Immigrate to Italy

immigration to italy updates

This guide will give you an overview of what immigrating to Italy entails.

  1. Immigrants in Italy
  2. What are the immigration laws in Italy?
  3. The residence permit
  4. Regulatory framework
  5. Get a quotation
  6. Book a call

1. Immigrants in Italy

According to Istat, the Italian National Institute of Statistics, at the beginning of 2021 foreign nationals made up 8,7% of the population in Italy. The majority of them lived in the centre-north of the country. The four regions with the highest number of foreign nationals in descending order are Emilia-Romagna, Lombardia, Toscana, and Lazio.

1.1. Is Italy hard to immigrate to?

In order to assess the complexity of an immigration case to Italy, it is important to take into account the different procedures in place for EU and non-EU citizens.
The most important feature of the Schengen area is that it is border-free, enabling anyone that is legally present in the EU to freely move. Most EU countries are part of Schengen. The latest state to join the agreement was Croatia on the 1st of January 2023. Furthermore, there are also non-EU countries that are part of the convention, such as Norway and Switzerland.
Some countries that are not part of the Schengen area have signed visa waiver agreements with Italy to allow their citizens to enter the country without a visa if the purpose of the trip falls within certain categories. You can check whether you qualify to enter Italy without a visa based on your nationality and the purpose of your visit here.

The travellers that do not fall within the two categories listed above will need a visa to enter Italy, making the immigration process more complex. Different Consulates request different documents for the obtainment of different visas. So, it is difficult not only to give a timeline for the obtainment of a visa, but also for the obtainment of the necessary documents without first knowing the specific situation of each immigrant.

2. What are the immigration laws in Italy?

The most important aspects to consider when immigrating to Italy are whether a visa is necessary, for how long it is possible to stay, whether the quota is relevant to an immigrant’s specific situation, and the residence permit obtainment procedure.

2.1. Who does not need a visa?

Citizens of Schengen countries can come to Italy without a visa.
Furthermore, non-EU citizens who are nationals of countries that signed visa waiver agreements can stay in Italy without a visa for 90 days in a timeframe of 180 days.

2.2. What happens if you stay in Italy for more than 90 days?

Overstaying entails being expelled from the country. However, the article 19 of the Legislative Decree of the 25th of July 1998 n°286 establishes that the following groups of people can’t be expelled from Italy even after the 90 days period ends:

  • Foreign nationals under the age of 18
  • Foreign citizens who have obtained the residence permit
  • Foreign nationals who cohabitate with relatives within the second degree of kinship or with the Italian spouse
  • Pregnant women or women who have given birth within the last 6 months.


2.3. Who does need a visa?

Non-EU citizens who aren’t nationals of countries that signed visa waiver agreements need a visa to enter Italy.
It is possible to obtain both short-term and long-term visas for Italy, depending on the necessity of the immigrant.

2.4. How many immigrants does Italy accept each year?

The yearly quota for non-EU nationals allowed to enter the country to work is established by the Italian Government through the Flow decree (Decreto flussi). Furthermore, the decree also establishes the maximum number of residence permits that had been granted for the purpose of studying that can be converted into residence permits for the purpose of working.

Residence permits for the purpose of working can be obtained for different types of work. In the decree there is also a quota for the conversion of residence permits for the purpose of working as a seasonal employee into one for non-seasonal employees.

Find out further information about the quota of the Flow decree for 2023  and how it is subdivided.

3. The residence permit

In Italy the residence permit is a document issued to non-EU citizens that have the necessary requisites (authorization and/or visa), and who intend to stay in the country for longer than 90 days. It is necessary to apply for the residence permit within 8 days of arrival in Italy, and the permit is usually obtained in 3-6 months.
In Italy there are different types of residence permits based on the purpose of the stay in the country. For instance, there are permits for non-EU nationals that are in Italy to work, study, etc.

3.1. How can I get the residency in Italy?

In Italy both EU and non-EU citizens must obtain the residency registration if they intend to stay permanently in the country. They can apply for it if they have obtained a residence permit valid for more than 3 months, and if they have found long term housing.

For EU citizens obtaining the residency registration means acquiring a stay permit that will allow them to legally stay in Italy.

It is possible to apply for the residency registration online, and the documents that have to be attached to the application vary based on different factors, such as the applicant’s nationality and work status.
It is possible to request simultaneously the residency registration for a main applicant along with dependant family members. In this case it is necessary to attach to the application certificates that can prove the family relations.

3.2. How long does it take to have the residency registered in Italy?

After the submission of the application, the applicant receives a “Comunicazione di avvio del procedimento anagrafico” which is the confirmation that the registration process has correctly begun.

Therefore, in order to finalised the application, within 45 days of the receipt of the confirmation the police will go to the address written in the application to check that the applicant really lives there. Once the check is successfully carried out, the residency registration is complete.

Regulatory Framework

Legislative Decree of the 25th of July 1998, n°286

Reference (Italian only)

Schengen acquis, Article 1(2) of Council Decision 1999/435/EC of the 20th of May 1999


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