My life at the questura

I’ve been in Italy since late last November and only today did I get my official permit to stay, otherwise known as my Permesso di Soggiorno.  Let me recount the tale.

Here’s the Questura in Florence.  Lovely, right?  I wish you could feel the temperature as well, and get a drift of the fragrance.  It is icy cold in winter and hades hot in summer!





So, I came to Italy on a student visa last November.  That visa took me through March of this year.  I had to visit the Questura within 8 days of arriving.

Before going to the Questura in Florence in December, I had to go to the Florence post office and get a “kit” with the documents I needed to submit at the Questura.  Completing these documents in black ink (and only black ink; any other will get your documents put in the trash), I also needed to go to a Tabbachi store to purchase a particular francobollo or stamp for a rather high price.

With my completed black ink documents and receipts and francobollo, I paid my first visit to the charming Questura in early December and submitted necessary documents and receipts for monies paid.  At that point I was given a date for returning to the Questura to pick up my Permesso.

Unfortunately, the date given was 3 months out, or in March of 2017, which was beyond the time my Student Visa allowed me to be in Italy.  A bit of a quandary, but what to do?

I had decided to stay longer in Italy anyhow, and worked with my language school to submit new documents to the Questura showing I would be a student for another 8 months or so, at my appointment in March of 2017.

At my March appointment, with my new documents and pictures and receipts for monies paid, I was fingerprinted and told I would receive an SMS when my Permesso.  That was March.

On June 1, I received this SMS.  I was to go back to Questura on 29 June at 15,13 o’clock to get my Permesso! Woo hoo!  I think I am finally going to get my Permesso!




Yesterday, at 15,13 (actually I was early) I arrived at Questura and explained why I was there to the officer in charge.  He gave me a number and told me to expect to wait for 2 hours.

He was right, it took 2 hours for my number to be called.



Finally, my number was called and I darted up to the sportello and greeted the bored bureaucrat behind the counter.  He fetched my Permesso but explained to me that as of 7 June, a new tax has been added.  I needed to pay an additional 40 Euro to get my Permesso.

OK, I said, I can pay you now.  I had known to take some money with me, just in case.

Oh, no, he laughed.  You can’t pay me!  You have to go to the Post Office and pay them and get a receipt and bring it back here.  He told me where the nearest PO was and told me I could ask the officer at the front of the Questura if I could return yesterday with my receipt and get another number and get my Permesso.  I wanted to do just that.  He told me that if the officer told me no for yesterday, I could return today between 9 and 11 a.m. with my receipt.

I went to the officer at the front and asked him if I could dart out, pay the tax, and return the same afternoon (yesterday).  No, he said, they would be closed.  OK, I said, I’ll come back in the morning.

No, he said, you can’t come back until Monday.  I complained and showed him the note the bureaucrat at the sportello had given me.  He read it and got his supervisor.  They consulted.  The supervisor asked me who gave me the note.  I told her as best I could and she said yes, you can return tomorrow between 9 and 11 with your receipt.

So, yesterday, after waiting 2 hours at Questura, I went to the big, beautiful neoclassical Post Office in the center of Florence and got a number to wait to pay the new tax that’s been in effect since 7 June.


At least the PO is air conditioned and clean and beautiful.  I never really mind waiting there.  It gives me a chance to people watch.

Eventually my number was called.  I was given a document to complete, asked for 41.50 Euro, and given a stamped receipt and sent on my way.


This morning it was back to the Questura where I got a number and waited while the bureaucrat waited on numbers before me, and then turned out his office light and took what I assume was a break (he was gone 20 mins, fyi), and returned and took a couple people before my number was called.


He remembered me from yesterday.  He took my receipt, took the paper I had been given in March, took my two index finger prints, and finally, gave me this.

I have my Permesso!  It only took 6 months!

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