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I am a non-EU citizen in Italy with an automatic Schengen visa (or visa waiver, I'm not sure it's called. But I can stay for 3 months). My wife is an EU citizen, but not Italian. We would like to get residency here. From what I've read on this website and on the site of the Italian police, we should be able to apply for residency.

We don't speak Italian and so fearing the actual details of doing this, we went to talk with an immigration lawyer. He insisted that I needed to go back home, wait until my wife registered as a resident, and then apply for the family reunion visa. Now I'm confused.

Does anyone know what the actual mechanics are for us getting residency here? Do I have to apply for a visa or can I simply register for residency like the website seems to imply? Has anyone done this and can tell me what to expect?

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    The lawyer is wrong. Is your wife employed or looking for work? Or are you financially self-sufficient (retired, perhaps)? – phoog Jun 25 '16 at 16:40
  • She is starting school in fall, so that's how we're meeting the requirements. – BambooShoots Jun 25 '16 at 16:54
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    She is allowed to stay up to 90 days with no formalities, and you have the right to stay with her. You may not be able to apply for a permit until she's registered in school, but you can't get in very much trouble for failing to have your document. You can't be banned for overstaying as long as you are with her. Also you can go to the EU passport line when you travel with her because you are a "person enjoying freedom of movement under EU law." – phoog Jun 25 '16 at 17:00
  • So I've read, but I was hoping that someone who has done it will confirm that the Italian authorities will behave this way. For example, every time I have tried to use the EU citizens line with my wife, we have been told to go to the non-citizens line. I'm sure we've just had some bad luck drawing officers who didn't know differently, but with everything immigration related, protest isn't very useful. Frankly, I would rather go home to get a visa if it makes the process fast than struggle for my 'rights' for six months, standing in line every time I go to an office with another document. – BambooShoots Jun 25 '16 at 17:16
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    Strictly speaking, to use the EU passports line you should have proof of your relationship on hand, like an authenticated marriage certificate. My parents have never been asked to show that in France, but as you note Italy may behave differently. To some extent it boils down to how willing you are to risk a legal battle as a test case. But getting a visa won't help avoid bureaucracy; you still have to get a residence permit once you move to Italy. – phoog Jun 25 '16 at 17:29

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