Mission accomplished!

20 Nov
On this lovely fall day in Roma, after many months of planning, process and waiting, not to mention a ream of paper and a bucket full of ink, we finally obtained the Holy Grail that allows us to remain in the Schengen Zone legally: our permessi di soggiorno (residence permits) are in our hands!
Of course, this last step was not without quirks. I wrote in early October about the process thus far: Applying for a visa in San Francisco, working through the machinations of Poste Italiane to file our permesso packets, and then the interesting trip to the Questura di Roma Divisione Stranieri in a seedy part of Roma to be fingerprinted and processed. (Questura is police station and isn’t it amusing — and a little offensive  — that foreigners are called stranieri? The same word in Italian can also mean alien, stranger, or enemy.)
When we left after our appointment at the Divisione Stranieri, we were told we would be able to pick up our permessi in about 40 days, but we could check online to see if they were ready. Last Saturday I checked the web: lo-and-behold, they were ready! Planning to go Monday morning, I rechecked the site to make sure we were headed to the right precinct, and now the site said our permessi were not in the archive. WTF? It also said we would receive an SMS when they were ready with a time and place to pick them up.
Like any residents of Italy, we have developed cynicism about exactly how things worked, so after one more check today (still not in the archive) we decided to drop by the precinct (Commissariato) and check.
Upon arrival, I showed the officer our receipts for permessi and we were pointed to a waiting room. Eventually, another officer came and asked if we were there for passports. No, I told him, permessi, adding a  brief explanation of why I thought they’d be ready. We waited a few moments more while he checked something, and were waived back to his office. Score! Except he wanted the receipt from Poste Italiane that was such a problem since PI  screwed that up. I told him we left those at the Questura and all they gave us was the receipts we had just handed him. With a little Italian bureaucratic shrug, he accepted that explanation and proceeded. Oh-by-the-way, do not attempt this if you do not speak a decent amount of Italian. 
We noted an interesting mix of technology and paper processes. Our permessi are electronic, and programming had to be completed by the officer, including a fingerprint scanned to the chip on the card. But he also had to keep a log in an old-fashioned manual ledger noting our names, DOBs, passport and permesso numbers. He asked us for our cell phone numbers, which certainly were in the system, but he wanted them in writing along with our signatures proving we’d received the permessi. Then he wanted to verify where we lived and whether we owned the apartment. Again, something divulged in both the visa and permesso application packets. Then he wanted our landlady’s name and phone number. Presumably to check and see if we really live here. However, the proprietor had to register us with this very same precinct when we moved in last May. Methinks there are silos of information.
Taken in a photo booth, as all official photos are done here, I look like a deer in the headlights. But this is solid gold if you want to be int eh Schengen Zone more than 90 days out of 180!

Taken in a photo booth, as all official photos are done here, I look like a deer in the headlights. But this is solid gold if you want to be in the Schengen Zone more than 90 days out of 180!

Allora, Mission Accomplished! We are good until August 28, 2016, one year from our date of entry. Then we do it all over again.

18 Responses to “Mission accomplished!”

  1. John Henderson December 4, 2015 at 16:03 #

    Please confirm you received my note.

    John Henderson


  2. John Henderson December 4, 2015 at 15:59 #

    Hey, Laurel. Guess what? The same thing has happened to my Permesso. It was due in mid-November and I’ve received nothing. My application also was listed as “not active.” But a friend with connections in the government called and was told my Permesso is active and would be available by today. Nothing.

    I have to go to the commissariato office, probably Monday. What was the receipt you needed from the post office? Also, what’s the website where you checked your Permesso’s status. I can’t find the damn thing.

    Write me at Johnhenrome@icloud.com.

    Grazie mille,
    John Henderson
    Dog-Eared Passport: http://www.johnhendersontravel.com


  3. ckleonard November 21, 2015 at 04:31 #

    I’m so glad you are legal! I will sleep better tonight!! Does the back of that card have additional identifying info, like your DOB? Now, all I can say: don’t lose that card!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gooddayrome November 21, 2015 at 06:33 #

      It is safely secured, and also scanned in case of loss. Will we ever have to show it? Doubtful!


  4. mvaden1948 November 20, 2015 at 21:48 #

    Since I won’t be doing this for about another four years I should be fluent in Italian by then.
    So, do you have to come back to the US to renew your elective residence visa?
    And since I have friends who are immigrants to the US (and more than a few refugees) I know that it is extremely difficult to get into the US on anything other than a tourist visa. No matter what some of the pundits say. I had one young friend who couldn’t even get a tourist visa because she didn’t have a job or a husband to return to in her own country.


    • gooddayrome November 21, 2015 at 06:32 #

      Yes, the U.S. is harder to get into than people realize. Good luck with fluency. It is an evasive concept!


      • mvaden1948 November 21, 2015 at 18:05 #

        At least my teacher calls me “la stella di classe”. I just completed my 7th quarter. And I use every resource I can find (watching Italian movies/TV and try to ignore subtitles to see how much I catch, listen to Italian music)…I’ve even found free books in Italian for my Nook at Barnes and Noble. So that’s what I’m doing with my retirement….learning as much Italian as I can.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Christine November 20, 2015 at 19:44 #

    Auguri e complimenti!! Sei fortunato!


  6. John Henderson November 20, 2015 at 17:25 #

    Congratulations! My Permesso was due Saturday and I’ve received no word. A friend looked up my numbers online and it said I’m not in the archives. I guess I’ll have to follow your lead and just go down there. It’s so unorganized. The Permesso receipt I received two months ago does not list the website to look at my progress, nor the number I insert. Last year, I received an SMS almost to the day they told me it would be ready.

    I miss those days of being an illegal alien.

    John Henderson
    Dog-Eared Passport: http://www.johnhendersontravel.com


    • gooddayrome November 20, 2015 at 18:36 #

      Thank you! Yes, illegal is easier as long as they don’t catch and deport you. But we are very desirable residents of Italy!

      The officer was funny. He said, shaking his head, “Gli italiani vogliano scappare, e gli americani vogliano venire!”

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Diana November 20, 2015 at 17:22 #

    You have to do this every year?!!!!! I sure hope it goes faster next year since you are already in their system. I’m assuming you don’t have to come back to the states and do that process again.


    • gooddayrome November 20, 2015 at 18:37 #

      Yup, every year for three years, then it goes to two. But we won’t be here that long….


  8. Marcia November 20, 2015 at 17:10 #

    Just a thought that USA should get a bit more stringent on its process.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Deb November 20, 2015 at 16:44 #

    Congratulations!! Bellisimo!


    • gooddayrome November 20, 2015 at 16:47 #

      Arrggghhh! The picture is hideous but so is my driver’s license from Oregon!


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