S M F G · A Counter-Clockwise Trip Around The World

On the (in)famous Italian efficency

Aug 25th 2010
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This is a new chapter about my experiences with the Italian consulates and embassies abroad. Thinking about it, I should add to the list the Indian Consulate in Milan, as the people working there were Italians(1).

On my way to México I suddenly realised, still in Colombia but very far from a consulate, that my beloved passport is almost full: in more than two years I have collected stamps from around twenty countries, and some of them are repeated(2). Plus I have four full-page visas(3), leaving me with only three pages left on the eve of a non-stop trip from Colombia through Panamá, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to México: this is six entry plus six exit stamps, plus the exit from Colombia and the entry in México. If you think that normally one page can fit four stamps, you can imagine how I was panicking: if just one border official complains, I will have to stay in that country until the consulate give me a new passport. In Italy it took over a week, and I don’t have a week to spend in, say, Tegucigalpa! I have to be in Cancún on September the 2nd.

From Cartagena, I sent an e-mail to the Italian consulate in Cancún, asking about the borders in central America, how long does it take to get a new passport, if the process can be started via e-mail and what the costs were. That was August the 18th. On August the 22nd, concerned about their silence, I wrote again in case my first one did not make it through. Today is August 25th, and still no reply: they are probably waiting for me to leave México ;-)

But, for once in my bureaucratic life, I was lucky: thanks to the CA-4, I was only stamped-in entering Nicaragua and stamped-out from Guatemala, thus saving six stamps!(4) Hurray!

Photos coming soon …


  1. This is when they «forgot» to tell me that my visa was starting in that same day I was at the consulate asking for it, despite what it says in the form (i.e. «Starting day») and despite what the guy told me.
  2. I have entered and exited twice Turkey, India, Singapore and Uruguay, and five times Argentina.
  3. Two from India, one from Indonesia and one from Australia.
  4. Plus the guy from Costa Rica stamped me diagonally in the corner of an already-full page, saving one more place.

This post is filed under America, Mexico and tagged , , , .

2 Responses

  1. Ally says:

    e-mails? Italian consulates use pigeons, not e-mails… e-mails, mean technology, computers, higher working pace… that can’t be right for someone working in an Italian consulate!

  2. a-l-e says:

    …e poi… a ferragosto!!!
    lo sai che “gli tagliani” a ferragosto non lavorano… ;-)))

    (chiedi all’anonima! eheheh…)

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