This tumultuous journey of moving and applying for the family cohesion visa has been an interesting one. It has been an example of how no matter what you may have expected your life to be, there is always something unforeseen in your life. One thing after the other has created an interesting story that has felt like a whirlwind. I wish I could say that the journey is over and we are on the next chapter. Not yet. We still have some time before the next chapter can truly begin.

In the meantime, we have come to a point where we are just about to hand in the final documents for my husbands permit (permesso di soggiorno). I thought that it would be a good time to give you an update and to share a list of documents we needed in order to apply for my husband’s permit.

The Update

I moved to Italy in July with our 6 cats. My husband came over 2 months later, once my residency had been confirmed. Then 2 days after he had arrived we went down to the post office to send in the application. The application for the permit can be done through the post office with copies of your documents. They then issue an “assicurata” which gives the applicant permission to stay in the country. You also receive an appointment date and time at the police headquarters. So we then had an appointment at the police headquarters (questura) in December.

Since I am a freelancer and have not yet completed a tax cycle they will only issue him a permit for 2 years initially. Thereafter, he can apply for the 5 year permit. If his Italian gets to a B1 level he might be able to apply for citizenship. That is a whole other discussion which we will get into at a later stage.

Our appointment went fairly well. They needed two other documents which we have now prepared and are ready to take to them. They have already taken his fingerprints. Hopefully this appointment will be the last one. Once the documents are in we suspect that it will take about two months to process. He should then have his permit sometime in March or April. So for now, it is not over but we should have everything done by Spring.

What is the Family Cohesion Visa for Italy?

The family cohesion visa is a type of family reunification visa. The visa allows a spouse, child under 18 (or dependent), or dependent parents of a resident in Italy to apply to stay in Italy with them permanently. This is done by coming to Italy on a tourist visa and then applying to get a “permesso di soggiorno” to live and work in Italy.

What Documents are Required for the Family Cohesion Visa?

The biggest part of this journey was saving up for the move. It took around four years to save up enough to make the move happen. The actual application has only been the past five months of preparation and appointments.

For some context, I am an Italian citizen already so it was a little less complicated. However, as far as I understand, anyone with a residency permit (permesso di soggiorno) can bring over a spouse or children to live with them in Italy. The main concern is that the person a lawful resident that pays taxes and earns enough to support the applicant.

To begin, here is a basic list of documents needed for the application process if you are applying for your spouse:

  • Marriage certificate (outside the EU you will need to get an apostille stamp and possibly an official translation then register the marriage at the comune to have the marriage certificate issued in Italy)
  • Proof of residence (residency certificate from the comune)
  • Hospitality declaration (either from you or your landlord) that needs to be presented to the comune within 48 hours
  • Maintenance declaration
  • Proof of funds (payslip, tax returns or bank statements)
  • Family status certificate (for Italian citizens)
  • Passport and/or ID card for both parties
  • Codice fiscale (Italian tax number) if you registered, which as a resident you will likely need one
  • Tourist visa if the spouse is not from the EU or EFTA

These are the basic documents you will need for the initial application that can be done through the post office. You simply need to request the permesso di soggiorno kit from them. Thereafter you will send it via the post office to the police head quarters (questura) of the province you are resident in.

At that point the post office will give you three papers, one is for the appointment at the police headquarters, the second is your receipt of payment and lastly the assicurata. The assicurata is what allows the applicant to remain in the country during the application process and must be kept with the applicant and their passport at all times. You will need these documents for your appointment. Do not lose them as you will not be able to have them reissued to you.

What Happens at the First Appointment?

For the first appointment at the police headquarters, the applicant will have their fingerprints taken and told which documents are stilled required (if any). From there they will explain what needs to happen.

As a first time applicant, you may be required to sign a contract stipulating that you will learn the language and integrate into Italian society. This agreement is what outlines what you need to do in order to qualify for the permit renewal. The system is point based. You need to acquire a minimum of 30 points during the time the permit is valid. Signing the agreement gives you 16 points off the bat. Then attending the session on Italian culture and constitution will get you another 16 points. Learning Italian to the level of A2 will get you another 15 points. Thereafter, any volunteer work, getting a job, getting property or other forms of integration will bolster your points.

It is not a difficult system and honestly just requires the applicant to become a part of Italian society. Now, I am not sure if this will be true for all permit applications but it is a requirement for my husband.

The Next Steps

Now that we are going in for, hopefully, our last appointment we will just need to wait until my husband’s permit is ready to collect from the police headquarters. During that time we will continue with Italian lessons. We work on it together so he can practice and I can improve my grammatical knowledge.

Our goal is to reach a B1 level in Italian. This will be the starting point for my husband to be able to apply for citizenship. Once we have lived in Italy as a married couple for 18 months and he can speak, write and read Italian at a fluent level he will be able to begin that process. We are not planning on changing countries again. So all eyes on making it possible for him to live here permanently.