pigeons

How to survive your next permesso di soggiorno renewal in Florence

pigeons

[Disclaimer- These pigeons did not need a permesso di soggiorno to enjoy this view of Florence]

This is you – a dreamer who wanted to leave corporate America, UK, Australia [insert said country here] for a simple life in Italy. A life of picking fresh veggies at the market, leisurely chatting over a cappuccino to the friendly barista that calls you ‘ciccio’, traveling on the weekends and just generally enjoying life. Sounds great right?

Lesson #1, Life in Italy isn’t simple

That was until you realized you needed something titled the ‘permesso di soggiorno’ in order to study, work or live in Italy [and yes I know it sucks in other countries as well].

Even Chuck Norris should be afraid, very very afraid.

[This is where you will be picking up your permesso, bring anti-bacterial soap]

Unless you happen to hail from one of the EU member states or happen to have a great-grandmother nonna who could pass Italian citizenship up to you, this will be your new reality. I have previously written about the process of obtaining a permesso di soggiorno in Italy before and I am very hesitant to give advice to those who want to do something like ‘change their student visa for a work visa’ since this really varies on a case-by-case basis. Here you can read the requirements for a permesso di soggiorno (in Italian). 

To be honest, I don’t want to give anyone false hope and/or suggest they leave their well-paying job for an uncertain work situation in Italy. I would like to note that it’s not impossible to change over your visa but just know that the process is very difficult and you want to make sure that living and working in Italy is really what you want before going though the hassle.

Today, let’s chat about renewals. Survival is what we are aiming for here, and like the Hunger Games, it is unsure who will come out alive at the end of this process. These are my personal tips on how to survive the permesso di soggiorno renewal process, come out a winner [hopefully] and yes, you can buy me a drink later ;).

1. Don’t delay the inevitable

What do I mean by this? I tend to be a little dramatic about the visa renewal process since I have had some traumatizing experiences, namely everyone telling me I couldn’t do it. My best advice is, don’t wait until the last-minute to begin the renewal process. It really should be started minimum two months aka 60 days before the expiry date on the permesso itself and I would do it even before, especially if you plan to travel.

Get the kit from the sportello amico at any post office, fill it out, make copies of everything, return kit to the post office with your passport and marca di bollo [now 16 euros instead of 14.62] and prepare to pay a lot of money. This will then get you the appointment for when to show up at the Questura di Firenze immigration office, which the post office will print out for you. Don’t lose that piece of paper.

2. Arm yourself wisely 

Plan to bring the documents that the initial application called for. To give you an example, I have a permesso di soggiorno lavoro autonomo (self-emploment visa) which is a whole mess of fun that requires that I show proof that I have signed up for the camera di commercio, provided a bilancio attuale (you must reach a minimum of 500€ net per month), 4 photos (that you can do by the shady photo-booths in the central train station), photocopy of every page in your passport and original permesso di soggiorno. And just include anything else you have available. Ps. This document is a must-read for those seeking a permesso di soggiorno lavoro autonomo.

Ps. Need a smart english-speaking commercialista in Florence? This guy saved me [really] and happens to be really nice as well, Dr. Tommaso Francalanci, for those with a partita iva, you need a guy like him.

If you are missing any documents, the ‘friendly’ workers at the immigration windows at the questura will print out a paper stating what documents you need to bring and you have about 15 days to collect them and come back to the questura anytime between M-F (before 9am).

They will send you a sms when it’s ready for pick-up which you then show to the police at the questura in order to get your famous number on a piece of paper to wait yet again to pick up your treasured prize. Usually in Florence this wait can be anywhere from one month to four, use your receipt and old permesso as proof of visa in the meantime. Also don’t forget to award yourself with a shot of lemoncello directly after.

3. Don’t be scared to ask for help

Feel scared or stressed? This is normal and welcome to the club! But really, don’t be scared – there does actually exist offices and help desks that can help you fill out your permesso di soggiorno renewal kit. Here’s the info below or via the website. 

Sportello immagrazione: Address: Via Baracca 150p (Villa Pallini) – Firenze

Bus : dalla Stazione 29-30-35; da Careggi e Le Piagge 56; da Soffiano 5 – Fermata: CALVANE

Help desk: Information via phone, e-mail e skype

Phone: 055 2767078
e-mail: immigr@comune.fi.it
skype: immigr.comunefirenze
Hours & days of operation

Monday and Friday 9.00 – 12.15
Wednesday 9.00 – 11.45
Tuesday and Thursday 9.00 – 11.45 and 14.00 – 17.00
Number distribution: From 8.00 until 14.00

Also if you aren’t confident with your Italian, bring a friend who you trust that doesn’t mind giving up an afternoon or two to help you. Reward this person with a great dinner or copious amounts of booze.

