Il permesso di soggiorno – The Stay Permit

The permesso di soggiorno is essential for stays of longer than 90 days.

The permesso di soggiorno is essential for stays of longer than 90 days.

If you decide to move to Italy, or if you plan a long-term sabbatical, you will need to have a permesso di soggiorno, a stay permit. I just received my third renewal, and I am working towards having a carta di soggiorno, a permit for a longer stay. My understanding is the carta is only available after five years of residency, so I still have some time before I can make that application.

If you’ve done your research about living in Italy, hopefully you will have learned that it’s all doable. However, I hope your research has taught you that you will need to have an ample helping of patience in the process. Many Americans, in my experience, are used to things happening at the snap of their fingers, and with greater predictability. If you are married to this way of thinking or to those expectations, I recommend you stay in the U.S. and only plan for short stays.

It’s complicated…or it can be complicated. Let me explain.

The most daunting part of the process is FIRST getting your visa from the Italian consulate. The hurdles can be significant, depending on your individual scenario. For instance, if you communicate to the Italian consulate of your jurisdiction that you are planning to move to Italy for the rest of your life, be prepared for much greater scrutiny, and be prepared to demonstrate that you have either a). A solid job with a company in Italy (and the documentation attesting to this) or b). Sufficient means of income, or money in the bank, to cover you for the rest of your life. Regardless of your plan, you will receive (at most) a visa of a year’s duration. Yes, whether you plan to move here for the rest of your life, or whether you plan to take a two-year sabbatical, you will receive a visa of the same duration. My advice? Unless you are certain you plan to live here for the rest of your life, set this up as a “test drive” and communicate in kind with the Italian consulate. Otherwise, be prepared to clear a higher set of hurdles.

Once you have your Italian visa in your U.S. passport, it becomes a different story. By that, I mean the visa gets you into Italy with some “runway” to work things out with the questura, or the local immigration police. Here’s the process as I understand it*:

Once you have “landed” you must make sure your passport is stamped adjacent to your visa to indicate your entry into the country. Otherwise, you will need to visit the local questura to announce your presence/arrival into Italy.

Within a couple of weeks (be sure to ascertain the timing, but err on the side of shorter, not longer) submit your application for a permesso di soggiorno. Here in Umbria, I was directed to utilize the service of a local union, where they fill out your application, without charge, and they deliver a computer printout with instructions on paying your bollo (tax stamp) and submitting your application at the post office, where you will pay additional fees. All in, I think I paid around $150 for the application.

There are several designations regarding the type of application for a permesso di soggiorno. Many people apply for a work permit, and that is a specific “animal” with specific requirements. You can apply for a permesso di soggiorno per residenza elettiva, which is a residency permit saying you will reside here without working – or without working here for a company in the traditional sense. Basically, it means you are retiring here, and not working in a way that takes work/opportunity away from an Italian citizen. Regardless, it is incumbent upon you to research and determine the type of stay permit you wish to receive, and the rules and regulations pertaining to each type of permit. Then, you proceed accordingly.

For me, I completed my application, which meant supplying:

– Copies of all pages of my passport which have a). Basic information. b). Pages that have been stamped.

– A document proving I have health insurance coverage.

– Financial proof of viability (bank statements, pension statements or social security statements if that applies to you)

– Proof of residence or ownership of a house. Either a lease agreement or document showing ownership of a house along with a certificato di agibilità, which certifies you are living in a house that passes the housing codes/standards.

I understand, from other people, that also you can complete the application online, but I prefer to work with the union, so that I have assurance from another set of eyes looking at my application.

At the post office, once you submit the application and the bollo, you will be assigned an appointment with the questura (immigration police). Be sure to make this date, where you will be finger-printed, and asked questions regarding any missing or questionable information.

Then, be prepared to wait. The first time I submitted my application, it took 3 1/2 months to receive my actual permesso. This was difficult, because for other things (like purchasing a car), the post office receipt was not deemed sufficient. In subsequent years, the receipt for renewal was said to be sufficient.

I’ve heard varying stories about applying for the national healthcare plan. I wasn’t able to do it until I had my first permesso, and after I also had my residency card from the commune.

The second year, my permesso took almost 4 months. This year it was over 4 months, which speaks to the backlog and workload of the questura.

Now, to complicate matters further, there is an “integration agreement” you sign when you first apply for a permesso di soggiorno. This details a point system you must follow and meet upon your third year of residency. You are required to have at least 30 points, which includes points for ascertaining/certification you can speak at an A2 level of the Italian language, and ascertaining you have passed a sufficient civic knowledge of life in Italy.

I was told, not only by other people who have lived here for several years, but also by the questura, that this additional criteria would not be tested unless I was applying for a longer stay permit. Wrong. This week I received a letter from the immigration office in Perugia to begin supplying documentation to begin tallying to point requirement. Yesterday, I visited the office,  and submitted the documents. The biggie is the language certification. I took an official A2 certification test in Rome in early June, yet my results will not be registered until September. I’m sure all will be well, but it’s just a pain to be following all of the steps to make sure I am following protocol.

Don’t be discouraged. Just understand the different possible scenarios. Italy can be unpredictable. My strategy is planning for all the all possibilities.

At this point, I feel compelled to point out that there are many people living here in Italy while “skating” under the radar for certain requirements (like driver’s license, medical insurance, etc.). I admire them for their courage, but I’m a person who likes to be more “precise”, and I’m also a person who doesn’t want to be jettisoned from the country for not following certain protocol – and then being barred from re-entry – not only to Italy but to the EU. We all make our own choices. I prefer to sleep well at night, knowing I am doing my best to follow the guidelines.






By |2015-11-10T19:37:46+01:00July 25th, 2015|Permesso di soggiorno|82 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Phuong January 17, 2020 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Ciao Jed!
    First of all thanks a lot for your effort creating this blog, very detail and helpful!
    My name is Phuong, I’ve been living and working in Pisa, Italy since 5 years, and I have just submitted my application to renew my permesso di soggiorno lavoro subordinato (for work purpose) last October. From my past experience, Questura Pisa will take from 4 to 7months to process and release the new permesso card.
    I wonder if it will be possible to submit an additional document to questura now that my application is being processed? The reason is I would like to send a letter from my current company stating that due to work purpose i need to travel within europe and need the permesso di soggiorno release urgently.
    Do you have any experience for such case? If so please share with us!
    Thank you very much and best regards,

    • Jed January 18, 2020 at 12:34 am - Reply

      My understanding, though not from firsthand experience, is that you can go to your questura, show your renewal receipt, and ask for a temporary permesso that allows you to travel. I’m afraid this is becoming a more frequent need since expats need to travel within the EU and can’t simply wait for 8 or 9 months. Hope it all works out.

  2. Hitika Bhan October 30, 2019 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Ciao Jed,

    I’ve been reading up quite a bit and your blog has definitely been the most helpful material out there! Thank you for doing this. I have a few questions for you that I do not know who can answer, so I’m giving this a shot –

    1) I am from India. I came to Milano in April 2018 for a foundation course + masters (my foundation course lasted from April 2018- July 2018, and masters from September 2018-July 2019). I came on something called a “combo visa” that was granted to me before I landed in Milano. All well so far. Now that I had to renew my Permesso di Soggiorno earlier this July, I was given an appointment for December 5th, 2019, effectively ruining my summer and potentially my winter 2019 too, as I would like to travel to Paris without having to go get the special permit in order to leave Italy. My question is – do you think that with my appointment scheduled for December 5th, I’ll be able to get my renewed Permesso card before the 20th?

    If it helps, I started a year-long internship with an agency here (started in September 2019) and am on the “job seeking” visa that lasts until August 2020.

    2) Would I be needing proof of health insurance of some sorts when I do go for my appointment on December 5th? If so, could you recommend one?

    3) I was told that there was a minimum balance of around EUR 6000 that I should be maintaining in order to reapply for my Permesso. So far, no one has asked me for this proof. Do you think I’ll be asked for this when I go for my appointment?

    4) In one of the comments on here, I read that there’s something called a “Residency Card” that meant that I need to register with my Comune. Now, I never did that, but I would like to..given its benefits in the future. Could you shed some light? I’ve received conflicting info.

    Apologies for the excessive info. I wasn’t sure what you’d need.

    Thanks a ton!!


