After nearly 10 years, I have gone through my fair share of permesso di soggiorno appointments and loops and I wanted to share with you the information I know. This article is only relevant if you already have a visa to come here and have obtained your first Permesso di Soggiorno.
Unfortunately, I am not an expert on Visa’s so I cannot help too much in that area. I do know the easiest visa to get is a Study Visa, as you will only need acceptance into a program, proof of funds, and health insurance. Instead of trying to get a work visa right off the bat is extremely difficult unless you get a job with a company that will pull strings. In order to get a work visa, employers must prove they cannot use any worker in Italy or the EU to do your jobs… so it’s tough. There is also a huge catch 22 where supposedly you need to already have contracts and residency set up but can’t until you move here but can’t move until you have the visa etc… Yeah, it can get tough. If you are hoping to move for a work visa, just for retirement, or because you are that wealthy you can casually move to Italy, I suggest you invest in a lawyer.
For the rest of you students just trying to get over here and life your dream life, let’s work around these permesso di soggiorno!
Permesso di Soggiorno for Study Reasons (Studio)
This is the permit to stay ou get right off the bat once you have your Study Visa. Remember, apply by 8 DAYS after arriving. The duration of this permit depends on how long the program you are attending is, normally the longest is just a year and you have to keep renewing it.
This permit DOES NOT give ou residency, it does not count towards long term residency or citizenship and it will not give you the socialized health care. It will, however, allow you to work a part-time job for up to 20hours a week.
To renew you will need proof of attending a course, funds (by the way many of us never had enough in the bank but showed we had credit cards/bank accounts/student loans/family and it was fine), and health insurance (if you have in the US that will refund you this is fine, I had Blue Cross Blue Shield, and was always accepted)
From this permesso you can convert to a few different long term options…
Permesso di Soggiorno for Pending Employment (attesa di occupazione)
Things to know, you can only get this permit to stay IF you graduated an Italian certified program, It has to be recognized in Italy, not an American degree program. It also often does not count towards Language or Teaching English certificate programs. However, you can stop by your local Sportello Unico Immigrazione and ask them if your program qualifies or not.
This Permit has a duration of 1 year. It does not give you residency, you will have to go apply for residency with your local commune. (More on Residency below).
To get this permit you must register with your local Employment Center (Centro d’impiegazione) to claim “unemployment”. No, there is no financial benefit unless you previously had a job contract. However, it means you are open to potential job opportunities and they may forward your CV to various job agencies. With the documents given to you by this Center and your degree, you can apply for the Pending Employment.
Permesso di Soggiorno Work (Lavoro Subordinato)
This is if you get a job contract. This contract must be full-time, or at least over 25 hours a week. With this, you can now convert your previous permit to a work permit. However, take note, you MUST convert it before the previous permesso is expired.
Also, you will have to apply in time to make it into the yearly “Quotas”, much like the US lottery, Italy will only give a certain number of these permits out a year, so you will need to make it in time.
This process is a little more complicated, you will need to have a house contract, insurance, and in some cities even a strange document that proves how big your house is and you live there with a legal amount of people….Yeah, Turin was weird.
You will also need a lot of paperwork and cooperation from your employer. Such as the contract, copies of their tax status, contact information for the owner of the company etc. Once all documents have been gathered you first go to the Sportello Unico Immigrazione, get what is called a Nulla Osta, and then with this, you can apply for the Permesso di Soggiorno.
I do apologize but I cannot provide you with the exact list of needed documents because as I mentioned It does change in different cities. Normally your employer will be able to find the full list, or if you swing by the Sportello Unico immigrazione they can also assist you.
Permesso di Soggiorno Self Employed (Lavoro Autonomo)
In the case of this permit to stay, you do not necessarily need to convert your original permesso, but rather just renew it with the new documents.
To get this Permesso you will need to register for a Partita IVA, the Italian tax code. In order to do this, you need to hire a commercialista. Depending on your age, country of origin, type of work, there may be different Partita IVA’s available to you. If possible you will want the Forfettaria one, which basically gives you an automatic tax break and you pay very little in yearly taxes. However, because you do pay so little in taxes you can’t really claim anything.
To get this partita IVA, you will also need Residency (ok ok we will talk about this next!). Once you have everything set up through your commercialista, you can apply for the Permit to Stay. in order to keep this permit, you will need to invoice at least 8,000 euros a year. The permesso needs to be renewed every two years.
For more information on the application process, eligibility and paperwork needed check out Moving to Italy as a non-EU citizen: A Guidebook to Italian Bureaucracy! Grab a copy here.
Ok so once you have actual Residency, you can apply for the national health insurance, get an identity card, get a partita iVA AND start counting years to your Long-term permit to stay or citizenship.
In order to get residency, all you need is a legal house contract valid for more than a year (cannot be “transitorio”), a valid permit to stay and that is all! You take these documents to the commune if it is a big city you may need an appointment, hand them over, sign a few things, and boom! You are a resident, you can request the ID card right away and then go to ASL for health insurance.
Double Check your Situation
You may have noticed, nearly everything in Italy goes on a case by case basis. To be honest at times I have shared my experience and relocation officials have said that isn’t possible you can’t do that (travelling with only a permit receipt, not getting a new visa for a masters program, and many other little things). But, here I am. HOWEVER. Don’t always take my word 100%, what I have shared with you is the information I gathered through the official Permit to stay packet and my own experience. I do recommend a close look at the Permesso Kit, as most info is in there, and going in to speak with the Sportello Unico Immigrazione in your area.
If it seems your situation is a bit more complex, go ahead and speak with a lawyer. Remember though, lawyers cost nearly 200 euros an hour, and are not guaranteed to get you the permit. They could try and fail and you will still owe them thousands, so I say try all you can on your own first!