Rome is filled with expats of a nebulous legal status, and I spoke to one of them.
Name: This person has opted to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons.
Age: This person has opted to exclude his/her age, for obvious ‘I feel old’ reasons.
Where are you from? New York.
For how long have you lived in Rome? 6 years, more or less.
Where did you eat last in Rome? In a handsome Italian man’s house- he cooked a delicious carbonara.
Where did you drink/dance last in Rome? Last drink was at Freni e Frizioni. The last place I danced was Angelo Mai.
What is your legal status right now? Well I was just away, so technically I suppose I’m within my 3 month tourist visa.
Have you ever had a legal status before? I’ve had student visas.
Did you ever do the whole ‘leave every 90 days’ strategy? Never.
How easy is it to live in Rome like this? Pretty easy, I’ve had very little trouble. You can pretty much do anything from renting an apartment, to working, all under the radar.
Would you say it’s easier than going through the process to get a visa? Yes. I think the process to become a resident is difficult especially if you don’t have a job that will sponsor you. But not having a visa can be troublesome when looking for certain types of jobs that require working papers.
Is it hard to find work without a visa? It depends what type of work you’re looking for. You could definitely find work in hospitality pretty easily.
Has your status ever hindered your ability to do something that you wanted to do? Well… I did get caught once on the bus without a ticket (I do not condone not buying bus tickets) and I wanted to run… and then I thought… sh*t, what if I run, and then because I ran they give me more trouble than normal, and they find out I don’t have a visa, and they bring me immediately to the station and send me on the next flight out of here, and I really don’t want to miss my aperitivo tonight!
Have you ever come close to being caught? No, but I get nervous sometimes when I have to travel to England (now THEY ask a lot of questions).
Do you think it’s worth it to marry an Italian to get a visa? Hmmm… I’ve been warned against marrying Italians (mostly by women who have married Italians). But fake weddings are always fun I suppose.
If someone wanted to live in Europe, without a visa, would you suggest any other countries? Is Italy the best place for under-the-radar living? Mmm… I wouldn’t suggest Germany or England, they are sticklers. I imagine that Italy is the easiest if not one of the easiest.
Do you have any advice for someone that is coming to Rome and won’t have a visa? I wouldn’t worry too much. But if they want to be legal, they can always get a family to sponsor them.
How long do you plan to stay in Rome? Forever and a day.
How do you think you’ll get your visa situation worked out? I will probably marry a European… or sleep with a top ranking Carabinieri.