Slowly we get things done on my to-do list. Eye checkups, dental checkups…check. We visited our Commercialista to get our taxes started. This is the other item on the list of things the Questura asked us to get before they will consider giving us the EU Permesso Lungo Periodo. We hope to have this by the first week in June so we can go to the questura before our trip.
I can see ears perking up out there! Yes! we have a Big Trip planned. June 14 to 28. A cruise around Spain and Portugal with a stop in Casablanca with the Windstar line. This time on a yacht called the Star Breeze that holds 300. My sister and her husband are coming too. This will be the first time I have seen my sister in THREE years! The longest we have ever been apart. This trip is the same trip we had planned for July pf 2020. Of course that one never sailed due to the shut down of all cruising because of Covid. We are both super excited. Luther and I have some dear friends coming from Toronto to house and cat sit at our apartment while we are gone. They love our boys and I won’t have to worry about them while we are gone.
Anyway, we have just two weeks and a couple days before we leave. We really want to get the documents requested by the Questura done and turned in before we go. You all know how badly I want this Permisso Illimitato.
So… this week we did several things in pursuit of our Cartas.
Monday we visited the Agencia il Corriere. It is advertised as an auto and boat agency to facilitate all things legal, like titles and registration. It also helps with drivers licenses and we could have probably used them to convert ours had we known about them. We had thought we’d need to go to Perugia for this Police report. But the nice Policeman we visited last week told us about this agency and that they also do things like help get police reports! Who would’ve known that!? So we initiated that process. I’d pay just about anything to avoid going to the madhouse that is Perugia. We should get them next Monday.
Then Luther wrote to our Commercialista to get proof of our having paid our taxes since we’ve been here. That arrived in an email on Wednesday.
Today, we went to the Anagrafe in our Comune to get the CERTIFICATO CONTESTUALE, or family status certification. That was super easy and cost two €16 tax stamps or Marche da Bolla. Plus €1.04.
Since we were there we decided to convert our old style Carta d’Identite to the new electronic cards. This cost €27 each plus photos, fingerprints etc. We should get them in the mail.
So that’s three out of four things we need. The last thing is a Housing Certification or a certificate of habitability. We had thought this “could” be the long pole in the tent as they say. We noticed our deed mentions we do not have this certification. And it says, due to the age of the building. (!) Uh oh. So I decided to write our realtor, who knows just about everything real estate related, and ask him. Well, he replied that this is true, our house is in the Centro Storico, or historical center of town. This part of town is ancient and because of this it gets a pass. I guess we will highlight this passage on our deed and hope they accept it.
As some of you know, I always document the legal ins and outs of living here. We are just beginning to embark on our new adventure. Since 2014 we have been applying for, and waiting interminably to receive, our annual Permessi di Soggiorno. It is a lot of work and time and also money and not something we enjoy or look forward to doing. Our Permessi expire on the anniversary of the day we arrived in Italy…June 26. So in around February every year we have to gather up all the documents and photos for a new one. We also have to visit the Poste Italiene to pick up the Yellow Packet for Stranieri which is the module we fill out and send in.
This year is different. This year we have been living here for more than 5 years. We are on our 6th Permesso and we were official residents for a total of five years on December 31, 2019. This means we are allowed to apply for Permesso di Soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo (ex carta di soggiorno) – elective residence. This is a PERMANENT permit to stay in Italy. And, as you imagine there are many more forms needed to apply for this as well. We have just begun the process today. I don’t know of what interest this will be to people reading this blog but if any of you are getting close to living here five years here is a list of what you need besides the normal renewal documents.
Police Report – Certification from the Clerk of the Court (Tribunale). There are two certifications for each of us. One is whether there is a record of a criminal conviction and the second is a certification there are no pending actions against us for criminal violations. CERTIFICATO GENERALE DEL CASELLARIO GUIDIZIALE and CERTIFICATO DEI CARICHI PENALI PENDENTI. You can download the form from this link. Casellario Giudiziale There is also a fee and you will want to enquire on that and whether you need to bring the ubiquitous Bolleto Valore in 16 Euro denominations. The document tax stamp.
Housing certification – We visited the office of our Geometra who did the work on our house for this one. We will need documents proving the property is habitable including electrical, plumbing, heating etc. If you rent your landlord, hopefully will help you obtain this.
Family Status Certification – This you get from the Anagrafe, the registry office for your area. That is a CERTIFICATO CONTESTUALE. More Bolleti Valori 16 Euros each plus issuing fee.
Italian Tax Payment – You must prove you’ve been paying Italian income tax on your income. We use an Italian tax accountant, Commercista, to do our taxes. We will ask her to write a memo certifying that taxes have been paid for the current and prior years. If you aren’t paying taxes in Italy, you won’t be able to get this Carta. Thankfully we are scrupulous about doing everything by the book here, including paying the onerous taxes.
The above are items to be added to all the normal documents that you include. You fill out and submit the same yellow packet except this time you check “Carta di Soggiorno”.
I will keep you updated as we move through this new process. We will be a test case for all our fellow American Expats living here in Umbria on the Elective Residence Visa. We know no one here who has gotten this permanent permit. It is the law and I know of people elsewhere who have gotten it but lest you forget, the bureaucrats make up the rules arbitrarily. A quote from the person who shared all the above information with me (thanks Larry)….”After six years, we suspect your experience with the bureaucracy is probably like everyone else’s. It is idiosyncratic to use a polite term. Local officials seem to take pleasure in interpreting the stated requirements to their own delight. Following the packet instructions carefully and having everything lined up will get you to your first appointment at the Questura. That’s when you find out what they may additionally want in the way of documentation.”
