How to Obtain a Permesso di Soggiorno

What is a permesso di soggiorno? A permesso di soggiorno, or “permit of stay”, is a small card that validates your presence in an Italian city for a specific period of time. It looks something like this:

permessolavoro You only need to apply for a permesso di soggiorno if you are a non-EU citizen and are going to be in Italy for more than 90 days (beyond the length of your tourist visa).

How to obtain a Permesso di Soggiorno

1. Pick up your Permesso di Soggiorno Kit.

Within 8 days upon arrival in Italy, you must go to the Sportello Amico located at the primary Post Office (Ufficio Postale) of your city. When you go to the post office, be sure to take a number from the machine at the front for the sportello amico. Once they call your number, go to the counter and request a “permesso di soggiorno kit”.

2. Complete the Permesso di Soggiorno Kit.

This is all in Italian, so you may need some help. You can usually ask someone at the Sportello Amico to help you fill it out. I also found this video which gives you step-by-step instructions in English for completing the form.

Whatever you do, DO NOT sign and date the application until you return to the post office and can sign it in front of the Sportello Amico.

tabaccheria3)  Buy a Marca da Bollo stamp.

A marca da bollo is basically a special kind of stamp that you can request from tabaccheria.  Unfortunately, not all tabaccherias sell marca da bollos – so you might have to ask around. Look for the blue “T” signs and try to find a relatively large and central tabaccheria. You will need to buy a marca da bollo for the amount stated on the application (usually 16,00 euro). You will place this stamp on your application inside the box where it says “marca da bollo”.


4)   Obtain 4 passport sized photos.

These can be easily made by finding a fototessera machine, which are all throughout Italian cities. They look like little red boxes, similar to a telephone booth. Guidelines regalate that the photo must be recent and not taken more than 6 months before.

5)  Submit your Permesso di Soggiorno Application

Return to the Sportello Amico at the post office and hand in the application, along with the application fee in cash (usually 100-160 euro, depending on how long you are staying). The Sportello Amico will give you a piece of paper with the a date and time on it and tell you to go to the Questura (the police station) on this date at this time. The date is usually a month or two after you apply. They will also give you the post office receipt (usually a little white piece of paper with a red band at the top) that you must bring with you to the questura. In the meantime, this receipt acts as your temporary “permesso”, as proof that you have applied.

6)  Go to the Questura.

Go to the Questura on said given date and time. Be sure to bring with you the following:

  • Receipt from the post office
  • Passport
  • Photocopy of main passport page
  • Photocopy of all the documents you used when applying for your visa at the consulate
  • Photocopy of insurance policy, which should be valid in Italy for as long as you are staying
  • 4 passport sized photos

The questura will take your fingerprints and ask you a few questions. They then will tell you when you have to return to pick-up (ritirare) the permesso. Most questuras have a system where you can check online if your permesso is ready, or they will send you text message to tell you to come on a certain day to pick it up.

7)  Pick up your Permesso di Soggiorno.

You may have to wait several weeks before your permesso di soggiorno is ready. In my experience, I’ve had to wait as long as 5 months, although I think the questura is getting better at issuing permessos.  Once the online portal tells you that your permesso is ready, you can make an appointment to pick it up.


For more information on applying for a Permesso di Soggiorno, be sure to check out out Top 10 Permesso di Soggiorno Resources list, which includes tips from other Italy bloggers and Italian organizations.


72 comments on “How to Obtain a Permesso di Soggiorno

  1. Pingback: How to Obtain an Italian Study Visa | Italy Project

  2. Pingback: How to Obtain a Dichiarazione di Valore | Italy Project

  3. Pingback: Italian Immigration Law Survival Tips | Italy Project

  4. Pingback: The Via Lingua Experience | Italy Project

  5. Thanks so much for such a clear breakdown!! It’s difficult to get the specifics laid out. My husband, daughter and I will be arriving in Bologna in May for a year stay. (Yay!) My daughter and I are dual citizens (US/Italian) so have no issues staying that long. My husband on the other hand has not applied for his dual citizenship yet, so will have to apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno per motivi familiari. The Consulate has told us that the law changed this past August which will allow him to apply directly for the stay permit without a visa. OK, great… I have no idea what other documents we’ll need. Do you have any clue? I’m assuming we’ll need a copy of our marriage license and a birth certificate of our daughter but don’t know what else. Financial documents? Police records? Any assistance would be GREATLY appreciated!!! I look forward to reading your posts before our arrival and during our stay!!!! Grazie mille.

