How to Renew a Permesso di Soggoriono

It’s that time again. Time for permesso di soggiorno renewal! Guys, I can’t tell you how many times I have been to the questura in my life. I’ve stopped counting. Last month I think I completed my permesso di soggiorno kit renewal in record time. Less than 24 hours and I had that sucker sent off at the post office. PRO!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about because you’ve never applied for a permesso di soggiorno, then you don’t what you’re missing! You can learn more about this permesso thingy here and here and here

So yes, it’s been one year since I’ve had my ‘permesso di soggiorno per lavoro’ (permit of stay card for work) and I’m pretty darn proud of it. It took me nearly two and half years to convert my study permit card into one for work. Now it’s time to renew my permesso di soggiorno work card and as always, I’ll be documenting my experience here because, my friends, in this chaotic, confusing and disorganized world called Italy, we can all learn from each other. 

From what I understand you have to renew your permesso di soggiorno once after the first year, then you can wait two years before renewing again, and then three years. After that you can apply for a ‘carta di soggiorno’ which lasts for 5 years, and THEN you get the big whammy prize – cittadinanza italiana – Italian citizenship. 8) :thumbsup:

But don’t let me get ahead of myself. I’m only on my first year renewal. Doh!

So far, the renewal process has gone like this…

How to Renew a Permesso di Soggiorno (and Survive the Questura of Genoa)

1. Picked up my permesso di soggiorno kit (a series of forms) from the Sportello Amico at my local post office.

2. Completed all forms, purchased a Marca di Bollo for 16 euro (the price has increased from 14 to 16, despite what the application says), and gathered work contract forms.

3. Made double quadruple photo copies of all documents, including passport, permesso di soggiorno card and work contract forms. Became best buddies with the guy at Buffetti who fell in love with the beauty of my American passport for reasons unknown to me. It’s just a bunch of paper???

4. Returned to the post office, only to face the cheeriest woman in all of Genoa who clearly was counting down the minutes to her ‘ferragosto’ vacation. Shelled out 150 euros (cash only accpeted, had to withdraw money from the post office ATM and pay a bank fee) to renew my card and send my application. 

5. Post Office Lady gave me my receipt and appointment time at the questura (set for more than one month later). Then she barely even mustered up enough energy to mutter an ‘arrivederci’ as I skipped my way out of the door desperate for fresh air and happy to have got THAT part done with. 

6. Enjoyed one blissful  month of vacation and not thinking about anything related to my permesso! Yippee!

7. September 22nd 10:23 – Stumbled my way out to search for the Questura of Genoa, which apparently is located under a very dark, filth and mold covered parking garage and the infamous ‘sopraelevata’ (an overpass highway that while cuts the traffic time in half, also creates a massive blot on the Ligurian landscape). 

8. Showed the hottest carabineri (police) guy I HAVE EVER SEEN that I had an appointment at 10:58. Hot Carabineri told to wait in the room down the hall. 

9. Sat waiting in a blue plastic chair under fluorescent lighting in what seemed like an old classroom, minus the glass cubicle offices where disgruntled government workers sit stamping papers and typing data into machines like robots.

10. After 45 minutes, my name is finally called “DOV-LING, SAD-AH”. I jump up and to say HERE! IT’S ME! THAT’S ME! only to be told to sit back down again and wait until she calls me again. Sigh.

11. Finally, the disgruntled questura woman calls me from her cubicle “VENGA!” (COME!).

12. Disgruntled Questura Woman (DQW) takes my papers and starts typing. Click click click. I try to make some small talk by asking her about the African masks she has decorated on her wall. “Sono i tuoi?” (Are they yours?), I ask. “Si. Li ho preso in vacanza” (Yes I got them on vacation), she responded with not even the hint of a smile. Damn this woman was hard to crack. 

13. DQW asks me for my old passport, which I don’t have with me because it’s not even valid anymore and the study visa inside is not even relavant to the permesso I have now which is for work. I ask her if I can call my boyfriend to ask for the informaiton, but she just shirks and asks me whichs city I flew into. 

14. Next DQW asks why my passport says I was born in “GEORGIA, U.S.A.” and my permesso says “ATLANTA, U.S.A.”. I try to explain to her that Georgia is a state, and that I was born in the city of Atlanta which is in Georgia. She doesn’t seemed satisfied because they don’t match. I tell her that I had to renew my passport in Italy so maybe someone at the USA Embassy in Florence got confused. She starts typing again. 

