The tedious procedures that Italy had waiting for me (permesso di soggiorno)

! Hey everyone! I hope that you are well. Today I am going to talk about the procedures I had to go through in order to get my student visa or also known as the permesso di soggiorno which is a document that you need to study in Italy.

According to Italian rules, you have to have it or have applied for it, no more than 8 days after you arrive in Italy.

The university of Bologna, has an office for international students, Erasmus or foreign like me, if you are not European then you will have to go through the following procedure. So take a pen and paper and immerse yourself in the lovely world of Italian bureaucracy :)

Let's start...

To apple for the student visa you will need the following documents:

- Complete a request form that they send you for free in the post. In Rimini there are two Italian post offices, one near Arch of Augustus and the other near the university on the street, 'via Gambalunga 40'. Go there from Monday to Saturday.

- Have a stamp so send the envelope, which will cost you about 16 euros and you can buy it in any Tabaccheria (Tobacconist).

- The photocopy of your original passport, on the pages with your personal details and the date that you arrived in Italy or Europe. The would be stamped when you arrive to the airport (for example in my case it was in Amsterdam).

- A certificate from the University of Italy, in my case that was the the university of Bologna. Log in to your account, “studenti online”, which is an account that you will have already created before coming to Italy (since you apply to be selected through that). From there you will be able to print out an "autocertificazione", and you can take this to the offices that help foreigners. If for some reason you cant print this document, don't worry, you can go to the street 'via cattaneo', where the office of studies is located and they will give you a certificate to give to the Questura (Police headquarters).

These details are the prices that I paid in 2016:

The form that you will send through the Italian post office will cost €107.50 (this form contains a lot of pages, so it is better to go and get help from an emigration assistant, which is free :), more details below)

To send the form it will cost 30 euros (which you have to pay at the post office before you send it).

Getting the Italian fiscal code (codice fiscale)

Having said that, lets move on to the magical world of bureaucracy:

- You will need to go to a Agenzia delle Entrate (Revenue Agency) to get your fiscal code (this code is the Italian tax code, and you will always be asked for it. For example when you go to make a bank account or buy a sim card for your phone, so it is one of the first things that you have to do).

If you are in Rimini, you can go to 37 Ufficio Territoriale Via Macanno. The telephone number is: 0541 300111. From the centre you can take the number 8 bus which leaves from the Torres de Hospital, Rimini. The bus from the city only costs one euro and it will take one hour. Make sure that you scan your ticket because if you don't and an inspector gets on the bus you are at risk of paying a fine :)

Another option in everything that you do, is do what I do (which is the most stingy hehe). Take the street 'via Flaminia' and walk for about 25 minutes until you get there from the centre. While your doing that, you can take the opportunity to get to know the area. When I first came here I was always getting lost, even though it is a small place. As a reference, go to the Arch of Augustus and straight ahead you will see the street via Flaminia. I advise you to look on google maps so you don't end up lost in some area without free wifi.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 08:45 to 12:45 and on Tuesday and Thursday, they also open from 14:45 to 16:45. There is a revenue agency very close to the shopping centre called Le Befane. So if you want to, you can go shopping or relax for a bit after completing your first procedure.

Here is a picture of the shopping centre, Le Befane in Rimini:



The process of getting the fiscal code is free and you don't have to pay anything. But that is provided that you don't forget your passport and documents for them to check. There they will give you a sheet with a code on it, which will be your famous fiscal code, make a copy of it in case you loose it :)

Then, you have to go to any Tabaccheria (Tobacconist) and buy a stamp to send your documents to the Questura (police headquarters). They are all over the city so you will have no problems in finding them with the letter "T" outside it. If it is lunch time, they will be on break so you will have to wait until they come back to buy the lovely stamp and if they don't understand the word stamp, the word is francobollo in Italian.

Here is a picture of one of the tobacconists so you know what they look like. In Peru this what the off-license or a kiosk would look like.



Asking for "la Busta" (envelope) in the "Poste italiane"...

With your stamp, plus your fiscal code as soon as you pass by any Poste Italiane, tell them that you want a busta for your lovely residency permit (permesso di sogiorno) and they will give you an envelope to complete it :) how? Don't worry, there are places that help immigrants like myself complete this form and for free too! :)

Here is what the logo of one of the many Italian postal services looks like, so you can recognize them in your bureaucratic adventure.



Acercarce al Centro Servizi Innmigrati (Immigration service centre)...

When you have your envelope, go to any Centro Servizi Inmmigrati. They are only open from Monday to Saturday, some you have to make an appointment before you go.

