Live and work in Italy: 20 FAQs

Jul 26, 2021

This article is written by Marco Mazzeschi and contributed to our publication on Medium.com.

Follow us on Medium.com/StudioMazzeschi for more latest articles.


1) Do I need a visa to travel to Italy?

It depends on the nationality, purpose of the visit, duration of the stay. Italy has an agreement with certain countries that permits the entry into Italy for up to 90 days any 180 day period without the need for a visa.

To check if you need a visa visit Il visto per l’Italia (esteri.it)

2) What do I need to work in Italy?

You can only work in Italy if you have obtained a work permit (Nulla Osta), a work visa and have applied for a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), or if you have a residence permit allowing work (family permit, permit for subordinate employment or self-employment etc.). You cannot work simply obtaining a VAT registration (Partita IVA) or a tax code (codice fiscale).

3) Can I extend my 90-day stay/visa?

As a general rule, no. It is possible to request the extension only for reasons of force majeure, humanitarian reasons or serious personal reasons.

4) Can I be in Italy while my work permit application is pending?

Yes, you can be in Italy as a business visitor or as a tourist for max 90 days in 180 days

5) Can I apply for my work visa while I am in Italy?

No. Visas cannot be issued by authorities based in Italy. They can only be issued by the Italian Embassies/Consulates outside Italy. Generally, the Consulate/Embassy that receives the application is the one that has jurisdiction over the applicant’s address in the country of residence.

6) Do I need to register when I enter Italy with my visa?

Whether you enter Italy on a short-term or a long-term stay, you need to comply with registration requirements within 8 days from arrival, by applying for a residence permit or by declaring your presence according to your type of visa.

7) Do I need to renew the visa when it expires?

A visa issued for a long-term stay is an authorization to enter the country but it requires the application of a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) within 8 days from entry. From the moment the residence permit is issued, it substitutes the visa. The visa does not require renewal, it is the residence permit that must be renewed through an in-country procedure.

8) Can I work in other EU countries with my Italian permit?

Generally speaking, an Italian residence permit allows the holder to circulate within the Schengen area up to a maximum of 90 days in any 180 days as a visitor but does not allow any work activity in another EU country. An exception to this is given by the permit issued pursuant to the EU ICT Directive: the holder of an ICT permit can move to work in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer in another member state for up to 90 days in any 180 days without requesting an additional permit.

9) Can I travel while I am waiting my permit of stay extension?

While waiting for the residence permit renewal, the holder can return to their home country or travel to other non-Schengen countries (visa requirements to be checked) but it is strictly forbidden to pass through any Schengen country, even for a short airport layover.

10) Can dependants work in Italy?

Holders of family permits (permesso di soggiorno per motivi familiari) are allowed to work in Italy

11) Who Qualifies as a Dependant?

For the purpose of applying for a family permit as a family member of a NON-EU national, the following are recognised as dependants: (i) spouse, regularly married and of full legal age (at least 18), also same sex; (ii) children under 18 (also spouse’s children provided the other parent consent is granted); (iii) children over 18, only if financially dependent due to total disability; (iv) financially dependent parents, provided they do not have any other children in their country of origin; (v) parents over 65 if they do not have any other children who can financially support them in their home country because of serious health reasons

12) More favourable rules apply to family members of an EU citizen residing in Italy.

The following can apply for a family permit: spouse; direct descendants, also of the spouse (i.e. children, grandchildren, etc.) under 21 or financially dependent; financially dependent direct ascendants, also of the spouse (i.e. parents, grandparents, etc.). An application may be possible also for other family members (under certain circumstances) and for the partner with whom the EU citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested by means of official documents

13) I am a non-EU citizen married to an Italian/EU citizen. Can I come to live in Italy?

Yes, provided that your Italian/ EU spouse takes residency in Italy.

14) Can I rent an apartment before obtaining my work visa?

Yes, this is possible. To rent an apartment you only need a tax code (codice fiscale).

15) Can I obtain the Italian tax Code (codice fiscale) before I have my visa and go to Italy?

Yes, you will only need to provide a copy of your passport and your foreing address.

16) Do I have to comply with integration requirements?

Any foreigners over 16 years of age moving to Italy and applying for a 1 year permit are required to sign a so called ‘Integration Agreement’ (Accordo di Integrazione) with the Italian state. There are 2 years, which can be extended up to 3, to comply with the integration requirements set in the Agreement.

17) I have an EU passport: do I still need a work permit?

EU citizens do not need a work permit to work in Italy. If intending to stay longer than 3 months, they need to register with the authorities as residents.

18) When can I apply for permanent residency?

After 5 years of legal and continuous stay in the country, a foreign national can apply for a permanent residence permit, named EU permit for long term residents (permesso di soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo). Generally speaking, the issuance of this permit is subject to: (i) possession of a valid residence permit; (ii) knowledge of Italian language (at least A2 level of the Common European Framework); (iii) have a minimum income not lower than the annual amount of the social allowance and have filed tax returns in Italy; (iv) submission of police clearance.

19) What are the requirements to obtain citizenship by residency?

Legal residents (i.e starting date is the day you register with the City Hall not your entry in Italy) may be able to apply for citizenshipafter 10 years of residency.

20) Will my permit of stay be cancelled if I leave Italy for long periods?

The permit cannot be renewed or extended if the holder has left Italy for more than 6 consecutive months or in case of two year permits, if the holder has left Italy for more than half the validity of the permit consecutively (e.g. 12 consecutive months for a permit with a validity of 24 months).

Disclaimer: The information provided on this article (i) does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; (ii) are for general informational purposes only and may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information (iii) this website may contain links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader; (iv) readers should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.

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