Here, in our part of Umbria, we are required to obtain our social security statements from the US Embassy in Rome to obtain our enrollment in the National Health system. This statement must be stamped and signed by the American Embassy in Rome. This is ONLY a requirement in this part of Umbria. How and why this came about I do not know. When we first moved here, we self declared our income. After a couple years they decided we needed this statement. It really threw a monkey wrench into the works that year for all of us! We eventually got used to it and just go with the flow, requesting the statement from the Embassy.
I always send off two emails, one for me, and one for Luther to the Social Security office in Rome asking for this statement to be sent. Usually I do this in mid-December so I can get them by January 1. I complain, and everyone does, about Italian bureaucrats. Now, in this case they work at the American Embassy which is almost entirely staffed by Italians. I got a nice reply from a woman to me that she was sending out my statement right away. But I also got a reply from a man to Luther that he would have to ask again after the first of the year. 😡 Annoyed I shot back an email that said essentially “my wife can get hers now why not me?” He replied that he “normally” waits until the year is done to send it, but would send it now. Think about it, this is our Social Security benefit for the year 2022. It is not like this will change in the next two weeks! Geesh. Dealing with bureaucrats can be exhausting.
When we receive the statements from the Embassy we will go to the USL which is the agency of health and re-up for our annual payment and enrollment for 2023. It is 7.5% of our social security benefits. It is paid annually in January. We are usually out of the system for a week or two while completing the payment and application. Once we sign up, most things are free. Co-pays are small and linked to your income on a sliding scale. For Italian citizens and workers they are automatically enrolled. I am happy with our care here. It is a good system.
One of the things I see most discussed among people who aspire to move to Italy, is Visas. I showcase the different types in my page So You’ve Decided to Move to Italy. The latest news is about Italy’s recent adoption of the Digital Nomad Visa. The final requirements aren’t ironed out but this is my updated write-up of what’s known now.
Digital Nomad: (DNV) At the end of March 2022 Italy passed a bill allowing Digital Nomad visas. This is for highly skilled professionals who will work in Italy for themselves or remotely for a non-Italian company. The Visa will be good for one year with the possibility of extending for one more. As of this writing the requirements have not been firmed up. What I read though, is that the individual consulates will have major discretionary powers, as to whether they issue or don’t issue a DNV. The applications will need to be completely bulletproof like those for the Elective Residency Visa. It may require the official recognition of one’s professional qualifications. An applicant may need to show an advanced degree, proof of operating in the field (probably for several years) for which they want to apply for the DNV, a tax return from their home country, and health insurance. It has already been announced that they will need to be completely tax compliant in Italy, so applicants are advised they should consult a tax expert in Italy, if they want to apply for this visa.
I will update this as I learn more. It seems many people think they can move anywhere with no real limitations. But people should ask themselves, would the US let just anyone in with no limitations or requirements? I think not. And it works the same for all countries. You need to get the proper permissions.
Even after nearly eight years here we also have to continue our responsibility to update/renew our permissions to continue living here. As some of you know, we are working to get our permanent residence permit. We have two new, required documents to obtain that the Questura has asked for. The first one is the Certificato d’abilita’. We had already gotten our apartment assessed by our Geometra last year. We mistakenly thought this was what was needed for the long term permit, but it was not. Turns out the steps to get the certificato were many. First we had to buy a Marca da bollo at the Tabaccharia for €16.00. Then we had to make an appointment at the bank in the Piazza (not our bank) and pay a fee at the teller. Then the form had to be returned to the Comune this time to the Protocol office. They told us we had to get ANOTHER Marca da Bollo, then return to the very first guy who would issue the certificato. I am happy to say, last Friday, we got it! Who says things are hard to get done in Italy! 😁
We are now halfway there! We must wait until June so we can file our taxes for this year. Then we can provide the requested tax form. I sure hope after all this we get the cards! Piano, piano…
As a reward we treated ourselves to the seasons first Spritz!
