When getting visa from Italy Embassy, I also got a one page enclosed document telling me that I had to apply for residence permit within 8 working days after arriving in the Schengen area. And I also got the email from the university telling me to prepare the documents and the university officers would help me with the application procedure.
Residence Permit?!?! What was it?
I had thought that only visa was enough, but I was wrong!
At that time, I also was curious why the officers would help me on this because what I needed to do was just fill in the form and submit it at the post. I could do it by myself and the post was only 5-minute walk from the university. I knew the reason when we went to the post together. The officer at post spoke Italian only!
It took around 15 minutes to submit the application for each student, and there were more than 10 students. Almost 3 hours, but the university officers were there in order to help us communicate with the post officers. I really appreciated with the help from them.
After submitting the application, we got the appointment to take photo and record fingerprint at the police station. This time the university officers did not go with us, and of course people at the police station spoke only Italian! I went there with my friends. I could not remember exactly how we communicated with the police. It seemed like some friends knew Italian a little bit.
After finishing those steps, what we could do was just wait, wait, and wait for the residence permit card. During the wait time, we were not allowed to go out of Italy.
In a month or two, finally I got the card. It was just another card; it was similar to other ID card, but it made me feel that it was time to explore Europe!