Living, studying and working in Rome for EU citizens is a stress- free process that does not require a visa or work permit. Although getting a work permit is almost automatic, EU nationals must apply for a residence permit after three months from the nearby police headquarters or foreign department. To successfully register, you need your passport, passport photos and other documents depending on your intended length of stay or job type.

Foreign non-EU nationals are required to have a valid visa if they intended to work in Italy. You will need to have a job before relocating as most of the information on the application will be provided by your employer. The employment visa is issued for two years and is only issued upon producing a letter signed by the employer and made out in your name. When the application is successful, the entry visa will be issued through the local Italian embassy and can be collected within 60 days.

Note that Italy’s quota system determines whether a work visa can be issued to a foreign non-EU national. Looking for a work visa for occupations whose quota limit is below the mandated requirement gives you a better chance of having your work visa approved.

Residence Permits

Italy offers EU nationals and non-EU nationals’ three main types of residence permits. They include:

    1. Temporary residence permit – The permit is issued to non-EU nationals studying, working or retiring in Italy. It must be applied for within 8 days of entry into Italy and is usually for a pre-defined time.
    2. Permanent residence permit – EU and non-EU citizens can apply for permanent residency after living in Italy for over five years. The permit gives foreigners the same rights as Italian residents allowing them to work in the country visa-free and also enjoy state benefits.
    3. Elective residence permit – The permit allows the foreigner to stay in Italy as long as they have an income source instead employment. The income source may be retirement funds or property, among others.

Besides employment, foreign nationals can also get residence permits as entrepreneurs or self-employed individuals. If you want to start a business or act as a sole trader in Italy, you can apply for residency as long as your visa is valid and all paperwork is in order. Italy has a Start-Up Visa Program for non-EU nationals investing a minimum of 50,000 Euros in a business set up in the country.

Anyone who meets the entry requirements into Italy is permitted to apply for residency permits. Non-EU citizens need to apply for a long-stay visa in their countries of origin first, then apply for residency once they get to Italy. The application must be submitted within eight days of entry into Italy with applications being handed out at local post offices, specifically the Sportello Amico. At the post office, you will receive an application kit (written in Italian language) that you need to fill out and return it for a review. After the review, the officer will give you a receipt that will act as a temporary permit (should be carried at all times) as you wait for an appointment at a police station close by.

In addition, to the completed application kit, you will be required to submit other supporting documents. The documents will vary for students, self-employed persons, employees and students. Some of the “must-have” documents include:

  • Valid national passport
  • four passport photographs (front view, 35x45mm)
  • letter of employment (for employees)
  • business registration documents ( for entrepreneurs)
  • letter of admission to Italian academic institution (for students)
  • proof of health insurance.

Ensure that all your documents are in duplicate form as you will need to submit originals at the police station and copies at the post office. Responses to applications for residence permits vary depending on the type of application with the majority being released within a few weeks.


  • Permit from 3 months to 1 year is €40
  • Permit from 1 year to 2 years is €50
  • Permit longer than 2 years is €100