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VISAS

What type of visa will you need to move to Italy?

If you're planning to move to Italy from outside the European Union, the first step is getting a visa. But which one will you need? Here's a look at the different visa types available to help you get started.

What type of visa will you need to move to Italy?
The view from Rome's Capitoline Hill. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Non-EU citizens planning to stay in Italy for more than three months will need a visa (visto). And the type you’ll need to apply for depends on the reason you want to live in Italy.

If you’re a citizen of a country covered by European Union freedom of movement rules, visa requirements do not apply but you will need an Italian residence permit for stays longer than 90 days.

READ ALSO: ‘Do your homework’: An American’s guide to moving to Italy

For everyone else, this article looks at Italy’s long stay visas, also known as the ‘Type D’ or ‘D-Visa’. This is the type of visa you’ll need to get if you want to stay in Italy longer than 90 days – eg. when moving here for study, work, family reasons, or retirement.

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. 

With that said, here’s a look at the most commonly-used types of Italian long-stay visas:

For employees: work visa

If you’re a citizen of another EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you don’t need a permit to work in Italy.

If you’re from another country, you will need a work visa. You will also need to check the requirements according to the type of work you intend to do, as Italy uses a quota system for visas for lots of occupations.

Italy is planning to introduce a special ‘digital nomad’ visa for remote workers, which would operate outside the quota system. It’s not in place yet but here’s everything we know about it so far.

You must find a job before applying for the visa. The good news is that your employer will then complete most of the visa application process for you. All you need to do is provide them with the relevant paperwork.

Your employer will apply for permission to hire a migrant worker from the immigration desk at their local Prefettura (prefecture, the regional office of the central government). They will then be given your authorization to work. The Prefettura will inform the Italian consulate or embassy in your home country that your application can go ahead.

Your local embassy will provide you with an entry visa, which should take less than 30 days. You’ll have six months from the date of authorization to visit your local Italian embassy and collect your visa.

READ ALSO: ‘The job can come as a shock’: What it’s really like working as an English teacher in Italy

Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

For students: student visa

Non-EU students are required to obtain a student visa prior entering Italy.

There are two types of student visas in Italy, depending on the duration of the study program:

  • Type C: Short-stay visa or travel visa (for a period not exceeding 90 days).
  • Type D: Long-stay visa (for more than 90 days).

When applying you should provide a letter of acceptance to your course in Italy, as well as proof of accommodation, sufficient financial means and health insurance.

READ ALSO: Five things to know before you apply for an Italian student visa

For people with relatives in Italy: family visa

There is a visa available for dependents of an Italian citizen, or a non-EU citizen with an Italian permit of stay. This allows entrance in Italy to their spouse, children or dependent parents.

You will need to provide evidence of your relationship with the person whose dependent you will be, for instance marriage or birth certificates.

For entrepreneurs, artists and qualified professionals: self-employed visa

Foreign citizens can also apply for a visa in order to start a company in Italy, to work as a qualified, self-employed professional (for instance an accountant or translator) or as a professional artisan, artist or athlete, or to take a corporate managerial role.

Applicants must demonstrate that they have the equivalent qualifications and meet the same conditions required of Italians doing the same activity.

Photo: Andreas Solaro

For people with money: investor visa

Italy offers a “golden visa” for those planning to invest in strategic assets in Italy. Both non-EU citizens and people from within the Schengen zone can apply.

In exchange for a minimum investment of €500,000 to €2 million in certain companies, charities or government bonds, the visa entitles you two years’ residency, renewable for further three-year periods, and special tax benefits. Investors’ families are eligible to apply for dependent visas.

Read more about applying for the investor visa here.

For retirees: elective residency visa

This lesser-known type of visa is designed for those who want to live in Italy and have the financial means to support themselves without working. It is often referred to as a retirement visa.

The Italian Consulate of San Francisco describes it as being for people who “wish to reside permanently in Italy and who can demonstrate a stable and ample pension income and high financial resources”.

READ ALSO: ‘What I wish I’d known’: An American’s advice on getting residency in Italy

It is not for extended vacations or sabbaticals. Nor is it for anyone who wants to work in Italy – even freelance or remotely – or who does not have the means to support themselves without a job.

But if you’re an independent retiree looking to move to Italy, it might just be for you. Find out more about applying for the elective residency visa here.

For young people: working holiday visa

Italy also has a a type of visa available only to people aged 18-30 from certain countries under a working holiday program.

