How to Get Your Permesso Di Soggiorno

Italian post office

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?

The highly coveted “permesso di soggiorno kit”

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?

Just like the DMV. Are you homesick now?

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.

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Now what do I do with this?

Una marca da bollo: an essential piece of the permesso di soggiorno puzzle

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 kitmarco 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 marca 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.

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.


    • Hi Betsy! The language school document I am referring to is the one for your Italian language courses, not the English school you might be teaching at. Having a language school document is not a requirement for having a job. If you are studying in Italy (to get a study visa), then you just need to give the post office and questura the official language document the consulate stamped in America. This letter will have to be sent to you from the Italian language school before your appointment with the consulate. Did this answer your question?

  1. Reading over the requirements for the Permesso di Soggiorno, It states that I need a visa and the number of the visa. I do not understand this part.. As an American citizen, I just have the VISA stamped in my passport by Italian immigration at the airport when I arrive in Italy. The Italian Consulate in New York did not give me a special visa.

    • Hi Margot! In order to get a permesso di soggiorno, you’ll need a long term visa which would require a visit to the Italian consulate in America. You cannot get a permesso di soggiorno having only a stamp in your passport. A permesso di soggiorno is a document that is required for people staying in Italy longer than 90 days. If you’re planning on staying in Italy less than 90 days, then the stamp in your passport will suffice and you don’t need to apply for a permesso di soggiorno. If you’re planning on staying in Italy more than 90 days, you’ll need to appy for a visa in America and then apply for the permesso di soggiorno in Italy withhin 8 days of your arrival.

  2. According to the page on obtaining a permesso di soggiorno, health insurance is required, but to get it, you seem to need to show your permesso first. Which comes first? Under the Italian/Australian reciprocal agreement, we’re entitled to Italian medical treatment for six months, but would still need insurance for the next six.

    • It is sort of a catch 22 situation. I came here with American insurance and then used my permesso di soggiorno to enroll in the Italian national health care service. Some people get traveler’s insurance and then switch over to the Italian system after they get their permesso. You’ll have to present the original copies of your documents at your Questura appointment, but you may be able to get insurance with your receipt before that. What’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable really depends on the city, and really the office. I’m not too familiar with the Italian-Australian agreement, but if they provide you with some sort of document, then you may be able to include that in your permesso di soggiorno application and then go to the post office and buy insurance for the next six months when your other insurance expires.

  3. Hi this is kalyan Lakkaraju and I applied for permisso di soggiorno on 22nd October 2018 and I submitted all the required documents at frosinone but till now I did not recieved the card yet and it’s been over 10 months 11 October 2019 is my permisso card expiry date what to do now and please guide me how to solve this issue.

  4. Hi Alexa-
    First of all, thank you SO much for doing this.
    I will be getting an ER visa from my consulate in NY. You speak of an official document from a language school for the questura. I’m believe that I don’t need this for my case. any insight?
    Thanks again!

  5. Hello Alexa. Thank you for writing this article; it has been very useful to me. I have one question that perhaps you can answer. I have applied for a permesso di soggiorno and am waiting for my appointment at the questura. I need to make a trip home to the US. I haven’t yet exceeded 90 days in Italy during any 180 period. Would I be able, in this case, to transit through a Schengen country on my way home? Would not the Spanish, for example, just see me as any tourist that has only been in Europe for a few weeks?

  6. Hi Alexa, our file for family reunion got blocked “pratica non Lavorabile-Competensa questura” : when reviewing the questura, they said that the “Codice Tipologia Permesso Carta Di Soggiorno in Richiesta” – point number 16 in Modulo 1 ; was not mentioned. Would you please advise what should be written in that section for family reunion as a code and what should we do to get the file again workable . Do you gave a guide on how to fill modulo 2 ?

    • Hi Jad. I don’t have a guide on that and I’m not too familiar with the process, but your local ACLI should be able to help you. Just Google “ACLI” and the name of the Italian town you’re in! You can call them or send them an email.

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