Friday, June 09, 2006

f@*#!*#@ bureaucracy!

I hate bureaucracy. And Italian bureaucracy has got to be the worst of the worst.
I have been waiting for my permesso di soggiorno (legal work papers but also a preliminary step before I can apply for residency) for over 6 months now. Just this week did I make any headway as to finding out why it's taken so long.
But let me start from the beginning.
In November we went to enquire about the paperwork for my permesso. We were advised to go to the anagrapher to translate our American wedding document into Italian. After filling out all the paperwork for the translation, there was a discrepancy with my middle name because it is on my passport but not on our marriage certificate. I was told to go to the American Embassy and get a notarized letter saying basically that I am the same person. Besides an absurd amount of money just for a stamp, I had to organize myself as the embassy is only open on t-th between 2 and 4.
We took the notarized letter back to the anagrapher, paid her a fee as well, and proceeded to wait. A month went by and we hadn't heard anything so we went back and asked what was the hold up. She looked through a stack of papers and found mine on the bottom. She said we have to wait. It might take another week.
So we waited.
And nothing.
We went back later in December and told her that there was a medical emergency as I just found out I had a thyroid condition and I needed to get my sanitation card (kind of like medical insurance) as soon as possible. Since she realized the urgency she finally did what she had to do and I received our translated document after the holidays around the second/third week of January.
Whew!
Next we received my codice fiscale (social security number). This was actually the most pleasant experience yet as we only had to wait about 3 hours and were issued the document that day.
The sanitaion card was also a bit of a nightmare as our permanent address is different from the address where we are actually living. This required a lot of going back and forth between the medical ASL in our permanent address and the medical ASL in our actual neighborhood. But it was completed by about the middle of February.
Now after we received the anagropher's document in January we went immediately to the polizia to apply for my permesso di soggiorno. This required yet more money (about 20euro stamp and 6 passport size photos) and some more paperwork. We submitted the documents and proceeded to wait.
Well, we waited until march. I went to the polizia to enquire what was wrong (it had been 3 months at this point and I know others who have received their permessos within a month...maybe they had good connections, maybe they got lucky, maybe they paid extra $ on the side??? I'm willing to believe anything at this point). The polizia told me I had to wait.
I waited.
And I waited.
In May I went back and asked again why it's taking so long. I didn't mean to harass them but c'mon this is ridiculous. So I bravely ask the man "Lei parla Inglese?" because my Italian really is not very good and it would be so much easier to explain it in English. The silly little man behind the counter scoffed at me "Magari!" as in ha ha , it would be nice but you've got to be kidding,...
And in the end he laughed and told me I had to wait. Yet again.
So I have been completely fed up and this week I took DH's aunt with me to the polizia to try and figure out this mystery. Well, she argued with them for about ten minutes (at least to me it sounded like they were yelling at each other) and at the end she politely said thank you, you have been very nice. Good day.
So what happened???? Well, it turns out because we have a temporary address and a permanent address we must go to the police station in the neighborhood where we are actually living. We had been going to the polizia at our permanent address thinking that would be the correct thing to do as all our documents have that address. Agghhhhhh!
Well, I am hoping that this is the last step as I am so tired of waiting. and waiting. But I have to confess I am not entirely convinced that this process is going to get any easier.
I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall and they are all just watching me, enjoying it. Why oh why does EVERYTHING have to be so difficult in Italy? Believe me there are things I LOVE about this country but then when a simple application process becomes a magnum opus I just want to... *sigh*
And I know things like this happen in the United States (and everywhere else) all the time but for some reason it just seems easier there. I guess because I am fluent in English and I know all the laws and how things work whereas here I feel totally lost sometimes. Um, okay, all the time.
I must say though I am grateful for such good friends/family and a loving husband (and aunt!) that I am able to put things into perspective. And a double gelato is in order once I complete this hurdle. I think I deserve it after playing the wait game.

4 Comments:

Anonymous J.Doe said...

Bureacracy. Italy is known for it's incredibly difficult bureacracy. I hated it when I was there.
Good luck getting the permesso di soggiorno.

Monday, June 12, 2006 1:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Welcome to good ol' Italian bureacracy! Be prepared if/when you decide to apply for Italian citizenship. If you think Italians love paperwork now.....
Ann
http://www.blogcharm.com/amborg

Monday, June 12, 2006 8:29:00 PM  
Blogger american girl in italy said...

mine took about 8 months. I feel your pain. :OD

Thursday, June 15, 2006 7:26:00 PM  
Blogger foxyroxy said...

I am not looking forward to this venture when I arrive next year. I am wondering if this process could not start in Canada, before I get to Italy. I hope the process speeds up, now that you know what to do....good luck

Saturday, July 22, 2006 4:19:00 AM  

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