How To Get A Visa And Permesso Di Soggiorno In Italy

There are essentially two distinct categories of Italian visas that we will concern ourselves with here today: student visas and working visas. While there are spousal visas, diplomatic visas, and religious visas, the student and working visa branches make up the majority of potential options you can pursue in your endeavor to legally gain long term access to living in Italy.

For starters, the Italian immigration system is ordinarily based on an ‘yearly quota’ framework, according to which the government decides, on a yearly basis, how many posts are available for various kinds of visas (students, seasonal work, employment, self-employment, investment, innovative start-ups etc.).

The Italian immigration law also regulates a different category of visas which deviates from the above mentioned ‘yearly quota’ system, in order to favor the entry of certain jobs (CEOs, journalists, artists, interpreters/translators, professional athletes etc.) or in light of the high degree of specialization of the applicant (those who qualify for the so called ‘EU-Blue Card’), or in order to make some Italian constitutional rights effective for foreigners (medical treatment visa and family visa, to name a few).
Just to get us started, I want to clarify the following things to consider, all of which are present in any visa process:

-> Italian law is flexible and often the party interpreting the law determines the visa approval. While there are rules, there are always exceptions to the rules, and Italian immigration policy interweaves with EU immigration mandates in a sometimes very confusing labyrinth of bureaucracy. The 2009 economic crisis and recent climate of potential terrorist activity around Europe have only further mired Italian immigration and labor laws.

-> Italian law is complicated and it is imperative that you consult a well-informed source for information. For this article, I consulted a Roman lawyer with over ten years’ experience in immigration regulations. He has successfully procured a variety of student and working visas for many people in his career and has worked in multiple areas of the Italian immigration system.

-> Acquiring a visa or transforming one type of visa to another requires a significant amount of time. While student visas are mostly straight forward, work visa applications especially necessitate vigilant review.
But you’re not alone, we’re here to help as much as we can to make this process as easy as possible for you.

The Work Visa:

There are a wide variety of work visas (visti di lavoro) and each has their own specific provisions and requirements. With work visas, keep in mind that:

1.) they must fall within the available posts under the yearly “Decreto Flussi” . Basically, the Italian government gives a time frame within which people can apply for the in-quota visas. If there is no Decreto Flussi, then there are no in-quota visas issued that year. Even the Decreto Flussi is specific to the kind of work being applied for. So, there could be a Decreto Flussi for care-taker workers but no Decreto Flussi for general subordinate work.

2.) alternatively, they must fall within one of the “fuori-quota” visas listed by the Italian immigration law (EU Blue Card or the other jobs that the law refers to as “particular cases”). Certain specialized work visas, such as those issued to CEOs or specialized independent contractor workers, are “fuori quota” meaning an unlimited number of people can apply and be approved. You can also apply for these visas where there is no Decreto Flussi.

3.) occasionally, the Italian government allows foreign illegal workers to “legalize” their statuswithin an exceptional window (the so-called “sanatoria”), provided that the foreigner’s employer formally applies (declaring that the foreigner has been working for them) and shows some requirements (sufficient income, lack of criminal record etc.).
It should also be noted that, due to the effects of the Lehman Brothers financial crisis, the Italian government has not enacted a Decreto Flussi for “employed work” since 2007 (with the exception of seasonal work, in order to support the demand of workers from tourism and agriculture sectors). The unemployment rate in Italy is too high for the Italian government to justify offering too great a number of work visas to foreigners. That being said, there are still a few ways to obtain a working visa.
Here, I will review the main kinds of work visas, both those that are “in quota” (within the yearly available posts of the “Decreto Flussi” system) and “fuori quota” (the posts not falling within the “Decreto Flussi” system). Be advised that all these visas require a great deal of paper work. Also, proper consultation from a professional who is specialized in immigration matters is highly recommended.

Student residence permits (Permesso di soggiorno per motivi di studio) converted into employment residence permits (permesso di soggiorno per lavoro subordinato):
Even after the outburst of the economic crisis, All “Decreti Flussi” have allowed foreign students to convert, under certain conditions, their study permit into a working permit. Students can opt to convert their study visa into a working visa. However, in order to do this, you need to have the following:

1.) A valid Permesso di Soggiorno as a student. Often, students who are studying short-term (up to a 3-month course) are not issued a PdS. In order to apply for a student to worker permit conversion, you must have a valid PdS when you submit the application.