    • Jed November 13, 2019 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Hi Hitika, I’ll do my best to answer your questions. 1) I wouldn’t have great confidence in the questura turning around your permesso renewal in such a short time period. Even here in Veneto, which functions more expeditiously, I waited almost two months for my carta di soggiorno, and mine was an easy application. 2) For insurance, I always provided proof until I had signed on to the National Health Plan. I used Cigna International (minus the U.S. coverage which drives up the cost considerably). 3) As long as you can provide current financial statements, even for accounts held outside of Italy, showing financial wherewithal is important. I hadn’t heard about the 6000 euro. I wouldn’t risk going to the appointment without something. You may not be asked for it but it’s good to have. (I submitted my account documents with my permesso application). 4) You DO need a residency card if you indeed are going to be living in Italy for a longer period. It’s easy. Just go to the Comune designated for your current address, show your passport and permesso, and they will schedule the police to come to your address to confirm you live at the address. You’ll need the residency card if you decide to apply for the tessera sanitaria or want to buy a car. Plus, it’s expected of people you are living in Italy on a permesso. Hope this helps.

  3. prince james October 18, 2019 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    hello jed how are you doing please just want to ask you about the information of my soggiorno becaurse i apply for lungo periodo which is carta di soggiorno and when i checked in italy it says trattazione on my laptop and if i change it to english translation it says being processed on my laptop and on my phone it says under discussion so what does it really mean in this case

    • Jed October 24, 2019 at 11:41 am - Reply

      Hi there! This is pretty normal (I’ve experienced the same message) and it just means it’s going through the process. If all went well and looked in order by the questura when you were called in for your appointment, you needn’t worry. Depending on the region in which you reside, processing times can vary considerably, but overall they’re getting longer and longer from what I’ve heard.

  4. Doug June 16, 2019 at 12:29 am - Reply

    The information you share here is incredibly helpful. I am soon heading to Umbria for three months to check out what it would be like to live there for at least a significant part of each year. (How my dog handles the trip is pretty much the deciding factor.) In your intro you suggest not telling the visa office that you want to move to Italy for the rest of your life, but it seems like it takes a significant portion of each year to deal with the permesso. What if one wants to be in Italy for more than three months but less than full-time? If it takes four months or more for an application to be acted upon, what if you are back in the Stati Uniti when the word finally comes?

    • Jed June 18, 2019 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Hi Doug, unfortunately, there isn’t an “in between” scenario for the Italian authorities, and a person can find themselves in a bit of hot water if they try to work around the system. If you’re in Italy for more than half a year Italy expects you to apply for the stay permit and become a resident. The permesso processing times can be dubious, depending on the region in which you’re residing, so it’s hard to nail that one. One year I received my SMS from the questura that my was ready for pick-up and I was out of the country and I couldn’t make the date, so I called and told them so and was told that I could just show up on another day and explain. But, in my situation, I was only delayed a week in picking it up. I don’t know at what point they would send the permesso back.

      • Carmen June 19, 2019 at 4:08 am - Reply

        Hi Jed, I applied the for the permesso back in October of 2018. I am an older student at one of the local Universities. I went to my appointment for the finger printing back in January of 2019. I was told 45-60 days and I will be notified. I will get a text/letter in the mail and I can pick it up in Questura local to me. We are in June and I have yet to get a text or letter. This is all taking place in Rome. I checked the website.. my postal code number was listing for the last few months that it was being processed. I went to check today and my number does not even pull up. My visa expires in Sept. Should I apply for the Visa again, or what should I do? School starts again in October and currently I am stateside.

        • Jed June 19, 2019 at 5:30 pm - Reply

          Hi Carmen, I seem to remember something similar happening to me in my second year. The status of “in process” vanished and shortly thereafter I received an SMS from the questura that it was ready to be picked up. Hopefully, this is what is happening with yours and not that it is lost in the process. I’d go to the questura with your receipt and explain just as you have explained to me, and see what they can tell you. I sure wish the permesso process was less “iffy” and less hard to track. I hope everything works out!

  5. Amber June 8, 2019 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Hi he’d I’m amber currently living in cento Italy…it has been 2 months since I submitted my application for my first soggiorno as I came here on a spouse visa. My husband got a family carta but when I’ve completed my finger prints process the asked my husband to change his soggiorno nature mean they ask him for a renewal of his carta and make it on work this time my husband consulted to a lawyer that he said that they might change his permanent status to temporary so he isn’t changing it. I wanna know will the still give my my soggiorno or freeze it? Please reply

    • Jed June 18, 2019 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      Hi Amber, I wish I could say that I have an answer to your question and situation. Family reunification permessos/carta often assume (at least initially) that the person is in Italy and is being supported by other family members (and not working), but I’ve not heard that they can ask a person to switch mid-stream to a working visa. I got my carta because my spouse is an Italian citizen, but in situations of family reunification I’m not sure how that works. When a person starts working a full-time contract job, that might indeed change things. How did they discover that your husband is working? I hope you get some answers, but I’d lean on your lawyer. Have you checked the status of your permesso application at the Poliza di Stato website using your receipt number? If it showing “in process” and if the questura didn’t tell you they were halting your application, that might mean that it is in the pipeline to be completed. Please let me know what you hear so I can share with other people in a similar situation.

  6. Avani August 24, 2018 at 5:55 am - Reply

    Thanks Jed for the extremely helpful articles here. brilliant!! My husband and I only just got our Visas. And amazingly it was less painful than expected. Although we worked hard to provide as much documentation as we could think of. I even did a brilliant covering letter which they had absolutely zero interest in…:-). They didn’t want to know why we wanted to live in italy, just as long as could prove with documentation that we had enough monthly income to sustain us very very comfortably. So we presented our thick file with everything required. Our financial docs were based on our business income. They were more than happy to accept that we were self employed and not going to work in italy. Our client contracts were all Australian based so that ticked the box. They had very little interest in our bank balance! Its all focused on monthly or weekly consistent income that did not require us to be in Australia. So here we are with visas in hand and leaving in 5 weeks time to start a new life in Umbria. So our next task is to get our permission to stay. You mentioned in another article about going through the Union. We will be located in Todi and was wondering if that is what is best. I think I understand that we submit our application first at the Post Office? and then wait for our appointment in Purugia ?? is this correct.

    • Image Earth Travel January 7, 2019 at 11:45 am - Reply

      Hi Avani,

      How did you go with the move? How long did your permesso di soggiorno take once you landed in Italy? I’m also Australian and flew back to Oz in 2016 to apply for my initial 12-month visa, then the permesso di soggiorno took 5 months from start to card in hand.

      I’m still waiting for my renewal of my permesso di soggiorno, which I submitted 5+ months ago and counting. The online status hasn’t shifted from “still being processing” for months and can’t understand why a renewal is taking longer than my 1st application.

      I was told by the Questura that I can’t travel out of Italy until I have the physical card in my hand as I may not be allowed back in. So, had to cancel our Christmas trip outside of Italy to Pisa instead – not so bad, but it’s not the point.

      Jed, is there anyone I can ask as to how much longer my permesso di soggiorno will take? Every few weeks I wait at the Questura for an hour or two, but can’t get a response. By the time it arrives, I’ll have to apply for another one and this whole merry-go-round will start again – it’s so frustrating!

      • Jed January 8, 2019 at 12:38 pm - Reply

        Hi Avani! My move went pretty smoothly. The only slow part was waiting for the slow boat with the small shipment from The States. My very first permesso took about 3 1/2 months. The following year it was closer to 4+, and the third year took almost 6 months. It was a rapidly diminishing set of returns. Other friends in Umbria were experiencing the same. When we called the regional office in Perugia responsible for processing these things we were told that they put ERVs on “less priority.” I guess they’ve been progressively more underwater with other types of immigration and at the same time less funding and more work for bureaucratic functions. AND< I'm finding it varies considerably by region, so I DO believe the holdup is in the regional offices and not in Rome, which is what we were told that third year. I just heard from a friend you just got her permesso renewal and it only has about six months of validity, if that. Mind you, they applied much earlier this time and still such a poor result. Technically you CAN travel with the renewal receipt as long as you aren't transiting through another Schengen country. However, the departing country will often want to see a "hard" document with validity that allows a person a longer stay. As of yet, I've only shown my Residency Card at checkin from The States and that suffices. It sure is a pain in the butt, isn't it? Next time your renewal, do what you can to push for the two-year permesso. People have varying success with getting it, but it does happen.

