Visa for Fashion Models

Oct 13, 2020

1. Short stays – no work

Fashion models typically enter Italy on business visas.

Visa nationals Individuals travelling to Italy with the purpose of doing business (Fashion Model) for less than 90 days can apply for Schengen Business Visa. This business category is restricted to actual models invited by an agency in Italy with purposes of “make business contacts with fashion agencies” (making business contacts for future photographic boots, fashion shows etc.)

As per the indication from the Ministry of Labour, under the business status, they are not allowed to work.

The visa application must be supported by documents validated by ASSEM (Associazione Servizi Moda – Fashion Services association).

Visa waiver nationals can travel to Italy without applying for a visa but it is advisable that they carry with them an invitation letter specifying the length and purpose of their stay, along with proof of adequate, valid travel medical insurance coverage and proof of sufficient means of support and/or the same supporting documents that would be needed for the Schengen Business Visa application.

Following specific research and enquiries to various offices (Ministry of FA, Labor Dept. Immigr Office), we were confirmed that models can enter without a work visa only if they attend business meetings, casting, etc. If they work (e.g. modelling on fashion shows is considered work since it is paid) they would need a work visa.

2. Self-employment visa (entry for work, short or long stay)

Currently Italian law does not foresee a special work visa for fashion models and therefore their immigration process is regulated by the general work immigration process.  An option for fashion models to work in Italy is the Self-employment visa (visto per lavoro autnomo).

The issuance of Work Permit for self-employed workers is subject to a quota, i.e. a limited number of foreign nationals admitted to Italy, which is periodically updated by the Italian Government through the yearly decree. Due to the overwhelming demand compared to the available number of permits under this category, the process may be more difficult and time-consuming than with other types of permits. All the more, is very common that individuals who were able to obtain the preliminary clearance from authorities in Italy, are denied the entry visa by the Italian Consulate.

Self-employment visa can be issued for a number of activities, some of which are subject to a license (such as doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.) consultancy activities, freelancers, officers of Italian companies etc..

Fashion models could file the application qualifying as freelancers. The process entails obtaining some documents from Italy (police clearance, declarations/attestations from the relevant authorities, contracts with clients in Italy etc.) before applying for the visa at the Italian Consulate/Embassy in the country of residence.

Red flags: Self-employment visa is not easy to be obtained even in the presence of assigned quotas. Most Consulates have a very restrictive approach and applicants may receive a denial though apparently matching all the requirements. There seems to be a lack of communication between authorities in Italy and the Consulates.

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