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Expats in Rome: Visas for Italy

Before you can enjoy la dolce vita as an expat in Rome, there are a few things to prepare. From visas to residence permits, our InterNations guide has plenty of information about the administrative details and practicalities of a move to Rome.

Before your dream of moving to Rome can come true, you need to sort out your visa. Nationals of EU or EEA member states do not need a visa to enter Italy — a valid passport or national ID card is enough. Even if they would like to live in Rome or take up gainful employment there, they still do not require a visa.

EU nationals planning a long-term stay do, however, have to acquire a residence certificate from the local town hall once they arrive in Rome. Read more about the certificato di residenzia on page three of this article.

Holders of a study visa have to renew it every year while foreign residents with a work visa or family visa only need to go through the renewal process every two years.

Visa Exemptions

The citizens of various non-EU countries are exempt from applying for a visa if they plan on staying in Rome for a relatively short time (usually up to three months). A full list of countries to whom this exemption applies can be found on the website of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you need to travel to Rome for extended business negotiations or a fact-finding trip, you may not have to obtain an Italian visa.

Uniform Schengen Visas

Nationals of all countries without visa exemption need to apply for a Schengen visa, even for a short-term stay in Rome. A Uniform Schengen Visa (USV) allows you to travel freely in all states that have signed the Schengen agreement. To apply for such a visa at the nearest Italian mission, you usually need the following documents:

  • USV application form
  • a recent passport photograph
  • a valid passport
  • proof of a return ticket reservation
  • proof of accommodation in Italy
  • proof of sufficient financial funds (fixed amount of 206.58 EUR + 27.89 EUR per day for stays over 20 days)
  • health insurance (minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR)
  • visa fee (60 EUR for less than 90 days, 99 EUR for more than 90 days)

Work Visas

If you want to stay in Rome for more than three months or work there, a Schengen visa is not enough. As a non-EU foreign national, you will need a “National Visa” to be able to reside (and work) in Italy.

If you are an expat employee, you are in luck. Generally speaking, your future employer will go through most of the bureaucratic hassle. The company needs to bring your case before the Labor Office and the Immigration Office to receive an entry clearance. This will be sent directly to the Italian Embassy or Consulate where you have sent your visa application. Your application can then be processed.

Other than the entry clearance, you need to submit the following in order to apply for an Italian work visa:

  • a completed visa application
  • a valid passport
  • a passport photo
  • your work contract
  • valid travel documents

You will also have to pay a visa fee of 116 EUR for a long-term (National) visa.

It is recommended that you start with the preparations for your work visa about six months before you need it.

Entrepreneurs in Rome

There is a slightly different process if you are moving to Italy as a freelancer. EU citizens will have no issues, as they are entitled to live and work in Italy. However, non-EU nationals who wish to work on a self-employed basis have to be authorized (get a nulla osta) to work independently in the country. For further information on this, refer to the EU Immigration Portal or contact your nearest Italian foreign mission, as the necessary paperwork can depend on the kind of work you plan on doing.

You will also need to apply for a visa for your stay in Italy. If you plan on being self-employed in Italy for the long-term (i.e. over 90 days) you will need to apply for a national visa, as mentioned in the section above. It is likely that you will also need to provide proof of the previous year’s earnings, to demonstrate that they are higher than the Italian minimum wage.

Additionally, you will be required to get a permesso di soggiorno (residence permit) within eight days of arrival in Rome. This can be done at your local Questura (immigration police headquarters).

Family Visas

Family members of expats moving to Rome can easily join them if the relative in Italy is a national of an EU or EEA country. Spouses or children of an EU expat residing in Rome need only the following documentation for their family visa:

  • valid passport
  • official request to join their family
  • marriage or birth certificate

However, if neither family member is from an EU/EEA member state, the expat residing in Rome must apply for an entry clearance at the Sportello l’Unico per l’Immigrazione (Immigration Office) first. Once you have this, you can submit your family visa application. Again, the EU Immigration Portal provides some further useful information and links on this topic.


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


Brandon Le Clerk

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