Traveling With a Permesso di Soggiorno Receipt

Bend, Oregon. Italy has some beautiful natural sights, but there really just is no place like home.

As a child, I remember how agonizing the wait for Christmas was, counting down the days until Santa delivered the trivial things on my wish list like velvet socks or a charm bracelet. Now, as an adult, I look forward to less amusing things like Italy sale season or my permesso di soggiorno card. If you are looking to make travel plans outside of Italy, but haven’t yet received your card then never fear, your guide to traveling with a permesso di soggiorno receipt is here!

There are two main scenarios here. Either you are traveling inside the Schengen Zone or going outside of it. If you already have your permesso di soggiorno card, then you are free to travel where you want without restrictions on layovers in Europe.

What is the Schengen Zone, you might ask? It’s an area made up of 26 European countries that has gotten rid of passport checks. This agreement between countries allows people to easily travel between many European countries without needing a visa or other complicated government documents. Foreigners, however, must abide by the 90 day visa-free rules. After 90 days inside of the Schengen Zone, you must remain outside of it for another 90 days before being allowed reentry.

Traveling Inside of the Schengen Zone

If you are traveling inside the Schengen Zone, things are not too different from actually having your permesso di soggiorno card. While you may not be asked for your passport or other personal documents, except your ID, when catching a plane inside the Schengen Zone, it’s important that you have your permesso di soggiorno receipt on you at all times in case you are stopped by the police in the country you’re in for whatever reason. This receipt proves that you are a resident of Italy and have the ability to leave the country, after 90 days, without a visa.

As a non-EU citizen with a permesso di soggiorno receipt, you may travel for 90 days before you are required to return to Italy.

Traveling Outside of the Schengen Zone

This is your key to travel success without your permesso di soggiorno card.

According to the Polizia di Stato website, foreigners are allowed to leave and enter Italy with a permesso di soggiorno receipt as long as they do four things:

  • Carry their receipt;
  • Bring their expired permesso di soggiorno card;
  • Carry their valid passport;
  • Leave and enter the Schengen Zone through Italy.

This means that you may not travel through other countries in the Schengen Zone. While flights without stops in Europe can be a bit more expensive and difficult to find, I have been successful in the past. Just make sure you book your tickets ahead of time for the best prices.

What to do if Your Permesso di Soggiorno Isn’t Ready and Your Flight Leaves in The Next Couple of Weeks

There is a document called a Permesso di Soggiorno Provvisorio that you can apply for if your permesso di soggiorno card isn’t ready yet. You can apply at your local Questura with the following documents in hand:

  • Your expired permesso di soggiorno card
  • The receipt for your new permesso di soggiorno
  • A valid passport
  • A letter stating your necessity for traveling outside of Italy (plane tickets will most likely satisfy this requirement*)
  • 4 photographs
  • a marca da bollo

There is a copy of the Permesso di Soggiorno Provvisorio form here. While your local Questura may require a different document, you can use that one as a guide.

This provisional permesso di soggiorno allows you to stop over in other European countries while entering or leaving Italy.

*I say most likely because, in Italy, each government office in each city does things differently and may have different requirements.

Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice. The materials on this website have been prepared by Expat Alexa and are intended to communicate general information only. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice.

45 Comments

  1. thankyou for your guidence. i have a question that i am new in italy and i am student here and i have applied for permesso di soggiorno for the very 1st time. so can i travel to my country on the behalf of recipt or not?

    • Hi Saif! You can always travel to your country, the problem is returning to Italy. I’m not sure what country you are from, but if your country is in the Schengen Zone, then you will have no problem returning to Italy. I’m going to assume your country is outside of the Schengen Zone. If it is, then you will need to wait until you receive your permesso di soggiorno card because you may encounter problems when trying to get back into Italy. However, if you are traveling direct from Italy to your country, and directly back to Italy, then you can travel with the receipt. If you need to go to your country and have to travel through another country that isn’t Italy, you can apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno Provvisorio at the Questura.

      • Hello. Thank you for your post. I want to ask. Im also waiting for my very first permesso meeting and have the postal receipt.

        Is it possible to get a permesso provvisorlo even if i’m at my very first application rather than a renewal?

        thank you

        • Hi Kim! That is a really good question and, unfortunately, I don’t know the answer 100%. Most of what I am reading says that you are required to submit a copy of your expired permesso, but it’s best to contact the Questura where you are as the rules can differ from city to city. If you have been in Italy less than 90 days then you are free to travel outside of the Schengen Zone anyway because you are still within the limit of the tourist visa, but I don’t know your specific situation.

      • Hello.. I’m refugee in Italy, i have “permesso di soggiorno per stranieri” for 6 months, the asylum court has done, and granted residence for 5 years, but is still pending in the mail due to the holiday period, now i just have “permesso di soggiorno per stranieri”, can i travel with this document to France?

        • Hi Kinan! I’m not very familiar with this type of permesso di soggiorno. I would recommend contacting or going to your local ACLI if you are in Italy. They are very knowledgeable about Italian bureaucratic processes and should be able to answer your question.

  2. Dear sir or madam 

    My sister is from Kabul Afghanistan and she got 5 years of Italy permessi di soggiorno with Afghani passport so my question is can she travel to Graz Austria with  her permessi di soggiorno and afghani passport? please

  3. Thank you for sharing your useful information.
    I still have a question that you may help me; I want to leave Italy for a period of 4 to 5 months to do my thesis abroad (in Canada-not my own country). As I am not an EU-citizen and now I have the renewing receipt with my old PDS, I would like to ask you about my condition. Shall I have problem when I want to come back to the Italy from Canada with the old PDS and the renewing receipt, or not?
    Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Fabio! If you fly directly from Italy to Canada and straight back to Italy then you shouldn’t have a problem. You might have a problem if you pass through any other countries in the Schengen Zone that don’t know what a permesso di soggiorno is. If you need to travel through other countries in the Schegen Zone, you’ll need to get a permesso di soggiorno provvisorio.

