It is a disaster!
After two years in Sicily, I finally decided to use the opportunity afforded by moving to Catania to sort myself out document-wise with the Italian authorities. ‘Cos I don’t work here in Sicily, I don’t pay tax, don’t need a bank account, etc. etc. I don’t claim social security, I have my own (Irish) health insurance, so there’s nothing I need from the state, and thus there’s no reason to deal with it.
Except for driving. OK, it’s a pain not driving here, because Sonia or her sister have to do all the driving, and it’s about time I got behind the wheel, but for that I need a licence, and for that, obviously, I need to be resident.
So here we are in Catania, need to get sorted anyway for getting married, so let’s sort out this residency thing once and for all, how hard can it be, I’m Irish.
So I pop down to the commune this morning before work – except that the commune won’t be open until 10:00 because they did pest control the place on Friday, left it locked up all weekend, and now the stench of the pesticides has made the offices unbearable. So they’ve opened all the windows and put back opening-hour until 10am.
OK, we grab a coffee and wait. And wait. Around rolls 10am. The guy shows up promptly and we’re first in the queue.
The alarms bells start like this – “Oh, he’s Irish… is Ireland in the EU?”
Is Ireland in the EU??? WTF? Uh, yep.
“OK, he’ll need to show €5,000 to prove self-sufficiency and health insurance.”
No problem, I can get that together in no time. So just need a statement from my Irish bank?
“No no, needs to be in an Italian bank – we’re in Italy here you know!”
So I’ll just deposit the money in Sonia’s account.
“No no, needs to be YOUR bank account as you’re not related to her.”
So I need to open an Italian bank account? For which I need a codice fiscale?
“I don’t know.”
No of course not, he doesn’t work in a bank – however, he is presumably Italian and presumably does have a bank account and presumably could say, in general, if in general one needs a codice fiscale for a bank account. But that’s not his “competency” so he won’t offer any opinion on the matter. Lascia stare, as they say.
But I need a codice fiscale for an account. And I need residency to get a codice fiscale?
Again, no opinion.
So here’s the catch-22 – to get residency, I need to have €5k in an Italian bank account in my name, for which I need a codice-fiscale, for which I need residency…
OK, let’s go and talk to the people at the Questura, the police headquarters, who deal with immigration matters.
“He’s Irish? Is Ireland in the EU?”
After reassuring the sceptical cops that Ireland is in fact a fully-paid-up member of the EU, and not some African backwater, they assure me that if I’m in the EU I have the complete right to live wherever the hell I want and stop bothering them, can’t I see that there’s a huge queue of people who actually need to register?
I decide that no-one has a clue what the hell they’re talking about (a common theme in bureaucracies worldwide) and look up the info on the internet.
The EU directive on the right of residence for more than 3 months for “other EU citizins” dictates that one must have valid health insurance and be able to prove self sufficiency, stating expressly that no state is allowed to set a defined amount but much judge each application on it’s merits.
Which the Italians have intepreted as meaning €5,000, because obviously EU law only applies to Italy when it doesn’t let dirty unemployed furriners into the place.
So now that we’ve seen what the rules are, we’re gonna figure out who to circumvent them.
And for your information, when Sonia came to Ireland, the bureaucracy consisted of;
a) going to correct Social Services office
b) waiting 45 minutes
c) filling out a form
d) guy at counter says “Oh you’re Italian? (checks list taped to window) OK for Italy I need to see a carte identita and a codice-fiscale. OK… *photocopy whirr, stamp stamp scribble* all done you’ll get your PPS in about 3 days, max a week, if you don’t get it you can call this number and they’ll tell you what it is over the phone. NEXT!”
And I thought THAT was painful! :*
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