Sean\’s Sicily

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Posts Tagged ‘Commune

Getting Married in Italy!

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So anyone who hasn’t realised, Sonia and I are getting married.  🙂

That’s the good news.  The bad news is now I have to deal with Italian bureaucracy.  After two years of successfully (largely) avoiding the organs of State, this is anything but a pleasant experience.  For the most part.  Yes, there are exceptions, generally speaking the actual clerks and officials are quite nice, but it’s the process that’s long, painful, tedious, and stressful.  Especially for Sonia, as she’s having to take care of most of it.  Oh the pleasures of being a non-citizen!

Firstly there’s the issue with the Nulla Osta.  Italy requires this for non-citizens.  Just to make sure I’m not already married in 18 different places.  I’m not sure why they care, but they do. 

Getting the Nulla Osta isn’t particularly hard, one just downloads the form, sends it off with €20, and the lovely people at the Department of Foreign Affairs take care of everything.  Thanks Peggy!

I’ve already written about how extremely lucky we were to find a notaio who actually knew what the law was and what he was doing, and didn’t even charge us for it.  It’s Sicilians like him who rescue the reputation of the island, when I’ve had a day full of people blocking paths and behaving badly.  So again, thanks to Notaio Vigneri.

So off went the Nulla Osta application, and off went Sonia to talk to her parish priest, Padre Longitano, who promptly informed her that we were already late and he needed the Nulla Osta immediately.  Bit of a communication lapse there, because the Irish embassy in Rome issue Nulla Osta one month in advance of the wedding, but usually the Italian guys need it 3 months in advance.  I guess most Irish people get married in the Irish collegiate in Rome and thus have an expedited process or something.

Anyway a call to the Embassy soon sorted it out – I sent off the required email, asking them to hurry the process along and send it directly to me (instead of the priest).  We even got a call-back confirming all the details before they printed it out and sent it.  Great stuff – Sonia remains very impressed with the speed and professionalism of Irish bureaucrats!  I said “I told you so!” and left it at that.

Anyway next stop, Padre Longitano again, who took all the forms (my long-form birth certificate, the Nulla Osta, the certificate from the Pre-Marriage course, an inspection of my passport and €10)  and gave us two notices to hand out, one for the local priest where I live, and the other for the Commune.

The local priest was a doddle (the church is in fact a donated villa and very plush too, thank you…) and the Commune wasn’t much harder, despite this bitch who asked Sonia questions and them promptly jumped the queue.  Anyway once I’d satisfied the clerks that I understood Italian, and that Co. Roscommon and Co. Galway were proper places of residence (here they use the city or commune) they where happy to proceed.  And they promptly found that Galway was already registered on their system as a place of residence, as apparently there’s another Irish bloke here in Catania that married a Sicilian girl.  Wow, I’m not all that unique so??

So now we have to go back to both the local church and the Commune on March 10th, get receipts to say that they’ve published the notices for the required two Sundays, and we can go to Padre Longitano and he’ll give us something to take to the Curia.  And then on April 26th we can attend the Commune with witnesses to do the civil ceremony, and that’s that.

Except for the big white wedding of course. 

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Written by seancasaidhe

February 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm

It is a disaster!

with 2 comments

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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