In Pursuit of an Italian Passport – dichiarazione di prenza


t's the Tuesday morning after my leaving Germany. I am standing in line at the Questra (police station) waiting for someone from italyMONDO! to meet me. I am here to to file a Declaration of Presence. Let me explain...

All visitors to Italy are required to declare their presence within 8 days of arrival and there are three ways this is usually done. The first (and most common) way is to fly directly from the US to Italy and get a passport stamp by a border control officer indicating the arrival date.

If landing in another Schengen Zone country before entering Italy (or coming from within Europe), then the necessary entry stamp – a “timbro” – is missing. In this case, a copy of an Italian hotel registration as this will serve as your declaration of presence (although this did not seem to work for me) as the hotel is required by law to report your presence.

In the absence of either of the above, a “Dichiarazione di Presenza” – a Declaration of Presence – must be filed at the Questura within eight days of entry into Italy. So, here I am in line outside the Questra in Campobasso. Eventually, the assistant arrives and 30 minutes later, we are finally able to get in. I am anxious to start this process. However, it is not to happen today. The officer, after looking at my passport, asking why the declaration was needed, and examining any receipts from my arrival in Italy, promptly states: “You need an appointment.” My italyMONDO! assistant explains that they did try to call for an appointment for several days but no one answered the phone.

“It doesn’t matter, you still need an appointment.” He pulls out an appointment book – like a day planner – all full of tiny, handwritten notes. He flips forward several pages and says “Next Thursday!” as he writes in the top margin of the page in some of the only blank space on the page.

Next Thursday! Ten days! This process cannot start until I have this declaration. Ultimately, to avoid the 10 day delay, I will spend an entire Sunday driving 2 hours to the airport, flying to Ireland and back to Italy. But I got the stamp!