Work Permits for Italy

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The documentation required for an expat wishing to work in Italy varies according to an individual's country of origin.

work permit for italyMembers of the European Union (EU) do not need a work permit to be legally employed in Italy. These citizens have the right to work, and should rather just apply for a residence card in order to navigate bureaucratic channels and to tap into certain parts of local life - like buying a car or opening a bank account.

Non-EU citizens, on the other hand, have a much higher hill to climb when it comes to obtaining legal employment in Italy.

Getting a work permit for Italy as a non-EU citizen

Expats will need to obtain a job offer and the subsequent work permit before moving to Italy. Do note, that a contract offer does not suffice as valid documentation for working in Italy.

The good news is that the Italian employer who offers you a position is responsible for bearing the brunt of the burden. They must start the process by submitting proof to the provincial employment office (Ufficio Provinciale del Lavoro e della Massima Occupazione) that a member of the local Italian labour force could not adequately fulfil the position in question. 

Some professions are subject to quotas. These are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis; quotas are formally announced by the Italian government annually, before November.

Once clearance is granted, the employer must apply for the work permit with the regional and central Italian authorities. Only when it is approved, can the employer send the work permit to the expat in their home country; at which point, the relevant work visa can be applied for within 120 days from when authorisation was issued.

Expats can apply for the work visa at the Italian consulate in their country of residence, and when granted, they can finally make their way to Italy.

All applications for the work visa (including dependents wishing to work in Italy) require the following documents (1 original plus 1 copy):
  • Passport or official travel document valid at least three months beyond the validity date of the visa requested. The passport must have a blank page available on which the visa can be affixed.
  • Visa application form, duly filled out, to be signed by applicant in the presence of a Consular Officer.
  • One recent passport photograph (2x2 inches in size, full face, front view, colour).
  • Original Work Authorization ('Autorizzazione al Lavoro') issued by the competent Provincial Labour Office ('Direzione Provinciale del Lavoro - Servizio Politiche del Lavoro') to the Italian employer, upon his request.

Those expats looking to be self-employed in Italy will need to satisfy slightly different requirements.

Though the end is in sight at this point, expats must still apply for a Permit to Stay (Permesso di Soggiono) upon arrival.

Getting a 'Permit to Stay' in Italy

Once expats arrive in Italy they should certainly take a moment to marinate in the magic of the Mediterranean country, but they should also be sure to get the ball rolling and finish processing their paperwork as soon as possible.

work permit for italyForeign employees must go to the post office to pick up what is called a 'kit' and complete the attached forms to apply for the Permit to Stay. This is often translated by books as a residency permit; but note that this is not the same as the residency that you apply for at the city hall (commune).

English instructions and instructions regarding what documents to include for the Permit to Stay can be found on the site.

Take the completed kit to a designated post office and have a local employee look over the documentation. Only once you receive approval from the postal worker should you sign and date your kit - do not do so otherwise.

If all is in order, an expat must obtain a revenue stamp, sold in most local tobacconists, in the amount of 14.62 euro - best done before you head to the post office - for payment. An additional 27.50 euro for the Permit to Stay and 30 euro for postage is also required.

You are then given a receipt, which includes an ID and Password - this allows you to check the status of your 'kit' once it is mailed.

Once processed, expats receive notification from the police office (questura) to come in for an appointment, submit four photographs, be fingerprinted, and answer any questions that may be relevant.

Finally, the process is complete and you can rest easy while you wait for notification to collect your Permit of Stay, which comes in the form of a digitised card.

Processing time for this permit is usually three months.

*Visa and work permit requirements are subject to change at short notice and expats should consult their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

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