Also when it comes to how LONG they will renew your permesso, there is no straight answer, I trust no one and will only believe it till I see it when it comes to this famous EC Long -Term Residence Permit which is a permit allowing the holder to stay for an indefinite period after being a legal residence for five years. I am crossing my fingers to have my own permesso renewed longer than a year, which yes really sucks when you think you have to be back at the post office, questura di firenze in about 9 months or so to start the ‘fun’ again.

Remember, nothing worth anything in life is easy. When you see all of the beautiful photos of Tuscany someone like me posts quite often, realize that I too had to go to hell and back to legally stay and work in Italy. Is it worth it yes, though there are days that I have my doubts.

All over? Reward yourself with one of these [moscow mule], or maybe three – I’ll be right there with you!

Ps. Want to share your own permesso di soggiorno story? Tell me by commenting on this post! I may not have the answer to every question but we expats in Italy should stick together, a community that shares is the best kind of community. 

0
www.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   



There are 30 comments

Add yours
      • catherinebolton

        They are great with the meanders of the packet. I ended up going through other channels and got my Carta di Soggiorno as I am the mother of an Italian, but they also helped me figure all that out and what to do.

        • ggnitaly84

          Ah the Carta di Soggiorno, I keep getting told I am going to get it but alas, it seems to never happen (though I do keep hoping..), I have noticed in Florence especially, these offices are pretty helpful even if finding the information for where to go can be hard to find (for a non-Italian speaker)

  1. Diana

    UGGGGG….Can I tell you that I feel your pain? But in reverse? I am one of those lucky people you probably hate because my father is from Italy and I got my Italian citizenship and passport years before I ever even stepped foot in Italy.

    My husband on the other hand??? US Immigration???? NIGHTMARE! and EXPENSIVE! We paid thousands of dollars ALL IN FEES! No attorneys….I did it all by myself.

    Anyway…eventually he DID become a citizen….in your hometown no less! It was a wonderful day that we STILL talk about.

    So….yes: “nothing worth anything in life is easy.” You are so correct!

    Just hang in there….errrrr…are ya sure you don’t have some great, great, great grandfather of Italian decent in your family? Maybe at this point doing genealogical research would be less time consuming than dealing with the commune? :)

    • ggnitaly84

      Diana! thank you so much for sharing this! US immigration is also a nightmare – my father is actually an immigration officer and I have fond memories of going to the naturalization ceremonies and seeing all of the new Americans cry and be given tiny American flags, a truly emotional moment for us all!

      I wish I had an Italian relative, this is year seven of living in Italy and this renewal process is grating to the soul – believe me I chekd! But now that I think about it, I wish I could get adopted by a nonna, I wonder if that’s even possible?

      • Diana

        Gosh! Your father is an immigration officer!? I guess he has seen it all! What sweet memories for you going to naturalization ceremonies….it was SUCH a special day for us. Hubby even wore a suit and tie.

        Once again, hang in there….you know….just getting my Italian DL was a nightmare….so….the thought of Italian immigration? ick…no thanks. Big party when it is finally all done! :)

        • ggnitaly84

          I am especially sensitive to immigration issues because of that very reason. I think the problem in Italy is that the information just isn’t very clear and laws change so frequently. I have printed out laws to get public workers to process my paperwork. It’s pretty crazy. I actually helped a friend of mine with her Italian dual citizenship and that was absolutely no cakewalk, mamma mia!

  2. Suzi Jenkins

    When I still had to do mine (a million years ago, even though the UK was in the Euoropean Union – yep go figure) I used to turn up with pens, sellotape, scissors and even a stapler, as one more than on occasion they couldn’t process my request due to lack of said items. When I eventually got it back, it was usually AFTER the new expired date (3 years at the time) so I had to repeat the process immediately. The only time I EVER handed the doc in upon leaving Italy at border control (as stated on the document) they had no idea what it was ………….

    • ggnitaly84

      Wow that is incredible.. my how times have changed! thank you for sharing your experience, I am always curious how things were in the past, the fact that pens etc. were in short supply is pretty incredible

      • ggnitaly84

        It doesn’t surprise me, when I go into the questura di Firenze now, I can see everyone’s paper kits stacked in the bookcases behind the workers. Who needs technology? ;)

  3. catherinebolton

    Times have changed indeed, and they are checking a lot now. I flew to the US through Germany and the guy got snarky that I didn’t have my CdS with me. I had a photocopy, but he said, nope, want the original. This time I’ll let you through. Lucky I was traveling with my daughter who had both her US and Italian passport with her!

    • ggnitaly84

      You have a point, I always arm myself with a million documents and I am praying that I get my permesso hard copy before my upcoming trip to the USA later this month (I pass through Amsterdam, wish me luck!)

