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Step by Step Guide to Italian Immigration

Step by Step Guide to Italian Immigration

Every year, Italy is always among the top ten countries that foreigners would like to move to. There are many reasons for this, including the country’s rich history, culture, and art scene, beautiful landscapes, delicious cuisine, and pleasant climate. Additionally, Italy offers a high quality of life, excellent healthcare, and a laid-back lifestyle that many find irresistible.

EU Citizens

Moving to Italy for EU citizens is straightforward, and anyone from the European Union moving to Italy is required to register as a resident at the Town Hall (Municipio) within ninety days of relocating here. Registering at the Town Hall can, in most cases, be done online, and normally you need to provide the following documents:

-Copy of passport for each family member.

-Proof of funds: this can be an employment contract, / pay slips, tax returns for the self-employed, a pension, or bank statements.

-Copy of the lease contract and its registration receipt from the Italian tax office or a signed letter of hospitality from a relative or friend.

-Copy of Italian tax code

-Copies of marriage certificate and birth certificates of any minor children. If these are not in a multi-lingual version, the Town Hall may ask for translated and legalized versions.

-Proof of medical insurance in Italy on the letterhead of the carrier.

Before submitting a residency application, it is always a good idea to check with the Town Hall in advance what documents they require, as this can vary from one to another. Depending on where you live, the registration process can take from a few days to a few months to be completed.

Once your residency has been confirmed, you will be able to request an Attestato di Soggiorno at the Town Hall. This is the document that allows you to stay in Italy and replaces the previous Permit of Stay for EU citizens. A permanent Attestato di Soggiorno can only be requested after five years of uninterrupted residency in Italy.

Obtaining an Italian Tax Code (Codice Fiscale)

An EU citizen can obtain an Italian tax code either through the Italian consulate in their home country or at the Agenzie delle Entrate (Italian Revenue Agency) in Italy in person by presenting their passport. Non-EU citizens can also obtain their Italian tax code through the Italian consulate, but if they apply in Italy, besides their passport, they will also need to present, if applicable, their Italian visa and/or their Italian PSE (Permesso di Soggiorno Elettronico). The Italian tax code is provided free of charge.

Non-EU Italian Visa Options

Unlike EU citizens, non-EU citizens must first have a long-term visa to live and/or work in Italy beyond ninety days. There are several visa options available to them, including the following:

Work Permit: You can get a work permit by 1) being transferred within the same organization as part of an intra-company transfer or 2) meeting the requirements for a highly qualified position 3) as an employee or self-employed professional under the quota system (this can be difficult but is not impossible as the quota system typically has insufficient permits available based on the number of requests). Most firms are unwilling to sponsor a work visa, but some would if it benefited them.

Study Visa: For a full-time and long-term, Italian course or for higher education, a study visa will need to be obtained. You are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week with this visa. If you complete your studies in Italy and are given a full-time job offer, you can change your study permit to a work permit. This may also be converted in some other situations, such as if you successfully complete a long-term Italian course, but this is mostly at the discretion of the Italian authorities.

Self-Employment Visa: This specific visa is very challenging to obtain because it is managed within the quota system (Decreto Flussi), and only around 500 are issued annually.

Start-Up Visa: Since June 2014, there has been a streamlined, expedited process for visa applications for international entrepreneurs looking to launch cutting-edge businesses in Italy. This visa requires a minimum investment of €100,000.

Investor Visa: The Investor Visa, also known as the Golden Visa Program, is a two-year visa available to non-EU nationals who want to invest in key economic assets in Italy. The initial two-year permit can be extended if the applicant meets the necessary requirements. The minimum investment for this visa is €500,000.

Elective Residency Visa: If you’re a non-EU national and want to retire in Italy, you can apply for what is known as an Elective Residency Visa. You must show that you have enough monthly income to support yourself, whether it comes from investments, a pension, rental properties, or any other non-work-related source, in order to be eligible for this visa. You must apply for this visa at the Italian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the area in which you now reside. It is essential to get in touch with the consulate before making an appointment so that you can understand what documents you will need to bring with you when you do so. After receiving your visa, you can apply for a permit of stay in Italy. Please remember that demonstrating wealth is the decisive element. There are no rigid rules, and each application is handled individually. A recent immigration ruling determined that a Permit of Stay obtained through this visa may occasionally be converted to a work permit.

Digital Nomad Visa: The Italian government gave its approval for the launch of a digital nomad visa in March 2022. But this visa has remained blocked ever since, so it is still not available. The Italian Labor Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and Interior Ministry must all approve the introduction of the decree that would make the DNV official. It is safe to predict that this visa will likely be put on hold for a while, given that no clearance has been issued despite months of waiting. Additionally, the recently sworn-in Italian government is occupied with other crises, so they are unlikely to focus on the Digital Nomad Visa for the moment. When it comes to Italy’s immigration policies, the present government is also known for not wanting to make it easier for foreigners to relocate to Italy, so this may also be a deciding factor. It is safe to say that the Digital Nomad Visa will have been put off indefinitely if it is not implemented in 2023.

NB: Neither purchasing property in Italy nor participating in the “€1-House” programs make you eligible for a long-term visa in Italy. If you purchase real estate in Italy and are a non-EU citizen, you will still need to apply for a visa if you want to stay longer than the allotted 90 days.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be legal in Italy. For instance, what could be accomplished, especially as a non-EU citizen, when I came to Italy in 1988 is no longer possible. Therefore, if living in Italy is your goal, please make sure you obtain the necessary visa to do so, as staying beyond your legal time in Italy without a long-term visa will make you undocumented.

Article by Damien O’Farrell

About the author

Damien O’Farrell Mobility Services provides bespoke immigration services nationwide in Italy and relocation services in the first-tier cities of Rome, Milan, and Florence. For more information, please contact inquiry@damineofarrell.com.


Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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