The Poste Italiane : beautiful on the outside, terrifying on the inside
When you first get to Italy, relax and enjoy your new life. But don’t enjoy it too much before getting all of your necessary paperwork filled out and turned in! Once you have arrived in Italy you have 8 working days to get your permesso di soggiorno turned in to the Poste Italiane.
What is a permesso di soggiorno, you ask?
This is your “permit of stay” that allows you to reside in Italy legally. Think of it like this: your visa gets you into the country legally, but your permesso di soggiorno allows you to stay.
Where do I get one of these things?
This may seem like a simple task, but let me remind you that you are in Italy where the bureaucracy is known for being an absolute nightmare. To get a permesso di soggiorno kit, as it is called, go to the nearest Poste Italiane with a Sportello Amico counter. Not every Italian post office has one of these, but you can easily Google “Sportello Amico [city name]” or go to this page on the Poste Italiane website and enter your city name into the search bar at the bottom of the page. This should show you a list of Italian post offices. Click on “Dettagli e orari” and look for the term ““Servizi Sportello Amico” on the left hand side. Once you arrive, ask for a permesso di soggiorno kit and be on your way.
What is the protocol at the Poste Italiane anyway?
Once you arrive at the Poste Italiane take a ticket from one of the machines in the lobby-area. There are several ticket options so make sure you click the correct number. It should say “permesso di soggiorno” on the screen.
Pay attention to the giant screens that show which number the officials are currently serving. When your number pops up on the screen, proceed to the counter you have been assigned.
Once you are at the counter, simply ask “Posso avere un permesso di soggiorno kit?” The official should then hand you a giant envelope. If you are from the U.S. then your Permesso di soggiorno kit should have a yellow stripe on the side. If you are from the EU, it should have a blue stripe.
This thing is all in Italian! How do I fill this out?
Welcome to the struggle that so many of us expats have faced when trying to survive our first week in Italy. While the packet seems quite thick and detailed, there are only 3 pages that you need to fill out if you are only applying for yourself. There is a Youtube video that gives instructions on how to fill out the packet, although they do miss some key points. Luckily, I have written an article about How to Fill Out Your Permesso Di Soggiorno.
Now what do I do with this?
Once you have filled out the required info, you’re halfway there! Make sure you get a marco da bollo at your local tabaccheria. It costs 16€ , but the price does change occasionally so make sure you look at your permesso di soggiorno kit. Bring photocopies, not originals (you will need these for the questura), of the following documents:
- Official language school document (stamped by the Italian consulate in America)
- Health insurance papers
- Your passport (some officials are picky and may require you to have photocopies of every page, including the blank ones)
Also make sure to bring your original passport with you.
Take your permesso di soggiorno kit, marco da bollo, passport, and photocopies back to the Poste Italiane and turn them in. The cost of the permesso di soggiorno changes every so often, but I paid somewhere around 102€ not including the marco da bollo so make sure you have enough cash on hand.
There must be another step, right?
Of course! You seem to have a great understanding of Italian bureaucracy by now. There is always another step. The official at the Poste Italiane should have given you a receipt with the date and time that you must appear at the questura. This is the official police headquarters where you will complete the last step in getting your actual permesso di soggiorno card.
What do I need to bring the questura?
Here is where you will need to present your original documents
You need to bring:
- Your passport
- Photocopies of your passport (including the blank pages)
- 4 passport photos
- Health insurance documents
- Original language school document (stamped by the Italian consulate in America)
- Photocopies of every form you submitted for your visa (better safe than sorry)
- Your receipts from the Poste Italiane you got when you turned in your permesso di soggiorno kit
Finally, you wait anywhere between 2 and 5 weeks for your card to be ready for pick-up. There is an online portal that allows you to check the status of your permesso di soggiorno.