Today, I am off to Florence for my appointment at the immigration office for the next step to getting my residency. It’s been 8 weeks since I mailed the packet off with all of my paperwork. The way I understand the process is, if there were any missing or incorrect documents, they would have contacted me. The fact that I haven’t heard anything is either a good sign that they have what they need or the difficulties with the Italian government.
I am keeping my expectations low for today. I view this as step 2 of step 3 or perhaps step 2 of step 12. Most likely something in between. I am bringing copies of everything I submitted for the visa last year back in the U.S. and all the documents that was in the packet for the Permesso di Soggiorno that I submitted when I got here. I also have the passport photos.
When I arrive in Florence, I park the car at a garage and walked to the address. I came around the corner to see the immigration office. What I actually noticed was the wall of people up and down the street. There was a line going down the sidewalk and a mass of humanity in front of the door. I watched the wall of people for a few minutes. The police were filtering people either inside the building or to the end of the line. I made my way to the front of the crowd, they looked at my paperwork and promptly sent me to the end of the line. OK, at least I know where to start.
I had an appointment at 10:14AM and was in the line a little early. After 2 hours I was awarded a ticket number (A-76) and entered the building. Another hour later, A-76 was called. I gave them my appointment letter, passport and passport photos.
They confirmed I had submitted all of the required documents and everything was in order. (no matter what happened after that, I knew today was a big win). They shuffled some papers, left, came back and shuffled some more papers. Next, they fingerprinted both of my index fingers. Then they handed me another appointment letter for two months from now to come back to the same office to be fingerprinted (I mentioned they just fingerprinted me, right?). I was trying to process the fact that they just took my two index fingerprints and then wanted me to come back in two months to do… the other 6 fingers and two thumbs??? I managed to get lucky with my bad Italian and asked “Perchè non ora?” (why not now?) By the time I asked a third time, I realized two things. First, there wasn’t going to be any logical reason for returning in two months and secondly, I wasn’t going to win this and would be coming back to Florence. I shut up, took my paperwork and happily walked out. Considering the amount of frustration and number of offices I went to in the first 9 days I was here, this was walk in the park.
Again, by any measure, today was a win!!! With any luck, there will only be one more installment to complete this process.