by Melinda Gallo

Changing my permesso di soggiorno

I have a valid permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) and want to change it to another type: lavoro autonomo (self-employment). I had been reading about the decreto flussi (quota agreement) and how supposedly in Florence, they only allow about 80 Americans to convert their permessi di soggiorno per year. The problem is that no one knows when the decreto flussi will be published, not even the ufficcio dell'immigrazione (immigration office).

I went to the Stranieri in Italia website to get information about everything and they offer a service in which you pay to have them send you an SMS when the decreto flussi is published.

As is always the case, you have to be creative when figuring out what to do when the time comes to renew or change your permesso di soggiorno. I've been thinking of renewing, which I just found it no longer can be done before it expires but at least 30 days before it expires, but that is a little risky. Then, I thought about changing it, but that seems incredibly complicated and even riskier.

So, for a few weeks now I've been contemplating my choices and then a small miracle occurred. One of my friend's friends, which I'm beginning to think should have a special word because it's so common that there has to be a word for it, is a lawyer who is helping someone right now with changing her permesso di soggiorno to the same one that I want.

I arrived at the office of this avvocato (lawyer) and he explained the procedure in vague terms. We have to first go to the Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce) to file two documents. Once those are accepted, which takes about 30 days, I can go to the Questura (police department) to file with them and in 20 days, they are supposed to give me a response, which if positive results in a carta di soggiorno (stay card) valid for 5 years. Normally, to get a carta di soggiorno, you have to have a permesso di soggiorno for many years, possibly 10. So, somehow there is a loophole that allows me to get it immediately.

The avvocato told me that he knows someone at the Questura who said that in the many, many years that he's worked there only a handful of people have requested the carta di soggiorno in this way and have been granted it.

I don't know anything more than what he told me, but next week we're going to the Camera di Commercio to get the ball rolling. I do know that I have to have a valid permesso di soggiorno, a valid contratto di affitto (rental agreement), a job that I can do here in Italy, and a sum of money in my bank account. I don't know the exact amount, but he'll tell me that as well when the time comes.

I asked him how much I owed him for today's meeting, and he responded, "Vediamo alla fine." (We'll see at the end.) I'm hopeful that this will work out, but I'm not expecting it all to go as smoothly as he said. It doesn't bother me that it might get a bit messy and might possibly drag on, but at least someone will be going with me to the Camera di Commercio and especially the dreaded Questura. I'd pay anyone to go to the Questura with me.

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