    • Hi Tina! Very exciting that you’re coming to Bologna!!! From what I understand for the permesso di soggiorno per motivi familiari you need a copy of your husband’s passport (all relevant pages), marraige license and to fill out a form that you can obtain from the Bologna Post Office (go to the one in Piazza Minghetti) when you get here. When you go to the post office, don’t forget to take a number from the machine as you enter by pressing the Sportello Amico button. When you get to the counter, just ask for Permesso di Soggiorno Kit, then you’ll fill it out and get your Marco di Bollo and passport sized photos, and return it to the post office. They will then give you a date and time to go to the questura (Via Bovi Campeggi , 13/3). Hope this helps! Buon Viaggio!

      • Grazie mille! I thought they might need some blood a police record and a trip to the moon… That sounds doable!!! We also got married in Italy so they can verify everything readily. Hopefully we can make this happen!!! Very exciting indeed! I’m a personal chef so will be doing a lot of food research, if you need a new food obsessed buddy, maybe we can have a coffee some time. Buona giornata.

  6. Your information is so easy to understand and like the previous comments, that it’s very doable!

    Would it be better to first have the Permesso di Soggiorno before physically look for jobs in Italy?

    Would schools more likely hire you right away if you have the Permesso di Soggiorno already?

    • Angelina – Thanks again for your comment! You really should get a study visa before moving to Italy. Once you’re here, you must apply for a permesso di soggiorno within 8 days upon arrival. Although you won’t actually receive the permesso for several months, you will still be able to show your potential employers that you have a long term visa and that you have applied for your permesso di soggiorno. With this permesso di soggiorno, you will be able to legally work a maximum of 20 hours/week. Hope that makes sense!

  7. Pingback: Moving to Milano- Part 1 | perpetuallyperipatetic

  8. Pingback: How to Obtain a Permesso di Soggiorno per Lavoro | Italy Project

  9. What is the “insurance policy receipt or card, which should be valid in Italy for as long as
    you are staying” and how can I obtain it?

    • Hi Abondo,
      When applying for a permesso di soggiorno (and visa) you must show that you have health insurance. You can either buy international health insurance or apply for health insurance here in Italy. If you want to apply here in Italy, you need to visit the ASL center in the area where you have residency. For more info, check out . :)

  10. Hi. I went to claim my permesso di soggiorno today, but it cannot be released to me. I “lost” the original postal receipt! “Lost” because I am not very sure if I really lost it. From my memory, when I applied – it was not given back to me, it was stapled to my documents. Now I am not very sure. I’ve searched in the web what to do in case this happens, but I only see tips from application until the waiting part for the permesso to arrive. Would you know if this happened to anyone? Was the process of getting a “lost postal receipt” from the post office very tedious? Thank you!

    • Hi Rojean,

      I’ve never had that happen to me or know of anyone else who did! Yikes! The post office should have stapled one copy of the postal receipt to your documents (to be sent to the questura) and then given you the other copy of the postal receipt. Anyways, things get lost all the time in Italian organizations so I wouldn’t feel too bad. You could try going back to the post office to see if they can issue you another one, but I’m not sure if they keep those things on file. If that doesn’t work you should go back to the Questura and bring all the documents regarding the application you have with you and insist that they find the application and match it to your identity. Otherwise, you’ll have to apply again. I’m sure it has happened to others in the past so there must be a way to do it. Good luck!

      • Hi Sarah,

        My daughter is a student in Florence and is currently on Spring Break in Dublin. She thinks she lost her postal receipt for the Permit of Stay and she’s worried she will have trouble getting back into Italy after the break is over in a week. Do you know if she will have any issues? If not, will she have to re-apply for a Permit of Stay once she’s back in Florence? Her semester is over by April 29, 2016. Thanks!

