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Expats in Milan: Administrative Issues

Are you planning a move to Milan? The prosperous heart of northern Italy offers expats both a businesslike atmosphere and plenty of cultural treasures. Our InterNations Guide on moving to Milan helps new arrivals with advice on administrative issues as well as tips for finding a new home.
Settling in Milan as a foreign resident requires you to deal with a bit of red tape.

Before moving to Milan, you will need to familiarize yourself with Italy’s immigration requirements. Firstly, you need to find out whether you must obtain a visa to enter the country.

Nationals of EU and EEA member states as well as Switzerland, Vatican City, Monaco, and San Marino do not need a visa, no matter how long they are planning to stay in Milan. Citizens of selected countries do not require a visa for short-term stays, though this also depends on the reason for their visit. Other nationalities may even need an airport transit visa if they want to change planes in Milan.

Getting through the Visa Hassle

To see which visa category you belong to, you could contact your nearest Italian Embassy or Consulate or check the “Visa for Italy” tool provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It helps you determine if you need a visa at all, where to apply, and which documents to submit. The visa wizard takes the following criteria into account:

  • nationality
  • current country of residence
  • planned duration of your stay (fewer or more than 90 days)
  • reason for coming to Italy

The last category includes various options, from adoption purposes to taking up salaried employment.

More Red Tape: The Entry Clearance

Let’s assume that a Canadian woman currently living in the US gets offered a job contract as an office manager at an international school in Milan. In this case, the visa tool would tell her that she requires a “National Visa” for long-term stays. She should submit a valid passport, recent passport photographs, and a completed application form.

She would also need a nulla osta (entry clearance), which is usually taken care of by the employer. Getting an entry clearance for work-related reasons may be subject to governmental annual quota agreements, especially for unskilled, semi-skilled, and seasonal labor, as well as for applicants of certain nationalities.

However, if she just wanted to join her spouse in Milan, it would be the resident partner’s responsibility to secure that entry clearance. The husband could choose to hire an immigration lawyer to save himself some hassle or contact the local Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione (immigration office). For the province of Milan, the address is as follows:

Prefettura di Milano: Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione, Palazzo Diotti, Corso Monforte 31, 20122 Milano

02 7758 1 (operator)


Turning Your Visa into a Residence Permit

Once you have acquired your visa and moved to Milan, all non-EU nationals still need a residence permit from the immigration office. Instead of contacting the Sportello Unico directly, it can be easier to fill out an application kit available at various post offices. To find your nearest post office in Milan with a Sportello Amico section, go to the Poste Italiane website.

Getting Your Residence Certificate

Lastly, you need a certificate di residenzia (residence certificate) — not to be confused with the residence permit mentioned above — from the anagrafe (registry office). This applies to everyone staying in Italy for more than three months, including EU nationals — don’t forget to get this certificate within the first 90 days of your stay in Milan. Depending on what you are planning to do in Milan, different documents are required for your application. The website of the City of Milan has detailed information on residence certificates, divided by “Documentation for EU citizens” and “Documentation for non-EU citizens”.

Once you have all the required documents, fill in the “application form of residence”, which can be found on the same site. Finally, you will need to make an appointment at one of the registry offices or send your registration documents via fax, email, or mail. All contact details can be found under the above link. You can also contact Milan’s central registry office by phone on +39 02 02 02 for more information.

The Codice Fiscale: Your Tax Identification Number

As soon as you have your residence permit, or proof that you don’t need one as an EU citizen, you can use this to obtain your tax identification number (codice fiscale). The codice fiscale is used for more than just doing your taxes — you’ll definitely need one for your time in Milan, as it’s required for renting an apartment long-term and for opening a bank account, among other things. You will need the following documents for your application:

  • valid passport/ID
  • completed application form
  • residence permit or similar

The Agenzia delle Entrate (revenue agency) has also published a video on YouTube explaining how you can obtain your tax identification number (TIN). Depending on whether you are an EU or non-EU citizen, as well as your purpose for relocating to Italy, you can apply for your TIN at the Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione  (unified immigration desk), at any police headquarters, or the offices of the Agenzia delle entrate (Italian revenue agency).


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Francois Carpentier

"With the help of InterNations, my wife and I met a lot of other French expats at the famous aperitivos here in Milan."

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