If you’re planning on moving to Italy, you’re going to need to get a visa. There are plenty of great reasons for living abroad: you might want to learn a foreign language, are considering relocation as part of a career transition, the cost of living in Italy is lower. Whatever your reasons for living abroad, make sure you know about the visas you'll need before you start packing your belongings.
Of course, the visa you get will depend on where you’re from, what you’re doing in Italy, and how long you plan on staying. Like all bureaucracy, this can be a little complicated.
A visa is an official document permitting you to stay in a given country for a defined period of time. They are generally required for foreigners, but certain legislation, such as the Schengen Agreement, may change things.
If this all sounds a little bit complicated, don’t worry! Superprof has all the information an expat will need to get ready for moving overseas and settling in Italy and a lot of this information is useful for anyone relocating overseas to another country.
Do You Really Need a Visa to More to Italy?
Who Needs a Visa?
If you’re a UK citizen, you don’t currently need a visa for short stays in Italy.
Members of the European Union, the European Economic Community, and Switzerland are exempt for stays lasting less than 90 days.
However, if you plan on staying in Italy for over 90 days or relocating to the country, you’ll need to register where you live.
In this case, you’ll need a visa. You’ll need to obtain the Visa D from your new country. It’s recommended that you check the requirements for this visa either through the UK Government’s website or the EU website. Additionally, you can get information from the Italian consulate.
Join the best Italian Classes London.
Students Wanting to Attend Italian Universities
For those who’d like to study at an Italian university as part of the Erasmus programme or another exchange programme, the steps are almost the same.
If you’re from the EU, the EEC, or Switzerland, you won’t need a visa, but you will need a valid biometric passport and you’ll need to register at the local police station and get a residency permit. Others will need to get a student visa.
Again, it’s recommended that you check with the consulate and find out exactly which documents you’ll need before you go!
Take some lessons from an Italian teacher before you leave.
The Administrative Steps Before Moving to Italy
Getting Your Plane or Train Tickets
If you’re wanting to go to Italy, you’ll need an effective means of getting there. We’d recommend either going by plane or by train.
Start by getting your train or plane tickets and make sure you have enough money to get home in case anything goes wrong.
Don’t hesitate to compare prices on different websites to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
The trip is quite short and it won’t cost you a fortune. There are high-speed trains through France and into Italy for around €200 from Paris to Rome and you can get a one-way flight for as little as £50 if you go at the right time.
Make Sure You Have Insurance
Before you head off to Italy, listen to these words of wisdom.
“Any land is your country where you can live happy.” - Publius Syrus
It’s much easier to live happily if you know you’ll be alright in the event of misfortune. Medical insurance is essential before you go to Italy. It’d be foolish not to get travel insurance, either.
Shop around for the different types of insurance available.
This might seem obvious, but if you live in Italy, you should speak Italian!
You can’t always just rely on getting by with English. Like elsewhere in the world, not everyone in Italy can speak English. In areas with little tourism, not as many people will need to speak English.
Learning Italian will also look good on your CV. Furthermore, it’s a beautiful language!
The Requirements for a Residency or Work Visa
The Different Types of Visa in Italy
There are three types of visa you’ll need to consider:
- The Visa C allows you to stay for 90 (tourist visa).
- The Visa D allows you to stay for over 90 days.
- There’s also a limited-period visa that’s for certain special reasons.
We’ll ignore the short-stay visa and focus on the Visa D, for those that want to live and work in Italy!
Your visa might differ depending on your reasons for settling in Italy. There are several categories:
- Family reunification
- Religious purposes
You’ll need to do a bit of research and see which applies.
The Italian Work Visa
The Italian work visa is given to both members of the EU, EEC, Switzerland, and others.
So how do you get this visa?
You’ll already need a job set up in Italy. Your employer should take care of everything. You also need to keep in mind that Italy uses a system of quotas for most professions. Thus, only perfect candidates will get their visa if the limit hasn’t been reached.
This is done on a regional level. Generally speaking, the business will contact the local “prefettura” and once the demand has been accepted, the employee will have their authorisation.
The local government will then send the information to the Italian embassy in the employee’s country telling them to provide the visa. This can be done within 30 days and the visa needs to be picked up within 6 months.
For those with seasonal contracts or temporary contracts, the process is quite similar. The employee will take care of the administrative formalities. However, temporary visas are only valid for 6 months with an option to extend them for another 3 months.
Finally, “highly qualified” professionals from outside the EU can get the EU Blue Card if they’ve got an Italian contract. This is an accelerated process you can do online and you can get the document within 3 months.
Italian Residency Permit
If you’re an EU citizen, you can get the Certificato di Residenza from the local Questura where you want to live in Italy. The request needs to be made within 20 days of moving abroad.
Applicants must submit:
- Your passport and the passport of any other family member seeking residency.
- Completed and signed residency application
- The form to convert driving licenses.
- You can also get the forms directly from the site of the local government.
You’ll also need to fill in a declaration confirming your change in residency for being able to pay Italian taxes. You’ll need to provide them with information about where you’re living too.
After 60 days, you’ll have the status of resident!
Other Visa: Retirees, Students, Family Reunification
For longer stays (over 90 days), Italy has specific visas.
For retirees, there’s the Elective Residence Visa that allows citizens from inside and outside the EU, EEC, and Switzerland to live in Italy without having to find a job.
This visa is usually for retirees but it can also be used by those who are financially self-sufficient. It could be attained by someone interested in international investment or selling goods.
The student visa, for example, is for foreigners over 18 years old. Firstly, you need to prove that you’re enrolled on a course at an Italian university or educational establishment.
As you may have guessed, you’ll need to get this before you arrive in Italy! You’ll need to head to the Italian embassy in your country of residence to get one.
To get a student visa, you’ll need to provide the following documentation:
- An ID photo
- A valid passport (photocopy)
- An acceptance letter from an Italian university
- Proof of the financial means to purchase a return ticket to your country of residence
- Proof of accommodation
Finally, there’s the family reunification visa. To get this, you’ll need to have an annual income to meet the whole family’s needs. The other members of the family will need the Visa D or a residency permit for their arrival in Italy.
The Conditions of Italian Visas
The Conditions for the Italian Work Visa
The Visto per Lavoro is provided for up to two years. Italy guarantees the holder the same working rights for someone working in Italy as any other Italian citizens.
It allows a jobseeker to accept any type of work contract as well as join the Italian Chamber of Commerce and a union.
Finally, you’ll be entitled to the same salary as an Italian!
The Conditions for the Italian Residency Visa
Citizens of the European Union will directly receive a certificate of residence that will allow them to live in Italy for three months while others will receive the normal permesso di soggiorno.
Like the work visa, this one isn’t permanent. It allows you to remain a resident in Italy as long as it’s valid.
If your stay exceeds 5 years, you’ll have to look at the Soggiornanti di Lungo Periodo (SLP). There’s a minimum income requires to get this.
The Conditions for the Italian Student Visa
The Visto per Studio is the visa for foreign (non-European) students who are studying in Italy. The duration of this visa is for the length of their studies. If they’re planning on spending a year studying in Italy as part of an exchange programme like Erasmus, it’ll last the length of the programme and will need to be renewed afterwards.
In Italy, the student visa will allow you to work up to 20 hours per week, but you will also need to get a work permit, which can take up to 2 months. It's a good idea to make an immigration checklist before your international relocation and setting up your new household.
Whatever the situation, there are also embassies that can help you!
Now you should know where to begin when getting ready to move to Italy. If you'd like to enjoy la dolce vita and really find a place to live where you feel at home, Superprof also recommends that you learn Italian online before you move to the country!