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Expats in Rome: Visas for Italy

“All roads lead to Rome”: For many expats, this saying suddenly comes true. Before enjoying la dolce vita, though, you should prepare your move to Rome. On InterNations, you will find plenty of info on moving to Rome, e.g. a city profile, visa options, and help with administrative details.
Don’t just set out for Rome without first sorting out your visa for Italy.

Before you can make your dream of moving to Rome come true, you need to sort out your visa. Nationals of all 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 do not require a visa, either.

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. There’s more on the certificato di residenzia on page three of this article.

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). 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.

This exemption applies, among others, to nationals of the following non-EU/non-EEA states, as well as a variety of smaller countries like Antigua or Monaco:  

  • Albania, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei
  • Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong
  • Israel, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro
  • New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea
  • Taiwan, the US, Uruguay, Venezuela

Universal 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 Universal 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
  • recent passport photograph
  • valid passport
  • return ticket
  • 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) 
  • further documents, e.g. for medical tourists, members of the clergy, nationals from selected countries…

Work Visas

If you want to stay in Rome for over three months and start working there, a Schengen visa is not enough. As a national of a third country (i.e. one that is not part of the EU), you automatically need a so-called National Visa 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 lodged your visa application. Then – and only then – can the application be processed.

Other than the entry clearance, an application for an Italian work visa requires you

  • to show the job contract, a valid travel document, a passport photo, and a completed application form
  • to pay a visa fee
  • to have a bit of patience.

You should start with the preparations for your work visa about half a year before you actually need it.

Unfortunately, getting such a National Visa is rather more complicated for self-employed expatriates. The exact procedure and the necessary paperwork strongly depend on the kind of work you’d like to carry out in Rome. The visa application process for an independent scholar, a lawyer, or a freelancer in the creative industries can be vastly different.

Therefore, we’d recommend all self-employed expats to contact their nearest Italian foreign mission directly with regard to the documents they have to provide for their visa.

Family Visas

Family members of expats in 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 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 has to 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 abroad.


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


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