  4. Hi,
    What is the chances of getting a permesso di soggiorno provvisorio if we just want to travel in other schengen countries for tourism?

    Please let me know

    Thanks!

    • Hi MJ! If you are traveling to other countries in the Schengen Zone and have already applied for your permesso di soggiorno (and have the receipt), then you don’t need a permesso di soggiorno provvisorio. There are generally no passport checks between countries in the Schengen Zone unless they are done randomly by the police in that country. Just make sure you have your permesso di soggiorno receipt and a valid passport with you when you leave Italy and return to Italy before 90 days is up!

  5. Hey #Alexa I would like to travel in Malta as a tourist. My permesso di soggiorno has been expired & I have the ricivuta from italian post office with my expired permesso di soggiorno & also the passport. Now my question is may I travel with that?hope to hear from you soon.

  6. Hey Mam
    I would like to travel in Malta with my postal ricivuta .my permesso di soggiorno has been expired & I already been applied for the new one .but for me it’s really important to go Malta .may I go or not ?please let me know.hope to hear from you soon. Thanks

  7. Hi! My parents have applied for the first time for their PDS. We would like to travel to Spain. Is it possible for them to travel with just the PDS receipt from the post? It has been two months since they applied, however we haven’t received any info regarding their PDS card. Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Astrid! Yes, you can travel to Spain with the receipt. Just make sure they bring their passports as well. Also, make sure you return to Italy before 90 days is up. It took me 3-4 months to get my card so there’s a good chance they’ll have to wait a bit longer until they are ready.

      • Thank you. Anyone you personally know who tried traveling to Schengen with just the receipt? We’ll be traveling by plane and I’m afraid to be denied boarding. I’ve heard mixed comments that the receipt only allows one to fly back to home country. I tried asking our questura for provvisorio and they can’t.

        • Most everyone travels around the Schengen Zone with only a receipt. I went to Germany last year for Christmas and I only had the receipt. There aren’t passport checks when traveling between countries in the Schengen Zone so they won’t ask ask to see a visa. The only issue is when you have to travel outside of the Schegen Zone. That’s where you might have heard about only being able to travel to your home country. If you’re traveling outside of the Schengen Zone to your home country and only have the receipt, you can only travel directly from Italy to the country and back.

          • Did you travel by plane? Or probably they didn’t check because you have a US passport? (which allows you to travel within EU without any visa?

        • Yes, I took a plane. Americans cannot travel in the EU without a visa if they are staying for more than 90 days. Many people fly all around Europe with their permesso di soggiorno receipts. Again, there is only a problem if you travel outside of the Schengen Zone.

  8. Hi Alex,
    Thanks for your useful information.
    Please I have a big problem not familiar with the ones you’ve proffered solutions to. I finished my Masters in December 2017 and I got a job afterwards. I applied to the questura for work permit before the expiration of my student permit but, after a month of my fingerprinting, the questura asked me to present a nulla osta. I then applied for the nulla osta in February two months after the expiration of my student permit at the perffura but I was denied the nulla osta, reason been that my soggiorno expired before requesting for the nulla osta despite showing them my renewal receipt from the post office. But during this period of waiting for the nulla osta, I enrolled for another masters program, do you think the questura will grant me another student permit despite having a pending request for work permit?

    • Hi Christian! Your situation is a bit technical and I’m not sure I would be able to give you advice confidently. If you enroll in a new program, then I would assume that they would have to give you another student visa. At the end of your program you could then try the apply for the work permesso again, this time presenting the nulla osta. I would recommend contacting or going to your local ACLI if you are in Italy. They are very knowledgeable and know a lot about the bureaucratic processes in each city.

  9. Hi friends,
    I’m a student from Vietnam and I’m currently living in Italy. I don’t know if I can travel to Paris with my valid Student Visa (type D, multi-entry) and receipt of Italian stay permit because I’m waiting for receiving stay permit.

      • Hi Alexa !! I would like to thank you first for the good job you are doing, my question is i have humanitarian permesso di soggiorno and i would like to travel to Africa in this new law can u travel to Africa and get back to italy without no problem? Because the new law cancelled humanitarian permesso di soggiorno.
        Thanks

        • Hi! I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with the restrictions related to the humanitarian permesso di soggiorno, but I would recommend that you go to your local ACLI and ask them. They should know!

  10. Hi, I have a question.
    I’m a foreign student here in Italy and this is my first Permesso di Soggiorno application (no renewal).
    I have my Ricevuta and valid Passport (mult. entry), I’m planning for the holidays to go to Germany for two weeks then come back to Italy, would that be a problem?

    • Hi Esteban! You can travel to Germany, no problem! I went there last year for Christmas and they never checked my documents. Always bring them, just in case, but there are generally no passport checks between countries in the Schengen Zone. Regardless, with a permesso di soggiorno receipt, you are able to travel to any European country in the Schegen Zone, which Germany is a part of.

  11. Great insight! Thank you

    I was informed that someone with. Student (Schengen) Visa is able to travel within the Schengen area except in Spain. Do you know why?
    Also if the visa has expired but you are in the process of renewing and with a receipt, can you travel with that receipt and expired visa within the Schengen Zone?

    • Thank you, Winnie! I am not aware of any restrictions that prevent travel to Spain with a student visa. I’m not finding any info about it online either. By visa, do you mean permesso di soggiorno? If your visa is expired, but you have renewed your permesso and have the receipt, then you can travel in the Schengen Zone.

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