Well…I did it! After two long months of hassling with the Italian Consulate in the U.S., I have finally received the long coveted documents I need to enroll in Italian University: Dichiarazione di Valore (if you have no idea what that is, check out my post How To Obtain a Dichiarazione di Valore where I explain all about it). Nevertheless, I’m only halfway there, as I still must apply for a study visa and a permesso di soggiorno.
Why is it so difficult, you ask? Well for those of you who aren’t familiar with Italian immigration law, you should know that the laws are always changing and every Italian government body has a different set of eyes. For example, the Italian consulate requested that I provide ALL of my education documents – from my high school transcripts to my masters degree diploma. On the other hand, the Univeristy of Bologna said they only needed my most recent degree information. So…the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Typical.
It’s a wild jungle out there in the world of ltalian bureaucracy. How can an expat survive? Here are a few tips:
Don’t give up. People will tell you no a thousand times. They will try anything just to get rid of you. Keep knocking on the door, keep calling, keep e-mailing until they don’t have any other choice but to respond.
2. Never trust just one source
Because Italian law IS so confusing, you have to ask multiple people the same question. One government official might say one thing, while your online research says another. Ask ask ask until you get an answer that is consistent.
3. Stay organized
Keep everything on file, in an organized manner. I keep all my research and visa documents in one folder, both on my computer and printed out. Consulates are very particular about the documents they receive – they must be absolutely pristine and in-order. Italian government bodies are also infamous for losing documents, so you’re Type A organization skills could pay off. Even after your document is issued, it’s useful to have information to refer back to incase you have to do it again.
4. Be patient, but quick to act
These things take time. Italy runs on a different time clock than the rest of the world. However, one word of advice to speed things up is to act quickly on your part. Even though the Italian government might be slow to respond to your requests, the quicker you act, the quicker the whole process moves.
Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you’re waiting. – Joyce Meyer
5. Hire an expert
If you can afford it, hire someone who can help you. Italian immigration lawyer, or a well-trusted immigration service can really help save you a lot of hassle. Of course not everyone can afford this, which is why bloggers like me try to share as much advice as possible!
Have a glass. Or two. Life will seem much better.
For those of you who are just starting out, I recommend that you visit our Moving to Italy page for more tips and Italy expat advice.