Officialization 4: Stay Permit, part I

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Alleyway in Malcesine.

Officialization TOC

  1. Officialization 1: WTF comes next in Italy?
  2. Officialization 2: Apartment
  3. Officialization 3: Internet
  4. Officialization 4: Stay Permit, part I <– You are here
  5. Officialization 5: Picking Courses
  6. Officialization 6: Stay Permit, part II
  7. Officialization 7: TV Tax
  8. Officialization 8: Stay Permit, part III
  9. Officialization 9: Residenzia
  10. Officialization 10: Health Insurance
  11. Officialization 11: Thesis Registration
  12. Officialization 12: Stay Permit, part IV
  13. Officialization 13: Going to the doctors

Stay Permit, part I

The Welcome Office at the University of Trento organized a giant officialization day for all of us foreign students, which included getting through enrollment, applying for health insurance, and sending off paperwork to apply for the student stay permit. The latter procedure is fairly complicated, so it was incredibly nice that they did this for us. I had to do things mostly on my own in Germany last year, and it was definitely harder.

Enrollment was way easier here than in Germany. The Welcome Office at University of Trento had set up an appointment for everyone to come enroll. We had to bring our passports, and that’s it. We came to the appointment, the lady there filled in some form on her computer with our basic information, and she printed out a paper that confirmed that we were enrolled. Then it took a couple of days for the websites to update with our status. That’s it.

The only trick now is that I have to pick up the student card that lets me use the Mensa over in Trento. Also, I have to sign up for sports separately, and I have to pick up a card for that from a different office in Trento. Finally, as a student, I can get a really cheap “free circulation” pass for the region, and I have to pick up a card for that also in yet another office in Trento. By the way, CS courses and language lessons are also in Trento. I’m starting to think I should have spent more time searching for accommodation in Trento.

In terms of health insurance, I had to already have health insurance that lasted until the end of my stay. Since my German health insurance is apparently running out, I used the one the LCT program provided me with for now. Italian national health insurance costs around 157 Euro per calendar year, even if you only use it the last 3 months, so I decided to just use the LCT program provided insurance until December. After that, I did pay for a year of the Italian one, because I just want to make sure that my pre-existing condition is covered. It’s cheap enough that I feel it is worth it. I’ll just have two insurances now.

Once you are enrolled and you have health insurance, you can apply for the student visa by post. For this you need:

  • A form that was provided to us by the Welcome Office, but I guess you can get it at Cinformi
  • Copies of each page of your passport, including the stamped pages at the back
  • A copy of the enrollment certificate from Uni Trento (or the invitation letter from Uni Trento or similar)
  • Copy of your health insurance policy with dates on when it is valid
  • Optionally, €149.77 to optionally sign up for the health insurance from January to December of next year
  • Copy of your lease if you have it (otherwise you bring it with you to your appointment later)
  • €16 for a revenue stamp, which you have to buy at a tabacchi (there’s one across the street from the Rovereto Post Office)

Once you have all of the above, you go to the post office, and send it all off in a massive envelope. The post office then gives you really important receipts for all of this. You need to make copies of these receipts and guard them with your life. The receipts tell you when your appointment is at the Questura (immigration office).

The Welcome Office helped us do all of this. They literally filled out the application form for us, they helped us make copies, they took us to buy the revenue stamp, they made an appointment for all of us at the post office, they gave us the massive envelope to send it all off in, and they were there with us when we paid and sent things off. This was really great.

What the Welcome Office doesn’t help with is doing all of this for my husband. He has to wait until my stay permit comes in, before he can get started. Since it will probably take at least 4 months for mine to come, he will probably have to leave Italy at the end of his 90-day Shengen Visa waiver expiration date, and come back.

 

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Officialization 3: Internet

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Officialization TOC

  1. Officialization 1: WTF comes next in Italy?
  2. Officialization 2: Apartment
  3. Officialization 3: Internet <— You are here
  4. Officialization 4: Stay Permit, part I
  5. Officialization 5: Picking Courses
  6. Officialization 6: Stay Permit, part II

Internet

My new apartment doesn’t have Internet yet, so this is something separate that I have to set up. I found four different Internet providers in the area and visited each of them: TIM, Fastweb, Infostrada, and Vodafone.

Each had a variety of pay-as-you-go options, capped at a certain amount of gigs per month, where you use a local SIM in your phone. For example, an average offer was around 15Gb per month for around 10 euro, plus activation cost. Only some of the shops (Infostrada I think) had cheap burner phones that you could buy to toss that SIM into.