        • Image Earth Travel January 25, 2019 at 12:31 pm - Reply

          Hi again,

          Mine is coming up to 6 months on the 30th of January and still I have nothing.

          I emailed the Questura but this bounced back. I visited 2 weeks ago and was advised the hold-up is in Rome.

          After I explained that Rome only takes up to 20 days to send the card back to the regional Questura and that the hold-up is here in Cosenza, the officer told me they’d only just finished processing June 2018’s applications and advised: “Signora, devi essere paziente” – I applied on the 30th July!

          At this rate I’ll have to re-apply again before I even receive my card – we’re expected to place our lives on hold for 6+months, just for this permesso. 🙁

          • Jed January 30, 2019 at 5:12 pm

            This is becoming a far too-frequent story. Years ago when I was in the yearly renewal cycle, I was told that ERV get lowest priority since they are underwater on other types of visas. I got the story about Rome also. In Veneto, my permit residency card came with 45 days, but I’m in Treviso and things, while not perfect, do move along at a better clip. I think a good “solve” for these unacceptable processing times is to make the two-year permesso the basic permesso.

          • Image Earth Travel February 20, 2019 at 11:23 am

            Still no permesso – 7 months at the end of Feb and still counting!

            All I can say is lucky that I applied for a 2-year renewal otherwise, I’d have to start this whole process again in July – if I ever get my renewed permesso from last year.

            My first permesso only took just over 4 months and yes, you’re correct, it’s a regional hold-up not Rome’s.

          • Jed February 20, 2019 at 2:15 pm

            Geez, what craziness! I hope it arrives soon and that you can take a breather from the frustrating process!

  7. Trish August 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    First let me start by saying I look forward to your posts. I really enjoy the Blog!

    I have a question about getting started with the residency process. I am soooo confused. Do I need a Visa or not? One place I read stated if I plan on staying over 90 days I just report to the Questura and apply; no need for a Visa. Other places seem to indicate I need a Visa. I will be flying in to Nice and traveling to Sanremo, so would need the Schengen Visa, which means a trip from Seattle to San Francisco. The instructions for the Visa indicate I must show travel plans. I was there 38 days (June-July) so have concerns about booking a 3 month trip given the 90 day limit. And no I did not go to the Questura last time. I did not realise I needed to. I am retired, no need to work and have ample funds to support myself. Purpose of trip would be to visit friends. The bottom line question is do I go to San Francisco for the Visa?

    • Jed August 21, 2018 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Trish, Sorry for the tardy reply. I’ve been traveling (and getting over jet lag!). I’m afraid you do indeed need a visa to stay beyond 90 days. In fact, if your intent, when you arrive is to stay past 90 days, you are “supposed” to apply for your permesso di soggiorno within a relatively short period of time. Perhaps there is a unique case where a person has come on a tourist visa and simply applied for the permesso di soggiorno, but from everything I’ve experienced, read and heard, the elective residency visa is a must for having your first permesso di soggiorno. Once you have the permesso di soggiorno, subsequent renewals don’t require the visa since the permesso takes over. If it were the case that people could bypass the Italian Consulate visa application in the States, potential expats would be doing backflips and you wouldn’t read the volume of stories of people trying to navigate the ERV process. If the visa wasn’t necessary, it would be plastered on all of the expat sites. In Italy, there are always cases of things being administered inconsistently but my experience has been that the questura is pretty vigilant about confirming all necessary documents are in order on whether it is the first permesso or a renewal (for renewals, certificate of residency from the comune is now required). Hope this helps, Jed

      • Image Earth Travel August 21, 2018 at 2:06 pm - Reply

        Hi Jed,

        I’ve been able to renew my permesso with the Yellow Kit form at the PO, then a visit to the Questura.

        You mention “for renewals, certificate of residency from the comune is now required” but I was not asked for this certificate when I met with the Questura. I did provide a rental lease with my wad of documentation, but this lease expires end of September this year.

        I hope that not having the certificate doesn’t affect my card’s arrival that I’m now awaiting, but the officer did say that I will receive a text when I need to pick up my card, Can I assume everything is OK? Would you know?

        • Jed August 21, 2018 at 2:25 pm - Reply

          Hi there, it is the questura’s responsibility to confirm that your documents are all in order. Perhaps they deemed your rental lease sufficient. In my second year, I was told the certificate of residency was required and I dutifully went to the comune to get one. But, that was in Umbria, and as I’ve said, things are administered inconsistently region to region.
          Your regional office will also review your documents and they should contact you if they need additional information. I’m told it then goes to Rome for final approval though I’m not certain about that and, if so, for how long. In Umbria, the process was painfully slow and in Veneto, it has been incredibly speedy (by comparison). The woman at the questura double and triple-checked my documents when I submitted my application for permanent residency (my spouse is Italian).
          You can go online to to track the status of your permesso renewal. During my first permesso renewal I called the regional office in Perugia that is responsible for the permesso applications a couple of months after my appointment at the questura, and they were able to give me a bit more detail about exactly where my peremsso application was (they told me it was in Rome). They also told me that from their end they didn’t see any problems and that it would just be a matter of waiting. You might consider the same if the return of your permesso seems drawn out and if you want to confirm that all is well. Hope this helps!

          • Image Earth Travel August 21, 2018 at 3:35 pm

            You’ve helped loads and I thank you!

            I know my first card came from Rome as there was several boxes on the Questura’s desk, so I asked the question, which he confirmed it was Rome – makes sense I guess.

            I’ve been online to check several times and the status has just changed to ‘being processed’, so I’m hoping that’s a good thing – fingers crossed. 🙂

            I’m just curious as to whether you know, does the renewed permesso’s date start from the old expired permesso date, or is it from when the renewal documents are submitted or from the date of the Questura’s appointment and processing?

            Apart from the Yellow Kit’s costs of €61.96+€16 Bolle, I was also charged another €51.50 when the Questura processed my documents ( I had to race to the PO to pay this then race back to the Questura with the receipt). This last amount is new and don’t remember paying this with my first submission.

            Thanks again!

          • Jed August 23, 2018 at 1:08 pm

            Happy to help in any way I can! Keeping up with the fees and bolla is a challenge. For some reason, I’d thought the price for the permesso had dropped, but maybe I was misinformed. When you’re message says “being processed” I think that’s a good thing! Keep me posted. Jed

          • Image Earth Travel August 28, 2018 at 9:17 pm

            Checked the permesso status just now and it’s changed from “being processed” to “documento di soggiorno in trattazione” Weird?

          • Jed August 29, 2018 at 7:58 pm

            Perfectly normal. That was the final status I was getting about a month before my permesso was ready. This shows it’s moving along! No worries!

  8. Charles Ujah June 30, 2018 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Good morning to you all, i am so impressed with all your comments and I also need to know about my own permesso di soggioron it will expire on the 31 August this year please i need to know the necessary documents to ues in the renewal of it i entered as na migrants to the county

    • Charles Ujah June 30, 2018 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Please what are the necessary documents for the renewal of my documents i have two years documents and I have a work in which I started last year and my fier to los the the work please your advice is more important to me now thanks and God bless you all.

    • Jed June 30, 2018 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Charles. Am I understanding that you have a permesso di soggiorno for working? If so, I hope someone who is knowledgeable about these things can provide guidance. My familiarity is more with elective residency (non-working) and family reunification. I would think, though I’m not certain, that you would need work documentation in the form of a letter or work contract from your employer. Best to apply for the renewal as early as possible to allow for processing times! Best of luck!

  9. abdel ilah elbahjaoui May 23, 2018 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Good day Jed,

    Just want to ask, i want to renew my permesso next month, but i m worried, they will ask me the residenza, because i got the permisso due to motivo Familiari ( my brother is italian)my brother has some difficulties to pay the rent, commune doesnt like to give us certificate of residency, my question , is that necessary to submit the residency certificate together with the renewal of permesso application.

    Advise me please.