2.) The government must have approved a Decreto Flussi that year which expressly states the possibility for students to convert their permesso di soggiorno into a permesso for work (either employment or self-employment work).

If you have a Permesso di Soggiorno and there is a Decreto Flussi for conversion that year, you can apply. However, should you go for the employment permesso, you must show the availability of an employer who is willing to hire you and has adequate financial means to pay you the minimum salary set by the Italian labour law for that specific job.

The process takes two subsequent and distinct procedures – the first one before the competent “Immigration Desk” (Sportello Unico Immigrazione). The second one – which should be activated upon positively completing the first one (that is to say, after getting the preliminary authorization or “nulla osta” from Sportello Unico Immigrazione) takes place before the immigration office of Questura through the sending of the “postal kit”.

A particularly tricky requirement to show in order to obtain the preliminary authorization from Sportello Unico is the lodging requirement, as the Italian authorities not only ask for the availability of a house, but also for a certificate issued by the competent town hall office, stating that the house in question is eligible according to the Italian health code. This often results in a long, costly and unpredictable sub-procedure. Additionally, some landlords might not permit you to apply for a house certificate on their behalf, most often because they did illegal renovation and do not want to get in trouble with local police.

The Student Visa:

The student visa application process is, by far and away, the most straight forward means of obtaining an Italian visa. Potential students apply to their local Italian consulate in their home country for a student visa that applies to the school and academic program of their choice. Scholastic options range from U.S. university study abroad programs to Italian university degree programs to private institution language courses and even cultural associations. Programs can range from a few weeks to several years. It is not necessary that your studies result in a degree to qualify for a student visa.

All students should consult the Italian education website that lists the approved educational institutions that qualify for the student visa. Most U.S. programs operating in Italy are approved, as are all Italian-state universities. However, some private language schools that offer Italian language courses are not eligible to procure an Italian study visa. Research your program of choice before you pay any deposits on a course.

The basic Italian study visa application is as follows:

–> The student needs a letter of acceptance from their desired institution in Italy that indicates the type of academic program and length of intended study. For students attending a study abroad program through their home university, it is not enough to get a letter from your home institution. You will need a letter from the exact Italian institution you are attending.

–> The student must meet the needs of financial burden dictated by each Italian consulate. Students need to check the rules of their consulate. BE AWARE THAT YOU CAN ONLY APPLY TO THE ITALIAN CONSULATE BASED ON WHERE YOU ARE A RESIDENT. Some financial requirements oblige the students to show proof of having their own bank account and credit card with liquid cash available at a minimum of $6000. Sometimes a parental letter of financial support can be submitted in lieu of a student’s personal financials.

–> The student must show proof of health insurance. Most often the student needs to show that their insurance specifically provides financial coverage for medical expenses in Italy. Since the majority of private health insurance companies outside the EU don’t explicitly state their coverage for medical emergencies in Europe, students most often elect to purchase private travel insurance that covers the length of their academic program. BE AWARE THAT ITALIAN STATE MEDICAL INSURANCE CAN BE PURCHASED UPON ARRIVAL BUT THE ITALIAN CONSULATE WILL DEMAND TO SEE PROOF OF PERSONAL MEDICAL INSURANCE BEFORE YOU ARE ISSUED THE VISA.

–> The student must demonstrate the availability of accommodation in Italy, whether through the school or university that provides the course, or through a private residence in Italy.

–> In relation to the countries whose citizens can enter Italy for 90 days without requesting a tourist visa (for example: Americans, Australians, Canadians and many South American countries), the student visa will have to be converted into a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) only if the stay in Italy lasts more than 90 days.

–> The student must submit the standard Italian student visa application. Some applications are required to be notarised.

–> The student must submit one passport-sized photo
–> The student must submit a copy of their driver’s license and school ID
–> The student must submit a copy of their passport
–> The student must have a valid passport that extends at least 6 months beyond the end date of the study program.

Once the student has all this paperwork (and again, consult with your consulate to be sure you have all the required documents as each Italian consulate has their own stipulations) then you need to bring the original AND A COPY of each of these documents to their scheduled visa appointment.

