to renew in January(also non EU) am considering.applying for a work permit. Any advice? I hold.elective residence at present. I would like to teach.English as youu may remember? Renee

  2. Hi Rick,
    Thanks for another great article! Question about the process – as an American moving to Italy I have to first attain an extended stay visa, and then go for the PdS? Can I ge the extended visa from an Italian Embassy in the states? Also, once I have completed the Permesso will that extend the validity of the visa or will that need to be renewed yearly?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Christy, great questions. Regarding the visa, yes, in fact you MUST obtain it in the US before you leave. The Embassy (consulate) that you will go to depends on where you live in the US. (I should have posted a link for this–I’ll try to do that today). The process is not long or complicated, believe it or not. I worked with the Miami consulate and they couldn’t have been easier to work with. I think the whole thing took about two weeks.

      As you may have guessed, things get more complicated when you arrive in Italy. That’s when you must apply for the Permesso, which you can do either at the local Questura, or as I have suggested, via the post office (the lesser of two evils, in my opinion). Once you’ve applied for the Permesso, the receipt that they’ll give you serves as your legal document until you get the actual card. Mine took seven months!

      Regarding the duration of the Permesso, I requested two years and was granted two years. So yes, once you have the Permesso, the expiration date of that document takes precedence over your entry visa. And as long as you keep renewing you Permesso on time, they should let you stay. I should put an asterix here stating that nothing is ever so black and white. But that has been my personal experience and that of others in similar situations.

      Hope that helps and don’t hestiate to follow up with me if you need more info. I’m trying to upload some more resources to my blog so that you and others can download them for your own use. Check back later tonight or tomorrow.

      Ciao, Rick

      • Great! Thank you so much. I’m in San Francisco, so the consulate won’t be an issue.
        Seriously, your articles are SO much more helpful than anything else I’ve found. Excited to continue to follow your blog.
        :)

  3. Thank you!! Thank you!! thank you Rick!! This is good information and really helpful! i love it! you should open a business just doing that. i will wait for the info on the codice fiscale as well which i don’t know where you have to get. May i ask you what kind of visa you requested at first at the embassy? lavoratore autonomo?

    • Ciao Karina! Thanks for the feedback! As far as the codice fiscale, you’ll have to get that once you’re in Italy. But it’s very easy; you just go to the Agenzia delle Entrate and request it–they’ll issue it to you the same day and it’s free. The main Rome office is in Trastevere, on via Ippolito Nievo, 36. In the meantime, you can actually “calculate” it online, since it’s based on your name, d.o.b., etc. Go here: http://www.codicefiscale.us/
      My first visa was the Resienza Elettiva, but that was just the easiest one for me at the time. You may want to be a self-employed worker, as you said.
      More to come on this topic later!

  4. kadin goldberg says:

    Thanks so much for these posts! They have been SO helpful.

    I just have one quick question. I flew into the Schengen Region through Iceland and then after traveling a little I flew to Milan… so I entered Italy in Milan but just did the “border crossing” in Iceland. For number 49 would you put down the city in Iceland that I flew into and crossed into the Schengen Region or would you be Milan as it is the first place I entered Italy??

    Thanks so much!
    Kadin

    • Hi Kadin, that’s a great question (actually I’m surprised that nobody else has asked it). But The Permesso application is for staying in Italy specifically, so you should write “Milano.” But of course they will check your passport stamps to see when you entered the Schengen area to make sure that your visa (whatever type it is) hasn’t expired. Ciao!

  5. Hi rick,

    I currently have a permesso di soggiorno for a job. It expires the first of Sept. I thought I would be on time for getting it renewed by starting now, but some people are telling me I should have applied for renewal within 60 days. Is this true?

    Thank you,

    Juli

    • Juli, pick up the packet at the Post Office, fill it out, and turn it back in as soon as possible. They will give you a yellow receipt which serves as your temporary Permesso. Don’t lose it! As long as you’re in the system, you’ve met your legal obligation, no matter how long it takes for the final document to be ready. And as you know, it can take a while…it was 7 months for mine in Rome!!!

