Updated June 2022
If you plan on staying in Italy for the long term, you’ll need to sort out a longer Permesso di Soggiorno plan. 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.
If you are looking for more information on Visas and moving to Italy I suggest you have a look at How to Move to Italy and my Moving to Italy Guide. You will also find much more in-depth information on the Permesso requirements in this Moving to Italy Guide.
But for those of you ready to move into the world of Permesso di Soggiorno, here we go.
Staying in Italy temporarily: Permesso di Soggiorno di Studio (Studying In Italy)
This is the permit to stay you 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 you residency, it does not count towards long-term residency or citizenship. It will, however, allow you to work a part-time job for up to 20 hours 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.
From this permesso, if you plan on staying in Italy or much longer, you’ll probably need to convert to convert to a few different long-term options…
Permesso di Soggiorno di attesa di occupazione (Pending Employment)
Things to know, you can only get this permit to stay IF you graduated from 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.
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 Pending Employment.
Permesso di Soggiorno Lavoro Subordinato (Contract Work)
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 known as decreto flussi, 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.
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.
You’ll find more detailed information about the conversion process in the Moving to Italy Guide.
Permesso di Soggiorno Lavoro Autonomo (Self Employment)
In the case of this permit to stay, you do not necessarily need to convert your original permesso. If you graduated from an Italian program, you are able to simply renew it. If instead, you are converting from a program that is not certified, you will need to apply for the decreto flussi.
To get this Permesso you will need to register for a Partita IVA, the Italian vat 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. Learn more about the Partita IVA and what it means for you tax-wise here.
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.
Staying in Italy: Getting Residency
Ok so once you have actual Residency, you can apply for 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 valid legal house contract, 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! If 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, that nearly everything in Italy goes on a case-by-case basis. What I have shared with you is the information I gathered through the official Permit to Stay packet, heavy research, and my own personal 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.