      • D

        Just FYI to anyone, the latest Italian law (2009) states if your permesso isn’t ready, you can technically only exit and re-enter through the Italian border. No transit in other Schengen countries without the hard copy. I remember when this wasn’t the rule. sigh. I got lucky twice exiting via Germany (permesso was expired only two weeks, had paperwork stating other was in process) and the police officers kind of ‘joke-scolded’ me….but, in reality, I could have had problems. major problems. :-/ http://www.poliziadistato.it/articolo/213/

      • D

        Btw, in yet other “sometimes the rule is…sometimes not’ a women I know passed through Belgium back into Italy without issue with only her passport and copy of permesso receipt. So, there’s that….. lol

  4. Linda Orozco

    I SO appreciate this article! I will begin my first renewal soon- my Permesso expires in June. I’m in Italy as a retiree, so will see what surprises they have in store for me. My renewal is complicated by my plans to be in Brazil for World Cup (early June to mid-July), that should make for some interesting logistics. Wish me luck..

    • ggnitaly84

      Ciao Linda, thanks! I say the earlier is better so ho armed with anything you even imagine they could ask for and stay strong!!!! Are you renewing from Florence?

  5. Spiritoso

    Here’s the claim I wrote when I finally got a kind of permesso by the Questura (Dichiarazione di presenza) for a friend of mine, after 7 “trips” to the office. Obviously they didn’t answer… You wanna stay, I wanna leeeeeeeave!!!

    Il presente reclamo è per esporre i fatti che sono accaduti negli ultimi giorni nei quali la studentessa americana Sarah XXX ha tentato senza successo di ottenere la Dichiarazione di Presenza presso gli uffici della Questura di Via della Fortezza 17 in Firenze.
    Il sottoscritto Riccardo XXX che la ospita presso il proprio appartamento con regolare affitto per quasi 2 mesi, ha tentato per quanto possibile di esserle di supporto, ma ha incontrato grandi difficoltà.
    Non è stato possibile in anticipo raccogliere informazioni senza recarsi in loco (telefono o internet) sui documenti necessari per ottenere la Dichiarazione di Presenza per tale studentessa americana. Recandomi di persona una prima volta e chiedendo ad uno sportello mi sono state date delle indicazioni in tal senso (passaporto con sé, modello da compilare, foto-tessere) che non sono poi risultate corrette.
    Date queste informazioni alla richiedente, essa si è recata allo sportello 3 una seconda volta ed ha consegnato il modello compilato, la fotocopia del passaporto (che per fortuna aveva con sé già pronta) ma le foto-tessere non sono servite; la pratica non era completa e le è stato riferito qualcosa, ma per problemi di comprensione dell’italiano, ha compreso solo la parola Francoforte ed ha quindi pensato che dovesse portare il biglietto aereo di andata o di ritorno, per dimostrare che la sua era comunque una visita temporanea. Lo sportellista non le ha appuntato niente al riguardo, in modo da poterle permettere di far leggere l’appunto a qualcuno che parlasse italiano ed inglese.
    Alla terza volta le è stato detto di nuovo che non andava bene, che i biglietti non servivano ma la ragazza non è riuscita a capire ancora cosa le venisse chiesto. Anche questa volta non le è stato dato neanche un appunto con scritto cosa mancasse.
    Alla quarta volta ho accompagnato la ragazza e abbiamo così compreso che serviva un’ulteriore fotocopia del passaporto nella pagina timbrata all’ingresso nella Comunità Europea, timbro appunto effettuato all’aeroporto di Francoforte. Non ci è stata fatta una fotocopia presso l’ufficio e siamo dovuti uscire, trovare una copisteria, fare la fotocopia, tornare per consegnarla, ma a quel punto non è stato possibile ottenere il documento in quanto, ci ha riferito lo sportellista, occorreva la firma del dirigente.
    Alla quinta volta, in data di ieri, la ragazza si è recata allo stesso sportello per ritirare la Dichiarazione di Presenza, ma la stessa persona ha detto che occorreva mostrare il passaporto; la ragazza era in possesso dell’ID (ossia la carta d’identità, comunque valida per il riconoscimento della persona), ma vi è stato un netto rifiuto.
    Oggi, il sottoscritto, munito di delega scritta (che si allega) con fotocopia del passaporto e originale del passaporto in mano ha richiesto (alla sesta visita) al medesimo sportellista di ritirare il documento pronto, ma mi è stato riferito che occorreva l’interessato in persona munito di passaporto.
    Alla mia richiesta di parlare con un responsabile od un dirigente per evitare un settimo viaggio mi è stato risposto che dovevo inviare un fax e non era possibile avere un interlocutore a cui esprimere le proprie perplessità; anche la mia richiesta del nome o del numero identificativo della persona allo sportello mi è stata negata, cosa incredibile, scandalosa in uno stato di diritto e secondo la mia opinione, illegale.
    Domani, la ragazza verrà per la settima visita e vedremo se sarà possibile ritirare questo benedetto documento. Nel frattempo, a quanto mi risulta, è passibile di una sanzione da 5000 a 10000 euro se viene fermata nel territorio italiano senza essere in possesso dello stesso, tutto per una non corretta comunicazione di un ufficio pubblico che non mette in grado le persone che non parlano l’italiano di ottenere ciò che spetta loro, magari facendosi aiutare da qualche interprete, quando basterebbe fare una fotocopia o scrivere un appunto per risolvere tutte le incomprensioni e le lungaggini burocratiche.
    Si prega di prendere nota dei suggerimenti dati con la presente e di rispondere per quanto possibile.
    Firmato da un altro dipendente pubblico, deluso e scioccato del paese in cui vivo.
    Riccardo XXX

