Jill's Extended Stay Visa Story

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February 2004

Jill's story is a great example of HOW to take each step in the process of moving to Italy. A determined woman, she researched every aspect that she could think of, read all the books and then followed step by step the requirements. She now has her Visa and will be in Italy in a few months. These are here Helpful Hints. Below is her steps for obtaining her Fedina Penale (Certificate of Good Conduct), a sample letter for the consulate and a post from SlowTalk that sums everything up.

This post has been reprinted with permission from the SlowTalk forum. It is Jill's experience with obtaining the elusive Extended Stay Visa.

So how long do you think it takes to get an Extended Stay Visa? Do you count all the prep work, asking questions on Slowtalk, the sleepless nights when you are so excited and nervous about your dream to live in Italy? Or does the clock start when you greet the woman behind the glass wall with shaking knees, sweaty palms and the biggest smile you can put on your face??? Yesterday it took 12 minutes at the consulate. Add that 12 minutes to the rest of the Italian dream planning and we¡¯re talking 3 years & 12 minutes!

For those that are interested, here are some key takeaways we experienced with our journey to get an Extended Stay Visa (aka Long Stay Visa or Elective Residence Visa).

Key Takeaways:

1. Read and search Slowtalk (this has been moved to Expattalk) and Cristina¡¯s website. It¡¯s full of VALUABLE information.
2. Read everything you can on every Italian Consulate website. All the links are on Cristina¡¯s website http://www.expatsinitaly.com. No two sites are identical. For example, the website in San Francisco does not tell you to submit a copy of your travel reservation and a copy of your insurance card (and we were asked for these items) I learned this by reading other consulate sites these items were required.
3. Get your FBI Background check (see below) as soon as you know when you want to move. This takes 4-5 weeks. And make sure you follow the directions! We accidentally made the money orders out to the Dept of Treasury instead of US Treasury, which meant we had to wait another 4-5 weeks! An extra 4-5 weeks means everything when you know you can¡¯t apply for the Visa until you have this in your hands!
4. In our 1-page letter requesting the Visa, we titled/bolded each required section, which I think made it easy for the Italian consulate to read.
5. Have your paperwork organized when you meet with the consulate. It makes it much easier to find the docs they need when they ask for a specific document.
6. 24 hours before our visit with the Italian consulate, we made an airline reservation which we could hold for 24 hours. The airline sent us an email copy of our itinerary, which was not ticketed, which the consulate accepted. (I didn¡¯t want to make a ticket a reservation incase our request was denied.)

Next steps for us¡­
Telling our employers we are moving to Italy, packing, taking care of the life admin stuff before we move, renting out a house, putting too much stuff in storage, trying to decide what to bring with us to Italy, studying our Italian and of course, continuing to read and post to Slowtalk! The big move is happening April 4, so we have lots to do!

Thanks again for everyone¡¯s insight in helping us get to this point. The great thing I appreciate most about Slowtalk is everyone on the board has some level of passion and excitement for Italy. It¡¯s a community working together to help dreams of traveling or living to Italy come true. Thank you Pauline for building an incredible site.

Obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct

January 2004


In order to apply for an Extended Stay Visa, the San Francisco Italian Consulate requires a Certificate of Good Conduct from the FBI.

To find out if a Certificate of Good Conduct is required by other Italian Consulate Offices, please visit the link to regional offices on the Consulate's pages

This document provides information on the frequently asked questions for obtaining this certificate based on information on the San Francisco Italian Consulate website as well as experience learned from a ¡°dreamer of living in Italy¡± from Bellevue, WA. In order to ensure the information is still accurate, you should review the Extended Stay Visa Requirements on the San Francisco http://www.italcons-sf.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Certificate of Good Conduct and how do I get one?
A: A Certificate of Good Conduct is supplied by the FBI. To obtain one, you will need to send your request and a copy of your fingerprints to the FBI.

Q: Where do I go to get a set of fingerprints? The Police Station?
A: In Bellevue, WA, the police station does not offer a fingerprinting service. A private organization called Bellevue Fingerprint Server provides fingerprinting at a reasonable fee. http://bellevuefingerprintingservice.com/BFSFAQS.html If your local police station does not provide fingerprinting, they may be able to provide you with names of private organizations that provide that service.

Q: How much does it cost for fingerprinting?
A: Fees for fingerprinting will vary. The fee for one set of fingerprints from Bellevue Fingerprinting Service in October 2003 was $12.00

Q: What paperwork is required for the FBI once I have my fingerprints?
A: The fingerprinting provider should provide you a checklist of what and where to send the fingerprints. Make sure to follow all instructions.

Q: How long does it take to get your Certificate of Good Conduct from the FBI?
A: Bellevue Fingerprinting Service quotes 4-6 weeks.

Q: Who do I make the money order out to for the Certificate of Good Conduct?
A: Your money order should be made out to the US Treasury.

Q: Once I receive the Certificate of Good Conduct, how long do I have to get my Extended Stay Visa?
A: You have 90 days from the date stamp on the Certificate to obtain your Visa. You Certificate of Good Conduct is valid for 90 days.

Q: Once I have my fingerprints, where do I send them?
A: Send your request of a Certificate of Good Conduct, along with your money order to:

Federal Bureau of Investigation,
Criminal Justice Information, Service Division
S.C.U.M.O.D. ¨C D2
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306

Q: If two or more people from the same household are requesting a Certificate of Good Conduct, can they send one money order for the total amount due?
A: No. Each person requesting a certificate must send a separate money order. For example, if three people in a household want certificates, they would send three money orders. Do not send one money order for the total of the three certificates.

Q: What is the phone number for the FBI, responsible for Certificate of Good Conduct requests?
A: 304-625-5590

Q: Is an Extended Stay Visa also referred to as a Long Stay, Residenze Elettiva, or Elective Stay?
A: Yes.

Example Letter for Italian Consulate Requesting Extended Stay Visa (Residenza Elettiva)

This is an example of a style of letter used by two people moving to Tuscany, written to the San Francisco Italian Consulate


Consulate General of Italy

Street Address

City, State, Zip

Re: Residenza Elettiva

Dear Consulate General of Italy:

I am writing to request a Residenza Elettiva (Long Stay/Extended Stay Visa) in your beautiful country of Italy.

Reason for Request:

In May 2001, I made my first three week trip to Italy, and from that point on started dreaming about what it would be like to live in Italy for a year, bet never thought I would actually do it.

There are several reasons why I want to live in Italy. Probably the most important is the culture and the people. Italy is full of culture and history and I want to immerse myself in this world. I have much to learn about myself and the world and I know Italy is where I want to go.

(If taking language classes add something about what you are planning to do I also want to learn the language. I have attempted to take classes, but found that if I don¡¯t use it, - I lose it. I also want to learn the Italian history, how to cook, how to make wine and olive oil, how to experience what it means to be part of an Italian culture.


X and I are requesting an Extended Stay Visa from X-X. (If going to language school add..) The first x weeks of our Visa will be used to attend the Language School in X, which begins X. Depending how we progress with the language, we may also take additional classes.

Place of Residence: Where you will be living in Italy. You will need to show a contract of some sort.

Financial Status:

Here is a break-down of my assets:

Financial Account:
Bank Account:
US Residence: ~ X (equity) Appraised: X amount
Other: ?


Person Traveling with in Italy:


I have read the information on the Italian Consulate San Francisco website, and I understand that an Extended Stay Visa does not allow employment in Italy.



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