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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A long morning at the Questura di Torino

In my understanding a questura is an office of the local police authority. Being an American citizen allows tourists and visitors a 90 day allowance before they have to apply for a long stay visa. But 8 days upon their arrival in Italy, they must appear before the questura in order to obtain a permesso di soggoirno, a residence permit which then legitimizes their stay in the country. Needless to say, many tourists don’t bother adding the questura to their travel itineraries.

The first week I arrived here, we tried to apply but had no idea how long the line was and so we took a number and waited, after 2 hours, Demetrio had to get to work and we left empty handed. This week we tried again. We got up early and got there by 8:30, just when they opened the doors. Upon entering the building, we saw signs and numbers of all colors, red for first time applications, blue for SMS appointed numbers, white for people seeking information, and green for permit pick-ups. We took two numbers, one for information (169) and another for the application (364).

The building itself was very large, with rows and rows of benches for waiting, a baby play area called Babylandia, a photo booth machine that produced fine quality photos for affixing to forms, vending machines, a photocopy machine with attendant, (copies were 0,15 E) and restrooms. Our goal was to get our number called for the information, retrieve the forms, fill them out and then get in line to submit our completed applications. We began by making copies of my passport, his residence/ID card, taking my photos and getting 4 copies, and filling out all forms. Finally, Deme made a written declaration about me joining him in Italy as his spouse. When we got to window #1 with our number, we were almost turned away because since he is a resident of Rome, they almost suggested we apply at the questura in Rome. After a bit of groaning and persuasion, they accepted and stamped our applications. I let out a breath and could not wait to get out of there but there was still one more step, one more number and one more line.

We went to another area of the questura that was cordoned off by metal fencing, like a holding area for stray dogs at the animal shelter. There were more benches and another numbering device. This time we were lining up so I could be finger printed. I was a bit bothered by this but thought it was a good idea. Deme asked if they had digital scanners, they do but government policy still dictates that first time applicants be finger printed manually. A black, ink laden roller was passed over the fingertips of both my hands, then pressed onto a firmly onto an official police document. I stared a bit at the man performing the finger printing and several times he had to tell me to relax my fingers. After my fingers were inked and printed, the roller passed over the entire palms of my hands, they were also printed. The 4 ½ morning excursion ended with a quick hand washing and a big kiss for my wonderfully patient husband. In 5-6 months, I should have my residence permit.


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