NOTE: as of spring 2007, the rules regarding the permesso di soggiorno are changing. Consult official channels for the latest updates.
The permesso di soggiorno is required by all non-Europeans who intend to stay in Italy for longer than three months. You can get it from the Questura.
As of 11 April 2007, citizens of the European community do not need a carta di soggiorno to reside permanently in Italy. However, if you plan to remain for a period of over 3 months, you need to register at you local anagrafe.
How to get a permesso di soggiorno
No two people will tell you exactly the same story of how they got their permesso. You will need at least:
- An application form
- several passport photographs
- your passport
- a marca da bolla - special tax stamp (available for approximately €15 from tobacconists)
- your rental contract or other proof of accommodation
- plenty of time
It's best to have photocopies of all the relevant paperwork with you. As with any other piece of bureaucracy, try to get all the information you need in advance.