Currently, Italy has Working Holiday Visa agreements with the following countries and the requirements vary for each:

Young people aged 18-30 from the above-mentioned countries can apply for this visa, which allows them to live and work in Italy for up to a year.

Note:

Whichever type of visa you need, you should apply for it at the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country before you leave. Bear in mind that the process can take a while – it’s best to ask your embassy for an idea of the required timeframe and then start as early as you can.

And remember that your visa isn’t the only permission you’ll need if you want to live in Italy. 

After you enter Italy with a long-stay visa, you have 8 days to apply for a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno). The length of time this document will remain valid depends on the type of visa you have.

Find out more about the process of applying for a residency permit once you arrive in Italy here.

Please note that The Local is unable to advise on specific cases. For more information about visa applications, see the Italian Foreign Ministry’s visa website, or contact your embassy or local Questura in Italy

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For members

MILAN

Why do Milan residents get a day off on December 7th?

If you live in Milan, you may get an extra day off work on December 7th. Here's what the city is celebrating and how.

Why do Milan residents get a day off on December 7th?

December 7th is a public holiday in Milan as residents commemorate their beloved patron saint, St Ambrose. 

The annual Festa di Sant’Ambrogio, which happens to fall on a Wednesday this year, is one of the city’s most anticipated recurrences, giving residents an opportunity to catch up with family and friends and unofficially marking the start of the festive season in the northern metropolis.

READ ALSO: The Italian holiday calendar for 2023

As in the case of other local public holidays across the country (Saints Peter and Paul in Rome, St Mark in Venice, St Orontius in Lecce, etc.), children will be home from school and most employees will be given the day off – by law, those who are asked to work on the day must be paid above their regular hourly rate. 

So why do locals celebrate Saint Ambrose, who lived and died in the northern city in the second half of the 4th century AD?

Ambrose served as Bishop of Milan from 374 AD to 397 AD, but it could be argued that his influence on the city went far beyond that of an ordinary clergyman. 

Chritsmas tree in MIlan's Piazza Duomo

Milan’s traditional Christmas light displays will be switched on on December 7th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Ambrose was known for the eloquence of his public speeches, his exceptional diplomacy when handling political matters and, above all, his efforts to promote social justice in the city as he regularly urged Milan’s richest citizens to care and provide for the poor. 

Ambrose’s commitment to the betterment of Milanese society is ultimately why he is cherished by thousands of residents to this day, with local commemorations peaking, of course, on December 7th.

So, how do locals celebrate the day?

Well, the most faithful residents head to the Basilica of St Ambrose, the church named after the saint, for morning mass, with the service being usually held by Milan’s Bishop himself.

After mass, families get together to celebrate in the best way known to Italians: with a big lunch, featuring local delicacies including Milanese-style risotto, mondeghili (meatballs) and rostin negàa (veal cutlets).

The meal usually ends with people enjoying their first seasonal taste of panettone (many more sampling sessions generally follow in the weeks after) or eating some home-made ambrosiani, traditional shortbread biscuits made precisely to celebrate Milan’s patron saint.

After the meal. people tend to go out ad enjoy some of the many things to do in the city on the day. 

Firstly, locals will have a chance to visit the Oh Bej! Oh Bej! Market, a fair thought to date back to the early 1500s.

READ ALSO: Seven of Italy’s most enchanting Christmas markets in 2022

The market’s stalls, which are meant to open to the public exactly on December 7th, will be set up in front of Milan’s iconic Sforza Castle, selling anything from hand-crafted Christmas decorations and gadgets to local delicacies.

Christmas market in Milan

One of the best things to do in Milan on December 7th is to visit one of the city’s traditional Christmas markets. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Those who are not so fond of traditional markets might instead head to Piazza Duomo in central Milan to attend the Christmas lights switch-on event.

This year, the traditional light displays will be turned on at 5pm and will be followed by a party organised by cosmetics company VeraLab.

Finally, the premiere of the famous La Scala opera house will also take place on December 7th. While tickets to the event are no longer available, the musical performance – ‘Boris Godunov’ played by an orchestra under director Riccardo Chailly – will be aired live in several locations across the city.

A valuable reminder: Thursday, December 8th, the day following the Festa di Sant’Ambrogio, is a national public holiday, so you shouldn’t be too worried about staying up till late on Wednesday. 

READ ALSO: Why is Italy’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception a public holiday? 

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