How to Get a Permesso di Soggiorno in Italy

The paperwork in Italy is never done.  No. Really. Never done.

In five years, I have never written about how to get a permesso di soggiornio because just thinking about it gives me chest pains.

However, the process is slowly getting better and it remains one of those necessities of life in Italy as a foreigner.  Many permessi expire on 12/31 (or at least mine always do) so it seems like as good a time as any to try to wade through the process.

permesso

Here is how you can get your very own Permesso di Soggiorno (Italian permit for stays longer than 3 months):

Within 8 days of moving to Italy, you have to apply for your permesso. This is because you have to convert your visa (which grants you access into the country) to a permit of stay (which allows you to actually stay in the country).

1. Go to the Post Office (ugh). You have to go to a Post Office with a special window called a Sportello Amico. A list of these is available on the Poste Italia website.

2. At the post office, take a number. In Italy, the post office is used to paying bills, banking and sending packages in addition to applying for immigration status. Go figure. Anyways, make sure you take the right kind of number. You want an T ticket.

Italian post office ticket

3.  If you don’t feel like waiting, and have no shame because like me you have lived in Italy long enough to know that waiting in line is for suckers, you can try to jump the queue and ask for a kit. That’s right, it is called a “kit”. You literally just need to pick it up and leave so the people behind you in line should not be too mad.

4. Don’t panic when the post office is out of kits. It happens all the time. Your best bet is probably going to another post office rather than waiting for them to restock.

5. Get out a dictionary, open the kit, and start filling out forms. Oh my god, the forms! It is almost laughable how complicated it is. Again, do not panic. No one really knows how to fill them out. Do your best! I have never been corrected at the questura (immigration office).
DO NOT sign the form. You will do that when you go back to the post office.

6. Copy your passport. Yes, all of it. Usually, they will throw all the paper away when you have your actual appointment, but sometimes they scowl if you try to put in only the picture and visa pages.

7. Copy any documents about why you are in Italy. For school? Bring a letter from your university with the dates of your enrollment. Work? Include a copy of your contract.

8. Get proof of health insurance.

8. Go to the tabbachi and buy a bollo.  This is a stamp with a monetary value that they will affix to one of the forms at the post office. The price keeps changing so just show the form at the tabbachi and they will be able to give you the right version (it currently costs €14.62). Not every tabbachi has the machine to print bolli so don’t panic if you strike out. You always need a plan B in Italy. Just move right along to the next tabbachi and try again.

9. Take your forms, photo copies and bollo back to the post office. This time you really do have to wait in line. Make sure to bring your passport with you in person. Here, you will need to pay the fee for the permesso (varies depending on length of validity but is 107.50 euro for most common 1 year version), then you will have to pay the post office 30 euro- just because.  Then you have to pay 27.50.  Just because you are applying digitally.

10. Get your appointment! Congrats! Once everything is accepted by the post office, you will get a piece of paper that looks like it was printed in 1988 and some receipts. Do not lose these. This confirms the day and time that you must be at the immigration office. It is also your proof that you have applied, and you should technically carry it with you if you travel outside of Italy before you get your handy PdS card.

11.  Wait.

The waiting time for the appointment at the questura (immigration office) has gotten a lot better. I think I waited two months for the my first appointment in 2010, but the most recent wait between application and appointment was only about 3 weeks this time around.

12.  On the appointed day and time, take your receipt from the post office, your supporting document copies (school letter, work contract, etc), your passport and 4 Italian passport sized photos to the questura.  You can find machines that take photos like these for about €5 all over Rome, and especially at metro stations. Worst case scenario, they also have these photo machines at the main Rome quester.

13. If you are in Rome, you can get the Rome questura by taking Metro B to Rebibbia. When you exit the station, turn right and look for the bus stop for bus 437.  The bus will say Immigration Office and be full of non-Italians.  The drive will take about 15 minutes, and you can exit when nearly everyone else on that bus (also carrying paperwork) gets off. It looks like this:

Questura-di-Roma-Ufficio-Immigrazione

14.  When you get the questura, be prepared to wait and throw some elbows in line. The officers will call your time and have you line up, but they will likely be running behind schedule.  There are chairs to sit in but wrap up if you are going in winter and bring water/a snack in case you are stuck outside for awhile.

15. Once inside, you will go through a quick security screening.  Upon entering, you will then pickup the folder of documents you dropped off at the post office by showing your receipt.

16. Then you wait some more.  The Rome questura has vastly improved and now has screens that will flash your name and the number of the desk you are meant to approach when it is finally your turn.

17. The interview should be pretty short. Having basic Italian will help you a lot.  Mainly, the officer will go over the information with you, check your documents and take your finger prints.  They will also ask you where you want to pick the permesso up, so be prepared to name a police station near your house.

18. Go home and wait some more. The permesso should be ready in 30-45 days and you can then go pick it up at the police station nearest to your home.  Check online with your id number to see if it is ready, or pass by the police station to see if your name is posted outside. Remember to bring your passport and your receipt!

19. Revel in glory for a few months until it expires, and then start the process once more.

More information is available on the Portale Immigrazione in Italian.

Don’t worry. It won’t be pleasant but it will be fine.

158 thoughts on “How to Get a Permesso di Soggiorno in Italy

  1. April says:

    Excellent! Just wish I had this last week when I went to my Questura appointment. I arrived 15 minutes early and they were 3 hours behind schedule. Fun time freezing, starving and being bored. Wish I had a book.

    • Natalie says:

      The waiting is the worst! Morning appointments tend to be more on time, but by afternoon they are always running behind schedule. I still always go at the appointed time, just in case. A book and a snack are always advised! Hope it all went well!

