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 require to return to Italy.
Traveling Outside of the Schengen Zone
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 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.