Permesso di Soggiorno
The Permesso di Soggiorno (PdiS) is your most important document if you are a non-EU citizen in Italy. It can be translated to Permit to Stay. Many places (online and in books) translate this as a residency permit which gets very confusing as there is also residency through the comune (city hall) but this is something else. The PdiS is not just for those who are planning on moving to Italy but for anyone who will be in Italy for more than 90 days. For stays less than 90 days you only need only a passport entry stamp from the Italian airport. If you entered via another European country, within 8 days you must visit the local questura (state police headquarters) and request a stamped Dichiarazione di Presenza http://www.interno.it/mininterno/export/sites/default/it/assets/files/14/0798_2007_07_27_Dichiarazione_di_presenza.pdf> (declaration of presence).
It should also be noted that there are different rules for different permessi types. Therefore, it is best to always refer to the Italian government's http://www.portaleimmigrazione.it website for information and access to official resources. If you still have questions you can post them at http://www.expatsinitaly.com forum under Bureaucratic Situations.
For most permessi types start with a visit to a local post office where you will pick up a "kit". The kits are free.. The kit contains two modules (forms). The kit contains instructions for completing the forms (only in Italian); English instructions can be found on the http://www.portaleimmigrazione.it website. Instructions are also provided on which additional documents are to be included to support your application.The forms are machine readable so completing them requires care. Alternatively you can have the forms completed on computer at many patronati and comuni- see "Ricerca Strutture" on lower left side at http://www.portaleimmigrazione.it to find one near you.
Once you have completed your kit you must go to a specified post office (again, see "Ricerca Strutture" at the website). DO NOT SIGN or DATE your kit beforehand; this must be done in the presence of the postal employee. The employee will review your kit and if everything is in order you will be permitted to mail it. The cost (in Euro) per kit is: 14.62 (marca da bollo)+ 27.50 (permesso)+30 (postage). The marca da bollo should be acquired before you go to the post office; you can pay for the permesso and postage at the post office.
You will be given a receipt for the kit. It's very important that you save this as it provides proof you've applied. It includes a user id and password that enable you to check the status of your kit at http://www.portaleimmigrazione.it .
Once your kit has been mailed it will be processed, you will receive a letter indicating date/time of your convocazione appointment at the questura to submit 4 photographs and be fingerprinted; or, if there are any open questions to answer them. Subsequently, you can check online at http://questure.poliziadistato.it/stranieri/ to find out when to pickup your new permesso, which is a digitized card.
The http://www.portaleimmigrazione.it website is the official website with instructions and information on the new process. As changes have been occurring in the process since it was announced it's best to use this website as the main source of your information.
An Overview of the website:
1) the website is in Italian and English
2) the "Contacts" button is disabled, you cannot not send an email
3) click on "The New Procedure" to find the latest information
4) there are two telephone numbers you can call: the "Call Center" at 800.309.309 and the "Contact Center" at 848.855.888. These two centers operate differently:
The Call Center is an information delivery service in Italian and English. By choosing different options you can hear pre-recorded messages explaining different aspects of the procedures. It is not possible (I believe) to speak to a person at this number.
The Contact Center is manned by operators although none that I have spoken with speak English.
5) the Call Center has an option as to advise you as to where you can get help; the address of the nearest office that renders assistance is sent to you via an SMS message after you've entered your telephone number.
6) On the lower right side of the website is the button STRANIERI. Here you can enter your user id and password (do not insert the dash) and you see the status, in Italian, of your kit.