  2. Sophia says:

    Thanks for the info! Can one travel to other Schengen countries while the permesso di soggiorno is being processed? I would like to make a few weekend trips outside of Italy if possible; however, it seems that it takes forever to receive it. I’ve tried to look for an answer everywhere but seem to be getting nowhere!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Sophia! I will give the answer as well as I understand it: yes. You should be able to travel, but take all the receipts that you are given at the Post Office as proof that you have applied. PdS are only issued for trips of 90 days or more, and if you do register within 8 days of arriving, you should get your PdS within the 90 days. In that case, you will also still have a valid Schengen visa in your passport for any trips.

      • busra says:

        i am also in same situation and second time i applied for permesso di socciorno..and i want to take a flight from sofia to Istanbul. but i want to be sure about that with receipt from post office, can i go to sofia or not. just for transportation from sofia to Istanbul.
        i from Turkey thats why no need to take visa to turkey just i have a problem for transportation to sofia.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Emerald, as far as I understand the process – it is the opposite. You would not qualify for national healthcare and so would have to prove that you are covered by private health insurance in order to apply for the visa/permesso.

  3. Pam Saylor says:

    Love this information! Our goal is to live in Italy for a year, strongly leaning towards Rome. If you have any recommendations for best neighborhoods to get in (or stay out of) any tips will be helpful.

    • Natalie says:

      I am biased because I love my neighborhood Testaccio. I would recommend considering public transportation options and connectivity when you think about neighborhoods unless you are going to get a car! So a neighborhood with a metro line- or do you want to be near a train station? Etc. I am sure you will love where you end up! Happy planning!

    • Holly says:

      Garbatella and Monteverde (also Monteverde Vecchio) are quite nice. Monteverde has the added benefit of being on the Tramline which is one of the most reliable forms of public transport in the city! 🙂 Garbatella is on Metro Line B – a few stops on from Colosseo. Also well connected by road/buses (by the Cristoforo Colombo). I used to live in a neighbourhood called Tor Marancia (near Garbatella) – good local character, slightly outside the city wall. Bit quieter but still reasonably connected (though sometimes a long wait for the bus…)

  4. Emily Leaphart says:

    Thank you for this post! Fantastic information!

    I’ve been wondering for years how one can move to Italy (Rome, specifically). Obviously it would help with the paperwork to have a job in the city, but tell me– Is it possible to move to Rome without marrying an Italian or having employment already lined up? To just take the plunge and move there– plain and simple?

    Or, put a bit differently: How lenient are the officials in granting a permesso di soggiorno to someone who is in the process of looking for employment? And how many times can one renew?

    I’m making it sound like I’m looking to be a total loafer or Cosmo Kramer in Italy (I’m not, I promise!), but I’m just trying to gauge the minimum required for a big move from the states. It’s all such a mystery to me, and most expats I’ve known have all married an Italian!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Emily – so glad you found the blog useful.

      I think they question you are asking is probably more about visas than about permessi di soggiorno. Your type of PdS is tied to the type of visa you get, and you have to get the visa first then within 8 days of arrival you apply for the PdS. It is the visa that will determine if you can or cannot work.

      For student visas, you can work 20 hours/week and you can look for that work once you get here. If you are EU, you don’t need a visa, you simply need to register once to come to Italy and you can also begin looking for work.

      If you are non-EU, you have to get a visa that allows work, or no employers can hire you legally. They might offer something ‘in nero’ or under the table, but that will likely be low wages and might get you both in trouble.

      If you already have permission to work in Europe, take the plunge and you can figure it out and apply in person here. Without permission to work, you will probably need to find the company that wants to hire you first and then apply for the visa through them.

      • Emily Leaphart says:

        Thank you so much, Natalie!!

        (I apologize for my delayed response– I only now saw that you had responded forever ago!)

        That makes things much more clear for me. It turns out I’ll be likely attending school in either Florence or Cremona (post-grad studies for music performance), so it’s good to know that I’ll probably be able to work even a little bit– that is, if I can find a job in either place. And also understanding, of course, that nothing is ever so simple :).

  5. Kaitlan says:

    Hi again
    I’m wondering what you meant at the end of your post by “start the process over again” after a few months. My understanding was the permit could last up to a year, is that correct? I couldnt tell from the tone of your writing if you were just exaggerating a little, or if I’ve been misinformed and it really does only last like.. 6 months ish.
    Thanks!
    Katie

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Kaitlan,
      The PdS is usually valid for 1 year. However, you start the process after one week in Italy, and get an appointment that is about a month in the future, then you have to wait 45 days for the permesso to actually be issued. So by the time you have the permit, you have been in Italy for about 3 months (or more). Then, you have to renew it in advance. So it is valid for one year, but that year is eaten away by many of the steps.

      However, if you only have a visa for 6 months, then the maximum amount of validity of your permesso is 6 months.

  6. Ruthy says:

    Hi Natalie,

    I am in the US and want to move to Italy to work as an English teacher (I am US and TEFL certified). Which visa should I be applying for from the consulate here? Should I start with a student one and take an Italian language course on arrival while looking for a job? Or is there another type of visa I should start with? I am a woman in her early forties just looking to start a new life in Italy with no idea really where to begin. I’ve read all the blogs and can’t quite parse out which visa I need to begin the process with. Any advice would be sincerely appreciated.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Ruthy – I am not an expert in visas, but I do believe that you can only work 20 hrs/week with a student visa. That might be something to keep in mind if you want more permanent work. Your permesso is tied to your type of visa.

      If you want to work in Italy, the best way is to have an employer sponsor you. Is there any chance you can apply to language schools to teach at before you arrive?