Most Italian consulates do not allow walk-in appointments so check their schedule for available appointment times. Usually, appointments must be booked a month to two months in advance. Some universities will facilitate the visa process for the student but any student applying to an Italian school independently will need to go to the consulate and submit the paperwork on their own.

Once you have the visa, within the first 8 days of your arrival into Italy you will need to file a Kit Permesso di Soggiorno. This is a mandatory step in the foreigner registration process that ALL VISA HOLDERS will need to do.

Permesso Di Soggiorno:

he Permesso di Soggiorno is your foreigner registration card and literally translates to “Permit to Stay”. You have to follow a lengthy process to apply for the card and usually it takes 3 to 6 months to get.

No matter what visa (student, working, or otherwise) you have, you MUST apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno. The first step requires you to fill-out and submit the Kit Permesso di Soggiorno. The kit is actually a packet with two forms inside (each are 5-10 page packet forms) that require the visa holder to indicate all their personal information and reasons for staying in Italy. Once these forms have been filled-out, the visa holder takes the kit, along with copies of all their documents (all the documents you had to submit to the consulate to obtain your visa) and goes to the post office to pay the required fees. The post office, oddly enough, is where a lot of submission of government documents takes place, in addition to the traditional mailing of letters and packages, as well as paying for a swath of bills (including state or municipal issued fines) and receiving government-issued financial sums (like your pension). Thus the post office is always a busy, busy, BUSY place. Therefore go early, be prepared to wait, and bring cash or a debit car to pay as the Poste Italiane does not accept foreign checks or credit cards.

But back to the permesso. In addition to the forms you have to fill-out and the copy of all your documents, you need to get a MARCA DA BOLLO from a Tabaccheria. The Marca da bollo is a sticker and costs €16. Bring that to the post office. Then, at the post office, the postal worker will review your packet, along with your passport, and all your information will be sent to the Questura (immigration office). You will need to pay between €40 and €100 (depending on the length of time/type of your visa) just for permesso kit processing. This payment is made on a long rectangular piece of paper, called a bolletino. It is included in your permesso kit. Lastly, you have to pay €30 for an ASSICURATA which is another payment to the Italian government.

So, to recap, you need to pay:

1.) €40-€100 for the permesso kit processing (this fee goes to the Italian State)
* €40 for residence permits for more than 3 months, up to one year;
* €50 for residence permits of more than one year, up to two years;
* €100 for long-term EU residence permits and for those reserved for specialized workers and executives

2.) €16 for the Marca da Bollo sticker (which you buy at a Tabbacheria and then the postal worker puts on the front of your permesso packet)

3.) €30 for the Assicurata Postale (a payment to the immigration office)

4.) €30.46 for printing the electronic permesso di soggiorno

Once you have filled out all this paperwork and paid the required fees, you will be given several documents back. The first is a receipt of your Assicurata. The second is a receipt of your bolletino. The final is an appointment for when you need to go to the Questura and be finger-printed. DO NOT LOOSE ANY OF THESE PIECES OF PAPER. You will need all three when you go to the questura.


How to get a permesso di soggiorno in Italy

Moving from and to Italy: Useful Advice from Field Experts

by Skaiste Kristina Rucyte


This article stems from the need to offer some clear advices so that a citizen residing abroad may face a removal from and to Italy in an organized way and stress-free.

We want to emphasize that a removal may represent a significant source of stress. Among the various causes that favor said stress, moving to another country, a different social environment and the relationships connected to it certainly play a decisive role. Moreover, a new job and the need to start from scratch in a completely different productive context certainly doesn’t help. Besides, in this kind of situation, one may have to tackle with problems simply linked to their removal, such as damages to furniture, items, delays in the delivery of the goods, the family left at the mercy of the events, etc.

The first advice that I would like to give you, therefore, is to choose a specialist. “A removal is a serious thing”; there are many variables at stake; it’s not just a matter of moving the goods from point A to point B, it involves actually the movement of people’s lives. You must therefore choose the right moving company.

Removals to Italy for foreign citizens

Documents and taxes for a removal to Italy

First of all, we may consider that a foreign citizen comes to Italy either for work or on vacation.

If he/she comes to Italy for work he/she will certainly need to:

  • Register at the Italian Immigration Office;
  • Obtain the Italian fiscal code card [tax code card]: a document that serves to identify unambiguously individuals residing in Italy irrespective of residency status;
  • Starting the procedure for enrolment in the city’s population register;
  • Self-certification (usually issued by the company handling the removal on behalf of the person concerned).