    • Jed May 23, 2018 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Abdou, I’m not an expert in your type of permesso and your renewal schedule. In some areas there are unions that are available to help people prepare their permesso applications and can answer these types of questions with greater accuracy. When I was on a yearly permesso di soggiorno renewal schedule I was required to present a current certificate of residency from my comune. I don’t think you can make the permesso renewal without proving you have residency to show that you are in your comune’s jurisdiction. Also, with motivo Familiai, the sponsoring family member is usually asked to demonstrate they have the financial means to support you during your stay.
      I urge you to speak with an expert on this matter to get solid advice vs. my opinion. In Umbria I was directed to the Cisl Confederazione Italiana Sindacato Lavoratori in my vicinity where there was a man who helped me put together my permesso renewal application and answer any questions at no charge. Hopefully you have a similar service in your area. I hope all works out!

  10. Image Earth Travel May 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Excellent post and reminded me of my own woes whilst living in Italy:

    For one of your readers above, yes, if you have Italian heritage but the line was ‘broken’ due to naturalisation of another country before your birth, then you must live in Italy for 3 years (and be registered at the Comune) before you can apply for citizenship. I am going through this process with many hurdles.

    In 2016, I arrived in Italy on a 90-day Schengen visa (cannot be extended at all), with the intent of applying for citizenship on what I confirmed later as incorrect information from the consulate in Sydney. I had to fly back to Australia and apply for the 12-month Residenza Elettiva visa. Within 8 days of landing back in Italy, I had to apply at the Post Office for my Permesso di soggiorno Elettiva. It took over 2 months to get the interview with the Questura then another 3 months to get my visa card in my hand.

    For those applying for the permesso, there is a 12-month and 24-month checkbox for your visa on the post office form. Check the 24-month option as it doesn’t cost any more and better to have the option to live here for 2 years than select one year and go through all the pain again.

    I made one very vital mistake through no fault of my own. I did not register my residency with the Comune. I stupidly assumed that as I had registered with the Questura (and assumed the databases connected between the 2 departments) and specifically asked whether there was anything else to complete (and told nothing at all), I went merrily on my way. In November 2017, I read on FB that I require a Residency Cert from the Comune before I can apply for citizenship. On visiting the Comune and seeing the same ladies I had over 10 times during 16/17 – I was advised I wasn’t on the database. At no oint did either of these ladies advise that I needed to be registered – they both knew my situation. Although I have 2 solicitor rental contracts, all my Bolle for living (rent, internet, gas, electricity, etc.) for the previous 14 months, the Comune would not back-date my residency. I have lost 14 months (but 17 months really) of living in Italy out of my 3 years. I am totally gutted. I’ve written to the Mayor, without luck. I have got a solicitor involved but unless I take this to court, the Comune will not back-date. Court in Italy takes many years and much money for a case that may not be won – my solicitor advised against this.

    So, my advice to anyone thinking of living in Italy is to register with your Comune ASAP, even if you only think you’re staying for a year. I can’t stress enough how important registering is in Italy. You just never know what happens in the future and what path you take!

    • Jed May 16, 2018 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      Sorry to hear you hit this rather significant speed bump on your way to getting citizenship. I do wish the different agencies/offices here in Italy were a bit more proactive in helping new residents to connect the dots on doing everything properly. Upon my second year of my permesso renewal (for some odd reason I was only allowed to apply for one-year renewals at the time) I was informed that I couldn’t get my renewal without a certification of residency. Fortunately, I had registered with the comune right after receiving my first permesso, and that was precipitated by my wanting to purchase a car. Strange how you can buy a home in Italy without being a resident but you can’t buy a car!
      I so appreciate you sharing your story so as to help other people avoid landing in the situation you did. I hope you are still able to get your citizenship without issue, though I understand you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

      • Image Earth Travel May 23, 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

        It’s almost as if the differing departments try to make it extremely difficult to new residents, even knowing how much trouble someone has gone through to live here. I was even told that “it is my responsibility to know all the rules when arriving in Italy, not the department’s responsibility” – with this in mind, even the people that should know do not know, so how am I supposed to know…

        Anyway, you mention that the “Union” can help complete forms and know the rules. This is the first I’ve heard of this and would have been so helpful initially. What is the exact name in Italian?

        • Jed May 24, 2018 at 11:21 am - Reply

          Unfortunately this seems to be a common theme when navigating bureaucracy in Italy and often begins on the front end of making the visa application in one’s own country. I learned very early that I would be constantly “connecting the dots.”

          Cisl Confederazione Italiana Sindacato Lavoratori was the name of the office in Citta di Castello that I visited on three occasions, for my first permesso application preparation and for two subsequent years of renewals. I can’t vouch for whether this union offers this service throughout the country, but it is worth doing a search in your area and stopping by to see if they have a dedicated person to help with permesso applications, and which days they are available. The man that helped me was available only one morning a week, and I arrived well before opening to assure myself an early place in the queue. With appropriate documentation in hand, the process usually took 30-45 mins. The guy who helped me checked to ensure that I had all necessary documents, and then put together the package which I subsequently submitted at the post office.
          Hope this helps.

          • Image Earth Travel May 24, 2018 at 11:29 am

            Many thanks for all your help and I will search for this office as I need to renew my visa in August. 🙂

          • Image Earth Travel July 31, 2018 at 2:40 pm

            Hi again Jed,
            A further frustration…
            Yesterday, I submitted my yellow kit to the PO for my renewal of my Permesso (Residenza Elettiva) almost 3 months early as I know most of Italy takes leave for August. The legal requirement is 2 months prior to expiry of you permesso, which expires on the 20th October. However, my Questura appointment is on the 223rd November, over one month after my permesso expiry.

            So today, I went to the Questura and the officer at the door first said I cannot travel between 20th Oct-23rd November. Then continued to say, if I need to go home (Australia), then it must be a direct flight to and from Italy, and I must apply for a special permission (whatever that is). He said I cannot travel to other European countries.????
            I’m not sure if he really knew the rules and would not let me inside. Said if I wanted to bring the appt forward to write a letter and take into them. He also said if I applied at the PO, then it takes longer as they don’t know when the PO submits the kit to the Questura.

            Can you shed any light on what happens when a permesso has expired and waiting on the Questura appointment?
            Many thanks

          • Jed August 1, 2018 at 12:34 pm

            From what research I’ve done, I do believe the post office receipt, which is proof of date (well within the renewal period) “should” suffice, along with your expired permesso. I’m not certain about this but the instructions from the questura officer about not transiting through an EU country with the receipt may be correct, since other EU countries may not be familiar with the receipt nor have the ability to look it up to confirm that you are indeed abiding by the rules of your permesso. The more challenging potential issue is for your return flight from Australia. Airlines are increasingly tougher on reviewing documents that prove you can have permission to stay in Italy beyond a tourist visa (90-day). You can attempt to show your receipt and expired permesso, but don’t be surprised if they stop you from boarding. The last thing they want is to be held responsible for flying you back to Australia should you be refused entry to Italy. Do you have your Carta d’Identita now? When I fly home from The States on the return portion of my ticket I show my permanent residency doc, but they seem to only be interested in my Carta d”Identita and its expiry date. I recommend contacting your airline to inquire (speaking “hypothetically” to them and not sharing specific passenger or flight info so they don’t flag your file).
            I completely understand your frustration at this severe lapse in the bureaucracy. When I had a permesso di soggiorno I always fretted about the timing of my renewal. Believe me, you have loads of company in this regard. Check out these links and threads regarding this issue, perhaps there will be something useful.



            Best of luck getting all this sorted! Jed

          • Image Earth Travel August 1, 2018 at 2:11 pm

            I’ve done a little digging and just as shifting sands, the information out there is also shifting and nothing is concrete.

            I don’t need to travel to Australia but just in case as you never know what’s around the corner. I would have to request special permission for this travel. The Questura didn’t say what this is or to whom this request is made.

            I’m not sure why this has to be so difficult. The more time I live here, the more I find that laws are not B&W, but 50 shades of grey (and then some). Definitely testing my patience and no need for this type of stress.

            Thanks again for your help!

    • Taly July 23, 2018 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      Hello I hope to chat to the lady with the Residenza Elettiva…I applied for mine last year and will ex-pire in two months…are you saying you where able to have an Residenza Elettiva for two years …do you know what to do if possible to stay after one year or the alternate return to OZ and re apply. I first moved here in 2008 did all the permesso di soggiorno interviews , immigrazione plus post office queues then returned to OZ in 2014 things happen …not knowing I could have had my full Residenza here in Italy …theres nothing I can do with that now , you have to start again what a huge shame for someone who is very happy living here …
      Any other Information is greatly received on this matter. Ciao Tutti a presto.

