We finally went to the Questura to finish off our paperwork and get our Permesso di Soggiorno (or "Permit to Stay"). This seems to be the most important document, next to our visas, that we'll need to stay in Italy for more than 90 days. From now on, we'll need to carry our passports and our PdiS with us daily.
After a little research we found out that we should go to the Questura on Via Zara near the Piazza San Marco. We first showed up on a Thursday afternoon, but they were already closed for the day and were also closed on Friday. So we were told to come back between 8 and 9:30am on Monday. (They seem to be closed a lot - but you're supposed to get your PdiS within 8 working days.)
We arrived at the Questura at about 10 minutes before 8am and the line was down the block. By a few minutes after 8:00 we reached the front door where we were given a number and told to wait our turn inside. It seems like they just keep the front doors and the information booth open from 8 to 9:30 and then keep taking numbers all day until everyone has been served.
Talking to people in line, we realized that we needed 4 passport photos and a copy of each important page in our passports, so we took off for the local copy shop. It was packed with people who like us came unprepared. We finally finished at the copy shop and returned to the Questura to find that our number had not yet been called. After the room had cleared out significantly, our number was called at around 11am. Most of the employees spoke no English and didn't have much sympathy for us "immigrants", but we were lucky enough to get a very helpful officer who spoke English well. He told us that we also needed tax stamps ("bollo") at 14.62 euros for each application, and we needed a photocopy of one of our credit cards - so out to the copy shop again!
If you want to be better prepared, here's everything we needed:
- A completed PdiS application for each individual (even children) - available at the information booth inside the Questura
- Photocopies of all pertinent pages of your Passport (title page and Italian Visa page)
- Four passport size photos
- Bollo, or tax stamp, for 14.62 euros (one for each application)
- Proof of medical insurance (I was surprised they accepted just a fax of our annual insurance bill)
- Proof of local residence (we just had a letter from our landlord, but they asked us to come back with an official lease)
- Photocopy of a personal credit card
After we submitted everything properly, they gave us a date next month to return to pick up the official PdiS (we just carry a little receipt until then). So, we've now done all our paperwork to stay here legally for the next year! Phew...what a relief.