      Sorry I don’t have more info! I just know the permesso process once the visa is taken care of.

      • TonyM says:

        I’ve been reading a bunch of different expat blogs and so happy I found yours! My partner and I are a few years away from retirement and sorta planning the next chapter. We thought that we’d learn as much as we could about the Italian bureaucracy(we lived in London for a while) so that when we do move the transition would be kinda smooth. This posting of yours helps a ton! Thank you for posting!

    • TonyM says:

      Ruthy! I’m very curious about your journey from the US to Italy and hope you’re keeping a blog! Good Luck!

  7. Pingback: 7 Things You Can Do at an Italian Tabacchi – An American in Rome

  8. Igli says:

    Hi Natalie ! I am from Albania and i have found a work contract in Italy . Should i follow the same steps in order to take the permesso and do i have to apply for a visa first to enter in Italy or to travel with schengen? Thank you.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Igli!

      As far as I know, you need a visa. A visa is what is converted into the permesso di soggiorno. A visa is your permission to enter the country, where as the permesso is the permission to stay.

      Good luck!

  9. Igli says:

    I can enter the country for less than 3 months even thought without a visa. Anyway thank you very much for the information and it would be very helpfull if i i can contact you for more information. I would like to have your email or another form of contact . Best regards!

  10. Nayeem says:

    I’m a political asylum in italy recently get permisso di soggiorno .can i work with it ?
    For work permit how long may i wait ?

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Nayeem– I don’t know about that kind of permesso, but it should be in the booklet. The permesso will say “per motivi di…” and then the working conditions are based on that. Wishing you the best of luck in Italy!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Denise – tourist visas are for three months or less, and permessi are only for 3.5 months or more, so you cannot.

      • loulou says:

        How are you supposed to get one then? you enter the country as a tourist and then apply right? Assuming you’re not doing this from a consulate in another country not really seeing any other way. Are you sure about you response? Are you qualified to answer the questions?

        • Natalie says:

          Hi Loulou – you don’t enter the country as a tourist. You apply for a visa at a consulate in your home country. Once you have a non-tourist visa, you convert that into a permesso by going through the steps above.

          It’s not possible to arrive as a tourist and then apply for a PdS. Once you have a PdS, you don’t have to keep going through the visa process, but you do need a visa issued by a consulate for your first PdS.

          Hope the helps!

          • Manu says:

            Hi Natalie,
            I’m curiously about the PdS. My husband is American and I am a British Citizen with Italian residency etc. we own a house here and I have the right to live here in italy. He on the other hand entered the country as a basic tourist (I.e without having applied for a visa prior to entering Italy or leaving the U.S.) so applying for a PdS within Italy is a good idea? I am just confused because he doesn’t have a visa to switch from …

          • Natalie says:

            Hi Manu – if you have residency, your husband should be entitled to a carta di soggiorno (motivi familiare)

  11. Sam says:

    Thanks for your post I have a study visa valid for one year as I take my master in Rome however my course is 10 days every 2 months I have took to classy as now I just stay 15 days every time I enter Italy after the 15 days I leave to my home country now I have six months left on my visa my next course start on October also for 15 days but this time I wanted to stay for more than 90 days it’s ok for me to apply for stay pirmet in Italy. Thanks again

  12. Kim says:

    Hi,
    I understand that one needs a non-tourist visa first before applying for a permesso. However, we applied a bit late (for a variety of reasons), and so we will be in Italy up to 6 weeks before we hear about whether we get our visas or not. Obviously, if we don’t get the visas, we need to leave the Schengen area for 3 months and then return to Italy. My question is this: Do you think we should still get the kit and apply for the permesso within the 8 business days just in case we get the visa? My inclination is that we should, but I’m not sure if it’s even possible.

    Also, does anyone know about getting a passport stamped in San Marino (non-Schengen) and using that method as a way to stay in Italy for longer than the 90 days?
    Thanks,
    Kim

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Kim,

      You have to include a photocopy of the visa in your permesso application, so personally I would wait until you have it in hand.

      Leaving Italy does not reset your time, but what it does do is give you those extra days. You can be in Italy as an American (and many other country citizens) for 90 days in a 180 period. So if you are in Italy for 80 days, and leave for 10, you still have 10 to spend over the next 6 months.

    • Amber says:

      Hi I’m amber I came here in last September on a spouse visa mean stay visa I think but when I applied for my first soggiorno after completing the whole procedure of finger prints on my last appointment at questura they asked my husband to change his care status family to work. My husband is not willing to change his because he fears that they might change his permanent status. It’s been 2 months since I submitted my application . I tried to track it online they showing in process. Please tell me will they freeze it if my husband don’t change ?

  13. Sommer says:

    Hi
    My partner and I have been issued a visa, we didn’t know we had to do all of this when we arrived. We don’t plan on staying in one place for long enough to do the application, have an iterview and so on. We dont have a fixed address. Is there anyway we can still get the visa. We don’t want to work, just stay in Italy for 6 months traveling. We will also travel to other countries during this time.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Sommer –

      Not sure I understand… you do have a visa? It has been issued? Then you can apply for the permesso. Even for the permesso, you will need a fixed address.

      If you would like to work, the right visa is necessary.

  14. Anik says:

    Hi Natalie, I have come to Italy through a Family Reunion Visa and I have applied for my PSD but I have a single entry visa can I come back to Italy to collect my PSD with my post office receipt?

  15. Sofia says:

    Hi! Thanks for all the info- super helpful! My appointment is in two days so I’m getting everything ready. I just want to make sure that I didn’t have to make copies of every page of the application (modulo1) and that I’ll be fine showing up with just the copies and original copies you mention above and that the receipt of the application from the post office will suffice?