Here are the opening hours if you are in Rimini and places where you can go to complete this form. I put the days of the week in Italian so we know the words that are easy to learn:

- Lunedi (Monday): 9- 12 hrs, Casa dell’Intercultura

- Martedi (Tuesday): 9- 12 hrs, Servizi Sociali

- Mercoledi (Wednesday): 9- 12 hrs, Servizi Sociali

- Giovedi (Thursday): 9- 12 hrs, Caritas or 15:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs, Servizi Sociali

- Venerdi (Friday): 9-12 hrs, Casa dell’Intercultura

- Sabato (Saturday): 9-12 hrs, Casa dell’Intercultura

These are the addresses of the places that I have mentioned above:

Servizi Sociali (Comune di Rimini) - 7 Via Ducale (2nd floor). Telephone: 0541 704685 – Fax 0541 704606

Casa dell’intercultura - 14 Via Bruno Toni. Telephone: 0541 520 – Fax 0541 59945

Caritas Diocesa - 7 Via Madonna della Scala. Telephone: 0541 260 – Fax 0541 24826

I can tell you from experience that, I went to Casa dellíntercultura and they helped me complete the entire form in approximately 30 minutes. If you are going to any of these place, don't forget to bring all of your documents with you: envelope, medical insurance, passport, certificates, etc. otherwise you will have to come back another day. And make a copy of all of your documents.

When you get to the Centro Servizi Inmigrati (immigration service centre) they will ask you for all your documents and everything, even your soul! It is better that you have them all so that you don't have to go back :) and ruin your morning or afternoon.

If you don't have medical insurance for the next 6 months, you have two options. You can either take out national health insurance, which is known as the carta di sanidad or you can buy private insurance, which only covers you if something serious happens such as a car accident.

That's why the police headquarters give you the option to choose either of them. Also if you want the private one there is a cheaper one for students called assitalia and it will cost you €49 for six months or €98 for a year. To pay this you have to go to the post office and fill out a form called 'Assitalia'. My advise is that if you come to Italy in the middle of the year, take out the 'Assitalia' first and then take out the national health insurance.

Once you have everything, all those papers, completed by an immigration assistant in the places I mentioned, you have to go back to Poste Itale, get your ticket and wait to be called with your best smile:). The person there will check the envelope and then you will have to pay to send it off to the Police headquarters. They will give you proof of payment, which will be a page with the date of your appointment at the Questura (Police headquarters)

The sheet contains the information of all the documents that you have to bring to your appointment and you also have to take 4 photos, to bring with you.

The appointment with the Questura...

It depends on where you are in Italy, if your in Rimini, the Questura is on the street Via Bonsi. On that day you should get there at least 15 minutes before your appointment time, and I suggest you already have a place to live (the Questura will ask you for it) or at least a contact. If not then they will make you come back another day in which case, you will not get an appointment and will just have to wait in a queue.

If you are going to have a house before your appointment with the Questura ask the owner of the house if they have the form called, 'Dichiarazione di ospitalita per cittadini extracomunitari'. In theory, the owner should declare that you are their tenant when you sign a contract so you shouldn't have any problems with this. Ask for a copy of this and also you need a copy of the owner of the house's ID card and yours. The Questura are going to ask for it and if you don't have it they will make you come back and give you a form to fill out within seven working days, so that everything is in order.

Here is a photo of the Questura in Rimini:



In the Questura they will take your fingerprints, they will look at you as a teacher looks at his students hehe... but dont worry, they will still take care of you. They don't speak Spanish, or English but I got by with my Italian so be patient and smile.

Once everything is done, the Questura will tell you that they will call you so have an Italian sim card before you go to Questura (I bought one with the company Wind) give your number and in about a month Eureka! They will call you again if there are any problems with your original documents and this day you will feel free and fulfilled :) hehe, when you have your permesso di soggiorno in your hands.

But it doesn't end there, there's more. Look at the expiration date, in my case they only gave it to me for six months and you have to renew it within at least 60 days before it expires. So again, you'll have to go to the Questura and do all the procedures I mentioned from going to the post office, immigration assistance center, send them again and tell them GRAZIE!

I know that the first time id tedious enough, I know. But it will all be worth it when you are studying in the University here. I assure you that when you renew your student visa, you will be a boss at it and do it very quickly. I have my appointment next Friday, so I hope that it all goes well.

The office of internation students of Bologna will give you all of this information in English, so you will have all of the tools you need.

I hope that I have helped you in your magical Italian experience! See you next time :)

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