Just in case, we’ve retained the services of an Avvocato (lawyer). Carlo Rossi. We hope, should we need him he will accompany us to appointments and represent us if we need to contest the decision. We meet him tomorrow.
I just put up a page, accessible from the top navigation, with a summary of information about moving and living in Italy. It is called “So you’ve decided to move to Italy”. I will constantly update it with things I learn that I think will be useful. Go to the page here.
So, today is a banner day. We visited the Italian Embassy today at our assigned appointment time with all of our documents including proof of purchase of property.
There was a line but it moved pretty quickly. The nicely dressed agent examined all of our documents. The Embassy listed what we needed. BUT he asked for an additional form to prove health insurance. I had copied our information and had brought the book with all of our documents and copies with me so lucky for us we had that information too.
TA DA! we have been approved for our 1 year Elective Visa. We go to pick it up next week. I am pretty psyched!
The good news is the house sold. The bad news is that there is less than 30 days to closing! OH NO!! So much to do, so little time. I hit the ground running this morning and rented a storage unit for the things we are keeping here and arranged for the shipping containers to be delivered to the house for packing and sending over. UPakWeShip is the name of the company. I got them from a blogger who is based in Venice. They are very responsive so far. They do door to door shipping. It is just 100 square feet so not all that much can go. I am gathering it up and trying to prioritize what is most important.
I also made plane reservations to depart from here June 24 for us and the two cats. That is a few days after closing on June 18. That will allow us to do some banking things and final issues. Next I have to do the buy back Renault car deal for a 3 month rental. It is the most economical way to go until we have our residency and can buy a car.
Tomorrow we go to the Italian Embassy with our papers. Cross your fingers for us. We DO need that Visa!
Today we got an email from our real estate agent in Umbertide. It seems he had an idea that could work for us to get the registered sale papers earlier. He checked with the notary and he agreed it could be done.
We can do the final contract any time we like now and the property title will be transferred to our names. All that is needed is for a clause to be inserted stating that “possession” of the property will pass to us on May 31 by which time Elisabetta will have vacated the property. Evidently Elizabetta is agreeable to this. This will allow us to get the “registered” sale papers and complete our visa process at least a month earlier! This will make a tremendous difference for our logistics.
So today I spent time cashing out stocks and gathering enough money to finish buying the house. Just as soon as I can get it into our bank I will arrange to have it wired to our Italian bank. Then the sale can close.
I know it’s been a while. I’ve been concentrating on getting through my surgery and recovering. I’m happy to report that I have done very well and am nearly back to normal.
As far as our Italian house saga goes, things have been slow. All is progressing over on the Italian side and since closing is not set until May 31 we are kind of in a holding pattern.
One thing we needed to do was to find out about the Elective Residency Visa which we were told we would need before we went. We had wondered about the necessity of this since once we get to our town we will need to apply immediately for our Permesso di Soggiorno or permit to stay and it seemed redundant. I had thought that we could perhaps go over on the 90 day tourist visa that everyone gets and then go through that process. After some sleuthing I found out that that is not possible. You have to be here in the US and go to a Consulate or, in our case, the Italian Embassy in Washington DC and apply for the ER visa.
So we got on the website and made appointments to go down for a preliminary foray. We figured we wouldn’t get everything right on the first pass. I worked very hard though, to try to get everything and nearly succeeded! I read it is best to present yourself in good clothes and have everything all neat and orderly and duplicate copies of everything. So I did that. Luther wore a jacket and tie. I work slacks and a sweater and we took our packages and presented ourselves at the appropriate time at the Visa window.
The man there was very nice and not at all intimidating. He looked over our papers. We had filled out our Visa application and made copies of it. We had passport pictures taken and appended to the application. We had copies of our passports in duplicate. We had all of the bank statements showing our income and cash in duplicate. And last we had to show we had a place to live. This could be an official contract for an apartment or ownership of a house. I had copied the Promesso/offer and the check and the formal documents for buying our apartment. I had known before we went that this could be the sticking point and I was correct. They need the FINAL REGISTERED papers after the sale is closed. They cannot use just the offer. He did say all of our other items were in perfect order and that if we bring the paper with the registration numbers all official like we would be good to go. That was good news if not perfect news.
So now we really just have to wait until our closing date and have the documents sent over to us so we can go back and apply again. I sent a note to our realtor asking about when we could expect to get that.
The lady we are purchasing the apartment from, Elizabette, is reportedly putting in offers on other properties in Umbertide. She has another house in the country where she could go if she doesn’t find a place. I hope for the best for her.
So that’s where we stand for now. We are working hard getting our house ready for sale here in Virginia. Decluttering, cleaning up, painting, having the garden cleaned out. Our winter was very tough this year and nearly every plant in the garden was killed by the cold. That is too bad because I think the garden is a big selling point on our house. I guess the good news is that I now have some time to get it re planted and have time for some of the dormant plants like the ferns and hostas to come out. Oh and our fish will enjoy having their puddle of a pond cleaned up as well.