Tag Archives: Stranieri

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.
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