May 7, 2007

Permesso di Soggiorno, Parte Due

Today was my convocation to the questura (Italian police station) for my permit to stay in Italy. You may recall that I had only 8 days upon entering the country to pick up an application packet from the evil people at the Italian post office, complete it, submit photocopies of all my documentation, including every page of my passport, and pay about 70 euro for the privilege of standing in line for 2 hours at the post office while the supervisor glared at me and the nice Italian archaeologist who was helping me.

Since Italy changed their procedure for obtaining a permesso di soggiorno in November, there is little information online about the nuova procedure. What I did know was that I was supposed to receive a registered letter telling me when to come to the questura. I had put down the address of my advisor's sister, since I was homeless at the time of my application. She never received the letter, but fortunately there is a way to check the status of your application online. Va bene, I found out that I was supposed to show up at the questura this morning at 8:30.

Since the buses can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to get you 10km, I left early. I got to the questura around 8:20am and stopped at the gate to talk to the police. I said that I was there to receive my permit to stay. He asked for my letter, but I explained that I didn't have one. He was incredulous as to how I knew that I was supposed to be there today, so I explained that I saw it on the website. His partner called up to the immigration office while he attempted to make smalltalk with me in Italian, and then she told me that they weren't ready. I needed to come back around 9 or 9:15am. Great. I'm in the middle of a piazza, admittedly near the university, but somewhere unfamiliar. So I found a park and sat on a bench and read until a creepy guy came up and sat on the bench next to mine.

I walked around until 9am, then showed up at the questura again. The lady cop waved me towards a door, so I went in. I decided that the top floor was probably a better bet than the bottom floor, since the signs made no sense to me. Eventually, the nice male cop from earlier gave me directions to the immigration department. I found the room and knocked. They told me to sit outside and wait. After about 5 minutes, the woman asked my name, then left. Another 5 minutes, and she came back and told me to follow her. So far so good. She had my file in front of her and wanted to see originals of all the documents I had submitted as photocopies. Fortunately, I had the foresight to bring everything I could think of... unfortunately, I didn't have an original copy of my health insurance letter. Also, I had apparently photocopied the passport in the U.S., which meant it didn't have my entry stamp from the EU (Frankfurt) on it. Oops. But the woman made a copy of that page and apparently didn't care that I didn't have the original of the insurance letter (after I attempted to explain that I only had a photocopy because they sent it to me by email).

As she went to make a photocopy, I was called over to another desk by the guy who wanted the photos I'd brought. He cut these into little squares with scissors, made me sign my name below one of them, then stuck it in a fancy fingerprinting machine. I had to put each of my fingers on the little blue square while it scanned my fingerprints. It was pretty spiffy. After that, he told me I would have to wait outside for the woman to call me again.

By this point, it was about 9:40. I waited outside, but more people had shown up. They called a few more people, and I read a book. Around 10:15, they called me back in. The woman wanted to know a bunch of basic information: eye color, hair color, height... She wrote down my eye color as celeste (sky blue), hair color as castani (brown), and asked me my height. Since I can never remember how tall I am in metric, I said 170cm. It's a reasonable guess, right? She then wanted to know something else, but I couldn't understand her. Maybe it was my weight, and I have no clue what I am in kilos. After this, it was time to get fingerprinted... the old fashioned way! She took me to this little room, put on rubber gloves, and smeared some gross black paste on a little board and roller. First, she rolled each of my fingers, and I was fingerprinted. Then, she rolled the entirety of both of my hands, and I had to do handprints. Finally, she rolled the middle parts of my fingers, and I had to do a middle-of-the-fingers print. She showed me the bathroom, where I attempted to get as much of the black crap off as I possibly could.

When I came out of the bathroom, she told me to come back in July to get my permit to stay. I was confused and asked, "July? What day?" She said, "Oh, whenever. Some time in July. After the first." Perhaps I will get another convocation through the website. By the time I left the questura to get the tram to work, it was about 10:45. So, all in all, not a terrible wait, considering this is Italian bureaucracy.

And the point of this hugely long blog entry is that perhaps it will get spidered and people can find information about the new procedure to get the permit to stay from this entry. Or can contact me for more information. So if you're reading this, don't worry if you don't get a letter of convocation. Just tell them many times that you never received it. Bring all originals of the documents you sent them with you so that they can see them. Bring 4 passport-sized pictures, which you can get for 4 euro at the little photo booth in Termini. Bring a book.

Perhaps I will get my permit to stay before I leave Italy. At this point, I'm worried that if I have to leave the country, they won't let me back in. I do have a valid visa with multiple entries, but it's the permesso di soggiorno that is the actual legal Italian document. Ho hum.

1 comments:

patrick said...

170cm is 5'7". You've shrunk!

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