02 February 2007

Bureaucratic frustration


Yesterday we spent the morning trying to get some answers for some outstanding paperwork we have. First we went to the Questura which is where the permesso di soggiorno (PdiS) are issued. Our PdiS was issued by Provincia di Roma where we lived for our first four months in Italia (see 12/21/2006 post). Now that we are living in the Provincia di Ascoli Piceno we need to have our PdiS reflect that. Based on information from other expats we thought this may be a rather simple process, an easy change of address…ma no.

At the Questura the lady behind the window advised us that we would need to obtain the new packets that are available at the Ufficio Postale as of December, to change our address. After we stepped away from the window and discussed what we were told we felt it imperative to double check that this is the process just to change our address, not to renew or obtain a new PdiS. This is important to us as, after waiting seven months for our PdiS from Roma which is good until November 2008, we don’t want to mess with that validity date. After waiting for others who came in after us we were able to clarify that yes we still need to use the packet for a change of address.

After that I convinced Valerie we should go by the Ufficio Anagrafe where we had applied for our residenza (see 1/16/2007 post) to check on that status. The man we dealt with before told us we did need our birth and marriage certificates translated and had another lady retrieve our file. This lady, with a sorry look on her face, escorted us to a back office where another lady was sitting behind a large desk. This was obviously the one in charge of issuing the residenza, I will call her “La burocraza”.

La burocraza said we would need the PdiS changed to Ascoli Piceno if that was where we were getting residency but asked what “elective resident” meant on the visto. We had to explain to this Italian bureaucrat that this is the visto Italy issues for those who can’t work or aren’t going to school and since we aren’t from an EU country it is very difficult to obtain a work permit. She did make a call to verify that we would need to use the Ufficio Postale packet to change our PdiS.

La burocraza then said that yes our birth and marriage certificates require a translation and apostille to verify their validity. We asked where to obtain the translation as the US Embassy does not provide this service, though puzzled that the embassy would not do this she explained we can get a list at the Tribunale (fortunately this is 2 minutes from our apartment). While we were there she referenced her official-looking state guide to verify that these were the steps we would need to complete before our residenza could be issued.

We will have to request the apostille from state agencies in the US that issued our birth and marriage certificates. Think of an apostille as an international form of a notary stamp, US notary or government seals just don’t pass the test.

Obviously this was not the simple task I had hoped we could accomplish in a morning and Valerie felt the frustration of dealing with bureaucrats speaking fast in Italian. Afterwards we could only shake our heads and clearly understand why Italy has such a problem with illegal immigration: the bureaucracy makes it so difficult for those like us who want to do things the right way.


Anonymous said...

I guess bureaucracy exists EVERYWHERE. Hang in there!

David said...

We just bought a farmhouse up the road near Amandola. Ascoli Piceno will be are bureaucracy hell station as well. What pitfalls should we avoid?

Anonymous said...

When I changed my address I went to the Commissariato in my new neighborhood in Rome, armed with my "cessione di fabbricato" and they crossed out the old address with a pen, wrote in the new one, and stamped it about 3 times with a stamp that said "changed by so and so... reason for change... change of address". The whole process took about 10 minutes. Best of luck to you.


Bryan said...

Hey Felix - good to hear from NM!

David - so far it sounds like AP likes to do things strictly "by the book". Does not appear to be the benefits of a smaller province.

Brenden - maybe we could find one of those stamps at a Buffeti store?

Anonymous said...

I am an Italian in US and guess what, I had to have apostilles done regarding my place of residence in the US AND another one for my marriage cert, also in US. We married in Hawaii...have you have tried to get an apostille done from the State of Hawaii...oh my God!!

So...as you can see...Italy is not the only one with bureaucracy...as far as immigration goes...let's not go there...

Bryan said...

Trix - We have canadian and British friends who have moved to the US and heard about the problems they encountered. Though in the US everyone doesn't have to "register" where they live.