We had our appointments at the Questura (The police station) today. Because of the snow, we decided to go down to Vasto a day early and stay overnight since our appointments were at 10AM. Once we got down off the hills, the roads were clear. In fact, down by Vasto which is right on the Adriatic coast, it was in the 50’s. We stayed at the Hotel San Marco, its a two star level hotel, but we found it very nice. Everything was clean and the decor updated. In the evening we walked around and found a small restaurant. It was a family place, as so many are in Italy. We don’t, at least in Abruzzo, have many chain restaurants. We arrived a bit early for dinner, about 7PM and the family was sitting at one of the tables having their diner. We felt a bit bad, but in Italy, hospitality is everything even though in the middle of January, we were the only ones there. We started with a plate of local cheeses, bread and of course local olive oil. A nice pasta dish for the main course, and some very nice Triamisu, and then the coffee and Limoncello. Total bill for two, 44Eu.
Next morning, off we go to the Questura. I will say that being in the smaller towns probably makes a huge difference. I have read many posts on forums, and blogs where people post their sob stories about trying to get their residence permits. (Permesso di Siggorno is basically just a replacement for your visa indicating you have officially been granted permission to take up residency in Italy). We were there at the appointed time and find we are the only ones there. Very unusual as subsequent visits have seen them busier but still much better than the stories I hear of people queuing up in long lines in the large cities. We wait a few minutes, and a young woman comes in a few minutes later. She is the commissioner who will examine our paperwork and give the final approval. Again, it may be because my accounting background has prepared me to present a straightforward paperwork package that bureaucrats find easy to follow. She flipped through the pages, circled some numbers, verifying our entry date, our income and savings availability, health insurance coverage and a place to live.
For us, the whole process, from Visa to Permesso went very smoothly. It really is not rocket science. I am convinced that some of the keys are. Dress nice. smile, listen and talk only when asked to. Have your paperwork organized. Keep it simple, don’t try and use volume over substance. From a life spend in admin, I can say without hesitation that the last thing I ever wanted to do was wade through a big stack of paper. Income wise, my feeling is that they like to see you have several sources. Four us it was a combination of cash (about 30K), my 401k, my wife’s pension as a teacher, and social security. (And honestly, you really only need about 20K or so for the Permesso, so anything that was good enough for your visa, is good enough for the Permesso.)
You know the process has reached a successful conclusion when the person going over your documents starts a little small talk. Casalanguida? A nice small town, how to you like it? That sure was a lot of snow you got. (We make a joke about how the storm was enough snow for two winters!) Then we move on to the fingerprints, sign some forms. (Ah, in Italy you can always count on having forms to sign). Suddenly we are done.
You will get a receipt with a Password and User ID on it to check whether your cards are ready. Do Not Lose This!!!! We asked how we would get our cards and she said I would get a text in a couple weeks to come pick them up in Vasto. Buona Giornata.