Tuesday, March 06, 2007

paperwork in Italy, permesso for EU citizens

This post is the footnote on obtaining a permission to stay in Italy promised on my last post.

Note: For those who eagerly await the new posts, you will know that you should go to the last post listed in the archive of posts and then work your way forward to this one, so new readers NOTE.

Well, last August I had to go and renew my permesso, this is not something one does without much consideration as to your state of mind on the day, and how much sleep you had the night before, etc, because regardless, you are almost certain to loose your sense of humor and throw a hissy fit outside in the street, with passersby staring at you, the mad Inglese.
Of course all your Italian friends, students and even your partner, have been telling you it is not necessary, because you are from Grand Britannia as it refered to here, you are an EU citizen!
No, but you know the dirty inconvienient little secret, that every person (from UK or any other European country), that has lived in Italy knows, that it does not matter!
So you go, and you wait in a room the size of a shoebox in the heat, with 500 people crammed in, pushing and shoving, most of the people are from places like Ukraine, Pakistan, China, Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Russia, Poland, but you are not, you are from Grand Britannia, but you know it does not matter, because you have been here before.
You cannot move out of the queue and remove the Marrocan's elbow from your side, or his sweaty breath from your neck, or his front end from brushing against you, because you will loose your place, you must stay in there, in that hell of a sauna.
You listen to the two men behind the panes of smudged glass shouting in Italian to this motly crew of assorted foreigners of whom you are one, finally you get to the window, having collected every document, and work contract that you could possibly include, the dossier is as thick as a mans arm. You push it under the window, they size you up and look at it, discarding items willy nilly on to the floor. They sieze your photos, staple them to the papers crudely, all the while still sizing up the area below your neck. They stamp a strip of paper and push it underneath the glass without a word. You know not to ask any questions, you've been here before.
You are so happy to be out, so you can breathe a breath of air, you thought you were going to faint. You look at the slip, it has a date in three months time, Three months! to renew a permesso. You have heard that in Milan there is a separate queue for the EU citizens and a shorter wait, but it doesn't matter you do not live there, you live 40 kms away and you are obliged to submit where you are resident.
You go home happy to be rid of the pile of papers, and have a stamped slip.
To cut a torturously long process short, what transpires next is that you go back on the date it is not ready, then you go back with your Italian partner and it is closed, a piece of paper is on the wall, saying that in future all this must be handled by your local post office.
Where does that leave me you say, I'm caught midstream, they have all my documents !
The only thing your partner can say is, I told you you don't need this permesso, which is the same thing everyone has been telling you, but, you have been there.
So you go to your local post office and ask if they do the permesso, the woman asks where you are from,when you say Grand Britannia, she replies, but you don't need one!
You ignore this, then she goes into the back and produces a large envelope stamped EU which just disproves her theory. You do not need a new application, you need to follow up your exsisting , she shrugs her shoulders at your question. You leave.
You go back to the Questura with your Italian partner, the place is open and ominously empty of people, they say that you have to wait for a letter to arrive at your home, when it does, you must bring it back with the slip.
Your partner uses his best charm and says but it is taking so long, and you are without a permesso. The man shouts back at him she doesn't need a permesso, for what, "Shes not a Russian whore" is she?(I raise my eyebrows)
My partner grows more insistant, saying, well, if she doesn't need it, why are we applying. They fail to give him an answer.
We leave, I am in tears, my partner is faintly embarrassed to be Italian(not a new experience for him) and we go and have a nice lunch instead.
We finally got the letter four months later and I went to pick up the Carta, that they now had ready for me. Ten years, it said on it. I wept (not an unusal experience for foreigners here either)
Apparently, Prodi's new government, which has already resigned once after a few months in power, is trying to do something about this..............


Anonymous said...

Regulars,this is the spot to leave your comments, rather than e mailing them

Kev Cruz said...

Helooooooooo! Why exactly is it that we need this stupid bit of paper...when an Italian who goes to live in the UK doesn't???
Is there any written Euoropean legeslation that I can read, print and then wave in the face of the next lazy, good for nothing public official I come across?
I feel like shouting at somebody...but not you of course!

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed that one may NOT comment on Italy, to Italians in anything but a positive way!

