23/10/2017

Types of Permits to Stay

All foreigners ( extracomunitari) planning to remain in Italy for longer than 90 days must apply for a ‘permit to stay’ ( permesso di soggiorno or carta di soggiorno) at the local police headquarters ( questura) within eight days of their arrival.

The latest immigration law (passed in October 1998) changed the name of permits to stay for EU citizens from permesso di soggiorno to carta di soggiorno, even though the substance of the permit has remained the same. However, this isn’t common knowledge and not all local police headquarters are aware of the change in name. Don’t be surprised, therefore, if you apply for a permesso di soggiorno and receive a carta di soggiorno or vice versa. To avoid confusion, the more commonly used term, permesso di soggiorno, is used throughout this article to refer to all types of permits to stay.

A permit to stay isn’t a residence permit, which must be applied for after you have your permit to stay, if you wish to become a formal resident.

It can take up to three months to obtain a permit, which can be issued only for the purpose stated on your visa. There are many types of permit to stay, the most common of which include the following:

 

Permesso di soggiorno per turismo – for tourists. Technically anyone visiting Italy for over a week who isn’t staying in a hotel, boarding house or an official campsite should apply for one, although in practice this rarely happens

 

Permesso di soggiorno per coesione familiare – for the foreign spouse and children of an Italian citizen when they move to Italy together

 

Permesso di soggiorno per lavoro – a work permit for an employee (see Employees below);

 

Permesso di soggiorno per lavoro autonomo/indipendente – for independent or freelance workers (see Self-Employed below)

 

Permesso di soggiorno per studio – for students (see Students below)

 

Permesso di soggiorno per ricongiungimento familiare – for the spouse, children (under 18) and dependent parents of foreigners married to Italian citizens and also for family members from overseas who come to join others already in Italy (see Family Members below)

 

Permesso di soggiorno per dimora – for foreigners establishing residence in Italy who don’t intend to work or study (see Non-Employed Residents below)

   

There are also permits to stay for various other special classes, including refugees and employees of religious missions. If you’re a non-EU citizen and haven’t obtained a specific visa, the local police headquarters normally issue you with a permit for tourism ( permesso di soggiorno per turismo). This is valid for three months only and isn’t renewable, nor may it be modified for any other purpose. You may not apply for residence with this permit or study, take up employment or establish a business, trade or profession.

Self-Employed

If you’re an EU-national or a permanent resident with a certificato di residenza you can work as self-employed ( lavora in proprio) or as a sole trader ( commerciante in proprio) in Italy. If you wish to work as self-employed in a profession or start a freelance business in Italy, you must meet certain legal requirements and register with the appropriate organisations, e.g. the local chamber of commerce ( camera di commercio).

Note that a standard permit to stay doesn’t automatically allow you to work as self-employed and needs to be changed to a permesso di soggiorno per lavoro autonomo, which depends on your nationality and status.

Under Italian law, a self-employed person must have an official status and it’s illegal to simply hang up a sign and start business. People setting up in a self-employed capacity must provide evidence of their status, such as membership of a professional or trade body, a VAT number, or registration on a trade register.

Members of some professions and trades must have certain qualifications and certificates recognised in Italy. You should never be tempted to start work before you’re registered as there are harsh penalties, which may include a large fine, confiscation of machinery or tools, deportation and a ban from entering Italy for a number of years.

EU nationals are entitled to work as a self-employed person (or an employee) without waiting for a residence permit to be issued. This document is merely a means of proof and not a condition of your entitlement to live in the country. If you’re an EU national and obtained a residence permit as an employee, this doesn’t prevent you from changing status during its period of validity and setting up in a self-employed capacity.

Students

Non-EU nationals wishing to study in Italy must prove that they’re enrolled (or have been accepted) at an approved educational establishment for the principal purpose of following a course of education or vocational training. You must also prove that you’re covered by health insurance and provide a declaration in writing that you have sufficient resources to pay for your studies and for living expenses for yourself and any members of your family accompanying you.

Foreign students wishing to attend university in Italy should apply to the Italian consulate in their country of residence. They will send you a list of the documents required, which include an application form where you’re required to select four universities in order of preference and, for EU students, a form E111 (certificate of entitlement to health treatment).

Once they’ve received your completed application, the consulate sends EU citizens an identity card stamped with a consul’s visa, while non-EU students receive a student visa. You must present these documents to the police headquarters within eight days of arriving in Italy in order to obtain a student’s permit to stay ( permesso di soggiorno per studio) which is valid for a maximum of one year only.

Au pairs wishing to work in Italy are generally advised to obtain a study rather than a work visa if they’re planning to stay in the country for longer than 90 days. Because the ‘pocket money’ they receive isn’t considered a salary, the au pair agencies say that technically there’s no need for them to obtain a work visa.