Furthermore, in order to obtain a Franchigia [extraordinary exemption of part of the payment] from the Italian Customs Office, it is necessary to have a fiscal code card (as mentioned above) and have filed an application for a residence permit with the local authorities at the city of destination.

On the contrary, if you intend to come to Italy on vacation or, in any case, to carry with you some goods without staying or working in Italy, the following payments must be made:

  • Customs fees: 22% of VAT (immediately);
  • Customs duties varying between 5 and 12%.

If, after reading the above requirements, you got the goosebumps, I can clearly say that you don’t have to worry, during your international removal you will not be left alone. With the support of the right partner, you will be advised and guided during all the phases of the removal, without any stress whatsoever, promise!!

What company should you choose?


Assuming that you are an American citizen (or a citizen of any other country) and want to move to Italy, you have two possibilities:

  • You can either contact a local company;
  • Or you can contact a company in the destination country.

Our advice is to make a choice only when you have all the information on the company and, based on such information, said company appears to be trustworthy.

For example: we, at Bliss Moving & Logistics, carried out many removal services for persons who contacted us directly from the origin country. Whether they are new or old customers, we know how to find the best solution for their removal. How?

  • Clarity in communication and assistance during the entire removal;
  • Worldwide qualified and specialized partners who handle the service (at origin or destination) on our behalf;
  • Qualifications and high performance standards;
  • Exclusive ancillary services.

Now, if you want to be sure that you have chosen the right partner for your removal, all you have to do is follow our advice and pinpoint the above characteristics.

Are my personal belongings safe?

Choosing the right removal company means also understanding the percentage of accidents that occurred during the last working year in the services it handled. Does it make any sense to choose a company with a percentage equal to or higher than 10%? I really don’t think so. Moreover, I must say that it is not necessary to pay attention only to this aspect, as the ideal thing would be to add to the removal contract an insurance policy which may reassure you on the integrity of your belongings during the shipment.

For example, Bliss Moving & Logistics has an accident percentage equal to 3% and we offer our customers, as an ancillary service, something that is much more than a mere insurance policy à the Bliss Protection Plan, an insurance plan with “all risks covered” through an ad hoc insurance policy entered into with the world leading insurance company as regards the transportation sector: London Lloyds. Plus other exclusive services.

Removals from Italy to other foreign countries

The above also applies to the different aspects of removals from Italy to other foreign countries:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • What are you taking with you?

Once the above two points have been pinpointed, you can contact the moving company and together you will find the right solution for the type of shipment and related documents!

What if I have a Pet?

I don’t think that in the year 2017 making an animal travel from one continent to another represents a problem. Of course, at first, this may seem quite “strange” or apparently dangerous. It is absolutely not so! Various authoritative statistics confirm that animals travelling by air are highly protected, in that they have a cabin dedicated exclusively to them with very high comfort! There are quite a few companies that can help you with the shipment of your furry friend. Bliss Pet Services is part of the Bliss Corporation group. It is a leading company specialized in the shipment of animals throughout the world, with a highly qualified, multilingual and certified staff and international partners, in order to guarantee an excellent origin and destination service and 5 offices in Europe:

  • Italy;
  • Germany;
  • Spain;
  • Portugal;
  • Switzerland.

Well, now, both you and your four-legged friend can sleep soundly!

Rome Day Trip - Villa Oplontis

Picture it - an outdoor pool the size of a football field.  Indoor and outdoor kitchens for those hot days sweltering under the southern Italian sun.  Open waterfront views from your luxurious bedroom, as you are lulled to sleep by a gentle breeze across the Bay of Naples.  All this as the sleeping giant, Vesuvius, looms on the horizon.  You think I’m talking about ancient Pompeii or Herculaneum?  Close but no cigar miei amici.  I’m talking about Villa Oplontis, one of the largest villas in the ancient world and just a train stop away for the perfect day trip outside Rome.

Rome day trip Villa Oplontis

I first discovered Villa Oplontis on my daily commute between Sorrento and Naples.  I asked my local friends about it who all answered with that charming shrug of the shoulders in a display of friendly ignorance.  Now that I know better, it’s probably because Oplontis is situated in Torre Annunziata, a Camorra stronghold and not the safest stop on the glued-together Circumvesuviana train line.

