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:
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.
3) 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
- 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.