        • Hi Myra,

          I’m not sure. If she hasn’t overstayed her 90 day tourist visa (if she has been in Europe for less than 90 days) it shouldn’t be a problem. If it has been more than 90 days they might ask for some document. I don’t think they would arrest her or anything like that, at the very least they could look up her permesso di soggiorno request. Still, if she plans on staying for longer than 90 days, she will need the receipt and the number on the receipt in order to pick up her permesso di soggiorno card.

          • Thanks, Sarah! She arrived in Florence on January 7, so it will be more than 90 days as she is there until April 29. OK, it sounds like she’ll be able to get back into Italy, but that she’ll have to see if the Questura can look her application up online? And if they can’t find it, she would have to re-apply, I’m guessing?

          • Hi Myra, If she doesn’t travel outside of Italy after the 90 day mark, she will probably be fine without reapplying. The police only check the permesso/receipt if you travel in and outside of Italy. When I studied abroad, I never even got my permesso di soggiorno card (I was there for 4 months) so in the end the application was a bit useless. So to be on the safe side, yes she should reapply, especially if she is going to travel around Europe. If she doesn’t plan on travelling much more, nothing will happen to her if she doesn’t, but better safe than sorry I guess….

          • Hi, I have been staying here in Italy for one year and I have applied for new Soggiorno and my date to visit Questura is on 30th Dec but I have lost the postal receipt. I have the older soggiorno which is expired. Please advise me what should be my nest step.

          • Hi Gunjan, you need to go to the local Questura immediately and ask them what you should do. You might have to reapply at the post office. The receipt acts as proof that you actually applied.

          • Thanks Sarah,
            I have contacted Questura but I had the soft copy of my receipt, so they advised me to take the dinuncha from police. I have taken this as well. Now my concern is, can I visit my country in between and can come back with those documents before my questura appointment. Please advise what would be the best way to do that.

  11. due to circumstances i couldnt make it within the 8 days im going on the 8th day or the 9th since ive arrived is it a problem will i face troubles or consequences because of being late? i was waiting for my university to help me with the application since it was in italian

  12. Hey! I have a question- I am trying to apply for Italian citizenship by blood descent but is there any type of permit or visa available for people to stay in Italy while their case for citizenship is being reviewed?

    • Hmm I’m not sure. You could stay in Italy with a study or work visa, but I don’t think there is a visa for people waiting for Italian citizenship. You coudl try to ask the Italian consulate though. Good luck!

  13. Hi Sarah!!

    This is all so helpful- I am arriving in Italy on the 17th of March to Aui pair for three months and then to travel. I have not had much luck in terms of getting useful information about the Permesso Di Sogionro.

    I have a few questions:

    I sent the Italian Questura asking what exactly I need to bring to the appointment and how to obtain the documents. They sent an email back saying that within 48 hours of arrival my host family will have to submit a ” declaration of hospitality” ….? Do you know anything about this or if its even necessary.

    I am also trying to follow the link to get your ” Permesso do Soggiorno checklist but is it not working and unavailable. I would love if I would be able to access this.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer me as I have been stressing out about this. ha ha.

    • Hi Olivia,

      Not sure about the Au Pair permesso, but I have definitly heard of the hospitality letter. So it sounds normal…How long will you be staying in Italy? If you are staying less than 90 days, you don’t need any documents other than your passport. If you’re staying more than 90 days, you need to get a Visa at the U.S. Italian consulate, then apply for your permesso when you get to Italy.

      Unfortunately, I have had to remove the permesso di soggiorno checklist due to the fact that I no longer have my mailling service. Nevertheless, it’s the more or less the same information provided in the post.

      Hope that helps. :)

  14. Hi Sarah
    Such a great site – nice to see people out to help others. I am an Italian dual citizen and my husband is from New Zealand. We will be relocating to Italy in the middle of this year. I understand my husband needs to apply for a permesso per motivi familiari when we arrive within 8 days. The challenge we have is that we will be located in Palermo, and as we will be driving all the way from Paris, by the time we arrive in Palermo it will be around day 7 given how long a drive it is. The requirement to go within 8 days, is this within 8 days to start the process (i.e. To go and get the permesso kit), or to actually lodge the application? Your help would be much appreciated. I appreciate they may be a little flexible if it’s just s few days after but I’m still keen to understand technically what they require to be done within 8 days


  15. Hi Sarah,

    I am currently in Italy on a 90-day tourist visa. My girlfriend is Italian, and I have been staying with her since I arrived.