Archaeologists believe Oplonti was the summer villa of Poppoea Sabina the Younger (her Mom being the Elder), Nero’s second and notorious wife.  She was truly a local girl from Pompeii made good.  She had been married twice before getting pregnant by Nero who divorced his then wife and married Sabina.  Oh, for a juicy ancient soap opera!  The year he married her, 62 AD, it’s believed the then 160 year old structure underwent a major overhaul caused by a massive earthquake.

Villa Oplontis outside RomeSabina went crazy decorating.  She loved zebra stripes, I mean truly obsessed over them.  They decorate every hallway.  She was ahead of her day for sure.  The baby’s nursery, adjacent to her waterfront boudoir, was lovingly decorated in Pompeiana red with flying dinosaurs on the walls.  It makes you realize that ancient paleontologists did study fossils.  You see all you can learn on a day trip outside of Rome?  The nursery even had a rudimentary, yet acoustically groundbreaking intercom system.  It allowed Sabina to hear the baby from distant corners of the massive structure.  Ancient Roman architecture at its finest and built to outlast earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and still receiving visitors more than 2,000 years later.

The site is much better preserved than the crumbling facades at Pompei.  There are Italian guides who barely speak English except to tell you the cost of a tour, but you get the gist.  I enjoyed a one-on-one with my guide.  He showed me the indoor ovens, the sacrificial altar, la dispensa full of amphora for olive oil, extra virgin, of course, and so much more.  All of it frozen in time on August 25, 79 A.D., some 14 years after its mistress was allegedly kicked in the stomach while pregnant and killed by Nero himself.  Scandal, drama, luxury living with a view of Capri.  What more could you ask for?

Torre Annunziata is not the safest neighborhood for blinged-out, American sneaker-wearing tourists but if you have enough street sense to travel safe, Villa Oplontis is so worth the visit and a perfect day trip from Rome.

ON ARRIVAL FROM NAPLES:  Step off the train and immediately out of the station turn left.  Walk to the end of the short street and turn right.  Villa Oplontis is about a 10 minute walk, straight ahead on your left.  There are signs posted along the route but as with anything, they are sadly subject to graffiti and theft.

Attorney Lisa Fantino


Lisa Fantino is a US-based author and chief cook, bottle washer and travel concierge at Wanderlust Women Travel, specializing in bespoke journeys and honeymoons to Italy.  Her travel memoir, “Amalfi Blue - lost & found in the south of Italy,” has been on Kindle’s Top 10 list in three countries.

Cross Border Estate Planning in Italy

What to do When Inheriting Property in Italy!

Expats living la dolce vita may happen upon distant relatives in Italy or make new friends who want to leave them property when they die.  Hey, it could happen.  So, what do you do when you inherit an apartment in Rome or a villa on the Amalfi Coast?  Transferring title is not as easy as you may think and it's essential to be aware of international law and have a cross border estate plan.

In the United States, people may leave or not leave their property to whomever they choose under the terms of their will.  (Yet, you can't disinherit your spouse, but that’s fodder for another discussion.) That’s not the same in Italy.

In Italy, spouses, children and sometimes ascendants such as parents, aunts and uncles, inherit automatically under the law of “forced heirship.”  They can even “claw back” gifts to get their rightful share returned.  It’s an ancient premise that basically keeps real property in the same family for generations no matter what someone declares in their will.  So, if Mamma, Nonno or Zio Vincenzo dies and leaves you property in Tuscany, the first thing you should do is seek legal counsel at home and in Italy to make sure that your rights will be protected.

In the United States, the process of administering a will through court is called probate and is only handled by attorneys admitted to practice in the states, unless you act pro se or on your own behalf. In Italy, the process is called succession and is generally not handled by attorneys.  That’s where problems can occur if the heirs are in different countries and may not be Italian citizens.

US-based attorneys working with an Italian firm specializing in cross border estate planning can help navigate the complex minefield of notaios who rule the property transfer process in il bel paese.  You’ll need to provide documents to further the succession in Italy including affidavits, death certificates, powers of attorney, among others. That sounds easy enough but unless the American documents are drafted appropriately, they will be rejected outright in Italy, often by local processors who have no experience with international estate law.

