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The Italian Residence Permit

Find out about all the different types of Italian Residence Permits available for non-EU citizens, both to work or live in Italy.

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The Italian law provides for different types of residence permits for non-EU citizens. They are described in the Legislative Decree No. 286 of 1998 (Consolidated Immigration Act) and in the Presidential decree No. 394 of 1999.

What is an Italian residence permit?

The Italian residence permit is a document that allows non-EU citizens to legally stay in Italy. The competent Italian Immigration Office will issue it  to those wishing to remain in Italy for more than 90 days.

Do I need a Visa to apply for the Italian Residence Permit?

Yes. Said applicants first need a visa to enter Italy. There are several types of Visa to apply for, based on the reason to enter Italy.

Have a look here at our full list of Italian Visas available for non-EU citizens.

For long period stays (over 90 days), non-EU citizens are required to register their presence within 8 days after entering Italy at the competent Immigration Office and to apply for a residence permit.

Permit of Stay in Italy: How long will it be valid?

The validity of the Italian residence permit is the same as that indicated on the visa and it may be renewed.

Do I need a Residence Permit if I stay in Italy for less than 3 months?

Non-EU citizens who wish to stay in Italy for less than 3 months for study, tourism, or business reasons, will have to submit a declaration of presence to the competent Questura (Police headquarters) within 8 days after entering Italy.

For stays under 3 months, non-EU citizens are not required to apply for a residence permit.

Here you can find the declaration of presence form and a list of all the Questure in Italy.

Do EU citizens need a Residence Permit to stay in Italy?

EU citizens who want to enter Italy just need to show their identity card, thus they do not need to apply for a residence permit.

Residence Permits to work in Italy

The residence permits available for non-EU workers who want to work in Italy are:

For subordinate workers

The Immigration Office issues it to the worker who signed a work contract in Italy and who entered the country on a work permit authorization issued by the local authorities (nulla osta al lavoro).

The validity of the residence permit lasts for the duration of the work contract.

In any case, it does not last more than one year for fixed-term contracts and more than two years for permanent contracts. However, it is always possible to renew it.

For self-employed workers

The Immigration Office issues it to the foreign worker who wants to work in Italy as self-employed. However, it is subject to the number of work permits Italy issues every year according to the so-called decreto flussi (the foreign workers’ quota), with few exceptions.

For seasonal workers

The Immigration Office issues it to the worker who signed a seasonal working contract in Italy and who enters the country on a work permit authorization issued by the local authorities (nulla osta al lavoro).

This permit does not last less than 20 days and may not last more than 9 months.

However, seasonal workers who can demonstrate coming to Italy to work for at least 2 years in a row, can ask the Immigration Office for a multiannual seasonal work permit.

For study

This residence permit for study reasons allows the holder to work as a subordinate worker for an annual limit of 1040 hours.

If the student receives a work offer, the permit can also be converted into a work permit. The same applies for former student permit holders, who have completed their course. 

For natural disasters

If a natural disaster that does not allow a safe return and stay hits the country where the foreigner has to return, the Immigration Office may release a residence permit for natural disasters. The permit is valid for 6 months and may be renewed if the conditions of disasters continue.

For family reasons

They will issue this type of residence permit to the spouse, disabled children and dependent parents (over 65 years old) of the foreign citizen who already holds a national visa or residence permit.

Find out more with our full guide about the family reunion visa.

For fostering

The residence permit for fostering allows the foreign minor to work in all the cases provided for by the Italian law, given that he/she completes the compulsory school attendance up to 16 years old. When turning 18, the minor may ask for the conversion of the permit into a working or study permit.

For temporary humanitarian protection or political asylum or international protection

These types of residence permits are issued for specific purposes and, more in general, they allow working activities, which are subject to certain rules and conditions.

For example, people who are recipients of temporary humanitarian protection, as in the case of the Ukranian citizens,  may be issued a residence permit for humanitarian reasons which generally lasts 6 months and, upon expiration, can be renewed for further 6 months.

Asylum seekers may start working 60 days after the request for international protection.

The residence permit may also be issued by the Immigration Office to people having the “refugee status” or who need international protection.

Residence permits that do not allow any working activity

The ones mentioned in Section n.2 are all residence permits that allow non-EU citizens to carry out working activities.

It is important to keep in mind that there are also certain categories of Italian Residence Permits that do not allow any work activity.

Italy does not allow working activities for non-EU citizens holding certain types of residence permits for:

  • Medical treatments;
  • Religious reasons;
  • Tourism;
  • Elective residency;
  • Internship permits.

Please also note that the declaration of presence mentioned in 1.3. (issued in case of short stays) does not allow any working activity.

How to get the residence permit in Italy

Non-EU citizens arriving in Italy for the first time have 8 working days from their entry into the territory of the State to apply for a residence permit, which they must request from the Questore of the province in which the foreigner intends to stay, in certain cases, also through the authorized post offices.

The duration of the residence permit is as stipulated by the entry visa. The electronic residence permit is issued and renewed, on average, in 60 days from the date of application.

Please note that residence permits must be renovated at the competent Questura every 10 years, according to the expiry date of the document.

To obtain the residence permit, it is necessary to submit:

  • The application form;
  • A valid passport, or other equivalent travel document, with the relevant entry visa, if required;
  • A photocopy of the document itself;
  • 4 passport-size photos, identical and recent;
  • The necessary documentation for the type of residence permit required
  •  A 16.00 euro revenue stamp.

Please note that Non-EU family members, accompanying  or joining the EU citizen, are allowed to apply for a residence permit as family members of a European Union citizen.

For families, INPS has recently established that also extra-UE citizens in possession of a residence permit for working or research purposes with a validity of more than six months are entitled to receive the childbirth allowance.

If you are interested in applying for an Italian residence permit, Studio A&P can offer you full support. For more information, check out our Immigration services to Italy

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Regulatory Framework

Legislative Decree No. 286 of 1998 (Consolidated Immigration Act)

Reference (Italian only)

Presidential decree No. 394 of 1999

Reference (Italian only)

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