by Melinda Gallo

Frustrated

My avvocato (lawyer) promised me last Friday morning that he'd call me on Monday. He told me that he was going to fissare un appuntamento (make an appointment) with a woman at the Questura (police department) to get a nullaosta (permission/permit) from her so that I can request a new visto (visa). Unfortunately, he hasn't called me and this being ferragosto (mid-August holiday), he probably won't contact me until next week.

I would've preferred to change my current permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) into a permesso di soggiorno per lavoro autonomo (self-employment permit to stay), but the infamous decreto flussi (quota agreement) has still not been published for this year, so I can't change it. The decreto flussi defines how many people from each country can change their permesso di soggiorno from one type to a working type. Without that, I have to wait. But waiting involves not letting my current permesso di soggiorno expire either.

Because the law has recently changed, I have to renew my existing permesso di soggiorno two months before it expires, which means by the end of this month, instead of just before it expires. With things moving slower than molasses for my new permesso di soggiorno that I'm working on with my avvocato, I've been getting everything ready to renew my existing permesso di soggiorno as well.

I had already gone to le Poste (the post office) to get the packet that I need to fill out, which was simple enough. I even went back another day to ask about the polizza assicurativa (insurance policy) that I need and the woman handed me a blank form that I have to fill out with the INA Assitalia's bank information and a predetermined amount. When I asked her for that information, she told me to go directly to INA Assitalia to get it. I was hoping that they'd have it since I have to pay at le Poste before filing for my renewal.

And to make matters worse, I found out that I have to go to the US to get the visto even though I'm a legal resident here because I can't give someone the procura (power of attorney) to file for me in the US. My avvocato said that he was able to get a visto for a few other clients who are from other countries, but the consolato italiano (Italian consulate) in the States told me that it was against la legge italiana (Italian law).

So, now I have to do two things: renew my existing permesso di soggiorno before the end of the month and move forward with the other permesso di soggiorno/carta di soggiorno (stay card) that my avvocato is helping me with.

I'm stressed out about all this mainly because I obviously don't want to be here illegally, so I have to keep my current permesso di soggiorno valid until I get the new one.

I was told that after three years of residency in Italy, I might be able to file for cittadinanza (citizenship) here even if my grandfather became an American citizen before the birth of my father. Although three years is at the end of October when my permesso di soggiorno has expired, so I can't even wait for that because I can't even file until then.

While everyone else is on ferie (holiday/vacation) relaxing, I'm busy filling out forms, making photocopies, surfing the Internet to get more information, and trying not to stress myself out too much.

Alessandro was surprised how complicated it is to stay legal here, and was even frustrated because there are so many clandestini (illegal immigrants) that stay here without any consequences. It's risky for me to stay if my permesso di soggiorno expires. I talked to a carabiniere (Italian military police officer) at a party a while back and he said that there are only two ways to stay in Italy: legally or illegally. And, he's right. If you're not listed anywhere, they can't find you, but if you are, they have ways to find you.

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