This is only a brief blog that reflects upon how difficult it is to navigate the paperwork in Italy in order to get a residence permit; this is a document all foreigners must have if they want to stay in Italy legally (except for tourist trips shorter than 90 days and several other cases).
I went to the post office close to TAMPEP’s office to get the kit that you have to fill out in order to request the first issuing or renewal of a residence permit. They told me there that I had to go to a different post office, one that had a “friend window” to get the kit. So, I had to walk nearly back to where I live to find a post office with this particular service.
After having filled out the form, and after having asked my colleagues at TAMPEP a million questions to do it, I returned to the post office where I originally got the kit. They told me that even though they have the kits, they did not have the correct receipts to send them out.
I had to travel again to yet another post office. When I arrived, I thought that finally I would be finished with all of this bureaucracy. I took a number, waited my turn, and approached the window… Only to find out that instead of having photocopies of the first page of my passport and the page with my visa, I had to have copies of every single page. Ok, I found a newspaper stand nearby and made the copies. I then returned, waited again, and then they told me that I could not buy a certain stamp the form needed there, but that I had to buy it at a tobacco shop. I returned again with everything finally ready. I paid the additional money for the postage fees to send the forms off to the officials, with the hope that I would actually get this residence permit before I leave (because everyone has told me that it takes at least 3 to 4 months to receive the permit after submitting the request).
I thought that day: thank God I already have a visa and justifiable motives to request the permit. Additionally, I thought about how fortunate it was that I speak Italian – not only was it necessary to know in order to fill out the forms (which were written in Italian and German, but the instructions were in Italian only), but it was also useful when talking to the employees of the post office to figure out what I had to do. If you are a victim of trafficking or an irregular, or even legal immigrant, always having to work, many times you do not have time to take Italian lessons. I was also fortunate because I was able to miss a morning of work. To be an immigrant is really difficult, even in a beautiful country like Italy, even at times (even if only for a day) for those foreigners in my relatively easy and stable position.
Posted By Michelle Lanspa
Posted Feb 6th, 2009