Italian Immigration Law states that if a foreign citizen (holding a non-EU citizenship) needs to enter and stay in Italy it is important to verify if the individual has to work in the territory of the Italian State or not:
If the individual does not need to work in Italy and will be living on their own financial resources, they can apply for the ‘elected domicile visa’.
If the individual is not an EU citizen and must work in Italy, they need to obtain a ‘work visa’ issued by the competent Italian Consulate.
For EU citizens, a visa is not required to enter and to work in Italy. A valid identity document issued by their country of origin (valid for expatriation) is sufficient to allow for a regular entry in Italy.
A work visa allows the non-EU citizen to work in Italy and can be obtained through quotas or extra-Quotas.
Once the work permit has been issued, the non-EU citizen will be able to apply for the work visa at the competent Italian consulate in their country of citizenship or residency.
Elected domiciled visa
An elected domiciled visa is issued when a foreign citizen intends to establish their residence in Italy without carrying out any work activity.
In order to obtain this type of visa, it is mandatory to demonstrate to the competent Italian Consulate that you can live in Italy without working. The individual’s finance resources must be regular and constantly generated from the activity of the applicant. The income can be generated from real estate property of the applicant, regular economic and commercial activities of the applicant, pension and/or trusts in which the applicant is the beneficiary and/or other legal sources.
Work visa: Entry formalities for non-EU citizens
According to Italian immigration law, the possibilities to enter into Italy for work reasons are the following:
The ‘quotas’ allowing for employment of non-EU citizens are issued annually by the Italian Labour authorities (work permit applications are made pursuant to Section 3 of the Legislative Decree no. 286 of 25 July 1998).
Once the quota has been attributed (i.e. the work permit has been issued), the non-EU citizen will be able to apply for the work visa at the competent Italian Consulate in their country of citizenship or residency. In this case, the Italian company has to file an application via the Internet for the request of ‘quota’ through the completion of a specific form, which shall contain the information of the employer, non-EU citizen, and the employment proposal.
Extra Quotas System (reserved for specific case, as follows)
- Executives or highly specialised personnel employed by companies with headquarters of branch offices in Italy, or by the representation offices of foreign companies whose main site of activity falls in the territory of one of the member nations of the World Trade Organization, or executives of a major Italian office of an Italian company or a company from another member state of the European Union.
- Salaried employees who are regularly paid by employers, either individuals or organisations, that reside or are headquartered abroad, and from whom they received their retribution directly, in cases where the employee is temporarily transferred from foreign countries to work with individuals or organisations, be they Italian or foreign, residing in Italy, for the purpose of performing in Italian territory specific services stipulated under a contract drawn up between the aforementioned individuals or organisations residing or headquartered in Italy and other individuals and organisations residing abroad, in accordance with the provisions of Section 1655 of the Italian Civil Code and with Law no. 1369 of 23 October 1960, as well as international norms and those of the European Community.
- Directors, specialised employees, or trainees. This new procedure (stated by Italian Law form January 2017) allows non-EU citizens to work in Italy for a maximum period of three years, the work permit cannot be renewed, and at the end of the above period the workers must leave Italy (Art 27 quinques Italian immigration Law).
In Extra-Quota cases, the Italian sponsor, via the Internet, applies for the Work Permit (Nulla Osta) with the Italian Immigration office (Sportello Unico/Prefettura) of the Province in which the Italian company has its legal office or where the non-EU citizen will work.
Once the Work Permit has been issued, the non-EU citizen will be able to apply for the Work Visa at the competent Italian consulate in the country of his/her citizenship or residency.
Finally, it is possible to apply for 'the Blue Card procedure' that facilitates the immigration process for high skill workers holding a non-EU citizenship. If all the requirements will be satisfied, the individual can be hired in Italy without passing through the quota system.
The law of 11 December 2016, n. 232, known as 'Budget Law 2017' introduced a new visa procedure that allows entries and stays in Italy for non-EU citizens wishing to invest in Italy. Article 26-bis called 'Entry and Stay for Investors' has been added to Unified Text for Immigration, and it states a new visa typology related to individuals who intend to make significant investments in some Italian areas economically and socially strategic. After their upcoming to Italy, the beneficiaries of the above-mentioned visa will obtain a 'Residence Permit for Investors', lasting two years and renewable for further terms of three years. During a press conference on 14 December 2017, the Ministry of Economic Development explained the guidelines and the operational instructions of this new type of entry visa to Italy.
The visa is issued to non-EU citizens residing in third countries who intend to carry out:
- an investment of at least EUR 2 million in securities issued by the Italian government
- an investment of at least EUR 1 million in assets of an Italian company
- an investment of at least EUR 500,000 in an innovative Italian start-up, or
- a philanthropic donation of at least EUR 1 million to support a project or an initiative of public interest.
The above-mentioned investments must to be guaranteed for a minimum period of two years.
Foreigners wishing to obtain this type of visa must:
- demonstrate the effective ownership of the needed amounts for the investment or the donation
- commit to make these investments, and
- demonstrate they have sufficient financial resources for their livelihood during their stay in Italy.