- Officialization 1: WTF comes next in Italy?
- Officialization 2: Apartment
- Officialization 3: Internet
- Officialization 4: Stay Permit, part I
- Officialization 5: Picking Courses
- Officialization 6: Stay Permit, part II
- Officialization 7: TV Tax
- Officialization 8: Stay Permit, part III <– You are here
Stay Permit, part III
The entire stay permit process has been an emotional rollercoaster. I left off last time with waiting for my permit to be processed, and wondering what to do with my husband’s permit.
As a US citizen, my husband is allowed to stay in the Shengen Zone up to 90 days in each 180 day period. He arrived at the end of August, and it is now November, so he has around just 22 days left.
Last week, we went to Cinformi, an office that helps immigrants submit their paperwork, and found out that we had a few outstanding documents to collect for the spousal visa. Namely, we needed a copy of our landlord’s I.D. and we needed proof that our apartment was larger than the minimum for two people of 45 meters squared (ours is 48 meters squared, which is just huge, by the way). Cinformi told us that the paper attached to our lease which includes the apartment size information, wasn’t enough as proof of this, so we had to go to Anagrafe (municipal office) to get an official stamped form.
In any case, since it seemed like my permit wasn’t going to arrive anytime soon, my husband went ahead and got plane tickets back to the US. The idea was to save as many Shengen Zone days as possible so that once I finally got my permit, he could come back and still have time to initiate the process for himself.
However, on Friday, I checked the status of my permit, and lo and behold, it was ready!
They had actually expedited it. Excited, my husband and I decided to start moving on the outstanding documents so we could try to submit his application before he flew out. This would give him a solid date on when to come back, and make everything go just a little faster so he wouldn’t have to leave the Shengen Zone again to save days between appointments. So we went to Anagrafe about the apartment size form, but they sent us to yet another office one kilometer away. The lease is in my name, and I didn’t have time to go that far that day, so we’d have to get it later. I still needed to get in contact with our landlord for a copy of his I.D. anyway.
The next task on the list was for me to actually pick up my stay permit. I went to Questura and luckily only had to wait a few minutes to get in this time. The lady there had me sign a document stating I would follow all the Italian laws and start learning Italian as she opened the envelope containing my documents. I can’t describe the feeling I had as the lady pulled out my stay permit– a pink card with a lovely holographic sigil stamped into the plastic and my ugly mug on the left hand side. I suppose it was a feeling of excitement and relief that the rest of the process would be straightforward (if not easy). I wanted nothing more than to gently slip that card into its new home in my wallet, and to never part with it again… precious… my precious. She passed the shiny new card into my open hands, and it felt so right.
Unfortunately, it was wrong.
The permit said it was valid until the end of August 2018, but I don’t expect to graduate until October 2018! In any case, I paid for health insurance through December, so it’s supposed to be valid even through then. Chagrined, I did my best to express this in my terrible Italian. After a few minutes, she seemed to understand the problem. She told me it was their mistake and to come back in 20 days.
20 days! That meant my husband would have to be in the US that long. I was disheartened, but at least we already had those plane tickets. We had also already decided to go back to Cinformi that afternoon for some clarifications. Now I could ask them about this too.
The Cinformi in Rovereto is a bit of a clusterfuck. They don’t have numbers for the queue or space to make a line, so you just come there and try to remember the faces of everyone who’s already there before you. Last time, we were sent to someone who spoke English/French after it became clear that our Italian was awful. This time, when our turn came up, we had no such luck. So there we were, sitting in front of a nice lady trying her best to speak slowly, and me struggling to form grammatical sentences to explain our whole situation. However, a moment later, it just so happened, that the same lady I had spoken to at Questura, was walking by, and she recognized me.
Quickly, she spoke to the lady at the desk and explained the situation with my stay permit. But then, she turned to me, and said that actually, she thinks my stay permit running out in August was correct after all, because that’s all that Erasmus students need. Only I am not an Erasmus student. I am Erasmus Mundus, which means I have a different study plan, and I should stay through the whole year, rather than just one semester. However, even people who know about Erasmus, don’t always know about Erasmus Mundus, and I have no idea how to explain all of this in Italian. I tried my best, but in the end, I asked her to talk to the person at the Welcome Office at the university. They got in contact the next morning, and although I still have to wait 20 days, it should be corrected now.
In the meanwhile, we were still sitting in front of the Cinformi counter, asking what to do about my husband’s permit, while mine is in the works. We were still missing some documents, and now it looked like it would take forever to get his started. So I asked the lady at the counter what we should do next. She said we would submit everything now. I wasn’t sure I heard or understood her right. I asked again. I asked two more times. She replied: Don’t I want my husband to stay with me? –Of course I do. –Then don’t worry.
She filled out the form for us, collected all our documents into an envelope, and told us to go to the tabacchino to buy a “marca da bollo” for 16 euro (some sort of tax stamp) and to go to the post with a little over 100 euros to mail off all the documents. We did as we were instructed. My husband’s appointment at the Questura is November 22nd, so he is changing his plane tickets to come home much sooner than we ever could have hoped.