For those who are new to the saga I will provide a brief recap of some of our Italian bureaucratic encounters…
One year ago this week we applied for our permesso di soggiorno (the document that allows us to stay more than 90 days) swhen we were living in Anzio which is in the Provincia di Roma. To obtain our residenza in Ascoli Piceno we need to have our permesso di soggiorno changed to Provincia d’Ascoli Piceno. In Anzio we went to the local Questura and applied in person but late last year the Italian government changed this process.
The new system is done through the Ufficio Postale. This is one bureaucracy, the Ufficio Postale, helping another bureaucracy, the Questura! We went to the Postale and picked up the necessary packet full of forms and instructions in bureaucratic Italian, which was too confusing. Fortunately we found an assistance agency, CISL, which helped us through the process and we mailed our packet with the tax stamps in March. In April we received two letters in the mail from the Questura di Ascoli Piceno, one letter for me indicating an appointment on May 21 and the second letter was for Valerie for an appointment on May 29.
This morning we took our packet of documents and went to the immigration office at the Questura at 9:00 AM sharp and were the first ones there. The lady behind the glass took our letters, went back and checked some papers and came back and told us we needed to pay another tax. We tried to explain that the CISL and Ufficio Postale both told us we did not need to pay that extra tax. She said yes we did and provided us with the exact tax number we needed. We asked her if we could go pay the tax and come back today and finalize the paperwork for both of us and she said yes. Off to the closest ufficio postale to pay the tax we went.
At the postale the clerk there was very friendly and even joked about how the system for applying for the permesso di soggiorno had become more complicated and expensive under the new system. She smiled and wished us luck as we headed back to the Questura.
Back at the Questura the same lady as earlier was behind the glass counter and when she saw us she waved us to the window. She then pulled out folders for both of us and proceeded to input the required information while asking us some unrelated questions on what we were doing in Italy. After inputting our photos and signatures electronically and scanning our fingerprints she told us we could call or check on the internet when our documents would be ready, probably within thirty days. She smiled and wished us a pleasant day as we left.
These were probably the two friendliest bureaucrats we have dealt with in all of our experiences with the Italian bureaucracy both with the consulates in the US and here in Italy. For those who do not believe in a God who answers prayers, I present this experience as proof that He does indeed listen to the faithful.
Hopefully in June we will have our new permesso di soggiorno for Ascoli Piceno...the saga continues.