      • Bellavia says:

        OMG, 7 months? That’s the worst I’ve heard, lol. I just wanted to add my $0,2 on the question above. When I renewed my permesso, the first time I was right on time, roughly 60 days ahead. However, due to personal/family issues, the second renewal left me with about 3 weeks of time ahead. My boyfriend (who’s Italian) called the questura and they told him we have “60 days before to 60 days after. They recommend not closer to 60 before as it gets pushed aside, often, in favor of more urgent situations, but they also don’t recommend waiting the 60 days after.” Anyway, in reality, that permesso was the quickest I ever received. Less than a month! As Rock noted, if you do it ASAP there shouldn’t be any issues.

        • That’s great information, thanks for your $0,2! In the absence of any reliable “official” sources, word of mouth becomes very valuable. Grazie!

          • Bellavia says:

            Thanks, Rick. Yes, like you said, since it seems so arbitrary, sometimes word of mouth can be helpful. I was terrified waiting “so long” to start my renewal, but it wasn’t like anyone even noticed. I guess the American in me expected a lecture or a raised brow? lol.
            Being an expat can be hard and confusing, I just try to pass info I’ve gained along the way, remembering how I felt back then. lol

  6. Hey Rick, my husband and I are getting ready to submit our application and paperwork for our PdiS in Rome and I’m wondering, do we need to copy ALL the pages of our passport/visa or just those pages with something on them?

    • An excellent question, Elaine! The first time I applied I made the mistake of NOT including the blank pages. It cost me an extra trip to the post office (in other words, a wasted half of a day of my life). I guess they want to see that you’re not “hiding” anything on those pages, but you definitely have to include them. Thanks for the great question. Ciao!!

  7. Hi Rick,

    Your article was very helpful. I looked it up after going to the Questura and being sent to the post office to pick up a kit. I needed help wading through the paperwork and I found it here. Thanks!

    I have an appointment to go to the Questura in a couple weeks to be fingerprinted etc., and I have 2 receipts and a printed page from the post office, but none of them are yellow. Anyway, I tried to open a bank account today and the lady told me that if I wanted to open a resident account I would have to come back with the Permesso di Soggiorno, yet the internet tells me that the receipt from the post office is my temporary PdS. What’s the deal? One of these receipts has my username/password to check the status of my request, and one has the date/time for my appointment, but none say anything about serving as a temporary Permesso di Soggiorno.

    Should I try a different branch, maybe that lady just wasn’t experienced with foreigners opening accounts?

    Thanks in advance. :)
    Rose

    • Hi Rose, and benvenuta in Italia! You’ve just encountered a typical situation when dealing with the bureaucracy…ask 10 different employees the same question and you’ll get 10 different answers. I wouldn’t worry about color of receipt. It was yellow for a long time (and when I got mine) but they may have changed color or it could vary from region to region. But the receipt is a legal document as far as the gov’t is concerned. Private businesses such as banks can choose to not accept it as adequate identification because, I suppose, it would be easier to forge a receipt than the actual document–and consequently they’re concerned about getting scammed. You can try another bank, but your result will likely be the same. Personally, I use my US bank and just withdraw funds as needed. Italian banks are expensive. They charge significant service fees whereas my US bank actually pays me a small amount of interest…and no fees.

  8. You just saved me!!! Thank you so much!! :D

  9. thank u Ricky for this Forum,,,,i ve been searching online to see when my resident Permit is ready ,,but over a months now nothing,escept is being processed….pls ricky advise me what to do.

  10. Thanks so much for this extremely helpful post, Rick!! I was instructed to go to the Questura within 8 days after my arrival in order to request the permit. Busy with school and apartment search, I didn’t get around to the post office or questura within 8 days of my arrival. Do you know anything about how strict they are on this rule, and if it will risk my chance to be approved?