  16. Sofia says:

    Thanks for your quick reply! I have my passport photos ready. Just wanted to confirm I don’t need fotocopie of the modulo 1 that I
    Filled out and sent through the post office? Your post says the receipt will allow you to pick the packet up once you
    Arrive. Is that correct? I didn’t make photocopies of the actual kit and now am freaking out I should have. Also thank you so much for the directions on how to get there- I looked it up on maps and was like how the heck am I going to get there?!
    Thanks again! Also why am I nervous?! Haha

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Sofia – you do not need to copy the module! They will have the copy! You sound like you are all set. It won’t be super pleasant but it has gotten a lot better. Just bring a book because you might wait outside for a bit. Good luck!

  17. Hamadi bah says:

    Sorry how are you guy’s doing, can you travel with your six months permes di sigorrn by flight with your home country passport???

  18. Mario Santorelli says:

    Public transit in Rome is a joke. Don’t get suckered into thinking all of Europe is an orgasmic paradise of wonderful mass transit. Although Rome is trying to improve and expand its subway system, it’s basically a
    “cross” with a fifth arm expressing to Fiumicino airport. Central Train station is a disaster of human depravity. Truthfully, Rome’s subway system is no more expansive that Atlanta’s. Enjoy the culture shock!

  19. David Chan says:

    Hi there, I am a student in Italy, applied the permesso in June and had my fingerprinted in early July. Now I am still waiting for picking up the new one (September, more than 3 months). However, due to my study purpose, I have to move to France now, and my current permesso has its expiry date on next monday. I understand it is useless to show the brown receipt for staying in France (Schengen countries) while under renewing process, but since my passport has a visa -free travel for 90 days in France, in this case, does anyone know if I could use this for staying in France now? or at least I could go back to Italy to pick up my renew permesso after next monday (expiry date of my current permesso). Or this 90 days has a;ready expired once I stepped in the Schengen Area, which is almost 1 year before….

    • Natalie says:

      Hi David – uau. That sounds like a tricky one. To be honest, I am not sure. What I do know is that the visa/permesso is meant to extend the 90 days of visa-free stay. That means the 90 days is technically built into whatever else you have, not hanging around to be used afterwards?

  20. Hillary says:

    This is a great piece Natalie–really thorough and a great touchstone as I wade through paperwork of our third round of permessi…I still feel that, when all is said and done, it’s so worth it, and so I plod onward. Excelsior!

  21. Josh says:

    Hi Natalie,

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    I’m a U.S. Citizen with a temporary German residency that expires this year. I own a property in Italy and was thinking to spend a year there (not working). I’d like to get a permesso, but does that mean I’d have to go back to the U.S. to get a long stay visa before applying for the permesso (or to the Italian Embassy in Germany)? Or does having my German residency (VISA) allow me to apply directly for the permesso somewhow? If so, won’t I need something in my passport (VISA) for when the German one expires?

    Any input appreciated! Thanks

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Josh! From what I understand, if you are living legally in another country, then you can apply through the Italian embassy in that country. So it seems like your german residency should allow you to apply from there?

  22. issa says:

    I applied for my renewal last week and my appointment is on Dec. 14. However, I will be going home on Dec. 09 to spend Christmas holidays. I asked the guy at the Poste if I could request for an earlier appointment date, he said its the computer who automatically gives schedule. But someone advised me to go directly to the office in Rebbibia and personally request. How big is my chance here? I do not speak fluent Italian…

  23. alice morgan simmmonds says:

    Thank you so much!!! I have been looking at doing this recently and dreading it and here is your generous and easy to follow guidelines. I owe you big!!!

    You are the best,

    Alice

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Derick – you need some kind of ID. WFP, for example, will give you a carta d’identita from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while consultants at FAO have to apply for the permesso. You can check with your protocol office.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Stacey – when I applied for my first student visa, I was asked to show that I had enough money in the bank to support myself for the duration of my stay. I think back then it was 800 euro/month. However, I was not asked this by the time I got to the permesso application.

      Good luck! You can do it!

  24. Shawnelle Price says:

    This helped me so much – thank you! I went to the post office today and got my “kit” – I seriously would have had no clue without this article!

  25. Claudia says:

    Hi Natalie. I am American. I want to live in Venezia. I have already rented an apartment for 7 months (from febraury 1st – Sept 1st.) I don’t want to work in Italy, neither study, I just want to enjoy the museums and the Venetian life style for those 7 months. I will enter, as always, with my American passport that will be stamped in my entrance to Italy. I know that I only can be in Italy for 90 days. It is possible to apply for the Pemesso di Soggiorno for stay more than 90 days?
    Sincerely,
    Claudia

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Claudia – to get a permesso, you will have to get a visa from the consulate in your area before you arrive. It is the visa that is converted into permesso di soggiorno.

      Have a lovely Venetian adventure!

      • Sam says:

        Hi Natalie,

        Can you plz tell me is it possible to travel out of Italy while the permesso di soggiorno is being processed and our visa has already expired.
        Actually we are waiting for .It has been a month from the appointment date i.e questura
        but still we havent received it and are planning to go for family reunification.Is it possible.plz reply.

          • Sam says:

            Hi Natalie,
            Thank you so much for the reply. Just enquired yesterday in questura dept in Varese and they told that the
            permesso di soggiorno has been dispatched from Rome from tuesday.Can you please tell me how much time will it take now to be delivered here in Varese.