      • Jed July 24, 2018 at 2:58 pm - Reply

        Hi Taly, I’ve not come across an ERV that is valid for anything other than one year. As you now know, the permesso takes over as the permit to stay and can be renewed as long as you are registered with the comune as a resident. I remember, upon my first permesso renewal, being required to have a certificate of residency from the comune in order to submit my permesso renewal application. I’m not sure, but that amy have been a more recent development. Am I correct in interpreting your comments that you were able to keep renewing your permesso without proof of residency? If this is the case, have you tried going to the comune with your exisitng permesso to register as a resident? Usually, you have to then wait a few days for them to send the police to your residence to confirm that you live there. Then they issue your identity card. With that in hand, you can also get a certificate of residency (but, this isn’t a permit to stay) and file that with a permesso renewal since your current one hasn’t expired. I guess it all hinges on whether the comune will issue you the card with so little time left on your permesso.
        As for re-applying for the ERV, do you have a physical address in the U.S.? If not, I’m not in which jurisdiction you’d be dealing with for the Italian Consulate. Have you contacted an Italian State office here in Italy to see if you can do it with them?
        Another resource that might be able to help with your particular situation is While their focus is on helping people to get citizenship through heritage, and helping people trace their Italian roots, they have lawyers in both the U.S. and Italy. Peter Farina and his team might be able to help you find a solution. They offer free consultation calls, so it wouldn’t hurt. Hope some of this helps! Jed

      • Image Earth Travel July 25, 2018 at 10:24 am - Reply

        Hi Taly,

        I went to the union office yesterday and the lady confirmed that if you submit your application via their online portal, there is no option to select a timeframe, so you only receive a 12-month renewal. Also, if you submit through the Questura, I believe it’s the same.

        However, if you pick up the yellow Kit form from the post office, Question 62, has 2 checkboxes: one for 12 months, and one for 24 months. Back in 2016, I selected the 24 months check box and to my surprise, this is what I was granted. In saying that, I did have supporting financials for more than 2 years, so that helped. The union lady suggested to submit enough accounts to show you can stay for 2 years (not just the one year requirement) as this may help your case.

        I’m not sure I will get another 2 years, but it’s certainly worth a shot. Apparently, the process is taking 9 to 10 months at the moment and if you only get 12 months and have to renew 2 months in advance, then it’s a nightmare revolving door! When I submitted my Permesso in 2016, it took 5 months from start to when I received my card in my hand.

        Hope that helps and good luck!

  11. mafi March 24, 2018 at 10:45 pm - Reply


    I had a particular question and was wondering if you had any insight on it. I am a student studying my undergraduate degree in Italy (venice). I know im supposed to apply for my declaration of residence within 8 days of my arrival, but I hadn’t found an apartment till now (a month after starting school). Prior I was just staying at a friends, and didn’t have any contract of residence.

    That being said, I submitted everything at the post office today. How bad is it to do so super late? Am I at risk of losing my right to study here? I have a valid student visa in my passport for a year. And I have been regularly attending all my classes and can provide proof of that from my university.

    Thank you!!

    • Jed March 25, 2018 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      Hi, I understand your concern about the timing of everything with your permesso. I’m assuming you arrived on a student visa. If so, what did you provide with the Italian Consulate in the States for satisfying this part (housing) of the application? My guess, and my hope is that student visa and subsequent stay permits are viewed with more flexibility given that you’re not putting down roots permanently in Italy. I’ve heard of other people who have made their permesso application a little bit later than expected. I arrived on an elective residency visa. My understanding was that I had to announce my presence in Italy first (within a few days). I was told at the questura, when I went, that my entry stamp across from my visa in my passport had already satisfied that and nothing additional needed to be done. I then completed the permsso application and paid the necessary fess at the post office, and they scheduled my appointment, and that was a month later. I think you’ll find the questura pretty forgiving of your timing and your situation. I doubt they will even ask, as long as you have submitted the lease with your application.
      I’ve even heard of people who let their first year’s permesso lapse, yet the questura let them renew even though they were late. Try not to worry! I think it will work out fine. Jed

  12. Andres March 12, 2018 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed

    Thanks for the information thus far, I was wondering if you could help my particular situation. I’m American with an Italian girlfriend. Neither of us want to marry, but it seems more and more likely that its the only solution for us to stay together. But first, we would like to exhaust all other possibilities. I do remote freelance work, and she is a teacher, so living in Italy is the only choice for now. My local Italian consulate is booked for the next 4 months. Can I arrive to Italy on the normal 90 day visa and apply for the permesso within the first 8 days? What options do I have as a reason to stay? My girlfriend has a house and of course we would live together, so she can provide an invitation/proof of residence for me. I’m a bit overwhelmed by all of the conflicting and obscure information I find everywhere. We are close friends with a couple who have small children; could they provide me a path to a permesso di soggiorno as an au pair for their children? or as a private (english) tutor? Or will my being a remote freelancer (not taking work away from Italians) be enough? Thank you for any direction you can provide.


    • Jed March 12, 2018 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Andres, Without you and your Italian girlfriend being married I’m afraid it’s going to be difficult to find another path to living and staying in Italy long-term. I’ve not yet come across a person who has been able to avoid first getting an Elective Residency Visa (ERV) from the Italian consulate in their U.S. jurisdiction. The Italian consulates in the States are the initial gatekeepers, making sure only people who are qualified get this kind of visa. And, that kind of visa states that you are not-working while living in Italy. While I don’t think that precludes a person from doing freelance work remotely for clients abroad, it can’t be used as a stated source of income for funding one’s ability to stay in Italy. And, when people seek to include such income in their applications it arouses suspicion pretty quickly.
      Having someone sponsor you is a tricky path as well. Any perception, even as a private tutor or au pair can be perceived as taking a job from Italians since there are people who perform those functions. When a person is sponsored by a company and for a job they can attest to as being highly specialized, well, then a person might have a stronger chance to have a working visa.
      Marriage is the surest and quickest path to obtaining permanent residency and/or citizenship. If you come to Italy for the 90-day tourist visa you may be able to get married via the local comune, but I’m not sure how quickly that could happen. You may be required to have a testament by 2-3 witnesses, vouching for your character and attesting they have known you for a certain amount of time. Then, there is a document the comune will ask you have certified by the closest U.S. consulate, and this says that you are not encumbered with an existing marriage in the States. Then there is an additional step you’ll need to complete at the tribunale (courthouse). All this happens before the comune will open the books and schedule the marriage. I don’t know if there is an extra step because you would not yet be an Italian resident (I was when our ceremony was performed). I would recommend having someone visit the comune office where you intend to live and ask for an explanation of steps given your situation.
      In Italy, prior to a marriage or civil union, you have the choice of designating sharing of assets/property or not. Whether you eventually register your marriage in the States would be up to you.
      Once you have your marriage certificate, you should be able to go to make an appointment at the questura and immediately apply for a carta di soggiorno, which is a permanent residency card (for family reasons). It can take a couple of months, or more, depending on where you live. You’ll be given a receipt and with this you should be able to stay until the actual card arrives (you’ll need to confirm this). This card is valid for 5 years, and can be renewed (I think the next card is valid for 10 years or is truly permanent). Most people apply for citizenship after two years. You are granted this right because you are married to an Italian.
      So, Andres, I know this is a long response to your question. The short story is that your idea to come on the tourist visa and apply for a permesso while you’re here isn’t really possible. If it has happened or has been allowed, it would be news to me. Your path then would be the ERV, which requires the application at the Italian Consulate in the U.S. and those are becoming increasingly difficult to get, particularly because of the steep financial requirements. Most people applying for this kind of visa are receiving healthy retirement pensions.
      I wish I had more encouraging news for you and your girlfriend. Marriage might very well be your best option if you are dedicated to staying together and living in Italy long term.
      My best to you, Jed

      • Andres March 19, 2018 at 12:20 am - Reply


        thank you for all of the information. that was really kind of you to give as much detail as you did, it has helped to clarify this tricky situation. i know i wont meet the financial req’s for a visa through the consulate, and the consulate here is booked for a long long time; my flight is well before then. so, i suppose the best i can do now is roll the dice on a permesso when i arrive and if that doesn’t work, perhaps we will make a choice to marry before my 90 days is up. i was reading about marriage in denmark being much more simple and recognized in italy. i’ll let you know how it goes. thanks again for everything Jed!


