I had a difficult time getting the exact information of the kind of PdS I needed and how to apply for one and I needed to search tons of websites online in both English and Italian in order to get the correct information. I still didn’t get it all correct as I couldn’t find a complete list of the documents that I needed and I had to go to the Questura twice in order to get it fully processed.
So I thought I’d write it out here in case it would be useful to others in the same shoes.
What is the Permesso di Soggiorno?
One of the very first things one needs to do when arriving in Italy for a long-term stay is apply for the Permesso di Soggiorno, also known as the PdS. This is the Italian residency permit and all non-EU citizens need to apply for one if they are going to stay in Italy (or anywhere else in the EU) for longer than 90 days.
There are a number of different kinds of PdS one can apply for including: study, work, family reasons, minors, medical care, adoption, voluntary work, elective residency, and more.
How to get a Pds for the spouse of an Italian citizen
This is called Permesso di Soggiorno per coesione familiare (family unification).
Step 1: Entry Visa into Italy or Residency Permit if you are moving to Italy from another EU country
If you’re entering Italy from outside of the EU, you’ll need an entry visa for family reasons and will need to apply through the Italian consulate.
If you live within the EU and already have a residency permit for that country, you do not need a visa. As I am American that lived in London and have a residency permit for the UK, I didn’t need to get a visa. (I wasn’t entirely sure, so I went to the Italian consulate in London just to double check and they reassured me it wasn’t necessary.)
Step 2: Go to the Questura and bring the necessary documents
Once you arrive in Italy, you need to apply to the Questura in the zone where your partner is resident. As both me and D moved from London, he registered his residency at the town hall as soon as we arrived so he could get his certificate of residency.
As a spouse of an Italian citizen, you don’t need to apply with the PdS application through the post office. You can show up at the Questura with your spouse without an appointment and without an application. It seems unreal, but we did it and it worked.
You need to bring with you the following documents:
- Marca da bollo of €16 (available at any tabaccaio)
- 4 photos
- Your passport and photocopy of every page with stamps and visas (no need to photocopy the empty pages)
- PdS (if you already have one, i.e. you were already in Italy on a different type of PdS and you got married)
- Marriage certificate and photocopy – if married abroad, marriage certificate must be translated. Both the translation and marriage certificate must each have an apostille for the documents to be valid.
- Passport or identity card of Italian spouse and photocopy
- If spouse is an EU citizen, you must have a document to prove that the spouse has been registered at the Anagrafe (registry office)
- Certificate of residence of the spouse
- Declaration of hospitality validated by the local Police Department (document signed by owner of the property where you’re staying that declares that you have permission to live there)
If you were married outside of Italy, and you can do it, try to get the marriage certificate and translation both apostilled while you’re within the country of origin. It’s much easier and more cost-effective to do it there. For me, I did it during my last two weeks in London and managed to get the documents certified with an apostille within 10 days.
The first time we went to the Questura of Venezia, I thought I had all of the documents, but I was missing one thing so had to get it and then go back. The administrator gave me a list of the documents that I needed which I’ll show you here. This is like gold to me! I couldn’t find this listed on any of the sites that I looked at in both English and in Italian so I’ll add it for you here.
I was missing the declaration of hospitality, so I downloaded the form from the town hall website and then went to get it signed by the local police. Unfortunately, our town no longer has a physical police building, but officers have an office set up at the weekly market. We went there to get it signed and had a nice chat with them about life and they wished us luck.
Questura – my experience
I’ve lived in Italy before and had to apply for a PdS at both the Questura di Roma and Napoli, so I was familiar with the bureaucratic confusing hell of the immigration progress and endless waiting at the Questura. The Questura di Venezia wasn’t as bad as the one in Rome, but I was afraid of going there without an appointment. In the end it was okay. We waited a half hour in a queue outside to get in and I left my passport with the guard and was told to wait inside. We waited about 2.5 hours before we saw someone and then they completed the application for me and I signed the papers and then waited some more to get my fingerprints taken. After that, I received a temporary paper version of the PdS that’s valid for three months. I have to go back in February to get the official version, but in the meantime this will let me sign up in the registry office, get residency, and get an ID card.
As comparison, when I moved to Italy back in 2009, I applied for my PdS at the post office in July, got called to the Questura to hand in my paperwork and do my fingerprints in November and picked up my PdS in January 2010. I wasn’t able to get residency until July 2010 (for other bureaucratic reasons that’s too boring to tell here).
UPDATE (29 July 2018) – Read Part 2 of my timeline experience of getting the permesso from start to finish.
I wish you all who are going through this the best of luck and to have a lot of patience. Bring snacks, a book and crossword puzzle with you to your appointment and some tissues in case you need to use the bathroom and there’s no toilet paper.