Friday, 16 May 2014

More documents please!

As I'm sure you know, I'm not usually one to rant and rave on my blog; preferring to focus on the more positive elements of life- peaceful southern Italian living, delicious dolce and...more delicious dolce. But today is different, dear readers. Why? Because today's topic of conversation is the infamous Italian bureaucracy.

Recently, I have found myself in the middle of a bureaucratic nightmare. Not only do I need to renew my passport (a UK passport obviously) and therefore require Italians to take care of translations, photos etc, but I also need to renew my driving licence. Oh, and I recently got my official residency here too. Like I said: it's a true bureaucracy-fest, and here, you either sink or swim. I'm swimming...but only just. I won't bore you with all the gory details, but I'll tell you about a few 'special occasions'- where the Italian bureaucratic system has really demonstrated how fabulous it really is (yes yes, that's sarcasm.)

1. It took at least 20 minutes for the man at the local town hall to decide what to write as my place of birth on my identity card. Great Britain? United Kingdom? England? I insisted, he didn't listen, instead preferring to call two other equally as clueless colleagues for help.

2. I had to go to aforementioned town hall at least 5 or 6 times to do various, rather useless things. The man who works there grabbed my arms and told me 'not to be scared'. I was.

3. The local Motorizzazione (Driving Licence agency) is a terrifying place, where everyone is angry and shouty. EVERYONE.

4. At said Motorizzazione I was given completely the wrong information and told that I could not convert my licence to an Italian one. After several phone calls, Internet searches and a lot of time wasted, we realised that this was not the case and actually, I COULD convert my licence. Now I understand all the shoutyness.

5. With all the necessary documents, I arrived at the local court to do my translation (traduzione giurata), just to be told that the judge who usually deals with these matters wasn't available and I should return the next day. Any advice on what other supporting documents I might need? I asked the man hopefully. Unsurprisingly, he didn't have a clue.

6. When I returned to the local court to do my translation, there was nobody waiting in front of me and the judge was available. Result! It was too good to be true however, as I had to wait 20 minutes just for her to finish her coffee/rant at her colleague.

These are just snippets. And they are pretty tame ones at that. There will undoubtedly be huge numbers of other expats who have felt the wrath of the disorganised, nonsensical bureaucratic system here in the Boot.To all of you, I offer my sincere condolences for your wasted time. To those of you who are considering diving into this mess, my advice to you would be this:

1. Take a patient, real-life Italian with you when you have meetings and appointments to go to. Any linguistic issue you may have, they will take care of. And the person who you are dealing with may have issues about your foreign-ness, so the real-life Italian may help to cushion this too.

2. Do your research online (there are lots of sites and forums- just google 'Italian bureaucratic nightmare' and you should get something) and get as prepared as you can. There will ALWAYS be something else that they need though, so just try and control your anger when they make you return 2 more times with other useless documents that were not mentioned on said online forums.

3. Have a nice glass of whisky/glass of local red/big bar of chocolate/tranquiliser ready for you when you return home. You will need it.

Good luck to you all, my fellow expatriates!

No comments:

Post a Comment