Family Members

Family members of Italian citizens or EU nationals don’t require a visa to enter Italy if they’re also Italian citizens or EU nationals. If you’re an EU national, members of your family, whatever their nationality, may go with you and take advantage of their right to live in Italy. Your family is defined as your spouse, children under 21 (or dependent on you), as well as your parents and your spouse’s parents, if they’re also dependent on you.

 If you’re a student, the right of residence is limited to your spouse and dependent children.
If members of your family aren’t EU nationals, they may, however, require an entry visa, which should be granted free of charge and without undue formalities. There are two main types: the visto per coesione familiare and the visto per ricongiungimento familiare. The former is required when all family members are currently living outside Italy, while the latter is necessary when some family members are already living in the country. In the latter case, those living outside Italy must apply for a visa at an Italian consulate in their country of residence as usual, and their Italian relatives in Italy must also visit their local police headquarters to file an application for their relatives to join them.

For both visas, in addition to the usual documents you also need documents proving your family connections, e.g. a marriage licence ( dispensa matrimoniale). Non-EU family members don’t have the right to work in Italy unless they have their own work visa.

The right to travel enjoyed by non-EU members of your family under EU law isn’t an independent right, and it applies only when they’re accompanied by an Italian or EU national. Accordingly, they aren’t entitled to the visa facilities available under EU legislation when they’re travelling alone. On the other hand, non-EU members of your family don’t require an entry visa if they wish to travel to another country, provided they’re in possession of their identity document and residence permit.

Non-Employed Residents

Retired and non-active EU nationals don’t require a visa before moving to Italy, but an application for a permit to stay ( permesso di soggiorno per dimora) must be made within eight days of your arrival. Non-EU nationals require a residence visa to live in Italy for longer than 90 days. All non-employed residents must prove that they have an adequate income ( reddito) or financial resources to live in Italy without working.

You’re usually considered to have adequate resources if your income is at least equal to the basic Italian state pension of around €7,740 per year for each adult member of a family (although you’re unlikely to be able to live on it!). This can be a regular income such as a salary or pension, or funds held in a bank account.

All foreign residents (including EU residents) who don’t qualify for medical treatment under the Italian national health service ( servizio sanitario nazionale/SSN) must have private health insurance and be able to support themselves without resorting to state funds. EU nationals in receipt of a state pension are usually eligible for medical treatment under the SSN, but require form E-121 from their home country’s social security administration as evidence.

If you’re an EU national and have lived and worked in Italy for over three years, you’re entitled to remain there after you’ve reached retirement or re-retirement age, although if you retire before the official retirement age you won’t be entitled to a state pension.

Frontier Workers

Frontier workers are defined as people working in Italy but residing outside the country and returning there at least once a week. Frontier workers don’t require a permit to stay but must apply for a frontier worker’s card at the police headquarters nearest to their place of employment and produce evidence of their employment status and residence abroad.

EU rules on social security contain certain specific provisions for cross-border workers who are covered by EU social security legislation in the same way as all the other categories of people. You’re entitled to receive sickness benefits in kind in either your country of residence or your country of employment, but if you’re registered as unemployed you’re only entitled to claim unemployment benefit in your country of residence.

Employees

If you’re a national of an EU member country (your passport must show that you have the right of abode in an EU country), you don’t require official approval to live or work in Italy, although you still require a permit to stay ( permesso di soggiorno per lavoro).
If you’re unemployed, you have the right to live in Italy for a ‘reasonable period’ of time in order to look for a job. However, no matter how long you take to find a job, you cannot be asked to leave the country if you can prove that you’re still seriously looking for employment and have a real chance of finding work (for example, you still have interviews to attend or tests to undergo).

In certain circumstances, if you’re receiving unemployment benefit in one EU country, you may continue to receive that benefit for up to three months in Italy. To do so, you must apply to the authorities in the country that pays your unemployment benefit.
EU nationals who visit Italy with the intention of finding a job should apply at the foreigners’ office ( ufficio stranieri) at the local police headquarters for a permit ( ricevuta di segnalazione di siggiorno) within eight days, which entitles them to remain in Italy for three months while looking for a job. When you’ve found work, you take the ricevuta together with a letter from your employer confirming your employment to the police headquarters to obtain a permit to stay. You must also apply for a work permit ( permesso di lavoro, which is valid only for as long as you’re employed and is available to both residents and non-residents.

Non-EU nationals require an ‘entry visa for reasons of work’ ( visto d’ingresso per motivi di lavoro), which they must obtain in their home country or country of residence. All employees except managers and executives ( dirigenti) require a workers’ registration card ( libretto di lavoro) from the Provincial Inspectorate of Work ( Inspettorato Provinciale del Lavoro), which is valid for ten years. It’s a booklet that employees (whether Italian citizens or foreigners) require in order to be legally employed, which serves as an employment record (the start and end dates of all periods of employment are entered in it).

Italy has restrictions on the employment of non-EU nationals, which have been strengthened in recent years due to the high unemployment rate (around 8.9 per cent). The 1998 Immigration Law introduced a quota system that restricts the number of freelance people of any nationality and category allowed into the country each year.

