The visas and paperwork required when moving to Italy will vary greatly depending on an Expat’s nationality and individual circumstances.
Visas for EU/EEA and Swiss Nationals
As Italy is a member of the European Union, all citizens of EU or Schengen Agreement countries may live and work in Italy without requiring a visa. As the UK is currently still a member of the EU, British citizens do not require a visa when moving to Italy, although the impact that Brexit may have on this remains uncertain.
One of the first things any new international resident will need upon arriving in Italy is a Codice Fiscale (the equivalent of a social security number), which can be acquired at your local Agenzia dell’Entrate (see below). For the first three months of their stay in Italy, EU Citizens should obtain a “declaration of presence” (dichiarazione di presenza). Most hotels and guesthouses undertake this process for their guests, however if renting private accommodation, this is usually up to the visitor and should be obtained at the nearest police station (see below). After three months in Italy, EU/EEA Citizens are required to apply for a Residence Certificate, or Certificato di Residenza at their nearest Anagrafe office.
Visas from outside the EU/EEA
Non-EU Citizens should apply for a long-stay or “national” visa at their local Italian embassy before arriving in Italy, as the process may take several months. There are over 20 types of visa for non-EU nationals, depending on their individual requirements and circumstances, with the full list available on the State Police website.
A Permesso di Soggiorno (permit to stay, also referred to as a residence permit) is required by all non-EU nationals who stay in Italy longer than three months, and new residents should apply for this within 8 days of arriving in Italy. They should also obtain a Codice Fiscale, or social security number. Non-EU citizens do not need to obtain a separate “declaration of presence” as is the case for EU Citizens, as this is automatically allocated with their visa.
Following a new resident’s arrival in Italy, there are a number of bureaucratic tasks to be undertaken to ensure access to vital services and register as an official resident. It is also worth noting that you are legally required to carry some form of photographic identification with you at all times when in Italy. The Local has created a practical guide in English to obtaining residency in Italy.
Dichiarazione di Presenza (Declaration of Presence for Stays up to 3 Months)
Those staying in Italy for up to three months will require a “Declaration of Presence”. For non-EU Citizens in possession of a Visa, this will automatically be allocated. EU nationals staying in private accommodation for more than 20 days should obtain this in person at their nearest police station (most hotels will arrange this automatically for EU guests on a shorter term basis, and is as simple as showing your passport). If the resident is planning to obtain a longer term residency certificate (Certificato di Residenza) then the Declaration of Presence may not be necessary, but can be useful in the interim, in order to obtain a tax code and other documents.
There is more information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Tax Identification Number (Codice Fiscale)
The Codice Fiscale is a unique tax identification number which allows the bearer to begin paying taxes and national insurance, which provides access to social security services such as national healthcare coverage. You can apply for this in person at your nearest Agenzia delle Entrate upon arriving in Italy and will normally receive your code there and then on a piece of paper (with a card later sent to your Italian address).
Citizens of the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand can request a Codice Fiscale in advance at their local Italian embassy or consulate at the same time they apply for their visa.
Certificato di Residenza (Residence Certificate, for EU/EEA Nationals after the first 3 months)
All EU citizens who stay for longer than three months in Italy are legally required to apply for a Certificato di Residenza (Residence Certificate) at their local town hall (known as the Comune or Ufficio Anagrafe). The application for residency (known as the Iscrizione Anagrafica) should be a relatively straightforward process and the certificate itself is valid for five years (though should be updated with any changes of address within Italy). After 5 years, the resident may apply for permanent residency, known as the “EC Residence Permit”.
When requesting a Certificato di Residenza, applicants should provide ID, proof of study or work such as an acceptance letter or work contract, proof of address (usually a declaration of presence or rental contract), your Codice Fiscale and more. As the requirements for this process can vary, always check with your town hall for any further requirements or documentation you may need. The State Police Website also has more detailed information on this process.
Permesso di Soggiorno (Residence Permit, for non-EU nationals upon arrival)
Non-EU nationals with a long-stay visa (and who plan to remain in Italy for longer than 3 months) must apply for a residence permit, or “permission to stay” (Permesso di Soggiorno) within 8 days of arriving in Italy. The process itself can take several months (usually 120 days), but the initial appointment should be made within those first 8 days (even if the actual appointment date is not for several weeks). The permit is issued by the provincial police headquarters (known as the Questura), and the simplest approach is to ask for a Permesso di Soggiorno application pack at your nearest post office (Poste Italiane). A residence permit is usually valid for the duration of your visa. A non-EU national may apply for permanent residency after ten years. There is detailed information on the State Police website, with a step-by-step guide to acquiring a residence permit.
There are many exceptions to the above depending on an individual’s nationality and personal situation. Always refer to the latest information from your own government or embassy regarding visas and your local town hall website regarding any relevant paperwork.
For more useful information on moving to Italy, visit our detailed relocation guide at MumAbroad.com.