            Regards,
            Sam

  26. saiba says:

    Hi,
    I have received a sms for the date to pick up the permessio. Is it a problem if I cannot go on that particular date? Can I go the next day and check?
    thanks in advance

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Saiba,

      It shouldn’t be, but I’m not sure! I usually pick my up from my own questura any time after it is ready… not at an assigned time and date. The application date is assigned, but not usually the pickup date.

    • Natalie says:

      That is a GREAT question and I do not know. I think they likely do, unless you live in Vatican City. If you are working at the Vatican, but a resident of Rome (as most employees are) you would still need residency permission.

      However, that is nothing more than an somewhat educated guess!

  27. Sandra says:

    Thank You, Natalie, for the useful information!! Wonderful!!
    I am EU and if I want to live and work in Rome, do I need PdS, or I just need to make an residence ( in which of course I need a motive of residence: work or study) ?
    Thanks in advance!!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi John! That is fine – they will keep it for you at the station near your home. It is more difficult to change the application appointment, but you can collect it almost any time after it is ready. Just keep in mind that you should keep the proof of application with you if you are traveling in and out of Italy.

  28. Emaan says:

    I have schengen visa for europe.can i apply for permesso de soggiorno in italy????
    How can i live in europe??????
    I have just 45 days schengen visa.i want to live in europe.

  29. Hassan gabr says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Thank you for your post.

    I’m in US holder and I’m in Italy and I’m applying for permesso but I no one want hire me or give me contract before I get my permesso, also is it easy for Americans to get the permesso in italy

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Hassan – the issue is not getting the permesso. Rather, you need to receive a work visa before you leave the US. It is the visa terms that are converted into the permesso.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Julie – unless there is a critical issue, I would suggest you do everything in your power to go to the original appointment. Otherwise you need to find a way to notify them and be issued a new date and time.

  30. carlotta says:

    Hi Natalie,

    Thank god for your blog, so helpful!
    I just arrived in Italy and with the easter holiday I may miss the 8 day cut off by one day. Will that be a problem?
    Also, I am studying here and my visa has been issued for 89 days (the length of the course), even though I didn’t need to get a student visa I did so I would have another 90 days to spend travelling on my schengen visa. I’m not sure I will stay in Italy more than 90’s days though – do I need to get the PdS?

    Thanks in advance,

    Carlotta (australia)

  31. Chamie says:

    Hi can you give more info about this
    My son is 14+ can he enter italy now or
    Should we make a re-entry Visa.And when
    We use a re-entry Visa can we come to your
    Country and go again,how many times we can
    Use re-entry Visa.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Chamie – Apologies but I don’t have visa advice. These are the steps to follow when you already have a visa for Italy for more than 3 months.

  32. Daniel says:

    Ciao Natalie,

    I am an American on a long term study Visa, multi entry type D.

    I just arrived back from the joys of fingerprinting for my permesso di soggiorno, haha. I have a question that seems thorougly covered, but not clear.

    I’m still waiting for my first PDS to be issued, and I want to travel to Spain. Am I allowed to go to Spain directly, with only my PDS application receipt, passport, and current Italian visa?

    I know I can’t connect a flight through another Schengen country, like Italy-France-Spain, but am I allowed to travel at all outside of Italy?

    Thank you so much for any information!

  33. Simone says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I have a similar question to Daniel.
    I applied for the pds and went to the questura for my appointment, to find out that they didnt have my kit. I was told that they would get in contact with me when the receive my kit and didn’t receive a reply. So after many phone calls, my kit may either be lost or in a different questura—Im still in the process of locating it.
    I have all my receipts showing that I’ve begun the process and a visa. Am I able to travel outside of Italy or am I stranded in this beautiful but politically messed up country?

    Many thanks!

  34. Vasanda says:

    Hello Natalie!
    Your post is so helpful which I was looking for a month ago. I have applied for Permesso through my husband (Italian) in Calabria (South Italy). Its been more than a month I have applied in Questura. I have been checking the status of my application online, “residence permit is being processed” is the only status i have been seeing for this one month. Should I start worrying?

  35. Giobatta Lanfranco says:

    I guess you’ve never had to go through the hassle of US Immigration. Having lived there for many years and having been from J1 to H1B visas and finally green card, having assisted US friends get their permesso di soggiorno in Italy , i think you should revise your negative comments… Thanks for listening.

  36. Manila ridolfi says:

    I’m 100% ITALIAN and I never find out how simple is to get a resident permit , ( permesso di soggiorno ) I move in usa ?? 4 years ago, my mother is half american , so I apply from her to get a green card I’m 29 years old and I going to get my green card at 37 years old !! Even if you are child of American citizens and you are more than 21 years old . The time to be ” legal ” in this country is absolutely too much .

  37. Zada says:

    Hello Natalie! Thank you for posting about this. It is very helpful 🙂 Will I be able to pick the appointment date for the Questra? My plan is to arrive in Rome with a Student Visa, apply for Residence Permit, go to London for 3 weeks and then come back to Rome. Is there a chance my appointment date will fall on a day when I am not back in Rome? It is okay to leave Italy and come back as long as I have the receipt with me, right?

    • Natalie says:

      Hello! The appointment will likely be more than 3 weeks in the future. You should be fine to travel with the receipt but check the rules of the country you plan to travel to.

  38. H says:

    Thanks for the very helpful post !!!! Can I travel in and out of Italy while the application is being processed ?? (without the permesso being on hand) ? Also, do they keep the passport with them while processing the application ? Again Thanks a bunch !!

  39. Gabriel says:

    Hello Natalie!

    It seems the process is much quicker in Rome. In Milan it takes ages, mine took almost six months and I’ve seen people wait up to a year for theirs. Do you know if the process takes less time if you apply in the main city (Rome, Milan) or is it better to do it in one of the suburban comunes?

