One of the things that can drive expats in Italy to the point of insanity is all the paperwork required to stay in the country legally. Certainly, some people stay past their legal timeframe and nothing bad happens to them, but for those who want to play by the rules, the Italian bureaucracy can make it incredibly challenging to do so. Fortunately, tourists don’t have to think about that kind of paperwork, right?
Wrong. Well, maybe. Kind of. Sorta.
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Apparently there’s been a law in place for awhile in Italy that anyone who is visiting the country for more than eight business days must get a permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) within eight business days of arriving in Italy. Not only does the law require this paperwork, it also costs a fee to obtain it.
Of course, most tourists spend longer than eight business days in Italy, but how many of them actually go through the trouble to get a permesso? I’m guessing not many. I’m going to Italy next month and will stay for more than eight business days, and I have no intention of jumping through the hoops of getting one. As a few of the comments on this post point out, getting a permesso isn’t even really possible for most tourists, who spend a few days at most in one given place. Without any kind of even semi-permanent address, registering for a permesso doesn’t give Italian authorities any more indication of where you are than if you didn’t bother to register.
If you’re traveling to Italy and staying in hotels or hostels or the like, you’ll be asked to hand over your passport upon check-in, and they’ll make a copy of it and register you with the local police. They may keep your passport for a day or so, or they may hand it back to you after they’ve notified the police that you’re in town. It seems to me that this measure, which is already in effect and isn’t something you can get out of doing anyway, is enough to think about. If you’re really concerned, you can head over to the official website and learn more, provided you speak Italian. If you’re not, pretend you never read this post and don’t give it another thought.
Photo by: sean hobson