Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A return to the Comune...tears and confusion.

Ciao tutti,

Today I spent over three hours at City Hall. There was DRAMA earlier this morning.

After all the pushing and shoving, I get in, wait my turn, go the counter. Another immigrant translated for me. Basically the woman at the counter was saying as an American citizen I would need a Permesso di Soggiorno. I said I'm here as a French citizen, I have dual.

Lady at the counter: It doesn't matter. They changed the law. You're taking up too much time here. Good-bye.

I was dismissed. I knew this chick was wrong but I could feel the tears coming. I remembered that office I went to yesterday with the bi-lingual staffers. I told them what the lady told me. They said of course as an EU citizen you don't need a Permesso. They went to talk to C., the lady from yesterday who told me to come back today. She came back to the office and I stood there as four people spoke super fast Italian. Finally L. told me the problem was that they may have put me in the system as an American. If so I would have to repeat the whole process again but with my EU passport. I told them I didn't think they did since when I applied for my residency they never saw my American passport.

I had to wait while C. checked on the computer. For ten minutes I was sweating bullets. I really didn't think I had the strength to return to the Comune and go through this again. L. walked out and said "Congrats you're French. " ha. I was so relieved.

We went back to his office. He said he would give me an appointment to come back for my I.D. card so I wouldn't have to wait in line. He wrote down and explained everything I would need for the next step. He and the other lady apologized for the confusion earlier. On my receipt when I applied for the residency, under country of birth of course it says New York City, United States of America. However in the system (they gave me a copy of the print out) it also lists my citizenship as Francese (French). I'm not sure why the lady at the counter couldn't wrap her head around that and why she said EU citizens need a Permesso. Anyway the people in other office couldn't be nicer and more helpful. I had to chuckle when C. (the lady from yesterday) got aggravated with the clueless counter lady. While C. might not have the greatest bedside manner (she's the lady that always seems to be yelling at people) she did not give up until she got to the bottom of my situation.

FYI, for those making the move, one thing that has changed is now EU citizens have to prove that they have enough money to live here if they don't have a Partita Iva or work contract.

If I didn't have a meeting with the execs on my film project this afternoon I would be treating myself to a Mojito. :)


bleeding espresso said...

So happy things turned out well. I know it's probably hard for some people to believe that those behind the counters sometimes just make up stuff b/c they don't want to deal with things, but it's *so* true. Glad you got someone who could straighten that out before tears came ;)

Oh and a postponed mojito is still a fabulous mojito!

Leanne said...

Good on you for sticking to it! I cannot believe you had so many probs when you are dual should have been easy (shouldn't it?)

Some EU people however do need Permesso to work here - British do for some reason.

Who cares though as you'll have your identy card soon and you'll b e free!!!!

gibber said...

Phew! Well, that turned out ok! I know it's frustrating, but at least you have C. there helping you out :)

Thank GOD mom and dad got our papers in order when we were born. Could you imagine the DRAMA you'd be going through right now? Just remember that the next time the tears start to bubble :)


Romerican said...

A happy ending after all! Having one person in your corner makes ALL the difference in situations like that. I'm fluent in Italian and I still found myself in the same kind of drama years ago at the Anagrafe office. Most of the clerks there are pretty disgruntled and are about to go postal, so they just spew out the same ol' responses without really looking into your case. Like sognatrice says, they'd rather not deal with cases that require more attention or work. It's immensely frustrating, I TOTALLY understand you.
I had an Italian passport (dual citizenship) but still had to jump through hoops to get an ID card and residency... so you're doing pretty good I'd say!
Good luck for the next visit.

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Grab your mojito after the meeting! I'm glad you know who to go to when you encounter the dumb a$$es that seem to all work for government agencies!

mikeb302000 said...

The bureaucracy is murder. Sounds like you're doing pretty well with it.

erin :: the olive notes said...

sounds like you deserve 2 mojitos :)

Claudia said...

Wow. Good for you for having the right people to help you! It explains the conflicting stories that get passed around-yes, you can do this, no you can't type of stuff. Congratulations for getting things done and I hope you had that mojito after the meeting!

glamah16 said...

Whew! I was getting sacred for a momnent.

jrn said...

That whole process sounds really hellish! Thanks for sharing, knowledge is power, right? Besides being a really entertaining read, this is good info that I hope to put to use sometime in the future. Does it mean that if all you have is a US Passport the hoops are insurmountable? What are your thoughts on that?

Good luck with getting your funding for the film. I really appreciate your blog A LOT!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I was joking yesterday about the NYC dept of motor vehicles, but seriously, I'm sorry for what you've gone through.

When that meeting is over - go visit mojitoland!

Thank goodness for C., not-great bedside manner or not.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

bleeding espresso - I think that is what happened. It didn't help that there was a person two people ahead of me that was a real pain. The lady at the counter was over it by the time I stepped up to her window.

leanne - That office is just chaos. There are so many people trying to get their papers in order and most of them speak very little Italian.

gibber - The French consulate in L.A. told me we still would have been able to get our passports but the process would be long and painful. Plus they would need to interview us and ask why were we getting them now, etc. The idea of trying to track down mom and dad birth certificates, etc. not fun.
Instead thanks to zee parents it took me all of 15 minutes to get my French I.D. card...passport came three weeks later.

romerican - grazie. Wow. Some how I feel better knowing that even if I spoke fluent Italian and were an Italian citizen there would still be drama!! Seriously that office is intense. I thought the DMV in DC was bad.

joanne - I didn't have a drink but did buy some candy on the way home. I didn't realized how much yesterday morning wiped me out. I rallied for my meeting but then when I got home I crashed. I had breadsticks and candy for dinner. ha

mike - I just have to make it through next week's meeting. Hopefully there will be no more complications.

erin - ha. I will have a few this weekend.

claudia - I just knew that counter lady was wrong. All she had to do was look up my info on the computer. ugh!

glamah16 - I'm still scared. I have to go back next week. :(

jrn - grazie and thanks for stopping by. Well if you have only the U.S. passport you have to get a visa. There are student visas, work visas and visas for people who want to live here and have enough money that don't need to work here (mostly retirees or people who work only in the states). You must get your visa before you move. Work visas of course of the most difficult to get. Go to the Italian embassy's website and for more info. It's not impossible but it can be difficult depending on what type of visa you need. Good luck.

jen - oh. :) Yes, I'm very happy C. was able to help me.

Monika said...

Oh i feel your pain. Our process to get a permesso went on for 7 months (we are Aussie's). I know that feeling of tears coming on too well! They are tears of disbelief, frustration and helplessness of a situation that you could so easily control in your own hometown!
Happy for you that it worked out.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Monika - grazie. I can't wait until the whole process is over.

casalba said...

I can sympathise with that feeling - Monika's description of the tears is spot on. Pleased it all went well in the end. Sally

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

sally - thank you. I have only one more trip to go.