The Permesso di Soggiorno is your foreigner registration card and literally translates to “Permit to Stay”. You have to follow a lengthy process to apply for the card and usually it takes 3 to 6 months to get.
No matter what visa (student, working, or otherwise) you have, you MUST apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno. The first step requires you to fill-out and submit the Kit Permesso di Soggiorno. The kit is actually a packet with two forms inside (each are 5-10 page packet forms) that require the visa holder to indicate all their personal information and reasons for staying in Italy. Once these forms have been filled-out, the visa holder takes the kit, along with copies of all their documents (all the documents you had to submit to the consulate to obtain your visa) and goes to the post office to pay the required fees. The post office, oddly enough, is where a lot of submission of government documents takes place, in addition to the traditional mailing of letters and packages, as well as paying for a swath of bills (including state or municipal issued fines) and receiving government-issued financial sums (like your pension). Thus the post office is always a busy, busy, BUSY place. Therefore go early, be prepared to wait, and bring cash or a debit car to pay as the Poste Italiane does not accept foreign checks or credit cards.
But back to the permesso. In addition to the forms you have to fill-out and the copy of all your documents, you need to get a MARCA DA BOLLO from a Tabaccheria. The Marca da bollo is a sticker and costs €16. Bring that to the post office. Then, at the post office, the postal worker will review your packet, along with your passport, and all your information will be sent to the Questura (immigration office). You will need to pay between €40 and €100 (depending on the length of time/type of your visa) just for permesso kit processing. This payment is made on a long rectangular piece of paper, called a bolletino. It is included in your permesso kit. Lastly, you have to pay €30 for an ASSICURATA which is another payment to the Italian government.
So, to recap, you need to pay:
1.) €40-€100 for the permesso kit processing (this fee goes to the Italian State)
- €40 for residence permits for more than 3 months, up to one year;
- €50 for residence permits of more than one year, up to two years;
- €100 for long-term EU residence permits and for those reserved for specialized workers and executives
2.) €16 for the Marca da Bollo sticker (which you buy at a Tabbacheria and then the postal worker puts on the front of your permesso packet)
3.) €30 for the Assicurata Postale (a payment to the immigration office)
4.) €30.46 for printing the electronic permesso di soggiorno
Once you have filled out all this paperwork and paid the required fees, you will be given several documents back. The first is a receipt of your Assicurata. The second is a receipt of your bolletino. The final is an appointment for when you need to go to the Questura and be finger-printed. DO NOT LOOSE ANY OF THESE PIECES OF PAPER. You will need all three when you go to the questura.
The competent immigration office of Questura is located within the territory of the province where the applicant (or their employer) resides. You must go to the questura on your appointed day and time with all the ORIGINALS of the paperwork you submitted in your permesso kit, the receipts from the permesso kit submission (bolletino and assiucurata), and two passport sized photos of yourself. The purpose of the questura appointment is for Italian officials to double-check all your information in their database and fingerprint your hands. As with all Italian bureaucratic experiences, expect to wait a long time. However, the process is relatively painless provided that your documents are all in order.
Once you have completed your Questura appointment, you will be told when you can pick-up your actual Permesso di Soggiorno card. The cards are sent to the local police station (commissariato di polizia) in your neighbourhood of residence. Usually, you have to wait 1-3 months. Often, students who are in Italy for less than 6 months are never issued a permesso because the processing time exceeds their stipulated period of study. Be aware that until your official permesso is issued your bolletino and Assicurata receipts act as proof of your legal immigration registration so you must travel with them at all times until you have your physical permesso card.
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