15. DQW looks at my 4 small passport sized photos required for the permesso renewal and asks me if I have other photos. I say no because, hey isn’t 4 enough?  She just shakes her head saying, “Ma no….questi non vanno bene…sono chiarissimi” (these won’t do, they’re too light). When I tell her that I had them done in the passport photo machine in Italy and that, well, I’m a very pale person, she gives a tiny chuckle before it fades away as she focuses again on the finishing my application and getting rid of me. 

16. Before she lets me go, she takes my fingerprints and gives me a half piece of paper with the information on how to check if my permesso is ready, warning me to bring my old passport with me the next time. Then she looks up and calls the next name. 

And that my friends, is what has happened so far regarding the infamous permesso di soggiorno. I still have to wait until the card is ready to go pick it up, at which point I will be fully free of my questura visits for the next two years. I’ll be updating this page if there are any changes or wacko things I feel you should know about.

Until then, godspeed to the rest of you permesso di soggiorno seekers and holders. May the FORZA be with you!

21 comments on “How to Renew a Permesso di Soggoriono

  1. After reading about your permesso experience and Rick Zullo’s recent adventure trying to buy baby formula and a monthly bus pass, I have to wonder how Italy doesn’t just collapse into oblivion. I left Italy two years ago but still vividly remember these bureaucratic adventures. When in Italy it’s just a part of life. Thankfully this mess is invisible to tourists for the most part. Oh, by the way, I hear there’s a train strike scheduled for tomorrow! ;)

    • Haha yes, Italy has its ups and downs! I just try to remember that around the corner of every chaotic, disorganized, senseless adventures there’s a chocolate brioche and espresso waiting for me. :D

  2. Just reading this stressed me out! Though you got it done in record time and efficiency, it reminds me of allllll the times I had 4 but needed 5 photos, or when the computer wouldn’t let them change an address….every single time I renew my permesso, some rule (usually many) is different from the last time. I go into the process armed with patience, and things work out.

    Though, from what I’ve been told the permesso can only be renewed for a max of 2 years.

    • Diana, there’s always something new! My boyfriend calls any Italian bureaucratic task “treasure island” for that reason.

      You might be right about the 2 year limit for the permesso di soggiorno. 3 years is wishful thinking. ;)

  3. Ciao Sarah, I am about to start the renewal process for my permesso. This will be the 3rd renewal, each one having been for 1 year. Is getting a 2 year permesso as simple as checking box 64 in Modulo 1? If so, I feel pretty stupid for not having tried it before.

    • Hi Bob, not entirely sure but I’d say that if this is your third renewal and you have a work visa, you should be able to apply for a two year permesso. I’d say try it and see if it works!

  4. I converted my Permesso from study to Work after a five months ordeal. That too because my employer (think tank) helped me out! Will be happy to share details on this blog :)

      • Hello Sarah, thanks for your reply. The process started with me applying for the ‘nulla osta’ after I finished my PhD in Italy (extremely important as I didn’t have to comply with the annual quota). I would like to provide a detailed account of the process and publish it on your blog. Would that be possible? Thanks again!

  5. any updates on the card?:) i’ve applied last week (had my appointment), in the dark and gloomy questura of Genova as well. i’m wondering how long it will take them to process the card… kind of want to travel outside Europe for Cristmas…

    • Hi Katia, It took about 3 months for me to get my card. Could be sooner, could be later. It’s hard to tell with the questura folks. You should still be able to travel outside of Europe as along as you carry your Permesso di Soggiorno receipt (the little piece of paper you got from the post office when you submitted your application) to show that you’ve applied. Good luck!

  6. My permesso di soggiorno (per studio) will be expired on January next year and I will be graduated on April. Any suggestions if I can hold my renewal permesso until I graduate and renew with “cerco di lavoro” permit?

      • I agree with Sarah (apologies for replying when she’s already replied). You need to take a letter from your university (Post Lauream office) stating that your final exams will be in April and that should be sufficient.

        Also, you can only apply for the permesso di soggiorno per attesa occupazione (permesso while searching for employment) once you have graduated. Thanks!

  7. Hey Sarah, I just need your help to clear up something, I have my permesso for work I just did my third renewal, so I’m I getting it for 1 more year? or I am getting it for 2 years now? or Im I getting the carta di soggiorno? Im just confused and the nice ladies at the questura don’t answer me……. thanks!

  8. once we give our fingerprints then how much time does it required to ready for collection …plzz reply me as soon as possible ( permasso d soggiorno )

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