    I am in a tricky situation, I go back to Milan for university on September (as soon as I get there I’ll begin the process of renewing it), and my PdS expires in October, but I want to go back home for a couple of weeks in December/January for the holidays, and if my PdS takes as long as the last time (6 months), I will have nothing but the receipt as a travel document, besides my passport. And that is the tricky part, my passport does not allow me to enter the Schengen area without a visa, not even as a tourist, and during the holidays I want to travel to my home country in South America, and I don’t think I can exit and enter the Schengen area with just my receipt.

  40. Wes says:

    Hello Natalie,
    I’ve been searching dozens of sites, both American and Italian, and cannot find the answer to my question. Can you point me in the right direction?
    My wife, American born citizen with Italian mother, has her Italian dual citizenship and passport. We bought an apartment in Verona in March and want to stay for six months. I am in the process of getting my dual citizenship through marriage, but doubt that it will be completed by October when we plan on going back to Italy for the winter. Will a permesso di soggiorno allow me to stay longer than three months in the Schengen zone? I’m retired military and usually fly in and out of Germany.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Wes,

      You can only get a permesso with a visa – so the first step would be to request a family unification visa from the Italian embassy in your country of residence now. You should be entitled to one because your wife is a citizen.

      Good luck!

  41. Chris says:

    Hi Natalie, first off GREAT site! I have a question — Is it possible to obtain a Carta d’identita from the Anagafe using the receipt from a PdS (actually a CdS in my specific case), or must one have the actual released PdS/CdS to get the CdI?? I’ll be establishing residence in Milan proper….. Thanks for your help!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Chris! I am not sure on this one, but all anagrafe have an information desk so you might want to go directly. I imagine you probably need the actual card.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Austin – not at all! This is meant as a DIY guide, but I always suggest an immigration lawyer for specific questions or complicated cases.

  42. Bianca says:

    Hi Natalie,

    Firstly, awesome overview! I do have a quick question though, my partner and I obtained Italian working holiday Visas prior to leaving our country however completely missed the part about having to apply for the residency permit within 8 days, so we are now well over that time limit. Are we still able to apply for this? We have been staying in hotels but are we technically still legally allowed to be in the country for longer than the 90 day schnegen rule or is that not allowed if we do not have the residency permit? Also, can we apply for jobs without the residency permit?

    Appreciate any advise you can provide!

    • Julie says:

      Hi Bianca,

      I just found your questions and was really hoping you could help me out…I have a working holiday visa valid for 12 months but plans have changed and am leaving in less than 90 days and not returning. Do you think it is necessary to apply for a permesso di soggiorno? I’m in a similar situation as yourself. How did it go once leaving the country?

      Thank you,
      Julie

  43. Kayla says:

    Ciao Natalie,

    I intend to apply to a Master’s program at the University of Bologna next spring, and I want to clarify some things about the permesso and studying abroad.

    1) Is it necessary to receive the permesso before actually physically attending university in Italy? Or is it usually the case that the permesso won’t be granted until after the semester has started?

    2) Assuming that the semester will begin in the later half of September, when would you recommend arriving in Italy that will give me enough time to find a place to stay? Are there websites you can recommend to help find housing? My boyfriend lives in Rome, so I have a “landing place”, but I am wondering if it is possible for me to enter Italy in advance with the student visa in order to find a place to live and get settled in.

    3) On the matter of finances – I have heard that in order to receive a visa/renew one’s permesso, one must have proof of sufficient personal funds, totaling somewhere around $6,600 USD as of August 2016. Not to get too personal, but were you able to save up this amount of money and survive on it as a graduate student living in Rome? I know Bologna and Rome will be different in terms of cost of living, but if you have any advice on making that $6k stretch, I would appreciate it!

    That’s all (I’m sorry, I know it’s a lot) for now. I know I will have more questions the deeper I get into this, but I greatly appreciate your time and help in answering my questions. As you know, this is a huge step for me and I am so excited for a future in Italy!

    Grazie mille,

    Kayla

  44. Beatrice says:

    Hi Natalie, I live in the USA. I have dual citizenship: USA and Switzerland. Do I need a visa or PdS to move to Italy. Once I retire, I will be joining my boyfriend in Florence. I probably will not be working. Thank you in advance.

  45. emily says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I’ve just gone through getting permessi for myself and my family. It’s not even the first time I’ve had to do this (semi-regular sabbaticals) but it is still a huge mental burden. And I hadn’t done it in Rome before. Your post – especially the pictures – was the most helpful thing I found to help me feel ready. You focussed on the tiny details that are most nerve-wracking. Thank you.

  46. Phil Cicciari says:

    Natalie,
    This is exceptional information. Thank you. I want to make sure I have this correct. I’m a US citizen and plan on retiring early to live in Bari province. After receiving my PdS, I will apply for citizenship via jure sanguinis. I want to make sure I have this correct. Note: I already have an apt lined up for my initial arrival (approx July 2018) and I have retained a lawyer for my js once my residency is official.
    1 – apply well ahead of time for a Visa which will only be valid for the dates I applied for
    2 – apply for PdS immediately after arrival (keep the receipt!)
    3 – within 20 days of receipt of PdS, go to Anagrafe
    4 – sign the integration agreement @ sportello unico or questura

  47. Dan says:

    Hi, Natalie. What an excellent write-up!

    I’m wondering about my own situation, which is that I simply want to live in Italy more than 90 days (tourism is the closest category, I suppose), but not to work in Italy. If that is the case, should I work on obtaining a longer-term visa before I go?

    I appreciate your thoughts, and I’m sorry if the question has already been addressed in this very popular thread.