    Recently we were invited to a wedding which happens to fall on the day after my visa will expire. I am trying to find information on what I can do to extend my visa to no avail.

    Do you have any knowledge on how to extend your visa once you are already in Italy?

    • Hi Anthony, I’m not too sure about how to extend a visa. I don’t think anything bad would happen to you, but you might have some difficulty coming back into Italy if you plan to return within the next few years.

  16. Hai Sara,
    I am Amrutha Aravind from India. I am a student of university of salento, Lecce. I started my course on 5th of October 2015. my permesso di soggiorno will expire on 14th of September 2016. but i have taken the ticket to India for my summer vacation. i will go on 27th of July and i will return only on 20 of September. So how can i renew my permesso di soggiorno as i will not be here for those 2 months? expecting your reply.

  17. Hi Sarah
    Thank you for your very informative post. My husband and I are going to be in Italy for 12 months shortly. We are all prepared for our interview with the Italian Consulate here in Australia. I am a little concerned about the Permesso di Soggiono application. When we arrive, we are doing an 10 day walking tour in the Piedmonte region and then heading to Sderlonga for a week with our tour group. Do you know if there is a way that we can submit our pdis electronically prior to leaving Australia or how we could organise to lodge it later. We will be on the move for 14 days before we go to our rented apartment in Lucca. Which brings me to another question, do we need to lodge the pdis from the place where we will be living? Appreciate any assistance you can provide. Thanks. Deb

    • Hi Deborah, Unfortunately there is no way to submit an electronic application (Italy is still in the middle ages when it comes to bureaucracy). You’ll have to leave yourself a free morning to go and submit your application. You will need to provide some sort of living address for your permesso di soggiorno.

  18. Dear Sarah,
    I wrote you a few months ago about my upcoming trip to Rome. I really appreciated the time you took to tell me about interesting restaurants and places to visit.
    I spent a wonderful month in Rome. I was actually testing the waters. This was my second visit to Rome and now I am sure I want to move there permanently.
    I wanted to know if once I get my visa, can I buy the “Servizio Sanitario Nazionale”? When you apply for the “Permesso di Soggiorno”, must you show proof that you have insurance?
    I ask because I didn’t see that on any of the forms shown on that very helpful Youtube video?
    I would much rather purchase the “Servizio Sanitario Nazionale” as it is much less than American insurance, which cost thousands of dollars.
    I had to go to the E.R. in Rome and found the care to be excellent and I was only charged about 41.00 euros!!!
    Thank you very much. Hoping all is well with you and wishing I was
    back in “Rome Sweet Rome”,

    • Hi Denise, Glad to hear you enjoyed Rome. In order to apply for a permesso di soggiorno, you must have a visa issued by the Italian consulate in the US (unlesss you are an EU citizen passport holder). Once you apply for the permesso di soggiorno, you can apply for the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale.

  19. OOOPS! One other question I meant to ask, can a person apply for a “Permesso Di Soggiorno” if they came to Italy on a 90 day”Tourist Visa”? Thanks so much again.

  20. Hi and thanks or this breakdown! My specific question is about a student who went through this process and received a long term student visa (365 days), but is returning again for her 2nd year of study. The school says she does not need another visa, even though it expires before she leaves again. They are saying she just needs to reapply for a new permesso di soggiorno when she gets there.

    Is this true? Can she get a permesso di soggiorno with a student visa that has expired?


    • Hi Marcia,

      It might different if the student is studying at the same school (like university). I don’t have a lot of experience in this field, as I studied at different places with a short term study visa and so I had to reapply for a study visa every time. Nevertheless, my work visa works in this way. I only had to apply for a work visa once, and after that I have been able to simply renew my permesso di soggiorno every year (as long as I maintain my job). The best thing you can do is ask the Questura or the Prefettura for Immigration in your area.


      • We just heard back from the Consulate in the states and they say the document we have is definitely a receipt for the “permesso di soggiorno” request wich was made compliantly. In this case, they can’t actually issue a new Visa, because that receipt is proof of permanent residence status in Italy.

