Do You Need a Work Visa in Italy?
Ah, la dolce vita! Who wouldn’t want to try living the Italian way at least once in their lifetime? A mild climate, award-winning cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and rich history make Italy a wonderful place to live and work. Dreaming aside, those who plan to move and work in Italy need to look at the more mundane aspects of relocating to another country; visas and work permits in Italy.
Can Foreigners Work in Italy?
People from European Union countries and Switzerland do not need any specific work visa. As they are in the European Economic area, people can move freely between member countries and work and live there. While a work permit is not needed, it is important to check how your two countries handle taxes, social security, and other related matters.
Italy is one of the most open European countries when it comes to immigration; however, there are still some steps one needs to take to obtain a work permit in Italy. There are only a few types of work visas in Italy. Still, the application process can be tricky, as besides obtaining a work visa, which only allows you to enter Italy, you also need to get separate permission to stay in Italian “Permesso di Soggiorno”.
Types of Work Visas in Italy
There are a few types of work visas in Italy, but we will focus on the resident-related work permits, also called National Visa (Visa D), for those who want to move to Italy and stay for longer than 90 days. The most common work visas in Italy are:
- Salaried employment visa – the employer sponsors your visa
- Self-employment visa – which falls under the categories of
- Business owner
- Sports activity
- Artistic activity
- Seasonal work (for work related to agriculture or tourism)
- Long-term seasonal work (you can stay and work on seasonal activities for two years)
- Working holiday – visa valid for 12 months, where the visa holder can also work locally
- Scientific research – visa sponsored for highly-educated people by local Italian scientific institutes or universities
However, for this article’s purpose, we will focus on the salaried employment and self-employment types of work visas.
Work Visa Application Process
There are three steps of obtaining a work permit in Italy: your employer must be granted a Nulla Osta for you, you need to then collect an entry visa from your local embassy, and as the last step you need to apply for a residency visa.
Let’s start from the beginning. In order to obtain a work visa, you must have already secured a job in Italy. This is because your employer will complete most of the visa application on your behalf. Your employees will need the following supporting documents to apply for your Italian work visa:
- A copy of a signed employment contract
- The original Nulla Osta “authorization to work” request and an additional copy
- A passport with a minimum of two blank pages that’s valid for at least three months after the visa’s duration
- Passport pictures
- A completed Italian Long-Stay Visa application form
- Residence contract
- Diplomas and other qualifying certificates
Your employer must submit your work contract and a separate document called residence contract (in Italian) signed by you. This document outlines your housing arrangement and states that the company will cover your returning home costs should you be expelled from Italy.
Once the application is successful, your employer will be given your ‘authorization to work’, or Nulla Osta, and once they have it, the embassy is automatically informed. Your entry visa will be available for you to pick up from your local embassy. You will have six months to collect your entry visa from your local embassy or consulate and enter Italy.
Decreto Flussi or Entry Quota
Note that Italy uses a quota system for most occupations, which means that a work visa can only be authorized if you meet all criteria and if the quota limit hasn’t been met yet. The determination of annual quotas is established by the government, which sets the quota through a so-called “Decreto Flussi”.The quotas change every year, your employer or immigration agency will be informed of quota limits and whether your profession is listed.
What is the Italy Residence Permit
Within eight days of arriving in Italy, you must apply for a residence permit at the local Post Office (Portale Immigrazione – in Italian). You will have to fill in the application obtained there and prepare a copy of your passport to support your application. Your employer will help you with that process. This type of work visa is usually issued for a period of 2 years. It is possible to renew the visa before 60 days of its expiration.
Self-employment Visa Application Process in Italy
Before applying for a self-employment work visa in Italy, which is usually valid for two years, you need to obtain the so-called “Authorization to perform independent activities”. For example, if you run a company, you can get authorization from the Italian Chamber of Commerce. If you plan to open a food business, you should contact local health departments for the approval documents.
On top of that, your request must meet the yearly quota for issuing this type of visa. Once your business has been authorized, the embassy or consulate in your country of origin or residence will issue you with authorization to work. You have six months to collect and use to enter Italy. The authorization to work is necessary to obtain the entry visa.
The rest of the process is almost identical as it is with the salaried work visa.
Cost of Italian Work Visa
As you already know, there are a few visas needed for you to relocate and work in Italy successfully. Outlined below are some of the costs:
- Entry visas, or the “authorization to work permits” cost: €116
- Residence permits cost (3-12 month stays): €40
- Residence permits cost (12-24 month stays): €50
- Residence permits cost (long-term): €100
These are for long-term residence permits, highly-qualified workers, and intra-corporate transferees.
- Administrative costs for the sending of the postal kit: approx €30
- Tax stamp: €16
- Inssuance cost: €30.46
If you’re seriously considering moving and working in Italy, check out our article about the cost of living in Italy, the safest places to live in Italy, and the Italian healthcare system.