  48. Ays says:

    My question is after taking pErmesso di soggiorno do you have to get also residence from the commune.?are there different times of residences(residenza ellettiva)?
    Do you have to pay tax when you are a resident?
    Is there a minimum staying limit(180+1day) or you can come and go as you wish?

  49. Sam says:

    Hey Natalie, I’m Australian and I have a fiance who’s Italian who is actually visiting me in just 2 days, happy new year! We are planning to get married a couple months in on her 3 month tourist visa here, if/when we get married, what type of visa do I need for Italy’s permit to stay, and will I need to do the same thing listed in your steps? And this process is repeatable how many times? Because I’ll love to stay there with her without having to leave her and be able to eventually get permanent residency through being married to her. Ive never been overseas or had a visa or anything this is all new to me but I’ll do anything to be with the one I love and hopefully won’t need to worry anymore!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Sam! I converted mine after marriage without a new visa – but I had a different visa to begin with. I would suggest being in touch with the Italian embassy in Australia just to confirm if you need anything before departure or if you can apply for the carta di soggiorno (not di permesso) once you arrive.

  50. Elizabeth says:

    I can’t believe the point between the post office step and the meeting at the questura is so fast in Rome! This is my first time applying, but over here in Florence it is WAY slower. I applied in the post office in August and my questura step isn’t until the end of January! Anyways, this post is super helpful and I’ve been reading it over and over in preparation for my questura appointment later this month. Thank you!

  51. Jiten says:

    Hi Natalie, I came to Italy one month back and going through all the nightmare. First is the language and second is the documentation and paperwork. I am still don’t understand why they need all the documents again and again though you have work permit or Visa. By the way many thanks for the blog. I am not able to understand it first the process what I am doing and for what. It is very clear after reading it. I got this blog on very right time as I am in the middle of this process.

    • Natalie says:

      I’m so glad that the blog is helpful! And I agree it is frustrating to always bring the same paperwork- but such is bureaucracy!

  52. Jiten says:

    Thanks Natalie for quick reply. To be frank I am Indian and just moved to Italy. Previously I was in chicago for years and now shifted to Turin here for work and may stay some years here. So I thought it is easy for me but the experince was very different. I first thought it is blog and accidendtly found during surfing but now reading all the pages from your site. It is really useful for me. I owe party for these articles. Anyway thanks for all the articles.

  53. Jiten says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Do you any article on how to get Certificato di idoneita alloggiativa from commune office. If yes please let me know the same. It is housing suitability certificate required for dependent Visa.

  54. Lauren Stephens says:

    Hi Natalie, thanks so much for this info, I’ve been trying to research the PdS online for ages and it’s so hard to find out what you need to do. I’ll be in Milan so I hope things aren’t too different – I’ve heard mixed things about whether you go first to the post office or first to the Questura.
    I see someone has already asked about needing a fixed address – can you please elaborate on this? Do they ask for proof that you are staying at that address? I did not know this when I applied for the visa, and I was intending to travel around without a fixed address. Do you think it would raise eyebrows if I just put the name of a hostel? Thanks for your help!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Lauren, I think I had to bring the same documents that I included in my visa application. One of these was a letter from my landlord saying I had permission to live in the house. Not sure a hostel address will work at the appointment itself.

      • Lauren Stephens says:

        Hi Natalie, thanks for your speedy response! I didn’t have to include any residency info when applying for my actual visa. I will continue to research and hopefully find an answer! Thanks

        • Olivia Windsor says:

          Hi Lauren, Did you find out any further info on this? I am in the same predicament, here on a working holiday visa so my intention is to travel around for the first 3 months and means I don’t have a fixed address. I have been staying at a family’s home in Bologna for the first 6 weeks so perhaps I can just give them this address?

  55. Sandra nsiah says:

    Hello Natalie, do you have an idea how long it takes the questura to issue “carta di soggiorno di familiare di un cittadino dell’unione”? Thanks

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Sandra – I have this now and I think once all my documentation was approved, it only took about two weeks before I was able to pick it up at the questura

  56. Tracy says:

    Hi Natalie – best info I have been able to find – so thank you. Question on the health insurance. I just applied for an elective residency visa and expect it to be approved. I realize I must register with PdS within 8 days of arrival – so will follow your steps above – the catch is the health insurance – will a long term travel insurance policy covering medical and emergency evacuation be suitable – since it appears I cannot apply for a voluntary SSN without the PdS? your thoughts would be appreciated. Tracy

    • Natalie says:

      Hello Tracy! Exactly – I would find the minimum insurance you are comfortable with and then apply for the SSN once you have the PdS.

  57. Julie says:

    Hi Natalie,

    Amazing blog! Thank you so much for the info.

    I was wondering if you would have any insight on this issue – I have a 12 month working holiday visa issued to me. As soon as I arrived,my plans changed and realized I could only stay less than 90 days and booked my return ticket home (in which case the visa is not required). Do you think I need to apply for the permesso di soggiorno to be able to leave the country? Is it necessary? I know the permit is necessary for stays over 3 months, so it doesn’t seem to apply, but my visa says I will be staying longer.

    I asked the questura who said I could just leave with my passport, but I wanted to ask whether or not the border control asks for proof of permit when leaving the Schengen area.

    Thank you so much!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Julie! I don’t think that is an issue at all. They would only ask for proof that you applied for a permesso if you had stayed much more than 90 days. You will be able to depart on your passport.