Uncertainty in the interpretation of the new rules, especially in consulates abroad, is making it difficult and long-winded for foreigners to work in Italy legally. However, thousands of non-EU nationals are being employed due to a severe shortage of semi-skilled and skilled workers in the north (the north-east in particular). Employers are putting pressure on the government for immigration quotas to be handled by the regions, according to local employment needs, while the politicians would prefer to create jobs for southern Italians.

Work permits for non-EU nationals must be obtained outside Italy, where an application for work authorisation (autorizzazione al lavoro) must be made at your local Italian embassy. The employment of non-EU nationals must be approved by the Italian labour authorities, who can propose the employment of an EU national in place of a foreigner (although this is rare). Note that it’s impossible to convert a tourist visa into a work visa and therefore if you’re a non-EU national and need a visa to work in Italy, you must obtain it before your arrival in the country. There’s nothing to stop you visiting Italy as a tourist in order to find a job, but you cannot work without going home and applying for a work visa (which can take months to obtain).

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15

Iranian Voices Slam Donald Trump’s Reported Visa Ban as ‘Shameful’

Iranian Voices Slam Donald Trump’s Reported Visa Ban as ‘Shameful’

 TEHRAN, Iran — President Donald Trump provoked an angry backlash from Iranian voices after reports he would block visas for citizens of seven Middle Eastern and African countries and temporarily...

Read more

These are the world's most powerful passports

These are the world's most powerful passports

Germany takes the lead with a visa-free score of 157. Singapore overtakes South Korea and becomes the highest ranked Asian passport, with a visa free score of 156, coming second...

Read more

Curtailment of 30,000 student visas each year sparks row

Curtailment of 30,000 student visas each year sparks row

More than 30,000 non-EU students a year have had their visas curtailed by the Home Office in the past three years, figures obtained by BBC News show. And 410 educational establishments...

Read more

Calls for inquiry after evidence for UK student deportations ‘comprehensively demolished’

Calls for inquiry after evidence for UK student deportations ‘comprehensively demolished’

The Home Office is facing calls to launch a parliamentary inquiry into Theresa May’s immigration policies after a tribunal found thousands of foreign students may have been unfairly deported. The UK’s...

Read more

Americans and Canadians might need visas for Europe

Americans and Canadians might need visas for Europe

Be prepared! You might need a visa for your next European holiday or business trip. The European Union is considering requiring Americans and Canadians to apply for visas, even if they...

Read more

EU chokes on US visa dispute

EU chokes on US visa dispute

Bulgaria and Romania want the EU to impose visas on US nationals. It probably won’t happen. But EU officials’ attempts to “wiggle” out of the situation haven’t gone down well. The...

Read more

Turkey moves closer to EU visa-free travel

Turkey moves closer to EU visa-free travel

Turkey is moving closer to being granted visa-free travel to the European Union. It could be in force by the end of June.   The bloc’s executive, the EU Commission, has said...

Read more

EU might require visas for U.S. and Canadian visitors

EU might require visas for U.S. and Canadian visitors

Visa-free travel throughout the EU’s Schengen region may be coming to an end.Currently, Americans and Canadians only need a passport to visit the EU while visitors from other countries like...

Read more

Italian PM in Tehran with large delegation

Italian PM in Tehran with large delegation

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is in Iran for a two-day visit at the head of a large delegation to upgrade relations which have been warming following a nuclear agreement...

Read more

Germany, Turkey to Intensify Illegal Immigration Fight

Germany, Turkey to Intensify Illegal Immigration Fight

Merkel has refused to restrict asylum conditions and has sought to persuade Turkey to crack down on people smuggling BERLIN—Germany and Turkey on Friday pledged to intensify efforts to fight...

Read more

Iranian citizens fear US visa waiver bill: ‘It’s just unfair’

Iranian citizens fear US visa waiver bill: ‘It’s just unfair’

Iranian citizens who have ties to the United States are anxious about a new bill that would no longer allow them to be part of the visa waiver programme. If...

Read more

Iranian dual citizens fight new US visa rules

Iranian dual citizens fight new US visa rules

Dual citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan are protesting against a new US programme that restricts their travel.Neysun Rouhani and his wife live in the UK. He's a concert...

Read more

Germany should invest more to help euro zone grow - Commission

Germany should invest more to help euro zone grow - Commission

Nov 26 Germany and the Netherlands, which have big current account surpluses, should invest more to help boost economic growth and inflation in the whole euro zone, the European Commission...

Read more

Italy is land of opportunity for Goldman Sachs

Italy is land of opportunity for Goldman Sachs

The US investment banking group’s SICAV has already risen through the ranks in size of assets, from 43rd to 18th, currently at just over $50bn, while GSAM as a whole...

Read more

Australia and Germany sign new tax treaty

Australia and Germany sign new tax treaty

Australia and Germany have signed a new treaty on tax in the first step towards growing trade and investment between the nations and improving the integrity of the tax system...

Read more