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Moving to Italy For Members

Italian residency: Who needs to apply for a permesso di soggiorno?

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Italian residency: Who needs to apply for a permesso di soggiorno?
TheItalian flag flies over the Quirinale, the Italian presidential palace. File photo: AFP

Applying for residency in Italy doesn't have to be too painful - but you will need to prepare yourself.

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If you’re visiting Italy regularly for a couple of weeks here and there, it's not necessary to apply for residency.

But if you're planning to stay for longer than three months in total, you will need to register with the Italian authorities.

Some people need to undergo the process of applying for a permesso di soggiorno (residency permit), with the type depending on your reasons for being in Italy. Others need a more straightforward residency certificate.

Here's a quick breakdown of the rules and what you may need to do.

EU nationals

  • Short-term residency (up to three months)

All citizens of European Union member states plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have the right to live, work and travel in Italy for a period of up to 90 days without registering with the Italian authorities.

Under the EU’s freedom of movement rules, EU nationals do not need an Italian permesso di soggiorno (residency permit). All they need is a valid travel document, such as an identity card or passport.

Those staying less than three months can present a dichiarazione di presenza sul territorio nazionale (declaration of presence in Italy) at a police station if they wish, although this is not obligatory.

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  • Longer-term residency (more than three months)

EU citizens staying longer than three months in Italy are required to register with their local Anagrafe (registry office).

After doing so, they'll be given a certificato di residenza (residence certificate). The name of this document can however vary by comune and is sometimes referred to as an 'attestato'.

READ ALSO: How to register with the anagrafe in Italy

When registering with the anagrafe, you may be asked for evidence of employment, study or training in Italy, or proof that you have sufficient economic means to support yourself and any dependents.

You will also need to supply ID and your personal codice fiscale (Italian tax code).

For EU citizens, obtaining the certificato di residenza is something of a formality. The registration document costs €27.50 plus tax and is normally valid for five years.

  • Permanent right of residence

Under EU law, citizens from European Union member states are eligible to apply for permanent residency after they have lived in Italy for a continuous five-year period.

The application must be submitted before the expiry date of your existing registration document to the Questura (police headquarters) in your place of residence. 

For Brits: post-Brexit residency

British nationals who obtained (or started the application process for) residency by December 31st 2020 have their rights covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

Anyone moving from the UK to Italy and starting the process after that date will now be subject to visa rules, as the end of freedom of movement between the UK and the EU effectively ends any long stays without a visa.

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UK citizens wishing to move to Italy for the first time from 2021 have to apply for a new long-stay visa. The application should be made before they leave for Italy. They would then need to apply to the Italian authorities for permission to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days.

Read more about post-Brexit Italian visas for UK nationals here.

READER QUESTION: Can Brits stay more than 90 days in the EU if they have a European spouse?

Photo: AFP

Non-EU citizens

  • Short-term residency (up to three months)

If you live outside the EU you are not entitled to the same privileges awarded to European Union citizens. However, if you come from Canada, the USA, New Zealand or Australia, you do not need a visa to stay in Italy for up to three months as a tourist.

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Italy (and stay here)

If you plan to stay more than a week in Italy, the law states that you should register with the local Questura (police headquarters) and apply for a permesso di soggiorno per turismo (permit to stay for the purposes of tourism) within eight working days. In practice, however, most short-term visitors do not.

  • Longer-term residency (more than three months)

If you are planning to remain for more than three months, you will need a visa (visto). You should apply for it at the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country, as the process may take a while.

You will need a long-stay or 'type D' visa if you want to stay in Italy longer than 90 days - there are different long-stay visas available depending on your personal circumstances, eg. if you are moving here for study, work, family reasons, or retirement. 

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Remember that a long-stay visa allows you to enter Italy. After that, you will also have to get an Italian residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) in order to be allowed to stay for longer than 90 days. 

Find more information about the most commonly-used types of Italian long-stay visas here.

Photo: DepositPhotos

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Nulla osta

Along with your other documents, several visa applications also require you to provide a nulla osta (certificate of no impediment) to prove your eligibility. Procedures vary, but the application can often be made online.

What to do once you have your visa

When you arrive in Italy, you must follow the same process of registering with the Questura and applying for a permesso di soggiorno.

Different types of residency permit

There are a few different types of permit to stay in Italy, depending whether you’re there for work, study, family reasons or simply leisure (lucky you). The permit must correlate with the intentions of the permit holder and with the conditions of your visa.

Types of permit include:

  • Permesso di soggiorno per studio: for students.
  • Permesso di soggiorno per lavoro: work permit for employees.
  • Permesso di soggiorno per lavoro autonomo/indipendente: for self-employed foreigners.
  • Permesso di soggiorno per per motivi familiari: for the foreign spouse, children or relatives of an Italian citizen or foreigner residing legally in Italy. 

When applying for a residence permit, further documentation may be required such as a declaration from a current or prospective employer, evidence of your enrolment on a programme of study, or details of spouses and dependents in the case of those who intend to stay in Italy for family reasons. 

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The permesso di soggiorno is usually processed in about three to six months, and the duration varies according to the type. The permit must be renewed at least a month in advance of the date of expiry.

READ ALSO: When and how should I renew my Italian residence permit?

Having the permit will give you full access to public healthcare, social assistance and education. 

Applying involves paying around €100-200 in fees and processing charges. You'll need to submit the documents at a post office, go for an interview at the Questura where police will check your documents and take your fingerprints, then finally pick up your permit at your local police station.

