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Italy is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes all European Union countries (currently excepting new member Croatia) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Free movement and labour are permitted within all EEA countries – and in Switzerland, which has the same agreements in these respects. EEA and Swiss citizens, plus citizens of Italian enclave states San Marino and Vatican City, can enter Italy with minimal restrictions. Only a passport is required, or a national ID card, where applicable.
Passports and other travel documents must be valid for three months after the date of your departure. To enter Italy from outside the EEA, you will always need a valid passport or an equivalent travel document if you are a stateless person or refugee. In addition to a valid passport, you may need a visa to immigrate into Italy.
No Visa Required
No visa is required to enter Italy if you are a citizen of the EEA, Switzerland, San Marino or the Vatican City. Citizens of these countries are free to stay in Italy indefinitely. In addition, approximately 40 countries have a visa waiver agreement with Italy. Citizens of these countries are permitted to stay in Italy without a visa for a fixed period of 90 days, providing they do not do any paid work. A full list of these countries is given here:
Citizens of these countries wanting to stay for more than 90 days will always need a visa. This is also true in all cases for citizens of other countries.
There are many different types of visa issued by the Italian authorities. For those wanting to stay long-term, the most important are the business (B), domicile (DM), joining family (F), work (L-1, L-2 and L-3) and study (S) visas. Another type of visa is the Schengen visa, which you may have used to enter Italy. This type of visa grants you access to most EEA countries for a total of 90 days.
EEA and Swiss citizens planning to stay in Italy for longer will need to obtain an extension granting a more long-term visa, though their application will only be successful if they can prove they have the money to support themselves. Citizens of other countries on either a Schengen visa or a free stay will need to re-enter their home country and reapply for a long-term visa. All citizens wanting to stay in Italy long-term will also need to obtain a permit to stay. See ‘Settlement, Residence and Citizenship’ for more details.
The type of visa you obtain will determine the type of ‘permit to stay’ you are issued with after you arrive in Italy. All long-stay visas are classified as VN (visa nazionale) and additionally allow you to travel to any Schengen countries for up to 90 days. For more information on Joining Family visas, see ‘Family Members and Marriage’; for more on employment visas, see ‘Working.’
For comprehensive coverage of Italian visa requirements, see this webpage:
You may be able to apply by post, or you may have to attend in person. For long-stay visas, the latter is much more likely. You should start the application process at least three months before you intend to move to Italy. All visa application forms are available in English. Whichever visa you apply for, you will need the following documents:
Note that you should take these documents with you when you leave for Italy, as border guards may demand to see them. Officially approved Italian translations and revenue stamps may be required for these documents. You can find revenue stamps (marche da bollo) in most newsagents and tobacconists. Note that Italy does not have representation in all the world’s countries. If you do not have an Italian embassy or consulate in your country, diplomatic representation can generally be found at the nearest embassy in a neighbouring country. Visa application can take from one to three months to be completed.
Sections in IMMIGRATION IN ITALY:
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