Further, drafting correctly is only half of the process. Under the Hague Convention, in order for the American documents to be recognized by a court in Italy, they must be notarized and apostilled by the US State Department, through a local Embassy, or with an individual Secretary of State and their deputies. That is supposed to provide assurance to foreign authorities that the documents may be relied on but time and again I have seen them rejected. The problem is that in Italy, non-attorneys process succession and more often than not, they are unfamiliar with international laws and protocols.

Attorney Lisa FantinoWhether it's money, art or property at stake in Italy, it's best to retain attorneys on both sides of the Atlantic rather than lose your rightful inheritance in Italy.  There’s a lot more to it and I hope to meet many of you this fall in an AICR presentation with my colleague, Avv. Nick Metta, from Studio Legale Metta in Rome.

Lisa Fantino, is a US-based attorney with a cross border practice, admitted in New York and Connecticut.  As traveler-in-chief, Lisa's company, Wanderlust Women Travel, specializes in bespoke honeymoons in Italy and she is the author of the best-selling travel memoir, "Amalfi Blue: lost & found in the south of Italy."


Top 10 Considerations for International Buyers


This blog post was created using the works of Carolyn Delli Santi.

1. Objectives
Clarify and find the primary objectives in order to filter and narrow down options.

2. Intended use
Discover how often the property will be visited to understand the intended use of the property.

3. Location
“All real estate is local” applies, if not more, to other countries. Be sure to establish connections with people who can offer valuable assistance such as attorneys, notaries, inspectors, and local real estate agents.

4. Property Type
Know what the buyer wants. Newer homes typically have less charm and character, come with higher price tags, and potentially include taxes. Offer buyers a distinct set of trade-offs, especially for landlords.

5. Rental Potential
To determine whether a residence will meet an owner’s minimal rent income goals be sure to capture all related property ownership/rental expenses, including agent fees, taxes, insurance, and housekeeping services. Above all, make sure local laws permit owners to accept rentals and that the property is conveniently located in an attractive tourist area.

6. Legal Factors
Language barriers will often arise and can become a serious problem in legal documents. Before signing ANY documents, buyers may wish to translate all written documents using a translator. To attract buyers, sellers may be willing to conduct transactions in the buyers preferred language. Also consider if the contract includes related financial obligations (such as condominium/community fees), restricting local laws, and any restrictions on using the property for rental income. Buyers should review local laws to confirm that legal documents in a non-local language are legally binding.

7. Purchasing Costs
Numerous expenses will be added to the purchase price, such as attorneys, inspectors, appraisers and financial/tax professionals. Closing costs vary by country but can sometimes include sales/transfer taxes and title/notary services. If the purchase is financed, mortgage origination expenses will be added to the closing costs.

8. Continuing Expenses
If a property is financed, monthly mortgage payments will likely by an owner’s largest expense. Other factors are utilities, condominium/community fees, taxes, insurance, security, maintenance and travel. Important notes about utilities are that not all utilities that are available back home are automatically available abroad.

9. Costs to Sell (or Inherit)
Before entering into a purchase, buyers should have a solid understanding of their exit options and created expenses.

Questions to consider:
-When this property is sold can the proceeds be freely moved out of the country without taxation?
-What are the tax implications of repatriating an investment back to the home country?
-If a property moves into an estate, how will ownership and taxation be treated amount the heirs?
-Will inheritance/transfer taxes be avoided by including heirs on the deed?

Carolyn Delli Santi encourages planning ahead and seeking expert advice on the most effective way to handle such matters before signing a sales contract. Laws are always subject to change, making it essential to have a reliable source to guide the buyer through their term of ownership.

10. Other Factors
Currency fluctuations
Will cross border transactions always involve an element of current risk that can enhance or detract from an owner’s related income and expenses?
Are there convenient and economic options between major transportation hubs?
Medical facilities
Young buyers should keep this in mind if their long-term goals include retirement.
Emergencies can happen at any age
Does the country welcome and encourage foreign investment?
Are social services available to foreigners?
Do property owners gain special visa or residency status?
Is the overall political climate stable?

Carolyn Delli Santi is an AICR member and a licensed Real Estate Agent in both Italy and the United States. If you would like to reach Carolyn, you may contact her at +39 393 6460187.