NB: Make sure to carry your receipt of application (assicurata) with you while you're waiting for your permesso to arrive, as it serves as proof that you're in Italy legally.

Long-term residency permit

After five years of residence in Italy a non-EU expat can apply for a permesso di soggiorno per soggiornanti di lungo periodo (permission to stay for a long period), which can be renewed less frequently.

Applicants must demonstrate continuous legal residency, as well as taking a language test to demonstrate at least A2 level (elementary) competency in Italian.

For non-EU nationals with long-term residency in another EU country

People from outside the EU who have long-term residency in a different member state still have to apply for a residence permit in Italy, but the process is slightly easier. 

You don't need a visa to enter the country and you'll have up to three months after arriving to submit your application for a permesso di soggiorno. If you have dependents in your country of residence, they'll be able to enter Italy on the same terms as you.

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You can apply for a resident's permit in order to work for an employer or yourself (though be aware that quotas apply), to study, or for another purpose so long as you can demonstrate that you have enough income or savings to support yourself. 

And you're planning on staying less than three months, all you have to do is register at the local police headquarters (called la dichiarazione di presenza, or declaration of presence).

Note: The names of some of the documents listed above may sometimes vary from one Italian region or comune to another.

Please note that The Local is unable to advise on specific cases. For more information, contact your town's Questura or your embassy.

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Comments (7)

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Anonymous 2022/02/04 11:39
If intending to stay longer than 3 months, one has to register within 8 days of arrival in Italy at the questura. Is that the questura in the province where one wants to remain resident, or the questura of 'first arrival' in Italy? I normally arrive in Italy from France by road and at my first hotel stop in Italy they register me (with the local questura, I suppose) and I have read on the various Local commentaries that one could/should ask the hotelier for a copy of that registration.
  • Anonymous 2022/02/06 16:56
    I received a very helpful reply via The Local: The hotel registration made within 8 days of arrival would be for a 'permesso di soggiorno per turismo' (permit to stay for the purposes of tourism), which is only valid for short stays and can't be used for residency purposes. As you are planning to stay for more than three months, you will then also need to register for a longer-term residency document once you arrive in the municipality in which you intend to stay.
Anonymous 2021/11/16 11:37
I really appreciate this article and its attention to detail. I have a question, though: The certificato di residenza an EU citizen applies for at the local Anagrafe if staying for longer than 3 months is the same as "taking residency in Italy" which then entitles one to ASL and requires one to pay taxes on worldwide income of any sort? I'm confused about "residency", how many kinds of "residency" there are, what the tax implications are, and if one must renounce one's other residency, since Italy does not permit dual residencies. A bit complicated! Can The Local recommend consultants we might make appointments with? The internet is driving me insane. Thanks again.
Anonymous 2021/08/30 11:16
We have German visas and plan to retire in Italy when my husband’s job ends. We were told we’d need an Elective Resident visa. This seems to say we can just move to Italy and apply for a residents visa. Is that correct?
michael_608266bfd53c9 2021/05/20 11:12
One area not discussed is for US citizens with a residency permit in another EU member state. I’m currently on a DAFT residency permit in the Netherlands which allows me to spend up to 180 days outside the Netherlands but I cannot change my residency. And I need to maintain a home/apartment in the Netherlands. If I want to spend 5 months in the summer in Italy, from this article it appears I need to apply for a residency permit despite having residency in the Netherlands. Also the need to apply for an Italian residency permit may affect my permit in the Netherlands. It appears that Italy’s requirements may contravene the Netherlands.
  • Anonymous 2021/11/16 11:38
    Michael, an interesting and important set of questions, also relevant to me. Have you made progress? Have you gotten any expert help? I'd love an update. Thank you. Karen
Anonymous 2020/09/30 20:45
To answer Rossi’s question, retirees seem to be covered under the “self-employed” requirements; just show a bank statement from back home showing your ability to be financially independent. A note: We found the Italian consulate in LA to be so inept, uncaring and lazy, we applied for the same thing from the French consulate a couple of blocks away. In and out, same day. Once you arrive in France, go wherever you want in the EU’s 27 countries, with the same privileges. (We arrived in Nice, went to San Remo) This was good for a year, renewable yearly, over there, without coming back. After a year, nobody seemed to pay any mind to us. It’s pretty loose. In answer to another question, a friend of ours stayed continuously without coming back to America, for a number of years; her secret was to plan a short trip every three months to a nearby non-EU location, get her passport stamped leaving and returning, and then the clock supposedly restarted for another 90 days or whatever (Gibraltar was good for six more months, for some reason). She lived like this for a number of years.
Anonymous 2020/09/30 19:16
In addition to the previous comment, it should be noted that for Americans with just a US passport, (and I believe other non EU visitors) it is possible to stay in Italy a maximum of 90 days out of every 180 days (not 90 days per year). So it is possible to stay 180 days per year in Italy as long as it is spit up into two separate visits with a minimum of 90 days in between. I have researched this through the Italian Foreign Ministry and have practiced it myself.
  • Anonymous 2021/05/20 17:34
    This is what I currently do, stay three months in my little village where I own a home and then return to the US for three months before I do it all over again. The tricky part of this process is to count the days from the right date. If I land in Italy on March 20, I can stay three months, but I cannot RETURN to Italy until around September 20. That is six months, 180 days from when I first landed.
Anonymous 2020/09/29 18:21
This is a really good article. It clearly outlines subjects which are always the subject of endless discussion on various expat forums, and other websites (which don't always explain things so well). You ought to consider making it available to non-members, because you might well find that those people will eventually become members in the future - if/when they move to Italy.

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