        So there you go! I hope this is helpful to someone else in our situation!

        • thought that might be case. We have one spare day at the very start of our tour so hopefully we can get it all done in a day. If only we had known before we made all the bookings. :( Thanks for you help – much appreciated

    • Hi Nikki and John, If you’re a non-EU citizen moving to Italy, yes. You’ll need to declare your children on your permesso di soggiorno application. You should be able to find housing and get a car before. Just remember that you need to begin your permesso di soggiorno application within 8 days of your arrival in Italy.

  21. Hi Sarah..!!
    wonderfully you have explained every process. Thanks so much.
    Would like to ask,
    me (non-eu) and my italian partner is planning to get married in Italy in this december. should i apply for a tourist visa initially and then apply for soggiorno after our wedding. does it also have a time constraint like 8 days or anytime before expiry of my visa.
    do you have any experience in this area, It will be great if you can share your thoughts.

    • Hi Khyati, It depends on where you’re from but I don’t think you need to actually apply for a tourist visa. All passport holders have automatically have a 90 day tourist visa when they visit Italy. So as long as you have a passport and are planning on staying less than 90 days in Italy you don’t need to apply for anything.

  22. Hi i am italian citizen i have applied permesso di sogorno for my sister visited us. I want to know that how long this process takes time and what will be the validation of sogorno

  23. Hi i am italian citizen i have applied permesso di sogorno for my sister visited us. I want to know that how long this process takes time and what will be the validation of sogorno …

    • Hi Ssahi, Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how long it will take as it varies from place to place. However, I can tell you that it generally has taken me about 3 months to get my permesso di soggiorno card after I applied at the post office.

  24. Hi, thaks for your great text, i have a question that i failed to find any answer in anywhere, hope that you know something
    I,m in Italy with a student visa, my wife is also with me but with a tourist visa (90 days in 180 days), me and my wife boath applied for permesso, (student for me and family for her) and we both have the recipe, but the appointment is about more that 2 months after the expiration of her visa, is it legal that she stay in italy after the expirationof the visa just with the post recipe?

    • As long as you have the receipt, you’re fine. The receipt acts as proof that you have applied and that you are waiting for the official card to be issued. It’s normal to have the appointment a few months after so don’t worry. Keep the receipt and you will be fine.

  25. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your blog. I lived in Italy for seven months and had a permesso di seggiorno, but sadly allowed it to expire (I was frantically writing my thesis). Now my boyfriend is still there and I would like to return to Italy to be with him. Do you know of the best way that I could obtain a visa to go work there? I am thinking of teaching English as a foreign language, but wouldn’t that entail getting employed before I go there?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Hello Ana, That’s a bummer about your permesso! Unfortunately, I believe getting a work visa is kind of like trying to answer the question, “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?”. There are ways around this dilemma however. While I can’t tell you exactly what you need to do, I can share with you my personal experience with getting a work visa which I’ve written about here. Good luck!

  26. Hi Sarah! Thanks for such a detailed and informative post!
    I am planning to Au Pair for 12 months this year in Italy starting in June. Would the best route to get a Permesso di Soggiorno? I will also be attending a University Program for three weeks in July, so would this be enough to instead apply for a study visa? I am also 17, not yet 18, so would my age pose any problems?
    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Sarah! Wow, that sounds like quite the experience. In your case, I’m not sure what you type of visa you need to apply for. I’m pretty sure there are visas for Au Pairing. You should speak to your nearest Italian consulate and see what they think is best.

  27. Ciao! I have been studying in Florence for one year and my permesso took around 10 months to arrive. The permessos of most of the people who had applied with me have expired. I am in my home country right now and need to find out the date of the expiration to apply for an internship. Is there any way I can find the expiration date without physically going to Italy?

    Thank you

    I meant going to Italy*

    • Hi Vrishti, I’m not quite sure I understand your question. The expiry date of your permesso di soggiorno should be listed on your permesso di soggiorno card. Is that what you mean?

  28. i leave in italy, but is there any University that teach with english. and how long those it take to get permesso di soggiorno, but is they any way to check if its out