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You may need a visa to come to Italy to study, work, visit or join your family. The visa is issued by the Italian Consulate in your Country of residence.

There are different visas depending on why you want to come to Italy, how long you want to stay for, your personal circumstances and skills.

Before you apply, we suggest you to  check if you need a visa and what type you need.


General requirements for the self - employed visa and permit to stay

(art. 5 and 26 of the Legislative Decree nn. 286/1998 - T.U.I. Italian Immigration Law - and art. 39 of the Presidential Decree n. 394/1999)


First of all you must obtain a work authorization ("nulla osta") from the Italian Ministry- Police Headquarter ("Questura").

Pursuant to art. 26 of the Italian Immigration law (Leg. Decree n. 286/1998 - T.U.I.), “Entry in Italy of foreign workers not belonging to the European Union that intend to carry out on the State’s territory non-occasional autonomous work is allowed under the condition that the carrying out of said activities is not reserved by law to Italian citizens, or to citizens of one of the Member States of the European Union. In any case, the alien that intends to carry out in Italy an industrial, professional, artisan or commercial activity, or establish a corporation or a partnership or access company charges, must also prove to have the adequate resources for carrying out the activity that he intends to start in Italy; to be in possession of the requisites provided for by the Italian law for carrying out the single activity, including, if requested, the requisites for the registration in lists and registers; to be in possession of a certificate issued by the cognizant authority on a date not prior to three months stating that there are no hindering reasons for the issuing of the authorization or licence provided for as regards the execution of the activity that the alien intends to carry out".

The foreign worker that intends to establish in Italy his/her job activity must submit to the cognizant employment centre, upon verification of the availability of a worker present on the national territory, all which follows properly documented, at the One Stop Shop for immigration of the province of residence or of that where the business has its registered office, or where the job will be carried out an individual request by name for no impediment document to work (a.k.a. “nulla-osta lavoro”)

The request shall be presented online on the following site of the “Ministero dell’Interno”: 

The issue of work permits both autonomous and subordinate is always subject to the existence of quotas provided for by the Flow Decree ("Decreto flussi") issued each year by the Italian Government.​

Therefore visa applications must be presented as soon as possible, immediately after the publication of the Decree.

The possibility of obtaining a visa outside the quotas is subjected to the possession of the requisites provided for by Article 27 of the T.U.I. (Italian Immigration Law - Legislative Decree n 286/1998): eg. managers  or  highly  specialized  personnel  of  companies  with registered office  or  branches  in  Italy; university lecturers within exchange programmes or of mother-tongue; university professors appointed to carry out an academic charge in Italy; translators and interpreters; artistic and technical personnel for lyric, theatrical, concert or ballet shows; dancers, artists and musicians to employ at entertainment places; etc.


Once you obtain the Nulla Osta, you shall apply for the VISA by the Italian Consulate in your Country of residence.

Generally, to obtain the VISA the following is required:

  • entry visa application form

  • recent passport-size photograph;

  • valid travel document whose expiry date is three months longer than that of the visa requested;

  • certificate of an abstract recognition of the resources necessary for the business, trade or craft activity to be undertaken, issued by the relevant Chamber of Commerce for the area where the activity shall take place. These resources must not be fewer than the annual amount of the minimum income (€ 4,962.36);

  • sufficient funds available in Italy to guarantee the resources as per the Certificate;

  • availability of an income relating to the previous financial year which must be higher than the minimum level required by law for exemption from health care contribution ((€8,400), already acquired in the country of residence;

  • nulla osta (authorisation) from the relevant Questura; 

  • proof of suitable accommodation.


Once you obtain the VISA, within 8 working days as from the entry day in Italy you shall apply for the  Permit to stay. 

You can apply for the Permit to Stay at the Immigration office of the local Police Headquarter (E.g. in Rome circumscription, "Questura di Roma - Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione" in Via Teofilo Patini n. 23, where an officer will give you a form to fill in and will tell you which documents are required for the application) or at the Post Office (pick up the “kit” - form and instructions - and submit your permit application).

When filling out the application form (or postal kit), the Questura/Poste-Italiane representative will schedule an appointment for you to go to the competent Prefettura for the document check-up and, if applicable, to do your fingerprints scan. The Questura/Poste-Italiane representative will inform you the address of the competent Prefettura where to go.

Remember to keep your application-receipt because it allows you to legally stay in Italy until the end of the process.

The police office or the Prefettura will let you know the expected processing time as well, as when and where to go to pick up the Permit to Stay card as soon as it is ready.

Exceptions might apply depending on your type of visa, local policies, regulation updates, etc.

Generally, to obtain the Self-empoyed Permit to stay the following is required:

  • permit to stay application form (Mod. 1 and 2);

  • copy of a valid passport (all pages);

  • copy of the certification issued by the Italian diplomatic / consular representation in the foreigner's country of origin, of the existence of the requisites, foreseen by the art. 26 of the Legislative Decree n. 286/98 (T.U.I - Italian immigration law) and by the art. 39 of the Decree n. 394/99 (see point n. 1.1);

  • copy of the VISA issued by the Italian Consulate;

  • copy of the "nulla osta" issued by the Italian Ministry.

N.B. It is recommended to consult an Italian accountant to regularize the tax position of the applicant.

Gerardo D'Antuono Attorney at Law 


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