Monday, June 11, 2007

Permesso di Sogiorno (The Saga Continues)

This week, it will be 3 months since I have applied for the Permesso Di Soggiorno, which allows me to stay in Italy for more than the 90 days allowed by a tourist visa. Even though I received a visa from the Italian Embassy in Detroit prior to departing for Italy, I still have to apply for permission to stay here through the police department.

My ordeal dealing with the Questura and La posta is documented on early blogs, but suffice it to say, that when dealing with any government agencies, it seems to be the same all over the world. At least in the USA and here, there are lots of red tape.

Since it has been 90 days, and since I have learned a little more Italian, I decided to take another look at the paperwork I was given when I made the application at the post office. I found no additional instructions, and I had been assuming that I would receive something in the mail regarding the document. So far I haven’t. In the documents that I have, there is a password and a user id and some reference to "del permesso di soggiorno electtronico". I remembered seeing a machine at La Questura pertaining to the "electtronico" document, so I thought maybe I had misunderstood the original instructions and maybe I was to go there again with these documents.

Today I walked back across town to La Questura. I had to wait until school was out at 1:00, so it was a long hot walk. When I got there, all of the offices that I had been to before were closed. There were 2 police women at the door, and I asked one, in Italian, "Dove il ufficio per richesta Il Permesso di Soggiorno". She let off in rapid fire Italian, and I looked at her like a deer in headlights and said, "Parli piano per favore" (Speak slowly please). She then begin speaking in English, which is typical of Italians in Florence and why I don’t get to speak too much Italian. Not too many people have the patience for it, or else, they want to practice their English.

Anyway, she told me that I should receive something in the mail, but that I could go online to check the status of the application. She gave me the web address, and also said that the offices had moved. I decided to check the status on line first before going to the office. The office is opened from 8:30-10:00 Monday thru Friday, so I will need to miss school to go there.
At home, I went on line and found information about the Permesso di Soggiorno, absent any time lines, and I could not find anywhere to locate the status. The site is in Italian, and I spent 2 hours on the translations trying to find it.

I guess at this point, I will wait to receive something in the mail, or for the authorities to show up and tell me to get out of the country. It is interesting being on this side of the immigration process. While I have no idea what it is like in the USA, I can only imagine that it is equally as complicated, and the language barriers also a problem. I am sure that countries cannot afford to have forms, and information in all the potential languages of the immigrants. Even if you try to do the right thing, it is difficult when you cannot speak the language, and you do not know what steps to take next. Not an easy thing to solve, for governments or immigrants either!

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