    • Hi Dee! In my experience, they are not strict at all with this rule. They want to see some initiative on your part, but will not penalize you for being late. My suggestion is to handle it as soon as you can, and don’t even mention your tardiness. In fact, just pick up the packet at the post office and submit your application via mail. Your post office receipt is your “temporary” permesso and it shows that you’ve made an effort to comply. Good luck!

  11. hi ricky thanks so much for your aticle,,,the questure collected my finger print over 3months,,,and now my friends hve collected their Permit,but mine still on process,,, i have went to Police to ask why but they said the paper is in rome ,,what shall i do ,,do i involve a lawyer,,infact i Need ur advise

    • Hi Gloria! Well, my first piece of advice is to stop bothering those “busy” workers at the Questura…you’re interrupting their coffee and cigarette breaks! If didn’t already know, you can check your document status online: http://questure.poliziadistato.it/stranieri/

      As for the amount of time…3 months? Are you kidding? Mine took 7 months!!! In any case, the receipt that you obtained at your fingerprint appoint serves as your legal temporary permesso until your real one arrives. There is absolutely no sense in getting a lawyer involved yet. You just have to be a little more patient and check online once a week or so.

  12. My soggiorno is for pick-up on January 16, 2013, would you know if I could cross borders across the Schengen states until then? The officer gave me a receipt which I will use to claim my soggiorno next year and I have a National Visa (Type D) for Italy on my passport, which according to the Italian embassy allows me to stay not more than 90 days in other Schengen countries.

    • I hesitate to give out definitive advice, because there are always exceptions. But yes, you should be fine. The D-type visa allows travel around the Schengen area during the validity of the visa (under the same conditions as if you held a tourist visa, as well.) In any case, I would certainly carry your receipt from the Questura with you when you travel, just in case they have any questions. Make a copy to leave at your home in Italy and take the original with you. Just make sure that you’re back in Italy by January to pick up your permesso.

      • Ooops! I just realize that you said January 2013…I had assumed it was 2014. In that case, I don’t know what to tell you. Technically, you can still go pick up your permesso…it would seem to be ready. Otherwise your D-type visa is only valid for Italy and probably no longer valid for the other Schengen states.

  13. i applied for residence Permit ,,having tumbprinted since April,i have not received any sms ,,each time i check online it Keep saying this same Thing,,is being processed,,i have gone to my local questure they said it is in rome,,, right now i do not know what to do,,pls i Need u advice.

    • Peter, it’s hard to know what to do in each unique situation. My Permesso took 7 months, and like you, each time that I checked online it said “being processed.” Where do you live? I had a similar situation…I was living in Colleverde at the time, but had to go to Tivoli to get my Permesso. It’s hard to understand the logic sometimes, but in any case, you have to play by their rules. The only possible advice is to go to the Questura in Rome to inquire. Obviously after the New Year. In the meantime, your receipt is still valid as a temporary Permesso.

      • okay thank u ricky,,i am living at Verona,,do i have to go there by myself or with a lawyer?

        • I have never used a lawyer myself, but based on feedback from others, it is usually an unnecessary expense. Yes, they can make your life easier (for a price), but they can’t usually accomplish anything that you couldn’t do on your own with a bit of perseverance. Of course, if you can’t physically go to Rome or if you feel that your Italian language skills aren’t good enough, then perhaps a lawyer would be of good use to you. But again, it isn’t needed 99% of the time.

  14. Rick, I am going with my wife to Italy for a 5 month study period. We are both going to get a study visa. However, the guy at the consulate refused to give a type D visa for our kids (8 and 3 years old). So they are going without a visa, with permission for 3 months only.
    I saw that there is a specific section on the Modulo_1 form for kids under 14. Would that allow my kids to stay for the whole 5 month period?

