Work Visas in Italy: Your Options

Without citizenship, there are limited visa options when moving to Italy. You’ll need to study, have a decent passive income (retirement), invest, get married, or work. It may surprise you, but work is actually one of the most difficult ways to get into Italy. In theory, all you need is a job, but finding one willing to sponsor is tough, and the freelance route can be convoluted. On the blog, we have previously talked about working in Italy with regard to job availability and contract types, but today we’ll dive into exactly what you need to have for work visas in Italy, and which ones are available.

Options for Work Visas in Italy

This is one of the most difficult ways to enter Italy, but it can be done. There are actually two options for entering Italy for a work visa. One is simply an Italian work visa, the other you may hear mentioned is the EU Blue Card.

Essentially both require a job contract, but the Blue Card is reserved for “specialized workers”. This means that you can apply for the Blue Card year-round and don’t have to be constrained by Italy’s immigration quotas.

Both options follow a Labour Market Test, meaning employers must look at qualified applicants in Italy, and the greater EU before yours.

The Work Permit- a Nulla Osta

Your employer must apply for and obtain a Nulla Osta from their local Sportello di Immigrazione for both work visas in Italy and the Blue Card.

This relies heavily on your employer. In theory, they must do all the work which is why more often than not, they won’t offer you the job. In reality, if you hire a lawyer they can assist in getting this paperwork done. The employer must apply for a Nulla Osta, meaning authorization from the Immigration office. This requires:

  • Full details of the Company’s Legal Owner, including copies of their ID
  • Full details on where the work will take place: office, home, hours, etc
  • Your own details (Passport Copies, Codice Fiscale, Etc)
  • A legal CCNL contract (including stipend details, tasks, insurance, etc.)
  • Statement regarding your housing arrangements (apartment, living with friends, bought a house, etc)
  • Statement saying they will update the office on any contract changes.

Then not mentioned: a few tax stamps and fees.

Once this is obtained, you can move forward with your visa application.

What you need for the basic Work Visa

First let’s look at the work visa. In Italy the ability to apply for a work visa is only open for a few months a year with a cap on how many can be given out. This is known as the Decreto Flussi. You can only apply for a work visa IF:

  • The Decreto Flussi is open and the cap isn’t filled yet
  • You have an employer in Italy who will apply for your work permit (Nulla Osta) *
  • You are granted a work permit

Once your employer gets this Nulla Osta, they send you all the paperwork and you can apply for the visa at your local Italian consulate in the States. You should bring the original and a copy of this Nulla Osta, plus copies of all the documents used to apply for it as well as the following documents.

What you need:

  • Copy of your Work Contract
  • Completed Italian Long-Stay Visa Application form (found on your consulate’s website)
  • Passport with at least two blank pages, valid for at least three months after the duration of your visa.
  • Passport pictures.
  • Proof of accommodation in Italy, meaning a valid rental contract, or property, or declaration of hospitality.
  • Proof of sufficient financial means.
  • Visa Fee

The truth is that this is a short list, because every consulate tends to have their own opinion on what documents you need and they change their mind often. Keep an eye on their website and contact them for a complete list. I have heard from fellow Americans in Italy that they were additionally required to show their return flight, driver’s license, and diplomas which had to have an apostille (a government authentication seal from the secretary of state or state official).

Bring at least 4 copies of everything, always.

In theory, if you do have an appointment, you will bring everything in and pay, then they will look over your application. If you are accepted you have six months to grab your visa and leave for Italy and apply for your Permesso di Soggiorno within 8 days of arriving. Instead, if you are rejected you will have to wait for the next year to apply again.

The Blue Card Work Visa

If you fall into a specialized worker category, you might be able to apply for the EU Blue Card rather than a work permit, which allows you to skip the Decreto Flussi and be considered in base of your expertise. Since the Decreto Flussi can be highly competitive this might be the best option if you can qualify.

So how do you apply?

First you need to get this famous Nulla Osta for highly qualified foreign national workers. This must be applied for by your potential employer at the Sportello Unico Immigrazione, through the Ministry for the Interior online system.

You will need to meet the following requirements:

If you meet all the requirements, you will receive the Nulla Osta. Then you will need to make an appointment at the Italian Consulate in order to apply for the visa. At the Visa appointment, as always, check your local consulate for the latest list of documents you will need to bring but you should definitely bring the original and copy of the Nulla Osta, degrees and certifications, copies of passports, and proof of savings and/or future income from the employer to show you can afford the national healthcare.

Once your visa has been accepted, you can head over to Italy! Remember that within 8 days of arriving you will have to then pick up a Kit Permesso and apply for your permesso di soggiorno.

This permesso should be valid for two years, and can be renewed depending on your work contracts.

A note: The Carta Blu procedure has proved to be one of the most difficult visas to understand through research. While it looks like it could be an ideal visa for some, I recommend looking into finding a lawyer to assist you as this could be complex and if some paperwork is not in order, you could be rejected.

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