Visas for Italy

Be aware that before applying for the residence permit in Italy, you need to apply for a long-stay visa at the Italian consulate or embassy in your country of residence. 

A visa is not a residence permit, nor is the residence permit a visa. 

A visa is a permit to enter a country for a specific purpose, and is a prerequisite that must be fulfilled in order to proceed with an application in Italy for a residence permit. This means that, with s visa, the holder is only entitled to enter the country but can’t:


A residence permit confirms the right of the visa holder to live in the territory of the country for which it was obtained, and gives the applicant all the rights mentioned above. 

A long-term visa allows the holder to stay in Italy for more than 90 days, and entitles them to apply for a residence permit.

The Elective Residence Visa permits a long-term stay for foreigners who intend to retire in Italy. It has been introduced for individuals who are able to support themselves autonomously, without having to rely on employment while in Italy, whether as dependent employees, as self-employed employees, or employees working remotely online. 

An applicant cannot finance their residence in Italy by any type of work in Italy. Resources must be derived from stable asset-based revenues (annuities or pensions), property ownership, stable economic/financial activities, or other sources not related to  employment.

For a single person, the minimum financial requirement is €31.000 per year. 

Be aware that the threshold may vary at the discretion of the immigration authorities. Note also that, if the holder of this visa purchases real estate in Italy, they will not have to prove the financial requirement of €31.000.

Applicants have the possibility to relocate with their family once they provide proof that their family’s lifestyle can be supported by them for the entire duration of the visa.

If you are considering applying for an elective residence visa, these are the documents you need to submit:

  • an entry visa application form
  • a valid travel document
  • recent passport-size photographs
  • proof of available accommodation for residence, owned or rented, with a signed contract
  • proof of health insurance (has to cover €30.000 a year and all medical/repatriation expenses)
  • documented and extensive financial resources which: 
    • have to be yours
    • are stable and regular
    • it can be reasonably assumed will continue over time
  • proof that you have a real intention to live and reside in Italy permanently

The Italian Government annually sets a fixed number of non – EU citizens allowed to enter Italy to perform specific types of work activities, depending on Italy’s job market and the state of immigration.

The country only accepts a limited number of work visa applications, and only during specific months each year. The quotas change every year based on the decisions made by the government through the “Decreto Flussi”.


A Salaried employment visa is suitable for foreign nationals who have received an offer from an Italian company to work in salaried employment.

This is subject to the Decreto Flussi, meaning that you will get the work visa if the yearly quota hasn’t been filled at the moment of your request. You will have to submit the following documents in the consulate or embassy of your country of residence:

  • an entry visa application form 
  • a valid travel document
  • recent passport-size photographs
  • a valid travel document 
  • Nulla osta (certificate of no impediment/authorization)



There are several types of self-employment visas that you may be granted depending on the kind of activity that you will conduct in Italy.

You can apply for a self-employment visa as:

  • freelancer;
  • business owner;
  • corporate role.


You must first be authorized by the competent administrative authority to perform the self-employed activity (Nulla Osta). Which authority you apply to will depend on the nature of your activity.

Once your activity has been authorized, the embassy or consulate in your country of origin or residence will issue you with a visa which you have six months to collect and use to enter Italy. This period of time is calculated starting from the date on which the authorization to work is released. The auauthorizationo of work is necessary to obtain the entry visa.

Within eight days of arriving in Italy, you must apply for a residence permit at the Local Immigration Police Headquarters (Questura) of the competent province where you will work.

To be authorised to work, you must show that:

  • you have adequate resources where you intend to engage in industrial, professional, craft or commercial activities in Italy, or if you wish to establish share companies or individual companies or hold corporate positions in Italy;
  • you meet the legal requirements for the performance of the activity in question, including, when required, the prerequisites for entering into professional registers;
  • you possess certification from the relevant authorities, dated no more than three months earlier, declaring that there are no reasons to prevent the issuance of the necessary authorisations or licenses;
  • you are registered with the Chamber of Commerce.

The Decreto Flussi is a quota that defines how many work visas Italy will grant in the coming year.

In order to successfully apply for a visa, a non-EU citizen needs to fulfill all the requirements, and be sure that the quota has not already been filled. 

This means that, as a non-EU citizen, you can apply for the work visa only after:

  • getting an authorization to work (Nulla Osta) and
  • if the period to apply for the quota is open


In the next three years, over 450,000 non-EU foreign workers will arrive in Italy.

These are the numbers from the new flow decree, approved in a preliminary examination during the Council of Ministers meeting on July 6th. The planning of entries, in fact, is now on a three-year basis, as envisaged by the Cutro decree.

A written job offer or an employment contract is not regarded as a valid document for working in Italy.  You need a Nulla Osta, which is a certificate of no impediment, that proves that you are legally allowed to work in Italy. It has to be requested by you (if you apply for a self-employment visa) or by your employer (if you apply for the other types of work visas) prior to the visa application. 

This means that when a non-EU citizen applies for all the types of the work visas (except for the self-employment visa), their Italian employer must submit an application for a work authorization (Nulla Osta) in Italy. 

On the other hand, if a non-EU citizen decides to apply for a self-employment visa, they must submit an application for a work authorization (Nulla Osta). 

The requested documents for the Nulla Osta may vary depending on the type of visa application. In the following list, you will find the general documents that you need to provide to your employer (in case you are not not applying as self-employed):

  • a copy of your valid passport
  • your employer details, such as Chamber of Commerce registration
  • your proposed work contract that shows: terms of employment, duration of the contract, salary, and social security contributions
  • a declaration committing to communicate any variation in the working relationship (such as termination of contract or change of work office address)
  • accommodation in Italy.

After the release of the Nulla Osta:

  1. apply for the work visa at the consulate or embassy in your country of residence;
  2. go to Italy after the issue of the Visa and apply for the residence permit.

Be aware that the Nulla Osta has to be requested also when applying for the family reunion visa.