The Permesso di Soggiorno – Don’t Expect Speedy Processing!

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.

I am waiting for my fourth permesso di soggiorno. Each year the processing time gets longer and longer. Well, at least it has been for many expats in Umbria going through the Perugia office. My first year took three and a half months. Second year was four months. Third year was four and a half months. And this year already I’m closing in on five months. I have friends who waited six months. Keep in mind the permesso has a year’s validity. Sure you can tote around the post office receipt and application code, which is “supposed” to be a valid holdover until your new card arrives. But depending on where you are in Italy, not having the card can cause all sorts of mischief. For example, for your tessera sanitaria, national healthcare coverage, you may be required to keep going back to the ASL office to get an extension. Again, it depends on who you’re dealing with. It is my understanding that all that is required is your application receipt.

And so, I give myself the advice that I dole out so often in all matters of Italian bureaucracy…

Be prepared to wait, and wait…

I was having lunch just a week ago with fellow American expats, and I confirmed that they, too, were waiting longer than normal. I thought this was a country wide problem, but I’m told other regions have much speedier processing times. Normal timing is “supposed” to be two and a half months. I thought I was being proactive by getting way out in front of the renewal by a couple of months. That strategy isn’t working.

The other puzzling matter is that of the carta di soggiorno, which is a permanent stay permit that you are “supposed” to be able to get after living in Italy for five full years. Rumor has it that if your working work with the region of Perugia, they aren’t giving these out. Instead they insist on a yearly renewal of the basic permesso di soggiorno.

Supposedly other regions issue them without a problem. Frankly, I don’t know, and I plan to do more research, which I will share with you when I have a better understanding.

Soon I will be moving my residency to Treviso, and already I’m finding the Comune incredibly helpful and buttoned up. Hopefully I’ll find that everything buzzes along with greater precision and speed. Time will tell.

Umbria is a wonderful place to live. My experiences with the people have been fantastic, and the police at the questura always have been wonderful. But, I think the backend bureaucracy is unduly burdened for some reason. Perhaps it’s government cutbacks, or perhaps they are buried with managing the stay permits for all of the immigrants flooding into the country from North Africa.

If you’re moving to another region of Italy I urge you to

Research your particular area to see if you can get an idea of permesso processing times and the types of stay permits they’re willing to issue (and why).

Then, you can manage your expectations accordingly. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find getting the straight story on the whole permesso di soggiorno process frustratingly elusive. I think this is because it is administered with great inconsistency.

Still the basics of what you will need to make your application ARE fairly consistent, and I urge you to read my earlier post that provides great detail as to navigating the process.

These are my personal experiences and they should not serve as a substitute for your own inquiries with the proper Italian agencies regarding their regulations.

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By |2016-11-13T17:50:31+00:00August 30th, 2016|Uncategorized|24 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!

24 Comments

  1. Yousseph Walid El Ghoche January 21, 2019 at 6:38 am - Reply

    I have been waiting for more then 6 months and Im staying in Italy For Motivi Familiare thats cause i have a son here from my X , So anyone thinks that they can help on what to do next after waiting all this time , I cant travel out of the country I cant use my Carta sanitari ,If I got sick my dr cant issue nothing , so i dont know what to do next

    • Jed January 21, 2019 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks for writing and I hope someone who is in a similar situation can offer helpful advice. In which region have you applied for your MOtivi Familiare? In the Treviso region it took approximately forty-five days for me. I know that is fairly speedy. Unfortunately not all regions run as speedily. Have you been monitoring the status on the Polizia di Stato https://questure.poliziadistato.it/stranieri/ and inserted your receipt/application number to see what it shows?
      When I lived in Umbria and was in the yearly peremsso renewal process, during the second year (my first renewal) it was taking so long (almost five months) that I called the regional immigration office in Perugia. I had a native Italian speak with the woman (when we finally got through) and she looked up the number and gave us her estimation of where it was and when it should arrive. If you choose to call be sure to have a fluent speaker handle the call on your behalf in order to tactfully push for answers and to explain your dilemma. For me I mainly wanted assurance that my renewal wasn’t lost (as it seems to have been for Ross who has written on this thread).
      Unfortunately, these processing times are not improving and I sympathize with your plight especially as it affects one’s ability to travel back and forth from the country.
      Jed

    • Aly January 21, 2019 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      Hello Joseph, which city did you apply? Did it take that long in the past?
      Cheers
      Aly

  2. MA A January 18, 2019 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Hello, I have aplplied to renew my PDS at the Questura di trento, after my appointment the lady told me it would take 8mpnths processing time, it has been for 4 months now amd I am till Waiting, anyone has been through PDS renewal in Trento or other regions and got his renewal processed quickly?