Of course, those caps aren’t going to work for home internet that my husband and I both have to do work on. In terms of more permanent options, none of the ones available were very good (of course). In general, they looked approximately like this:

  • Around 25 euro for a reported 50Mbps down/10Mbps up (I’m sure it would be less than that in practice). Note that some websites claim that 1Gbps down is available, but this does not seem to be the case in Rovereto.
  • Installation costs of over 100 euro
  • Additional cost of over 100 euro total for the modem (spread over the time of the contract).
  • Contracts for 4 years. If you break the contract before the 4 years is up, you have to pay a cancellation fee depending on the number of months that you are short on (usually over 100 euro).
  • Additionally, TIM made you pay another 100+ euro for some bundled TV service that I obviously don’t need (and there were no plans that did not include it).
  • You need an Italian bank account to pay with. A different European bank account won’t work (i.e. I could not use the account I got in Germany that my scholarship payments currently go into).

So obviously, most of the above points are deal breakers, in particular the 4 year contract, the extra modem and especially TV fees, and having to use an Italian bank. I already have Deutsche Bank (which does have branches here), so I’d like to avoid opening an Italian account if I don’t absolutely need it for some bureaucratic reason.

Fortunately, Vodafone seemed to have somewhat more reasonable demands:

  • 50Mbs down/10Mbps up for 30 euro per month
  • 2 year contract, with 65 euro cancellation fee
  • 50 euro deposit, which allows you to pay by mail instead of with an Italian bank
  • No other hidden fees (or so they say so far)

Unfortunately, the process for getting Internet from Vodafone works like this:

  1. Go into the office, bring your ID (passport in my case) and your codice fiscale
  2. Order the Internet, and wait to receive an email, which signifies your confirmation of the contract
  3. Wait to receive a phone call to your Italian number from the technician ~3 days later
  4. Wait for the technician to arrive ~10 days later

Once again, I don’t have an Italian phone number. I don’t mind getting an Italian phone number, but I really need my current phone number for now, since that’s where my meager Internet is going through. The guy at the shop was nice enough to provide me with a temporary Italian SIM that I can put in my phone to receive the phone call. He did this for free (I’m not sure if it was really supposed to be free or not).

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My phone unpredictably turns off, registering that the battery is empty, now when the battery indicator is between 45% and 80% (used to happen at 20-40% previously). I carry a giant battery pack with me, until I can get a new phone.

Unfortunately, since we couldn’t find a burner phone at any shop we’ve gone to so far, we had to use one of our phones while we await that phone call. Incidentally, my phone has been acting up lately and my husband was supposed to bring me a new phone from the US, but it got stolen along the way. I have been very unlucky with theft lately. If it had not gotten stolen, I could have just used my old phone for the Italian SIM. (I should have a new phone coming in the next week or two, I hope.)

Anyways, we finally got the phone call yesterday. I managed to navigate this, too, in my low level of Italian understanding (which I mostly get for free from French– I really don’t speak Italian). They said they were coming on Tuesday of next week at 10:30 in the morning. (They’ll probably be late, right?) So for at least the next week we are without Internet. If it comes in on time, then it will have been 2.5 weeks without steady Internet in total, which is around what my optimistic estimates were when I was moving here.

On the plus side, I can go to the Rovereto library for free for slow Internet that occasionally craps out. It’s free to come in, sign up for an account, and use that Internet while we’re in the library (you don’t even have to talk to anyone). I do have Eduroam through my last university, but it doesn’t seem to automatically work here, and nothing else will be set up for me here until at least the orientation on September 14th.

 

Officialization 1: WTF comes next in Italy?

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The view from the train on the way to Rovereto.

Officialization TOC

  1. Officialization 1: WTF comes next in Italy? <– You are here.
  2. Officialization 2: Apartment
  3. Officialization 3: Internet
  4. Officialization 4: Stay Permit, part I
  5. Officialization 5: Picking Courses
  6. Officialization 6: Stay Permit, part II
  7. Officialization 7: TV Tax
  8. Officialization 8: Stay Permit, part III

WTF comes next?

Back to this again– the craziness of figuring out how to get a stay permit, now with a husband and a separate apartment to think about as well, plus an almost complete lack of knowledge of the local language. The stress levels are quite high. Anyways, here is my best guess as to the order in which things will need to get done next (grey is for spouses/children). I will probably be updating this post a lot as new information comes up.

 

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Once again, that’s a lot of stuff, and I will be breaking it down into separate posts as I get each step done. So far, I know I will probably have to visit at least 3 agencies at some point: Agenzia delle Entrate (entry), and Questura (immigration), Anagrafe (registration).

The first step is getting a codice fiscale (tax code), but luckily, my school was able to apply for one on my behalf, so this task, at least, is done. Moving forward though, there is still a lot to be done.

Unlike last time, I feel even more disconnected from everything, probably because I am an atypical student (with a husband, separate apartment, over 30), and because last time I was able to come a month early to take an intensive language course where I met other students dealing with the same problems, and participated in some social activities that cut the stress. This time, there is no intensive language course at the start, and I really feel that it’s a damn shame.