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Visas and work permits

Visas and Work permits

List of available Faqs

How does a European citizen apply for a permit to work in Italy?

All EU citizens are permitted to remain in Italy for a period of up to three months without any kind of authorization. EU citizens wishing to remain in Italy for a longer period must demonstrate that they have sufficient means to live in Italy with their family members. To remain and work in Italy for more than three months, EU citizens must apply to the appropriate municipal authority to be included on the register of legal residents. Having done so, EU citizens become legally resident in Italy. To maintain legal residence in Italy everyone, irrespective of their citizenship, must live in Italy for at least six months per year. Non-EU family members of EU citizens legally resident in Italy also have the right to remain and work in Italy. However, non-EU family members must pre-sent a specific application at the relevant Police Department (Questura) to obtain the “Permesso di soggiorno per parenti di cittadini UE” (Residence permit for family members of EU citizens).

How does a non-EU citizen apply for a permit to work in Italy?

The most important procedure in Italian legislation on immigration is found in the decree regulating inflows, the “Decreto Flussi”. This is the standard national procedure and comparable to the H1B procedure of the immigration law in force in the USA. The “Decreto Flussi” procedure offers a cer-tain number of workers from outside the EU the opportunity to obtain a work permit every year. The formal applicant is the Italian employer and the decree dictates a yearly “ceiling” for the num-ber of work permits that may be issued. However, Italian immigration law provides many special cases in which it is possible to obtain work permits exceeding the limits dictated by the annual decree. These special cases are set out in Article 27 of the Italian Immigration Law. For example, the Permesso di lavoro per trasferimento intra-azienda (Work permit for intra-company transfer) applies to a foreign company which has a branch or a head office in Italy and wishes to second a manager or skilled worker from abroad to its Italian office. The secondment may not exceed a period of five years. During this period, workers seconded to Italy remain on the payroll of the foreign company. It is nevertheless possible to employ the seconded worker on a local contract after the secondment period has finished. Once the employee has the Permesso di lavoro per tra-sferimento intra-azienda, it is relatively simple to obtain residence and work permits for non-EU family members.

Are there special cases?

Other special cases of interest provided by Italian Immigration Law for obtaining visas and work permits above the ceiling set by the annual decree are:


  • work permits for suppliers
  • work permits for special activities
  • work permits for researchers, professors and academics
  • work permits for internships
  • work permits for free-lance professionals (in the case of highly qualified workers and managers)


This is only a brief overview of Italian Immigration Law, which is a complex area requiring careful attention.