Working remotely in Italy: should I stay or should I go?

Mar 29, 2021

Italy does not have any specific provision regarding “remote working” carried out by foreign visitors. The only reference we have found and that be applied by analogy to this scenario, is in the guidelines of the Italian Consulate of San Francisco for a kind of retirement visa. This visa does not allow to work and the Consulate specifically indicates that:

Applicants are not permitted to work from home, blog for payment, offer consulting services to their previous employers, or otherwise dodge this restriction.”

From a strict legal point of view, it is our opinion that even though the individual would be working for clients outside Italy, he would still work and if she/he has entered Italy without a work visa (for tourism or business) he/she would violate the scope of his visa/scope of entry (if he is a non-visa national).

The website of Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a online questionnaire to be used by foreigners willing to enter Italy.

Il visto per l’Italia (esteri.it)

If you select “work” as reasons of stay (and there is no difference if the work is for local or foreign clients) the answer is always that a work visa is required

EU Guidelines

Additionally, EU Guidelines (applicable for social security) provide for that the worker is subject to the rules of the country where he works:

As a basic rule, you are subject to the legislation of the country where you actually work as an employed or a self-employed person . It doesn’t matter where you live or where your employer is based” (https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=851&langId=en).

This applies to Social Security regulations but could be extended by analogy also to employment and immigration rules.

Possible Tax issues

Last but not least, working “remotely” in a country may have tax consequences both for the individual and for the company he is eventually employed by. OECD has  issued a comprehensive analysis of related issues

OECD Secretariat analysis of tax treaties and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis

Marco Mazzeschi

Attorney at law. One of the leading corporate immigration lawyers in Italy. Admitted to the Milan Bar Association (1988) and to the Taipei Bar Association (2016), a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and an accredited partner of Invest in Tuscany. Schedule a consultation call

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