It’s been two weeks and a day since I’ve landed in Italy and there has been no assistance whatsoever from the university regarding my permesso di soggiorno or other urgent legal matters! “Come back on the 26th,” they said, “just be a tourist until then,” they said. This is all well and good, but guys, one must apply for the permesso di soggiorno within eight days of entering Italy. You said so yourself, in bold, in the email you sent me way back in March and again twice in May of this year. And now you tell me you can’t help until a specific date in the far future, and can’t even give me an application pack? Even though hey, the university is obviously open and people are working 9-5 and I can actually see the blank kits right there on the shelf*? And there are all of three new EMJD GEM students? Gee, I feel welcome already.
* the shelf of the office in question being the one in charge of international and Erasmus/Erasmus Mundus students. I fall under both those categories but apparently in the infinite wisdom of the bureaucracy that particular office couldn’t help me, and I was told to go back to the office I had originally gone to. This should have been a sign.
Luckily, newfound-friend Abby gave me a spare kit and I managed to figure it out using good old Google Translate. One 16€ marca da bollo and a completed kit later, and off to the post office to get legal was I!
… or so I thought.
Poste Italiane, Via Yser 4
- I waited in line for half an hour.
- The lady examined my documents for an eternity, comparing every single photocopy to the corresponding page on my passport. My passport has 44 pages.
- She then told me my application kit was incomplete, and that I was missing a little form. (This is all happening in Italian, of course.)
- She showed me a sample little form from a completed kit. I asked for a blank form. She said there were none. I asked for a new kit so I could just do it all again. She said they had run out, but to try a different post office. I sighed and said okay, and thanked her.
… after a few tries at other small post offices around the area, I was told to go straight to the big Poste Italiane, in Piazza Bologna. A tram ride and a metro ride away, and there I was.
Poste Italiane, Piazza Bologna, 3
- There were no numbers. You “line” up by asking who is last and glare at anyone who dares go to the window before their turn.
- Many people would go up to the window and ask for something in Italian and be told “finito.” This was worrisome.
- I waited there for an hour and a half, terrified of the lady’s lunch break. There was only one window devoted to the permesso people, and boy were there a lot of us.
- I came up to the window and attempted to explain my predicament in halting Italian. The lady took a cursory look over my papers then just looked at me and said “finito.” My worst fears were confirmed, they did not have any permesso kits there either. She then took pity on me and said to try asking for the form somewhere else; however, I couldn’t figure out what she meant. She then said “go outside and look to the left.” I did this, asked at every other counter and building for the form, but no luck and no Gandalf.
At this point I was ready to cry. It was my eighth day in Italy, I didn’t know anyone who spoke Italian (Abby, my only Italian-speaking friend was in Rimini), the university was obviously too busy or too unwilling to help before a certain date, I had been in and out of post office queues the whole day, I was hungry and thirsty, and it was all for nothing. I wanted to cry, but I was in the middle of the crowded Piazza Bologna. I was so lucky to have my boy there with me, who saw how upset I was and just took me home.
How can a major post office not have any permesso di soggiorno kits?
Why didn’t my university help me, or at least provide me with a kit? I am one of only three new EMJD PhD students.
I try my best to speak Italian, but why don’t the people at these “sportello amico” windows— the windows dedicated to receiving the permesso packs— try to speak English? As only foreigners use this service, surely a little English knowledge would be good?
Why is this so hard?
Why am I in Italy again?