        • Jed March 21, 2018 at 12:13 pm - Reply

          One last thing. You might find the marriage process easier in the States. If you go that route, you get an apostille and a translation of the marriage certificate, and then you can register it with the comune. They’ll be able to advise you, but you should be able to take the subsequent marriage certification they provide (once they’ve put it “in the books”) and you can make an appointment with the questura for your carta di soggiorno. Again, I highly advice asking a good friend or a member of your girlfriend’s family to speak with the comune in which you plan to reside to confirm the steps.
          Please write me if you decide to “roll the dice” and attempt to get a permesso once you arrive, without first having a visa of some sort.
          Also, an important head’s up on applying for the carta, your girlfriend/wife will need to supply financial documentation that she will be able to support both of you. This, I believe, is yet another “check” in the system to prevent people doing marriages of convenience. They’ want to know that you are in a financially viable situation. Subsequent to having the carta di soggiorno, you should be free to work, and certainly for foreign clients.
          I’m not the end-all expert on this, so it’s important for you to do your on inquiries with the proper institutions.
          Be sure to keep me posted. Wishing you all my best, Jed

  13. Efren Legaspi March 1, 2018 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed! My father worked in Italy for a solid 15 years and has carta di soggiorno issued to him while he worked there. Now that he is retired and has come back to the Philippines, will there be any benefit to him in renouncing his soggiorno? Will he get like a tax refund or some sort when he do so? Is there anything like Central Provident Fund – the one like in Singapore for foreigner workers there in Italy? Basically, the CPF is deducted to the monthly salary of the foreigner workers in Singapore who holds a Permanent Resident status, and when they decide to renounce their Permanent Resident status, the will get all their CPF. Is there such thing like that in Italy? I hope to hear from you. Thanks in advanced.

    • Jed March 3, 2018 at 11:36 am - Reply

      Hi Efren, I’m not quite sure how it works between Italy and the Philippines. But I do think, when a person is working in a job in Italy, part of what is deducted from the pay is a type of social security tax. This would be a question for a commercialista (accountant) in Italy. You would think, if a person was paying into a state pension system, he would be able to collect it at retirement. I wish I could say I’m well-versed in such a matter, but I’m not. A commercialista is the person you need to talk to. Hopefully your dad had one when he was in Italy, or at least has contacts with whom he still stays in touch and they can provide the name of a qualified Italian accountant to assess the situation. Jed

  14. Mak December 4, 2017 at 1:54 am - Reply

    Hi, I have a permesso di soggiorno di motivo famigliare. It is my second year in Italy and I need to renew my document for the first time after the 2 years of my permesso di soggiorno . I understand I can go through a local office that helps with filling the kit free of charge witch I already found close to where I live. It’s actually called ufficio pastorale di immigranti. I even took a 8 months course of italian language there. I live with my mom that has been living and working legally here for about 16 years. I also took the terza media exam and I have the proof that stated it. My question is what do I need to submit to the questura from my mom’s documents to backup with mine…I understand I need photocoies of my carta di dentita , permesso di sorggiorno , codice fiscale and the proof of the terza media. Also do I need to do the photocopies of all my passport pages or only my passport page and my visa page ?

    • Jed December 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Mak, My understanding is that copies of all pages or you passport containing and entry or exit stamp (from any country) needs to be copied. These copies are attached to your application, but you may need another set of copies for your appointment with the questura (at least that was the case when I was renewing my permesso). Is the degree to which you’re referring the A2 language certification. If so, and if you signed the integration agreement stipulating you must have it after three years, then you’ll need the certification of passing/results, not just of taking the exam. I’m not terribly familiar with your type of permesso, so not completely sure. But, I am pretty certain about the passport pages.

  15. Karen December 3, 2017 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    I’m newly arrived in Italy and living in the house we bought ten years ago. I’m British and as you’ll know we’re now perched between EU and soon to be ex EU. Obviously nobody has any idea what this yet means to the likes of us and after dreaming of living in Italy for 30 years I am not letting this go!
    I’m driving myself mad trying to find out what to do in my situation and your site was very helpful, so I hope you don’t mind helping me.
    My quandary is this – I recently lost my admin job in the UK due to work related injuries and had to take redundancy (there was a lump sum involved). There is no chance of me getting work in the UK now with useless experience and qualifications at 58 and I’m still eight years off getting my pension.
    We want to move to Italy anyway and not one to give up, I decided to train to teach English and trade in on the skill of my mother tongue instead. I’ve been here since September and as yet not managed to get any firm offers, so I’m basically waiting for the phone to ring. My fear and concern is how on earth can I apply for a permesso di soggiorno? My husband is still in the UK trying to sell our house and is still working. He has a pension from the armed forces which I’m living on till I get work, but can’t claim as my own income. I don’t have my own income. I’m driving myself slowly mad wondering if there even is a way to do this! I’d really appreciate anything you can tell me even though I’m from the other side of the pond!

    • Jed December 4, 2017 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Hi Karen, Thanks for writing. I can only imagine what it is like for you trying to figure out the “what ifs” regarding the uncertain road with Brexit. My understanding is, as a member of a current EU country a permesso di soggiorno is not a requirement for you, and I’ve not heard of a British citizen having one or being obliged to get one. The permessso di soggiorno is based on the type of visa a person has when entering the country from a non-EU country, whether it’s an elective residency visa, a student visa, a family reunification visa, a work visa, etc. Since this isn’t currently a requirement or even a possibility for UK citizens (unless there’s something I’m missing) I believe the most important thing you can do to set yourself up for possible outcomes with Brexit is to establish yourself as a resident in your comune, if you haven’t already done so. With residency under your belt, and if you’re already working, you may have a better/easier time of then using that as a basis (hopefully within in Italy and not having to go through an Italian consulate in England first) for getting a permesso di soggiorno when and if it is required. I think the Italian government will look more favorably upon UK citizens who are established legal residents, and who own property.
      I don’t really know of any other path. In fact, if you learn something that does say a permesso di soggiorno is a current option for British citizens I’d love to know and to share with my readers.
      Let’s all hope that cooler heads prevail in the coming negotiations and a result will be an easy relation between the EU and UK as far as movement and residence of people. I think it’s a strong possibility that both the UK and the EU will establish a mechanism for people already residing in a country to stay without having to go “back home” first. The good news about such a scenario, is the financial requirements for a permesso di soggiorno elective residency (non-working) is the equivalent (for each person) of a basic Italian pension. Italian consulates outside Italy usually have stricter/higher requirements to get the visa. Permesso’s that are based on ability to work will be another matter altogether. Unemployment is still high in Italy and the country could be protective of its citizens in this regard. I know that’s currently the case for people coming from the US unless they are sponsored by a company working in Italy.
      You might want to check with any local union that assists (usually for free) people in understanding the options and requirements for stay permits––and they can confirm or deny what I understand and/or what you’ve heard or read from other people. Also, a trip to your local Questura, with someone who has a strong command of Italian, will take you right to the source. I can’t imagine that other UK citizenship haven’t been asking these same questions.
      I wish I could provide an ironclad answer to your question, but I do urge you to establish your residency in the meantime. Please keep me posted! Jed

  16. Abdi October 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Hi!!! 🙂 When you write “Here in Umbria, I was directed to utilize the service of a local union, where they fill out your application, without charge”. I don’t understand where di you go and what’s the name of this service in italian o who provides this service. Could you give more information please. I fill by myself my first application for the permesso di soggiorno but I will have to do it again so I don’t want to do it wrong. Thank you so much.

