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Visas for relocating to Italy

Before you start your new life in Italy, you need to read up on visas, tax codes and residency permits…

European Union (EU) citizens will find it easy to relocate to Italy as they do not need a visa. However, they should report to the local police station if they want to stay in Italy for up to three months. Anyone who is planning to stay for longer in the country, and most expats will be planning a longer stay, should apply for a residency (iscrizione anagrafica) from the General Register Office, Ufficio Anagrafe, at the local town hall.

As soon as you have moved into your rented or purchased property, you must register this within 20 days, at the General Register Office. This will entitle you to become a local tax payer of the TARI, which pays for waste disposal, cleaning the roads and other local necessities. You’ll receive a visit from a town hall official confirming that all is correct. Once successful you will receive a certificate of residence — attestato d’iscrizione anagrafica, which will allow you to stay in Italy for five years. Should an EU national wish to stay longer in the country you’ll be able to apply for permanent residency, and you’ll be eligible for attestatzione di soggiorno permanente. This whole process can cost up to €375.00 though the price will be a lot more expensive if you use the services of a notary.

Tax codes are important

Anyone, EU citizens included, who wants to live and work in Italy must have a tax code — codice fiscale. You can either apply for a tax code from the Italian consulate in your country of origin, or you can apply from Finance Ministry — Ministero Delle Finanze. You’ll need a photocopy of your passport and proof of residence. Once you’ve registered you’ll receive your tax code in the post. You’ll need a tax code for working in Italy, opening a bank account, buying a vehicle, shopping online, signing a lease and registering for utilities. The tax code process is free, though you may have to wait a while in the ministry office. It’s useful to check the opening times of ministry offices before you go1.

Non-European Union residents

Most non-EU residents will need a visa to live and work in Italy. These citizens should apply for their visas before leaving their own countries, which will entail a trip to the Italian Embassy. Different countries have individual visa requirements, so it is best to check with the Italian embassy in the first instance to ensure that you have all of the right documentation to make your visa application.

Once you have your visa and have successfully landed in Italy, there’s a whole ream of other documents that you’ll need. If you want to live and work in Italy for at least a couple of years, you should first of all apply for a residency permit from the local post office. This takes around 60 days, and you’ll be notified by email or text when it’s ready. Once you have your temporary permit, you can then apply for residency status, which is renewable every few years. The permit will allow you to access the public healthcare system and the education system and you should apply for a residency permit - permesso di soggiorno within eight days from your arrival in Italy. Anyone planning to stay for more than three months must have a residency permit.

If you intend to work in Italy, you’ll also have to apply for a work permit or Permesso di Soggiorno per lavorare, which is obtainable from your local Prefettura or Prefecture. Many employers obtain this document on behalf of their employees. If you’re at all confused, contact the portale immigrazione for further information.

Costs and processes

To start the application process for a work permit, you’ll have to get a work permit application kit with all the relevant documentation that you’ll need to complete. Take your completed kit along with all of your back up papers and a tax stamp — or bolletino, costing €16 from a local tobacconist — to the Post Office. Your permit will cost between € 40 / 100. The cost varies depending on how long you want to stay. You’ll also have to pay an extra € 30 to the Italian government for your Assicurata, or Immigration Office payment, and then you’ll need to pay an additional € 30.46 to cover your permit’s printing costs.2

Post Offices don’t accept credit cards, so, take cash or a debit card. You’ll then be given an appointment with the Immigration Office — Questura to have your finger prints taken. Until you’ve received your permit you must take your tax receipt and receipt from paying the Assicurata and details of your Questura appointment with you always. You’ll soon learn that the Italian government loves bureaucracy, so take a book and be prepared to wait when you visit a government building.

Click here to read our guide to finding work in Italy.3

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