  6. Ech

    I thought I had it bad! My husband is military so I apply on base. After reading your post, I realize they really do make it a lot easier for us. No more complaining out of me!

  7. littleitaliandreams

    Just blogged about this very topic today so I enjoyed reading your post and the comments. I got Permesso di Soggiorno once before, in the ’80′s, in Rome. I remember it took several hours over 2 separate days to get it, and I thought it was such a palaver then… since it was never ever looked at again I wondered why I’d even bothered. Now I recon I probably got it quite easily, since I had my uncle (a Bishop at the Vatican) with me in attendance. I’m going to bookmark your tips (& put aside a bottle of Grappa) for the next time I have to go and do it.

    • ggnitaly84

      My god, a bishop in attendence with you? How lucky is that! I think the grappa is a great idea and sort of a ‘must’ when it comes to these things. Do keep me posted on how it goes for you and I wish you LUCK!

  8. Too Tall To Be Tuscan

    Ciao! Am currently trying to get to the permesso di soggiorno stage… Have found an Italian company to hire me, but alas, we can’t apply for a visa at this time because of something to do with the decreto flussi being closed, etc. This leads me to wonder if I should try for the visto di lavoro autonomo…. Georgette, in all of this, did you found a company first in the US then in Italy, or just one in the US or how did it work??? I’m grateful for any other info!

  9. Vijay

    Quite detailed post. Thanks for sharing it. I have an Italian workpermit – lavoro subordinato valid till november 2014 and I am planning to renew it as I have some business ideas for Italy. I was wondering if its possible that I register for a company licence and than apply for soggiorno renewal by using it. It will be great If I could receive some regarding this. Also I am currently out of Italy so i clearly need to know how soon I should start my company registration. Thanks again

    • GirlinFlorence

      Hello vijay, are you looking to change your ‘type’ of permesso using this company registration? For example to ‘autonomo’ like mine? If so, you may need to pick up the permesso packet from the post office to see what documents you need as it can be tricky!

  10. Mandar

    Ciao Georgette, hope you are having nice summer time in Italy!

    A very well written article, thank you for the information! Indeed sorting out work permit in Italy (rather more or less in any country i suppose) is not so easy, I have had my piece of share, initially came on business visa, then had permesso di soggiorno tirocinante and now lavoro subordinato,

    Now I have reached point of renewal and as you have mentioned planning to start well before even 60 days! But have quite a few queries, I am already looking to get more information, but would be great to have your views as well :)

    My current permesso di soggiorno lavoro subordinato was taken while I was living in Forlì but now I have changed my company and so have started living in Torino. Now that I have to renew my permesso I was told that I have to do that from Forlì itself, as my domicilio is from there! Can you put some light on it!?!

    Unlike my previous company my new company has asked me to carry out the whole process by myself, which is fine by me, but to make most of it and of course thanks to your article here, even I am thinking of getting my permesso changed into autonomo, again from where to get it done is a question, but yeah, moreover please correct me if I am wrong, even if I take permesso for lavoro autonomo, I can continue with my permanent job right? (Of course I am going to take up freelancing asap and thus this change in permesso, but till I feel certain or till i get good freelancing opportunity would like to continue with my permanent job contract in the same company)

    After you get this permesso, is it compulsory that you work for only Italian companies? Or as long as you get enough income in your Italian bank account it wouldn’t be a problem?

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    • GirlinFlorence

      Hello and I hope you are having a great summer yourself. From what I gather, you have to do your permesso where you have residence (which ideally should be where you actually live). I changed permesso types from subordinato to autonomo and you have to present a lot of documents when you are committing the chance, it’s all listed in the permesso kit and I would even take it to your local ‘sportello immagrazione’ in your local town to fill it out. I am not sure about your other questions and don’t want to steer you wrong. The problem is when it comes to this type of permesso, it seems like every questura is different on what they require. Once advice though, if they ask you to sign up for the camera di commercio, DONT as this is only required for companies and not a freelance professional (they asked me too and I did not knowing that this would haunt me later). Get a commercialista to write you a signed and stamped note that you don’t have to present this.


Post a new comment