    • Jed October 11, 2017 at 11:04 am - Reply

      Hi, Abdi. When I was a resident in Umbria, and went for my yearly permesso renewal, I went to the CISL office in Citta di Castello (located behind the Eurospin on the south side of town). If memory serves me correctly, Wednesday morning was the designated day when a very nice fellow name Abdul, was available to do the permesso application on his computer. I’d arrive at 9 a.m.or earlier to be front of the queue. He’d then ensure all necessary documents were in order, and then he’d put them all in a folder affixed to the application. The big thing for me, in preparation, was making sure I’d made copies of all my stamped passport pages. Usually, after 20-30 minutes, Abdul would hand me my application, and give me instructions for the bollo that needed to be paid as well as the form used for paying the permesso fee at the post office. Pretty tidy process, and a free service.
      I don’t know where you are located in Umbria, but I’d see if there is a local CILS union office, and stop by to see if they have this service and on which day it’s offered.
      Also, the last couple of years I made my application there I was required to have a certificato di residenza in order for the application to be complete. And, my permesso processing times were progressively longer, so I kept backing up my renewal date by several weeks each year.
      Hope all this helps! Jed

  17. Paul Mahoney May 17, 2017 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Hello Jed,
    I have been a resident in Sicily since 2010. I have a Permesso Di Soggiorno Elettiva. I have a Casa Vacanza and have been renting my house and paying taxes since 2015.
    I am of Italian decent. My mother’s parents were born in Italy, but she was born before 1948. I assume my grandfather renounced as he joined the US military when he was quite young.
    Can I legally rent my house (Which is fully regulated) with a PDS Elective? or do I need a different type of Permesso i.e. Permesso di Lavoro?
    Or should I instead apply for the 5 year Permesso?
    Or should I just go for Citizenship?
    I am 54 and pay about 8,000 a year in taxes on my house rental?
    I wish I had found your site 10 years ago!
    Thank you!

    • Jed May 17, 2017 at 11:40 am - Reply

      Salve Paul, Lucky you to be in Sicily. I’ve only been once, but I loved it. My understanding is that the permesso di soggiorno elettiva says you won’t work, but it doesn’t say you can’t rent. Since you’re already paying significant taxes, I’m assuming that you set up a partita IVA through your commercialista. According to a couple of people I’ve talked to, if the property is designated as a B&B, and the annual income is under a certain amount (a few thousand euros, I don’t remember exactly), you’re not obliged to pay taxes But, you’re well above that. The only legality might be registering the house as a rental (I’m not familiar with those requirements in your area).
      As for citizenship, my understanding is that your first have to apply for the carta di soggiorno (permanent residency) which is good for five years (renewable permanently at the end of that time). You might be able to apply for citizenship after you’ve been in Italy for ten full years. I just converted to the carta di soggiorno for family reasons (my spouse is Italian), and the path is easier for me. I can apply for citizenship in two years. I’m leaning towards getting the citizenship. I think, having the Italian passport will make some of my travel easier (I’m dying to go to Cuba). I’m also a bit nervous as to what, if any restrictions, may end up being applied to those traveling on a US passport. Time will tell.
      If your grandmother didn’t renounce her Italian citizenship before 1948, then that is certainly a path towards citizenship, sooner than later. But, from hearing people’s experiences, that route can be tedious (at least people trying to do it while living in the U.S., maybe it’s easier here in Italy).
      So, I hope this is helpful in some small way. I’m not the expert on all this, but I’ve certainly come across these issues – either directly or indirectly.
      Don’t hesitate to write if you have further questions. And, please keep me posted. Best, Jed

    • Paul Mahoney May 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

      Wow Jed! You are a wild man!
      Thank you so much for your quick response.
      I have been getting conflicting information. My commercialista has recommended I do not go for partita IVA. Partita IVA would save me money at the moment, but I have heard it is much more complicated and the tax rate would likely change to a higher rate in the future. I believe there are many more regulations/complications, as you are well aware in Italy, sometimes it is worth paying extra for a process less bureaucratic! I am paying a flat 21% on a “location rental” I forget the Italian name for it (unfortunately it is without the possibility of deductions).
      I heard years ago that if you have Italian grandparents (even if they renounced their Italian citizenship) you are entitled to “APPLY” for citizenship after 3 years of residency. (Applying does not guarantee getting citizenship). People without Italian blood have to wait 10 years.
      I will have my friend call the Questura to see if he can get a definitive answer (Which I will share with you). Somehow I think the word “definitive” should never be used in describing anything Italian!
      Grazie per la assistenza
      A presto! Paul

      • Jed May 17, 2017 at 2:28 pm - Reply

        Grazie Paul! You’re helping me build my education in these matters. Sounds as though you’ve already navigated the best, and least angst-producing path on the rental. I look forward to hearing back from you about what you hear from the questura. In bocca al lupo! Jed

  18. Kobina March 11, 2017 at 1:17 am - Reply

    I reside in Italy, please Can I travel to africa by flight, with my 6 months permesso di soggiorno, carta didentita and my passport? Please help me I want to know, thanks

    • Jed March 11, 2017 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Dear Kobina, Are you a US citizen? If so, outside of Italy your permesso di soggiorno and carta di residenza won’t help you. You may be asked for your permesso when you are re-entering Italy, along with your US passport. Otherwise, depending on your destination in Africa, you may need an tourist visa (many countries require them of US citizens). This link to an article on USA Today maybe be of use to determine the particulars of your journey. You might have to contact the consulate of the country you intend to visit to get the tourist visa.

      I hope all works out!

  19. Angela February 25, 2017 at 1:14 am - Reply

    Hi Jed, I am hoping to have grande vacanza in Rome and am thinking about applying for ‘retirement visa’.
    I understand I have to supply bank statements and etc.. to Italian consulate but when I send ‘kit’ from a post office in Italy, apart from application form, what else do I have to send ? And what documents do I have to take when I go to immigration police ? Also, do you know any organisation I can go to get any help/ assistance for filling the form etc in Rome like you were assisted by ‘Union’ ?

    Your reply would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jed February 25, 2017 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Salve Angela, Many of the same documents (from your visa application) will be required to accompany your “kit” that you send from the post office. However, you won’t need six months of statements as is required when applying for your visa at the consulate. The most recent account summaries (including pension or social security) should suffice (I printed them out from my online statements – and usually just the page showing the big picture). You’ll need a copy of your insurance card docs showing coverage overall coverage details in line with your visa dates, copies of your main passport page, and copies of every page that has an immigration stamp (don’t copy blank pages). A copy of your lease and/or a letter from your landlord (a copy of a certificato di agibilita may also be necessary – provided by your landlord – not certain about this since you’ll be leasing vs. owning). Copy (front and back) or your codice fiscale (if you have gotten one). I’m pretty sure that covers things. When and if you go to renew the permesso for subsequent years, you’ll be asked for a certificato di residenza, which you’ll be able to get from the comune in your first year after you’ve received your first permesso. If you skip the step of registering as a resident, you may not be able to get a renewal.
      When you have your appointment at the questura, you’ll again be asked for copies of your passport pages as described above. I think it’s also a good idea to have additional copies of the other documents (just in case). But, the passport pages are the biggie. Other things that will happen at the questura is finger-printing, and possibly signing an integration agreement. For the latter, I’ve heard this is implemented inconsistently, but “supposedly” this is a nationwide requirement – and by signing this agreement you are saying you will take a Italian civics class (usually they schedule it for you right then and there) which you cannot miss, otherwise the initial points they award you (towards the completion of the agreement) will be significantly reduced. I was given a copy of the agreement in English as well, and it explains all the ways you can earn the necessary points to complete fully the agreement (you’re given three years). The non-negotiable will be getting certification in speaking and comprehending Italian.
      Things always seem to be in flux here in Italy, and as I often try to point out, bureaucracy can vary from region to region. That’s why I disclaim that my advice comes from experience that might ultimately be different from yours. But, I think you’ll find most, if not all of this, is pretty much still the case.
      I hope this helps!!! Jed

      • Angela February 25, 2017 at 1:19 pm - Reply

        Jed….thank you so much for your in depth information.
        Your generosity is deeply appreciated. Thank you so much.

        You have mentioned ‘certificato di residenza’. Is it carta d’identità you are talking about ?
        And I have never heard of certificato di agibilità before..
        I am going to rent an apartment in Rome…does my landlord have to provide this for me ? What is it ?
        Please let me know..

        Thank you again Jed.

