Living as an expatriate in Italy—Hoo, boy

So, in the ongoing soap opera that is my effort to move to Italy, I have encountered some sobering information. Let this information serve to help anyone who is considering a move overseas. Please understand that the experience I’m having is for Italy, only. Other nations will have their own rules, regulations and intricacies.

<sigh> Where to start? I guess at the beginning.

I have finally been able to make some type of inroads into the Honorary Consul General of Italy in Portland. I learned that the term “Honorary” is important. Honorary Consul Generals are basically outpost offices with little authority. According to the Italian Consulate in San Francisco, the Honorary Consul in Portland cannot grant visas. Basically, they can just answer questions and help with paperwork. Yet, paradoxically, on the website for the San Francisco Italian Consulate, it states specifically that if I want a national visa (stay 91-365 days) or a tourist visa (up to 90 days) I can apply through the Honorary Consul exclusively.

This underscores one of the big issues of moving overseas—oftentimes information is incomplete or contradictory. As a result, I must contact the consul or consulate and ask for clarification.

It doesn’t stop there. According to the instructions on the website, I must make my application no less than 90 days before my departure. My departure date is October 6, 2014, 44 days from today. Applications cannot be accepted if less than ninety days from departure. Plus, it takes 30-120 days to process the visa. This means that, ideally, I should have had more than seven months before planning on leaving for Italy. I fully understand that this was my mistake. Should have done more research.

Yet, this creates another reason for calling the consul or consulate—can I still go to Italy in October? What are the ramifications if I go earlier if I promise not to overstay my welcome? I’ve been to Italy eleven times and I’ve never needed a visa because the longest I’ve stayed is two weeks. Does the fact that I want to live in Italy change that? Essentially, what I’m asking is whether or not I can be in Italy when they are processing the visa if I’m obeying the laws?

And, truthfully, I will ask the question—how does one know if a person has overstayed his visa?

All of this has me perplexed. There are many reasons stated on the website for an extended stay in Italy—missions, family, work, etc. Since I do not have a job secured, I cannot use the work reason. “Family” means spouse or child, not a nephew/cousin. “Missions” covers missionaries.

The only thing I can think of is to push a unique family aspect by discussing my adoption and my desire to embrace and learn of my heritage as well as get my Italian passport. The only way I can really get my passport is through DNA samples from me and either my uncle or brother. Since my brother is moving to Kazahkstan, my uncle will be more available. From there, I will have to hire a lawyer to help me petition a tribunal to request a passport. Once the passport is in my hands, I’m golden. I can stay in Italy as long as I want.

I’m thinking that explaining such a unique situation might help me out. But who knows?

Another issue that has arisen is the fact that I need to have fingerprints taken. This is a recent development, instituted in May of 2014 to help circumvent terrorism. OK. Fair enough. But, I have to travel to the Italian Consulate in San Francisco to have the finger printing done in their presence to thwart fraud. And I have to set up the appointment weeks in advance.

This is looking more and more difficult and like it will take much more time.

And that worries me. My brother has already given his renters notice to vacate. Of course that can always be rescinded if I have to postpone. However, I feel like an idiot changing everything. This could cause his renters to vacate anyway if they feel that they’re going to be evicted sometime soon. They will want a more stable place to rent.

It also means that I will be prevented from seeking work in Italy anytime soon. Perhaps I can try to set up writing work before I leave to start generating income. Who knows? I know that I would just like to get there and get started. However, my impatience doesn’t lend itself to reality.

I also feel foolish. I’ve told the whole bloody world that I’m going to Italy. Why didn’t I wait until I had more information? I was so happy about the prospect of moving there that I jumped the gun. I might have to put a hold on buying new insurance, selling my car, changing my phone (which is scheduled to change on October 9).

Now it looks like I will have to tell everyone that the whole plan is on hold until I can get proper documentation. I will wait on that until I can get an appointment with the Honorary Consul General in Portland. I’ve left a voicemail message to set up a time to meet.

I’m feeling very frustrated and very down. But I cannot look too far into the future. I don’t know what each day will bring. I was so looking forward to getting to Italy and getting this new era of my life started. But who knows? Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe more has to happen here so that the final move will be smoother and allow for a better transition to Italia.

I can only hope and pray.




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