We are having beautiful weather. Yesterday, Luther and I went for a walk. It was the first day of warmish weather after a long cold spell. It seemed like everyone in town was out for the evening passeggiata. We chose the river walk. The Tiber river and Umbertide, behind its walls.
Today, we finally turned in our paperwork for the Permesso di soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo – elective residence…second try. We will see if we’re missing anything this time. Last time 2 of our documents were expired. Our Questura appointments are April 14. Once, in the past this first appointment was six months out. That meant it took almost a year to get our new Permessi from application to receiving the card. By then we had to start the renewal process for the next one! We are glad that was a one time thing. We have no idea why. 75 pages of documentation…And €176 each in stamps and fees…EACH.
UPCOMING TRIP REPORT!! Tomorrow we are going on our first trip since last summer. Long time. Short time and distance. We will take the train to Milano for three nights and explore the city.
This has been a very productive week so far. The first good thing was we both managed to download our Green Passes onto our IPhones and now we should be able to show them if needed to prove we have both been vaccinated. Here is what it looks like. I blurred the QR code and personal information.
Among other things, we also managed to pick up our new Permessi di Soggiorno. As I posted earlier, it was the fastest we have ever gotten them and mine is actually good for eleven months! Amazing.
The other things I mentioned…We got our Italian taxes filed. We visited the Poste Italiene to pay a bill for a friend. Yesterday we got our hairs cut. Did you ever notice only English uses the word “hair” for plural. The word hair can mean a single hair, or all your hair. Not so in Italian, French and German. Those are the only other languages I know. So I’ve taken to saying, I am going to get my hairs cut. 😁
A special thing you can get only at this time of year is friggatelli (pronounced frig with a soft G like George) Little green peppers. They are prepared by frying in olive oil for a couple of minutes then adding minced garlic for a few seconds. Then you add a bit of water and close the pan to let the peppers steam for about ten minutes. You can eat the whole thing to include the seeds. A nice side dish with steak or chicken. I love them and eat them a lot while they are in season..
I’m not sure anyone wants to know the end of the pigeon story. But quickly I will say it wasn’t a happy ending and actually at this time, a full week and a half after the window got shut, there remain live pigeons inside. They will die eventually. I wish it would be soon. A man did come with the cherry picker truck on Monday and opened the window and retrieved 3 dead pigeons from near the window. The live pigeons, naturally wouldn’t try to fly out while he was in the window. So he closed it back up and left. I am glad that window is nailed shut now and I don’t have to go through this again. And neither do the pigeons. There are plenty pigeons left and they will find other nesting places. ~~~~~~~ Tonight I made a seared steak that was marinated in mango purée with habanero pepper and lime juice. I made a salsa of seared tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic and cilantro. I served with corn tortillas and sliced avocado. Most of the more “exotic” ingredients (mango, cilantro, avocado) I got from the “Egyptian” fruttivendolo. Truth be told only the cilantro must be bought there. The regular Coop carries avocado and mango. But almost nobody carries coriandolo…cilantro. I also think his avocado is way better than any other source. Every now and then I must break away from Italian food…I love it..but my taste buds need a boost now and then! 😎
Permesso di soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo (ex carta di soggiorno) – elective residence
Today, we applied for this long coveted permit. The Polizia di Stato website states after five years continuous residence a person can apply for this permit, which is permanent (!). Like gold to me. But living in this backward region of Umbria we shall see what sort of road blocks are thrown up in front of us.
It took a long time for me to even find people who had gotten this permit so I could glean their information. It seems, either people don’t stay here more than five years, or they can’t comply in some other way, so they just continue to apply for their Permesso di Soggiorno every year or two.
