Permesso di Soggiorno, Part 2: Il Succo del Discorso

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. In fact, if you’re getting too tired to continue, I’ve compiled the whole discussion into a handy downloadable guide. You’re welcome.

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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Living in the Caput Mundi and trying to decipher Italian culture for the English speaking world.

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