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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.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Bureaucracy Victory-Well Sort Of

"Italy is in love with paper." says my husband.
"All shapes, types, and sizes."

Today when I received my permit to work in Italy, I marveled at how delicate and thin it was, like vellum or tracing paper. This piece of paper was supposed to be with me at all times, in addition to my passport, my driver’s license and any other document I have handy. I immediately made a copy of it and stored the original in a safe place. It was ready wrinkled and torn from having sat at the questura for 10 months. I have also made a copy of my passport and carry that around instead of the original although the original is required to check into hotels and when they stop you for security checks on the motorway.

Some other things I have noticed about documents here in Italy:

1. The Italian drivers' license is not laminated. It is a regular piece of paper folded in half (to about 3" by 5".) Your photo is affixed to the license with a small staple that looks as if it could easily be removed. Your license is not a valid form of identification. It is valid for 10 years.

2. Your resident card states where you have your residence and this has no relation to where you actually live. It is also a regular piece of paper (about 3" by 5") and is placed in a plastic sleeve. You must have this at all times, as it is a valid form of identification. My next step in Italy is to get this. If you have this then you do not have to carry your passport around unless you are checking into a hotel, on the motorway or entering into any official government official to try to do official-type business.

3. In many government offices things are still done the old-fashioned way. Some processes are computerized but many are not. For example, when we went to Rome to check if our marriage had been registered. I marveled at the rows and rows of cabinets in the hallways of the registry building. They were unlocked and filled with files upon files of divorce records, not very private in my mind.

Here is a sample list of a few things you might need to do anything official in Italy:

1. The completed application
2. Two to five passport style photos
3. Doctor's certificate and a copy or two or four.
4. Permesso di soggiorno and a few copies of it.
5. Your passport and a few copies of it.
6. Your residence card and several copies.
7. Your rental agreement and a copy. (For parking permits)
8. Your work contract and a copy. (Also for parking permits.)

The list goes on and on and I don’t want to ramble or it is already too late?

The little circle says my permesso was ready in April of 2005, even though they never published my name outside the questura. They never sent the police to verify where I lived and when we returned in October to check it out, they said it was not ready. The big circle says that my permesso never expires. This is rare since you usually have to renew it every 1-3 years. Chalk one up for me!

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At 12:22 PM, Blogger johnhas said...

Yeah, Japan is similar. They love paper there too. Some of the regulations are the same too. In fact the police did come to verify where I lived. The ID card I had to carry also had my thumb print on it.

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous J.Doe said...

Congratulations on finally getting the Permesso di Soggiorno. So it was ready back in April, huh?
I have an Italian Driver's license too. It is laminated and looks like a credit card, with my photo on it again.
It is relatively new (I got it last year).
The old paper ones are still in circulation though.

At 5:23 AM, Anonymous laurie said...


Gina, you can use your carta di residenza for hotel check in too. Also, by the way, your drivers licence, italian or american. Sav does this all the time, and it's worked for me as well. Just in case you are ever stuck anywhere or don't want to carry your passport around.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Typesetter said...

Good, Glna! You are officially an Italian resident now.
Laurie is right, you do not need to carry your passport arund all the time once you have Carta d'Identità. Except in case you need to travel abroad CdI will do everything for you. But always carry the original: a photocopy is not valid at all, if for any reason you are asked to show your ID you have to show the real thing or call someone you know to identify you (or return the next day with valid ID in original or someone to identify you).
Newer driving licences are issued on plastic card. If you are going to get an Italian driving licence this is likely what you are going to get.
Now you need two other documents: the Tessera Sanitaria and the Codice Fiscale (in Lombardy the Codice is not stamped on the Tessera sanitaria, so you don't need to carry it around, but I think you will have to ask for one). COdice fisale is your personal tax ID: you will need it for working, both indipendently or as an employee, and you will also need it to pay taxes. The Tessera sanitaria is the document that gives you free access to all the health services: all you have to do, in this case, is go to your local ASL with your CdI and ask for your tessera and your medico di famiglia, who is the doctor you can refer to for anything and visit as many times as you want for free. I think to do this you will also need your Codice Fiscale. So, first CdI, than Codice Fiscale and finally ASL card. And next you will be the Italian bureaucracy queen ;-P

At 8:27 AM, Blogger melusina said...

Greece is all about paper too. Not only are the all about paper, but they are all about telling you don't have all the required things even after last time they stated what the required things are.

I used to moan about U.S. bureaucracy, but it never seemed quite so bad as it is in Greece.


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