      • Julie says:

        Hi Natalie,
        Thank you for the prompt reply! I ended up applying for the permit just in case (I was feeling super paranoid). My appointment is in October! This is a very confusing process and I really appreciate you helping all of us by sharing your experience 🙂

  58. Lauren says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Thanks for your article. I have just completed my appointment at the Questura. Can you tell me – what is the permesso exactly? Like an ID card?
    Also, when have you actually had to use it? Do you have to show it at the airport? Are there any other places that it is necessary to show it?
    I also thought I would mention that waiting times probably vary on a number of factors, and I wouldn’t necessarily say they have been reduced in recent years. For me, I applied here in Milan (in late March 2018) and had to wait 3 months for my appointment at the Questura. When I arrived, I waited 2 hours, and then was told there was some problem and I had to come back the next day instead. I waited about 3 hours to complete the appointment when I returned. Now I am waiting a month for the actual permesso. Just thought I would share my experience for anyone reading!

  59. Anthony says:

    Thanks for all the great information, Natalie. I’m a bit confused though, I have read some places that you do not need a visa to apply for a permesso di soggiorno, but you can do it just with a passport. Are you saying that this would be impossible and that you 100% need a visa?

    • Natalie says:

      Yes – you certainly need a visa. The permesso is what converts the visa (which allows you ENTRY for a set time) into a permit to actually stay. It is not possible to apply without a visa.

  60. Gina says:

    Thank you for your wiliness to share this information. My daughter and I are beyond frustrated with not being able to get a straight answer on the following anywhere, including from the Italian Consulate and the US Department of State. What we are trying to determine is the best and legally acceptable way for my daughter’s upcoming travel to Italy.
    Situation – going to Italy as an Au Pair – needs to be there Sept ’18-Sept ’19
    Applying for a student Visa – must take language classes = 20 hr/week
    Classes are incredibly expensive and takes half of her day 5 days a week
    She would like to only take classes Jan-end of June while Host family’s child is in school
    School can not mail Acceptance letter (regardless of duration) until Aug 20th
    This may result in Visa not getting back in time for her initial travel
    SO, can she:
    Finish submitting for her student visa for Jan-June while still in USA
    Travel to Italy in Sept, stay Sept-Dec (90 days only) with no visa
    If so, does she need to start the whole PdS process for this 90 day period, the full year- long intended stay, or not at all at this point?
    Return to USA for Holiday (2-3 weeks), take possession of her Student Visa
    Travel back to Italy Jan-June under her Student Visa
    Apply now instead, or ?re-apply?, for a PdS & for what duration if done at this point?
    Stay on in Italy After the student visa expiration date for an additional 90 days of July-Sept
    Return to USA in Sept (will this cause problems given her visa and I assume her PdS,
    if issued only for the duration of her student visa, would be expired by then?)

    THANK YOU for ANY insight you can provide.

  61. Putra says:

    Hi natalie,
    Thanks for your article, can i apply for permesso without “the real” address ? I mean, i have a place to stay, but i dont have a contract with the landlord. So, im not “officialy” live at my apartment.
    I want to apply for permesso next monday, i really appreciate if you can reply my question a.s.a.p

    • Natalie says:

      No, you will need a registered contract or an official letter of invitation from the owner which states that you are allowed to stay in their home.

  62. Audrey says:

    Hi Natalie,

    If I have a 4-6 month student visa how long will my permesso be good for?

    A year (because I thought that was the shortest) or only 4-6 months.

    Thanks,
    Audrey

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Audrey, the PdS should be good for the same time period as your visa – so six months. There should be an option for this when you apply at the post office (and it is a lower price than the year).

  63. Susan Sares says:

    Hi Natalie. My husband came to Ialy from the USA with only our passports. Within our 90 day allowed stay, we applied for residency. After providing all asked for documentation, we were each given 10 year residency permits. Now, nearly 4 years later, we are told that we should have had and now need a permisso di soggiorno to stay. Our Italian consulate in Miami tells us that since we already have residency, we do not need it. We do not work here in Italy and live solely on our social security. We now worry that we might be living here illegally. Any advise?

    • Natalie says:

      Hmmm.. I don’t believe residency is usually granted without the legal right to live in Italy. That requires an EU passport or a visa, normally. Do you have only a residency certificate? Or did you receive a 10 year carta di soggiorno? If you have the carta, you are lucky and that is what you need.

  64. Kenneth C says:

    Hey Natalie, Just got my first PDS! I’ll be travelling back stateside for the months of June-September, and my PDS expires on the 23rd of September. I’d love to start the renewal process now, but it would be 5 months in advance. I’ve scoured every last website, both private and those of the italian state, and can’t find a definitive answer as to whether or not applying for renewal EARLIER than 60 days prior is possible. If that isn’t feasible am I wrong in assuming that I can send off the Kit Giallo say a week before the PDS expires and expect no hiccups? Thanks in advance for any help! Definitely going to binge-read the blog instead of doing schoolwork!!

    • Ahmed says:

      Hello Kenneth,
      I was wondering if you ever found out if it is possible to apply for renewal earlier than 60 days prior to expiry.
      Thanks,
      Ahmed

  65. Andrea says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Thanks for this labor of love! I had an elective residency visa for Italy for many years but I had to let it lapse and return home to the US for a few years. Now I am in the process of reapplying for the visa here in the US and your blog was super helpful in reminding me of the Permesso process once I get there….Im near Perugia but same stuff applies. Your quip about reveling in the glory for a few months till you have to start again made me smile. SO TRUE!

  66. anna saunders says:

    Thank you Natalie. At last a step by step guide. I was feeling very lost trying to find out how to do all this, it is doing my brain in! You must miss California 🙂

  67. Mary Campo says:

    Thanks for this information. My question is if my husband is a dual citizen can I (a US citizen) apply for a PS without having a visa first?

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