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Italian Red Tape

After being in Italy for about 6 to 7 months I realized it was about time to become legal. I started what I thought would be a tedious and annoying battle with paper work but felt I was up to the challenge. Besides I have experienced bureaucracy before in America. This couldn’t be much worse, right?

Well the operation was stifling and I believe probably much worse due to my stupidity and not doing the matter earlier and by myself.

I have been battling to just get legal papers here, which I am very entitled to since I married an Italian, but to get them has been a tremendous pain in the rump. Basically what I am seeking is like a green card called a Carta di Soggiorno. I have all the documents I need minus a statement that my husband has residency in Todi where we live. I have already battled with what is called the comune (town hall), in Todi where I now live, to get them to ask the comune in Rogliano where my husband was born to send his info to them. This consumed the first two weeks of my stay in Todi putting our landlord through a whirlwind and several trips back in forth to different government offices in Todi.

That was all the second week of January. Once we were allowed to file all the documents for residence it was then the responsibility of Todi’s Comune to get my husband all his documents from Rogliano. This I believe is simply an email request or phone call. At worst a mailed letter. They took their sweet time and did it the second of February. We are still waiting for his documents to arrive in Todi from Rogliano. Those are the only documents missing that I need to get my “green card” here. Unfortunately I was recently told that I first need to get what is called a permesso di soggiorno (permission to stay) which every one who comes to Italy has to get one way or another.

If you are a tourist the hotels do it for you, so little do tourists know what a whopping smack in your patience it is. I should of got the permesso di soggiorno a long time ago in Calabria but felt like that place was so backwards no one would bother me and I could wait to get the green card thing Carta di Soggiorno. Well I tried doing a permesso di soggiorno through the motive of family in Calabria with my husband’s cousin’s help but the whole residency thing came up. Apparently my husband had residency in 3 places in Calabria when you are only to have one. The problem was that his mom’s brother Luigi registered him a resident in Rogliano.

Then when we bought a car in Guardia Piemontese only a half hour drive away from Rogliano and his cousin Georgina got him residency there in order to get insurance for the car. Then he had had residency in the town that his father was born and where he lived his first three years of life, from ages ago. If one is only allowed residency in one place you would think that with the modern age of computers and phones or just thorough bureaucrats they would of made sure my husband didn’t receive residency elsewhere until he cancelled it at the original place.

This was a huge set back. So in Calabria instead of getting my permesso di soggiorno for family motive (because I was married to an Italian) we spent two weeks going to each commune and canceling out his residency. Sure why not. It’s not like we are employed or any thing. I have been looking for employment for some time to no avail. Then once we had his residency in one place, Rogliano they suggested “since you are moving to Todi you should get residency there and just do all the permesso di soggiorno there”.

Made sense to me after the last week of canceling the entire residency stuff but I was disappointed to have to still work on the permesso di soggiorno. Sigh. Well that brings us back to the comune at Todi who we are still waiting for the residency documents from Rogliano to come in. Being told that I need just a regular permesso di soggiorno first before the green card I decided to brave the Questura (police station in all major cities) in Perugia to get just a tourist or what ever possible permesso di soggiorno (tourist is actually only allowed to people in the 1st 3 months). I was told it was in a certain Piazza in Perugia so my friend Grace who was visiting agreed to come with me.

The unfortunate thing is the way the Questura works is they open the doors at 7:30 am to pass out numbers and then one waits till their number is called. Better then yes waiting in line all day, but people line up at 6 am to get the numbers. Grace and I got into Perugia, (a half hour drive from Todi) at about 6:45 thinking we will get a late number but be able to check out Perugia while we wait for the number. What happen was we parked and then walked to the piazza where we thought the lovely Questura was. We were aghast to find out it was no longer there, but a short bus ride away.

What happened next was a huge confusion with directions from different folks and we got on the wrong bus. The driver a bit nasty said we would have to get off and catch the other bus. Okay still calm at this point I ask when do we switch buses. He told me “Calm down, calm down and sit down you have a while.” Whow. Okay better sit down and take a deep breath before I become very uncalm. Then he asks if I am in a hurry. I’m thinking “oh he feels sorry for being rude to me and is now just trying to make conversation” so I smile and say “yes” then start to tell him about my silly mistake thinking the Questura was one place and then getting poor directions and getting on the wrong bus. His quick retort before I can even start is “well calm down it isn’t my fault you got on the wrong bus”. Wow.

This is when I realize I better sit the frick down before I rip his face off. Grace is astounded at his behavior. We quietly talk and try just to relax a bit until the stop we are suppose to get off. Of course the bus driver doesn’t tell us where to get off after all that, but fortunately we figure it out by seeing signs for the bus we are suppose to catch. After waiting 20 minutes for the right bus in the freezing cold we get to the Questura much too late to get numbers. The Cabinieri after asking some questions such as where I am from and what kind of Permesso am I getting, lets us in through the gate even though we don’t have a number. I’m thinking maybe we can still do something.

Red Tape Part II

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