Sir winston churchill said...

One man and one man alone has ranged the Italian people in deadly struggle against the British Empire and has deprived Italy of the sympathy and intimacy of the United States of America...One man has arrayed the trustees and inheritors of ancient Rome upon the side of the ferocious pagan barbarians...There lies the tragedy of Italian history and there stands the criminal who has wrought the deed of folly and of shame.

emily said...

Wonderful rendering-so true. How many days I spent waiting in sweaty, garlic-smelling lines. Often, when I arrived at my public official they looked at me in awe and said, "Oh! But you're American!" and rushed me through. That was long ago. Then I started Lugano hopping every three months which became tedious so I gave up. I went for a couple of years senza, and then I got married. That process itself took 8 months.
Good writing, my friend!

Anonymous said...

I just read your blog (oh dear god, brought back so many horrendous memories)
You write SO evocatively. Awesome.

Kev Cruz said...

After our conversations about Granfathers who sreved in Italy during WW2- I thought you might enjoy this!
D-Day Dodgers
(To the tune of "Lili Marlene")
Note - This song was written by some soldiers of the 8th army in retaliation to Lady Astor for her insulting comments regarding them. They had fought their way from Africa to Sicily and up into Italy without relief and the resulting discontent is evident in the sarcasm of the following song.

We are the D-Day Dodgers, out in Italy,
Always on the vino, always on the spree.
Eighth Army skivers and their tanks,
We go to war in ties like swanks.
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, in sunny Italy.

We landed at Salerno, a holiday with pay.
Jerry brought his bands out to cheer us on his way,
Showed us the sights and gave us tea,
We all sang songs, the beer was free.
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, the lads that D-Day dodged.

Palermo and Cassino were taken in our stride,
We did not go to fight there, we just went for the ride.
Anzio and Sangro are just names,
We only went to look for dames,
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, in sunny Italy.

On our way to Florence, we had a lovely time,
We drove a bus from Rimini, right through the Gothic Line,
Then to Bologna we did go,
And went bathing in the River Po,
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, the lads that D-Day dodged.

We hear the boys in France are going home on leave,
After six months service such a shame they're not relieved.
And we're told to carry on a few more years,
Because our wives don't shed no tears.
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, out in sunny Italy.

Once we had a "blue light" that we were going home,
Back to dear old Blighty, never more to roam.
Then someone whispered:'In France we'll fight,'
We said: 'Not that, we'll just sit tight,'
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, the lads that D-Day dodged.

Dear Lady Astor, you think you know alot,
Standing on a platform and talking tommy rot.
Dear England's sweetheart and her pride,
We think your mouth is much too wide -
From the D-Day Dodgers, out in sunny Italy.

Look around the hillsides, through the mist and rain,
See the scattered crosses, some that bear no name.
Heartbreak and toil and suffering gone,
The lads beneath, they slumber on.
They are the D-Day Dodgers, who'll stay in Italy.

Kev Cruz said...

What did the fish say when he swam into a wall.


Anonymous said...

Hey gorgeous, finally figured out how to leave a comment. Why it was difficult before I have no idea. It's completely obvious.

I got my letter from the questura!! So will hopefully be a proud owner of my very own 10-year permesso starting tomorrow... if all goes according to plan, which we know is NOT a given.

Great blog, love reading it. Bis! Amanda

Como the beautiful

Como the beautiful
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Hidden Italy, the places we visit regularly from Tuscany to the lake district above Como.

When I became a resident in Italy in 2001, I already knew how visitors liked to praise her places, food and art.
I had visited many times as a visitor myself, and been enchanted.
This site is rather designed to show the hidden Italy, the real Italy experienced by it's residents.
The events of the year, from registering as a resident, to celebrating Christmas, Easter and many other festivals, buying a house, working, banking, and still enjoying its beauty, are to be found here.

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My favourite writings on Italy

  • Italian Education/Cara Massimina Tim Parks
  • Where angles fear to tread E.M. Forster ISBN0140180885
  • A small place in Italy ISBN0330338188
  • D.H.Lawrence and Italy ISBN 0140095209
  • The Italians by Luigi Barzini Touchstone books ISBN 068482500