Getting a visa is the first step, if you want to move to Italy.

Italy remains a very attractive destination for many people, who come from all over the world to Italy because of her many attractive destinations.  It is estimated that over 50 million tourists visit each year, providing Italy with more than 60% of the country’s national income.

Besides tourist, many people move to Italy for other reasons. Many come here for work, study, family reasons or even as a retirement home. Whatever your reason is for moving to Italy, the first step is, having a visa.

But which one will you need? The type of visa you’ll need to apply for depends on the reason you want to move to Italy and also the length of your stay. If you’re from an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, visa requirements do not apply but you will need an Italian residence permit for stays longer than 90 days. Non-EU citizens planning to stay in Italy for more than three months will need a visa.

If you’re a citizen of a country covered by European Union freedom of movement rules, visa requirements do not apply but you will need an Italian residence permit for stays longer than 90 days. Non-EU citizens planning to stay in Italy for more than three months will need a visa

Whichever type of visa you need, you should apply for it at the Italian embassy or consulate and sometimes a visa application Center which Italy has outsourced visa applications to, such as VFS Global in your home country before you leave. Bear in mind that the process can take a while – it’s best to contact the Italian representative in your country to book an appointment to begin the application process and summit all the necessary documents needed for a visa application. Here’s a look at the different long stay visas also known as the ‘Type D’ or ‘D-Visa’ types available to move to Italy to help you get started;

  • Study visa
  • Work visa
  • Family visa
  • Self-employed visa
  • Investor visa
  • Elective residency visa
  • Working holiday visa

Student Visa

Students who are over 18 years old can apply for a student visa to be enrolled into an Italian educational institution to study. The student visa for Italy is only an entrance visa. This means it grants you the right to enter Italy, but if you want to legally stay and study in Italy for longer than three months, you also have to apply for an Italian residence permit.

The Italian study visa is available for a maximum of one year initially, but can be renewed for the duration of your courses. However, to renew your study visa, you will have to pass all your yearly exams at the university.

Work Visa

This type of visa is available to foreign nationals who want to move to Italy to work. But if you’re a citizen of an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you don’t need a permit to work in Italy. You just need to have a job in Italy before you can apply for a work visa.

The good news is that your employer will complete most of the visa application process for you. All you need to do is provide them with the relevant paperwork.

Your local embassy will provide you with an entry visa, which should take less than 30 days.

Family Visa

The family visa allows you to bring your spouse, children or dependent parents to live with you, if you are a non-EU national living in Italy with a valid residence permit.

Once your family member has received their Italy family reunion visa, they can enter the country and apply for an Italian residence permit and become legal residents just like you.

However, before they can submit the visa application in your home country, you have to get authorization in Italy called Nulla Osta, which allows them to get the visa to join you.

Self Employed Visa

This type of visa is open to non EU-national who plans to move to Italy to work as a freelancer or open a start-up business. EU nationals as well as citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland are free to enter the country and work with simply their IDs or passports. But for stays exceeding 90 days, they need to obtain an Italian residence permit as well.

Before you can apply for a self employed visa or open a start-up business, you must have authorization to perform self-employed work from the local Immigration Desk or register your business with the Business Registrar and also the necessary authorization and documentation needed to perform the specific self-employed activity in Italy.

However, you must bear in mind that, you can only apply for self employed visa for a short window of time every year. There is also a set quota of how many visas that would be issued yearly.

Investors Visa

This is a 2-year visa in exchange for a minimum investment of €500,000 to €2 million for non-EU citizens who choose to invest in strategic assets in Italy.

In order to obtain your investor visa you first need a Nulla Osta (certificate of no impediment) to be released online by the Investor Visa for Italy Committee (IV4I). Afterwards, you can go to the Italian representation in your country of residence to apply for the investor visa. With this visa, investors families are eligible to apply for dependent visas.

Retirement Visa

This is also called an Elective Residency Visa (residenza elettiva), and it is mostly used by foreign nationals who wish to retire in Italy and have the financial means to do so. This financial means cannot come from active work while you are in Italy, but rather from savings, investments, or pensions.

Before you make the decision to retire in Italy, you have to apply for the visa at the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country.

Working Holiday Visa

If you are in the age group of 18-30 and from Australia, Canada, New Zealand or South Korea, you may be eligible to apply for a Visa under a working holiday program.  This working holiday program is a mutual cultural exchange program that makes it possible for young people from a participating country to live and work in another participating country. This visa allows them to live and work in Italy for up to a year.

Please note that your visa isn’t the only permission you’ll need if you want to live in Italy. After you enter Italy with a long-stay visa, you have 8 days to apply for a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno). The length of time this document will remain valid depends on the type of visa you have.

For more information about visa applications, see the Italian Foreign Ministry’s visa website, or contact your embassy or local Questura in Italy

I would like to hear from you: What are your thoughts on this subject. You can share your thoughts and experiences with me and others in the comments section below!

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