Last year I finally found a few people who had managed to get this. I gathered much very useful information. I combined all the info I got into a big list to include the requirements of the Polizia site. It took a while to gather all of the needed documents and we even did overkill with a few things. The last and most difficult thing was the Certificato di Agibilità. We enlisted the help of our Geometra and got this document just this week. We are a little late applying. But…we went to the Post this morning with our pile of documents…
It was a pretty normal experience since the Poste just takes your documents and fees (Cost more €130,46) and gives you an appointment with the Questura. In the past this could take many months…but strangely ours is May 18, just 18 days away. So in 18 days we go to the Umbria Citta di Castello Questura..notorious for not giving anything more than a one year permit…this is a brand new experience. Let’s see what happens! ~~~~~~~ As I mentioned, we had our vaccines on Tuesday. I was wondering if we would have any side affects. All was well all day on Wednesday. But on Thursday I got hit with the major fatigue which is a possible side affect. I could not, for the life of me, keep my eyes open. All afternoon it was happening. I went for a nap, couldn’t sleep, so I got up but I couldn’t stay awake. I didn’t associate it with the vaccine until it hit me again after dinner. I went to bed early and am much better today. I’ve never had anything remotely like that in my life. Very strange. ~~~~~~~~~~ Today was a pretty day. Around 75 F. Not all that sunny but still nice. We had a beer at Bar Mary after our trip to the Poste. And then we went back in the evening for a spritz with two new friends who’ve moved here from South Africa. The piazza was abuzz, just like old times. So nice. Here’s Luther!
June 25 is an auspicious day for us. On this day, we flew from the US to Italia to begin our excellent adventure! Here is my post from the day of our flight — June 25, 2014 — Our journey is Accomplished.
Picture from our first summer here…
Since we had to get our Elective Residency visa to start on the day we planned to go to Italy, it expires on the June 25 date every year. It just so happened that our appointment at the Questura was today. This is the appointment where we get ourselves fingerprinted and turn in more paperwork and our photos.
The experience was a little different. The former waiting room was devoid of chairs and the old disused windows in that room were now open and functional. So we didn’t ever enter the building. Our old favorite police officer, Latizia, whom I had missed for the last two appointments was back. She’s super nice and after seven Permessi, she knows us. Only the two people at the two windows were allowed inside. We waited outside until our turn. The horrible fingerprint experience ensued. I hate that part the most. But we always get through it. Piano, piano as Latizia said. Another bureaucratic hoop has been jumped through. Maybe next year we can again try for the long term permit. Sigh. I hope so. It’s not terribly hard to renew yearly but it’s just a lot of time and tedious work. Plus, now that our Permessi are officially expired we can’t travel within Schengen. People think they can with the postal receipt, but it is not true as that is not an official EU document. If we get the long term permit we won’t have this issue. ~~~~~~~~
Dinner tonight was something new. Pizza from the wood oven at Calagrana. The downside, I had to drive there to pickup. The upside, the pizza was excellent!
Excellent pizza! Mmmm. ~~~~~ I am so sorry to be watching the numbers in the US on TV. It is frightening to me. Everything seems so out of control. Anyway, please, all my friends, keep yourselves safe…stay home, if you must go out wear your mask. It is a no brainer…it saves lives. 🌈
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.
So yesterday we went to the polizia here in Umbertide to enquire about how to get the certificates we need. Sadly we have to go to Perugia. We have vague directions. Sigh.
Then we met with our avvocato. Sr. Rossi seems nice and speaks good English which helps some. He explained we should just apply on our own as normal and if we are turned down we will file in the Administrative Court Of Umbria (TAR UMBRIA) to contest the decision. It will cost around €1500 plus court costs and take around 1 1/2 years or so. Sigh.
On the bright side we managed to get our health care renewed. Always problematic as we must wait for the US Embassy to send our stamped social security statements before we can pay the fee to renew. All done. And we chose a new doctor. Dottoressa Lorenza Medici. Good name!
To catch up with a few things from the last week or two…
Lunch at Calagrana with a bunch of friends. Picture of little Pelegrino, a twin whose mother rejected him. He is being bottle fed and is cute as can be.
And today is February 1! We got past the long cold month of January. Look what I saw on my trip to the grocery store!
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.