    • Aly January 21, 2019 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      Looks like it’s a major issue all over Italy

  3. ROSS DODDS January 4, 2019 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    PERHAPS THIS IS THE TIME FOR A FOLLOW-UP TO MY COMMENTS OF MONTHS AGO.

    IT HAS NOW BEEN ONE YEAR SINCE MY APPLICATION, YES, A YEAR ! I WAS TOLD I WOULD RECEIVE A SECURE CELL PHONE MESSAGE WHEN IT WAS READY. NADA, NO SECURE MESSAGE TO DATE. I WAS TOLD I COULD GO TO THE WEB PAGE POLIZIA DEL STATO, TYPE IN MY FILE NUMBER AND LEARN THE STATUS. I DO THIS ABOUT TWICE EACH MONTH. EACH TIME I AM TOLD, “NO HISTORY OF THIS IN THE SYSTEM”

    I WOULD GUESS I COULD RETURN TO THE QUESTURA, STAND IN LINE FOR THREE HOURS OUTSIDE IN THE FREEZING COLD, ONCE INSIDE STAND IN LINE FOR AN HOUR, GET A NUMBER, SIT AND WAIT FOR HOURS AND ASK FOR AN UPDATE. I GUESS I COULD. NO, I WILL NOT PLAY THESE GAMES. I AM 79 YEARS OLD AND THE PROSPECT IS NOT ONE I CAN ENDURE. THE SYSTEM SUCKS….

    IN THE EIGHT YEARS I HAVE BEEN A RESIDENT OF FLORENCE NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED ME TO PRESENT THE PERMESSO. THE PERMESSO IS ONLY GOOD WHEN YOU WANT TO GET A HEALTH CARD. SO, I PAY CASH FOR MY HEALTH CARE.

    • Jed January 4, 2019 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      Oh my, this is terrible news. Such a message on the website indicates your application is completely MIA. I’ve not come across anyone having such a message once they’ve had their renewal appointment.

      Sounds as though you’ve landed on a strategy of staying without the permesso. My big caution to other people is that the permesso can be crucial to travel in and out of Italy. It’s next to impossible if transiting through another EU country. If the immigration police see (through the computer or through passport stamps) that a person had been in an EU country for more than 90 days in a 180-day window, such a person can be shipped back to one’s country of birth and barred from re-entry.

      So sorry to hear that the permesso process has failed you so badly.

      Jed

    • Fiorella January 16, 2019 at 1:58 am - Reply

      Hi, I know this might not be precisely the topic but since apparently you have been living in italy for a while I was wondering if you knew if you can go out from italy (for tourism) to other schengen countries while waiting for thhe actual card of the permit of stay. As I understood you are not allowed, but in your case for example you werent able to travel for a whole year??
      To add I know that tourists get 90 days when they enter to the European union do you know if while waiting for the permit you are allowed to use these days in order to travel to other european countries? I mean if I went to another continent and came back in january (im still wiating for the permit) would I be allowed to go to france the next month for instance with those 90 days?

      • Jed January 16, 2019 at 6:02 am - Reply

        My understanding is that 90 days within a continuous 180 period can be spread around the EU Schenghen Treaty countries. So, technically you could spend 60 days in Italy, 20 days in France, and 10 days in Germany as long you don’t exceed 90 days. If you’re waiting for your permesso in Italy I’d avoid testing those limits, favoring staying in Italy (with your application receipt) until you have the hard permesso in hand.

  4. ROSS DODDS August 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    I HAVE NOW WAITED 6 MONTHS FOR MY SIXTH PERMESSO. I WAITED IN LINE AT THE QUESTURA FOR FIVE HOURS YESTERDAY. THE LINE WENT AROUND THE BLOCK, THE TEMPERATURE WAS 97F., IN PAST YEARS I HAVE WAITED IN THE RAIN AND SNOW. THE QUESTURA MAKES NO PROVISION FOR THE ELDERLY OR INFIRM, NONE. BE AWARE THAT YOU WILL NOT GET A HEALTH CARD WITHOUT THE PERMESSO HERE IN FLORENCE. AS REGARDS THE LONG DELAY, I WAS TOLD THAT THE INFLUX OF MIGRANTS IS THE REASON, THE SYSTEM IS OVERWHELMED.

    I COULD WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THIS MESS.

    • Jed August 7, 2018 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      Ciao Ross, I can only imagine the book you could write. I’m so distraught to hear that the permesso queue continues to be getting longer and longer. I hope my followers will pay attention to your experience and plan accordingly. The system surely is being taxed with the increase in immigration while government funding and offices simultaneously are experiencing cutbacks. Jed

    • ROSS DODDS December 6, 2018 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      TIME FOR AN UPDATE, FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH. IT IS NOW DECEMBER. THE QUESTURE HAS NOT SENT THE SAINTED CELL PHONE MESSAGE AS PROMISED. NO PERMESSO !