        • Jed February 25, 2017 at 3:24 pm - Reply

          Angela…The certificato di residenza is a document separate from you carta d’identita. When I went for my permesso renewal in my second year I had to go first to the comune office and request this one page document with the official stamp of the comune. For me it cost 1.5 euro (in Umbria). When I went for the same document in Treviso it was 18 euro. Your carta d’identita will not suffice to prove your residency.
          The certificato d’agibilita is a certification that the place where you are living is up to code and legally habitable. You’ll have to check with your particular region as to whether you’ll need this since you’re renting, but usually the police want to know that you are living in a place that is legal – something that you’d want to know as well. If there is a way you can ask the local questura whether this is necessary since you are renting, that would be best. But, I always over plan, and having a copy of the certificato (I can’t imagine that your landlord would have a problem giving you a copy, to go with any lease agreement – but perhaps, by listing his property on the lease he is guaranteeing that the property is up to code) will put your mind at ease and assure authorities if they have any questions about where you’re living.
          After you have your first permesso, and after you take that and your passport to the comune to get your carta d’identita, the police will be sent to your residence to confirm you live at the address listed. They won’t tell you exactly when they’ll show up, but in most places it’s within a few days.
          The certificato d’agibilita has been something the authorities have been cracking down on in the last few years – due to people listing addresses to get their permesso that weren’t really legal residences.
          Hope all this provides further clarity.

  20. Sana February 14, 2017 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    I live in sweden and i throw some where my permesso di soggiorno plz telll me how can i applay again.

    • Jed February 16, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

      Hi Sana, Are you a citizen in Sweden? If so, you’re already a member of the EU and don’t need a permesso di soggiorno to live in Italy (just a certificato di residenza). I’m more familiar with people coming from non-EU countries – so you’ll need to clarify this. My understanding is, if you are already and EU citizen, you go to the comune with your documentation (including proof of property ownership, lease) for your certificato di residenza.
      If you’re not an EU citizen and you’re living as a resident in Sweden, you may have to go to the local Italian consulate and apply for a visa before coming to Italy, and starting the permesso di soggiorno process again.
      Best to check with the questura and comune in the area in which you plan to reside to be certain.
      While I can share what I’ve learned from experience, and from other people, I’m not an expert, so, you’ll have to confirm with the proper authorities!
      Hope this helps,

  21. Joey October 13, 2016 at 8:28 pm - Reply


    I understand this past summer that civil unions are now legal in Italy. Yay.

    If I move to Italy from the US (I am a US citizen) and immediately register for a heterosexual civil union with my boyfriend does that allow me most of the same rights as someone marrying an Italian citizen? Do I still need a visa for longer than the three month tourist visa from the US? Would I still need to apply for a permesso di soggiorno?

    • Jed October 13, 2016 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      Ciao Joey,
      You ask a very timely question. I am currently in this very process. My partner is Italian, and we are one of the first civil unions in our area. I am assuming that your boyfriend is an Italian citizen, is that correct? If so once you have a gotten your civil union you should be able to get, at the very least, a permanent stay permit (you still have to submit an application but because you are “married” to an Italian I do believe it cannot be denied (best to confirm this. It should be the same as marrying an Italian citizen. We’re still working our way through the process – which is all very doable, but a bit involved. So, it’s not so easy as just showing up and visiting the comune where your boyfriend is a resident. It’s a process that takes time. First you will have to have a declaration from an American consulate that certifies you are not encumbered by another marriage. It’s easy to fill out. Once the US consulate stamps and signs it, the document is good for only six months. The comune office in Italy will need this to begin the process. From here on the process might be different for you since you’re not already an Italian resident (I am). We are required to go to the tribunale (court) with two witnesses (Italian) who testify they know me and basically that I’m legit. A notaio can do this more expeditiously since many courts have a backlog of requests for civil union and marriages between an Italian and a foreigner – but it’s expensive. For us, once we’ve completed this step we can schedule our civil union ceremony and be done.
      This is ALL very new here in Italy, so I’d advise you to ask your boyfriend to go to his local comune office and explain your particular situation, and ask what the process is since you’re not a resident.
      He might also be able to inquire also about your getting a permanent stay permit or Italian passport. A trip to the questura (immigration police) might also be good to be certain.
      Good luck with all this. If I learn more I’ll be sure to let you know. I think I’ll be writing a lengthy blog post about this! Jed

      • Joey October 14, 2016 at 9:04 pm - Reply

        Hi Jed,

        Thank you so much for your reply! Someone mentioned that the civil union only applies to homosexual couples, is that true? We are a heterosexual couple. Does the same apply? I hope so. This was super helpful information either way!!!

        • Jed October 15, 2016 at 1:20 am - Reply

          It’s my understanding that a civil union is available in Italy to both straight and same sex couples. The big news, of course was that such a law was historical in giving legal recognition to same sex couples!

  22. Jack Mariani August 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Hi. My commercialista, who is also an attorney, said that because I have regular monthly pension income, and pay Italian taxes, I should qualify for the permanent permesso in my 6th year. He disagrees with the Prefettura that a retiree does not qualify. We’ll see!

  23. Jack Mariani July 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Hi. What a great read! Thanks for all of the information. I have a question regarding the actual permesso di soggiorno and can’t seem to find an “official” answer. I’ve been advised by some to only carry a photocopy of the PdiS and keep the actual PdiS in a safe place. However, recently I’ve been told that Italian law requires that one must always carry the original PdiS since it contains biometric data. Do you know which is the case? I’d prefer to carry a copy of my PdiS in case I fall prey to pick-pockets and I cringe at the idea of trying to get a new one issued (who needs an extra visit to the Questura), but if I’m in a situation in which authorities ask for my PdiS and I don’t have the original with me, I also cringe at what issues that might cause. If you don’t happen to know, I’m in the process of renewing and can ask at the Questura when I go for fingerprinting in late September and can post the answer here, if you’d like. Thanks!

    • Jed July 31, 2016 at 11:28 am - Reply

      Ciao Jack, I’m glad you found the information useful. A copy of the permesso might help you in you are asked for it, but I’m afraid you are required (legally) to have the real deal on your person, should you be stopped and asked to show it. My strategy has been to keep it in my wallet, and in my front pants pocket at all times. Processing times for the permesso are getting longer and longer (usually held up in Rome). The last two years have taken a minimum of four months for me. The receipt you get at the post office should suffice to show anyone (along with your expired permesso) until you receive your new permesso. One point of clarity, you can do a lot more with your receipt when you are renewing. The receipt for your first permesso will not work for some things (like getting your carta di residenza, and buying a car). Hope this helps!

      • Jack Mariani July 31, 2016 at 12:23 pm - Reply

        Hi, Jed. Thanks for your reply; the additional information you gave is also helpful. Where I live, it is now taking almost five months for the entire process to be completed. When I submitted my renewal application earlier this month, the date I was given for fingerprinting was 11 weeks away, and they estimated another 8 weeks after that before the card would be ready for pick up. I am looking forward to the day when I can apply for the permanent permesso, although the Prefettura told me that retired people do not qualify for it; my attorney disagrees. We’ll see what happens in another two years. lol Regards.

        • Jed August 2, 2016 at 2:26 pm - Reply

          I’ve been told by the union rep, who helps me with my yearly renewal, that a carta di soggiorno (permanent) is possible after having the permesso for five full years, and after showing you have been paying income tax (income on renting your property should qualify – according to a friend who is a commercialista). Otherwise you have to be married or in a registered civil union with an Italian to qualify for the carta di soggiorno. This is the best knowledge I have at this moment. Let me know if you learn anything new, and I’ll be sure to share!

  24. Sandra Cuesta May 25, 2016 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I have a question. Do I have to translate all the paperwork from English to Italian? Bank statement and insurance ? Thanks for any advice.

    • Jed May 28, 2016 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      Ciao Sandra, My apologies for such a tardy response. I have never been asked to translate my paperwork for my permesso application. The most recent summary of your bank statements should be sufficient (for the visa application the Italian consulate requires six months of statements). I’ve provided a copy of my insurance card (front and back) – in my case, since I have the tessera sanitaria, I provide that. For private insurance you might need to attach some coverage detail. I hope this helps! Jed

  25. Elizabeth Wholey July 25, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Very useful information Jed. The whole process is daunting, as we know! But living here is worth the bureaucracy, according to me!

    • Jed July 26, 2015 at 1:17 am - Reply

      Grazie Elizabeth! You have been an invaluable source of advice and encouragement.

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