    • Hi Joao,
      I didn’t have children when I applied, but this question come up once before about a year ago with another reader. I can’t be certain, but if I’m not wrong we discovered that, as you said, children under 14 are placed on either yours or your wife’s application in Section 12 of the modulo.
      However, the first that I will tell you is that you will NOT likely get your visa before your departure, so it might be a moot point. What I mean is that if you apply for it within the 8 day window after you arrive in Italy, you’ll be given an appointment for fingerprinting about a month or two after that. They you’ll have to wait. And wait. And wait. Mine took a total of 7 months, but the average is–you guessed it–about 5 months. So you’ll likely have left the country already by the time your Permesso is ready.
      This is in Rome–not sure about other cities but I’ve heard the it’s about the same.
      Anyway, I can only tell you what I would do, which is: put the kids on the parent’s application and sleep easy.

      • Thank you, Rick. I will post a follow up when I get there.

        I am from Brazil and I am going to Trento.

        • You’re welcome, Joao. And yes, I’d love to hear your outcome, although I’m quite sure that you won’t encounter and difficulties.

          • seheri2114@gmail.com says:

            Hi there Rick,

            I’m South African but the info you provided above was very helpful. I used it to fill in my “modulo” for the permesso. Thank you, man – you’re very kind. Keep it up.

            Mike.

            • Glad it helped, Mike! Now the waiting process begins. Although lately I’m hearing that it’s much faster than it used to be. Don’t forget to hang on to all receipts from the post office (or questura), as they’ll serve as temporary documents until you get the real thing. Ciao!

  15. hello ricky .i just checked online to understand my resident Permit is ready after 8months but it also states that they will send an sms as to know where and when to collect ,,under the Information that i can collect it from my state Police Station and a map was showed ..my question is should i go or wait for the sms.thanks

    • Hi Peter, I wouldn’t wait for an SMS, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t go right away, either. Here’s what happened to me one time: I checked online and found that my Permesso was ready (7 months later). I went to the questura right away and they said it wasn’t there. I said, “But online they said that it’s ready.” The lady shrugged, “Well, it’s probably ready, but it hasn’t arrived here yet. Come back in two weeks.” So I did. And in two weeks, it was there.

  16. Campbell says:

    Firstly this information is very helpful. I just discovered this website by some miracle http://www.poliziadistato.it/articolo/view/10717/ which has helpful information and on the right hand side there is a guidebook http://img.poliziadistato.it/docs/0554_initaliainregola_English.pdf

    I’m from New Zealand and I have a working holiday visa (vacanze lavoro). I skipped the post office queue and just quickly asked for the permesso di soggiorno forms, got them, then left without waiting.

    I don’t have an address at the moment, have you got any suggestions? Like using the hotel address I’m staying at now? If I apply for this in Milan and then go and stay and work in another region is this ok? I’m guessing they will probably not care.

    PS are there any English versions of the form?

    • Hi Campbell, first, thanks for your input. Second, I don’t think that there are forms in English, but I provide the translations on my Resource page. Regarding the address, I wouldn’t use a hotel, but you could certainly use a friends house. And yes, it’s perfectly ok to apply in one city and move to another. But you should really contact the questura in the new city within 8 days of your arrival. Technically. That said, depending on where you move to, you might just leave well enough alone and not complicate the paperwork by “moving.” Just travel back to Milan for your appointments. And THEN tell the questura, once you already have your permesso.

  17. ciao rikki,Today completed 42 days after my finger print,this is my first pds,in napoli questura.how many days more to wait for the pds.and still no sms reply.Because my my mother is not well.Can i go without pds.any possibility to go with recevuta.
    grazie.

    • Ben, I can’t give you “official,” advice, I can only tell you what I’ve heard. First, 42 days is not so long…mine was 7 months the first time. Second, yes, you “should” be able to use your receipt as a temporary pds. But of course there are no certainties with Italian bureaucracy. Like everyone, you have to take your chances and hope for the best. Good luck!

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