      I CHECK THE POLICE DEL STATO WEB SITE, TYPE IN MY FILE NUMBER ON REGULAR BASIS AND READ,” NO RECORD?” TALK ABOUT LOST TO FOLLOW-UP.

      MY ADVISE TO ALL SOULS FACING THIS IS: SCREW THE PERMESSO. IN SEVEN YEARS NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED TO SEE THE THING. IF ONE DAY THEY COME TO KICK ME OUT I WILL GO WITHOUT A WHIMPER. FAREWELL TO ALL MY DEAR ITALIAN FRIENDS, IT HAS BEEN WONDERFUL…

      ROSS DODDS

      • Jed December 6, 2018 at 11:29 pm - Reply

        I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had such an abysmal experience with the permesso. Rarely was I asked for mine (I’m now a permanent resident) and when I needed it was to buy a car, get my residency card, and travel through other Schengen countries without incident. Already people have run into issues traveling in Schengen countries with only the renewal receipt. I agree; it’s a frustrating and flawed system! Which region are you in, Ross? It might help other people to know to watch out. Here in Veneto things are processed much more efficiently. I guess it varies considerably from region to region!

  5. Melanie Garthwaite August 31, 2016 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Yes indeed. Novelia always brings everyone together. A very special person!

  6. Melanie Garthwaite August 30, 2016 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    Jed. we woke up this morning in New Zealand and had a right good chuckle reading your recent blog over a nice cup of tea! We could hear the frustration!! We are in the process of buying an apartment in Sulmona. We too struggled to open a bank account in Italy but our friend Carlo took care of everything for us and suddenly it all happened!!
    Norvelia has mentioned that you will be in Sulmona in September. I hope we will still be in Sulmona at that time and will have a chance to meet you. Caio. Mel & John

    • Jed August 31, 2016 at 9:33 am - Reply

      Ciao Mel and John, I’m glad my adventures gave you a good laugh! That’s always the best medicine when one hits a snag in the processes here. I do hope our dates overlap (mid September for me). Novelia is quite the Pied Piper, isn’t she? Jed

  7. Susan Geiger August 30, 2016 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Jed – it is not only Italy – or Umbria! Yesterday we went to our county offices to start the process(es) for getting a driveway cut permit – which needs an address application. The location that we intend to use is at the end of a road stub – originally designed to continue on into a subdivision which never happened and now has been rezoned to “rural agricultural.” While there, we asked about requirements (hopefully none) for moving a barn that was 3/4 on our property and 1/4 on the builder’s. (Don’t ask!) We bought the barn and got a 5 year easement from him to move it….However, the county gives us until October 26th of this year. Anyway, the building department said that we needed a permit to move the barn based on the fact that it is for horses and hay; not cows, goats, llamas, sheep or pigs (totally). And, because it had been built without a permit, it would need to be inspected by an engineer. (Not good news or a cheap proposition, although it was built to be portable – on 4 big “I” beams that will work as skids.)
    One department later (Planning and Zoning) to verify the “have to move by date” and they have taken sides (with us) on the horses as agriculture status! Two department heads later, and we don’t have to get a permit to move the barn and horses are considered as agriculture in a county that prides itself on its agriculture support!
    Patience – and talking nicely – and showing that we are trying to follow all of the rules, can pay off, as you know! No matter what country you are in!

    • Jed August 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      Wow. I was exhausted reading of your journey to get permissions. Yes, patience and talking nicely goes a long way. I’ve seen people unravel and become demanding – to disastrous results. Hang in there!

  8. Anita August 30, 2016 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Ciao Jed! Its great to read an inside view of life in Italy for an xpat! Grazie !! Anita

    • Jed August 30, 2016 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      It’s a never-ending journey of discovery and patience. Baci!!!

  9. Linda Dini Jenkins August 30, 2016 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Jed:

    Oh, I just can’t wait to be spending more time in Italy and having to deal with all this nonsense!!!! I remember how long it took just to get a codice fiscale and then open a bank account!! Novelia called yesterday to say our time in Sulmona might overlap. I am running a tour beginning on 9/17, leaving Sulmona on 10/8. What is your timing? I heard about Nunzio and the sheep . . . can’t wait to see the photos! Linda

    • Jed August 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      Let’s hope the situation is better in other regions! Our trips will overlap, so we’ll be able to meet in Sulmona. Looking forward to it!

  10. Suzy August 30, 2016 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    You are right, I might try Bibbienna, small commune might speed things up the next time. My house in Arezzo, , the apartment is in Florence.

    • Jed August 30, 2016 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      Keep the faith. Let me know how your experience goes!

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