What is a Soggiorno?

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As you in-process, you must apply for a Soggiorno. What is this Soggiorno? Why is it important?

Permesso di Soggiorno is the actual title of the Soggiorno. This translates as permit to stay. The Italian government requires anyone who stays longer than 3 months and is not a citizen of a European Union country to apply for a permit.  DOD Civilians and adult military dependents must have this permit. An adult’s permit includes his or her children under the age of 14, so it is not necessary for young children to have one.

If you don’t have a Soggiorno and stay longer than ninety days, the Italian government can send you packing back to the United States.

According to the USAG Vicenza website, you will need the following documentation to apply for a Soggiorno:

  • Your passport (which can not expire within the next 6 months and must have the Italian Visa page)
  • 4 Passport-type photos of each family member, even the children
  • Copy of orders (just like everyone else on post!)
  • A registered copy of your lease or memo if living in government quarters
  • ID Cards
  • Birth Certificates for children

A couple of things caused us to delay completing our Soggiorno applications.

The first was easy to correct. Our ID cards had the same expiration date our cards from the U.S. We had to go back to the ID Card Center, get new ID cards that expired  on our DEROS date (the date we leave Italy). We would not have had  to get new ID cards, but if we hadn’t we’d have had to get a new Soggiorno when they expired. Who needed the hassle!

The second thing we had trouble with was getting our landlord to register the lease. He does not live in our town and never got around to registering the lease. It took a bit of time to get the lease with the official stamp from him.

Once we turned in all the paperwork, we waited for the Soggiorno office to contact us for fingerprinting.  It took a couple of weeks, but the fingerprinting appointment was easy, if a bit messy! No digital fingerprint scanners here, just the old-fashioned ink pad and roller!

The people at the office warned that it could take up to 90 days to receive our actual Soggiorno, so we needed to have the receipt for proof that we’d been approved.

In what I’m pretty sure was the fastest turn-around time ever, I was fingerprinted on a Thursday afternoon and received a call on Monday morning to pick up my Soggiorno.  Oddly enough, it took about 2 more weeks for my husband to receive his Soggiorno, although he was actually ahead of me in line. One never knows the mystery of the Italian bureaucracy!

DISCLAIMER: I am definitely not a legal expert and you definitely should consult one if you have questions!


6 Comments on “What is a Soggiorno?”

  1. Linda says:

    Hi, thx for a great explanation! I’m trying to renew my Permisso, but need to change fingerprinting appt. Can’t find out how to request that… Any ideas?

  2. Shay says:

    I will be moving to Vicenza soon, and I’ve gotten pretty nervous about customs and visas and all that stuff! My husband was told that I could use my normal passport and then once I got there they would add something to it. I guess my question is, when you got to Italy what was going through customs like? I’m not sure why I’m so nervous but I am.

    • Peg Crippen says:

      You don’t go through customs like you do when you enter the U.S. You go through passport control. They check your passport to make sure it is valid and you have the proper paperwork. When I first arrived, I showed my official passport with the visa in it. When I have visited the U.S. since then, I made a copy of the soggiorno and took it just in case, but I traveled on my tourist passport. They never asked to see the soggiorno, but I know others who have had to show it at the airport. If you don’t have an official passport with a visa, you have to leave the country within 180 days. Check with your transportation office to get the official passport and visa. They do all the work after you fill out the application.

  3. Kaarin Engelmann says:

    I believe that children under age 14 are on their parents Soggiorno, but children 14 and older must have their own. If you have a baby, he or she must be added to your soggiorno–it isn’t automatic. Make sure to check with your passport office to get all the regs.

    • Peg Crippen says:

      Thanks Kaarin! I am admittedly no expert. I appreciate any additional information. When I was planning on coming to Italy, I was so confused. Now, I want to provide a place for others to get an idea of what the experience is like. Appreciate your input!

      • Kaarin Engelmann says:

        No problem. I was just trying to add to your post. I think you do a great job!

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