Permits and Visas


Anyone planning to stay in Italy for more than 90 days is considered a resident. Whether you are a student or seasonal worker, if your stay exceeds this period you must make sure you are in possession of the required documents since failing to acquire these can lead to expulsion from Italy.

Depending on the purpose of your trip to Italy, there are different types of visas that foreign visitors can apply for.  Whether you are planning to go on a visit, study or work and reside in Italy on a permanent basis, you will have to apply for a different Italy Schengen Visa accordingly.

You can apply for an Italian Schengen Visa since October 1997 when Italy, as a Member State of the European Union also became a member state of the Schengen Area.

For more information about Schengen Visa types:



As of 2007, the Italian residency permit has been replaced by a declaration of presence on Italian soil. A declaration of presence can be obtained by filling out a form at the police headquarters (Questura). You will receive a stamped receipt which should be kept safe in case you are asked to show proof of it in the future. If in possession of a short-stay visa (Uniform Schengen Visa) you do not need to make a declaration of presence. However, EU nationals and anyone else who does not possess the USV sticker on their passport and intends on staying for a period of more than three months must file for a declaration of presence in Italy.


Foreigners require different permits depending on their national status and on how long they have lived in Italy.

  • The Permit to stay (Permesso di soggiorno) is required by non-EU nationals and is valid for a limited period of time. There are several types and most can be renewed. They can be issued for the first 5 years of residence in Italy.
  • The Non-EU permanent residence card (Carta di soggiorno) must be required by non-EU nationals after residing in Italy for more than 5 years.  It is valid for an indefinite period of time.
  • The EU citizens’ permanent residence card (Carta di soggiorno Cittadini U.E.) is required by EU nationals and their dependents that are staying in Italy for more than three months.


In Italy, a permit to stay (permesso di soggiorno) can take up to more than three months to obtain and can be issued only for the purpose stated on the visa.  There are several types of permits to stay, the most commonly issued ones are:

  • Permesso di soggiorno per turismo– for tourists. Technically anyone visiting Italy for over a week who isn’t staying in a hotel, boarding house or an official campsite should apply for one, although in practice this rarely happens;
  • Permesso di soggiorno per coesione familiare– for the foreign spouse and children of an Italian citizen when they move to Italy together;
  • Permesso di soggiorno per lavoro– a work permit for an employee;
  • Permesso di soggiorno per lavoro autonomo/indipendente– for independent or freelance workers;
  • Permesso di soggiorno per studio– for students;
  • Permesso di soggiorno per ricongiungimento familiare– for the spouse, children (under 18) and dependent parents of foreigners married to Italian citizens and also for family members from overseas who come to join others already in Italy;
  • Permesso di soggiorno per dimora– for foreigners establishing residence in Italy who do not intend to work or study.

Other classes of permits to stay include refugees and employees on religious missions. If you are a non-EU citizen and have not obtained a specific visa, the local police headquarters normally would issue you a permit for tourism (permesso di soggiorno per turismo). This is non-renewable and valid for only three months. You cannot apply for residence with this permit, nor study, and you cannot take on employment or establish a business.


The EC residence permit for long-term residence (Permesso di Soggiorno per Soggiornanti di Lungo Periodo, SLP) was introduced in 2007 and, unlike the old residence permit, is now permanent. If you have been living in Italy continuously and legally for more than five years, then you are entitled to apply for an EC residence permit. EU citizens can and should apply for one if they intend on staying in the country for more than 90 days. Since the end of 2010, it is now necessary to pass an Italian language test in order to obtain the EC residence permit.


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