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Long-term visa (Visa D) for Italy

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Have you decided to relocate to Italy? Whether or not you need to obtain a visa depends on a number of factors including what citizenship you hold, your current country of residence, your reasons for staying in Italy, and how long you plan to stay there for. It’s important to determine which visa you need before you move.

There are three types of visas:

  • Schengen Uniform Visa (Visa C) – for people seeking to stay in Italy for 90 days or less
  • National Visa (Visa D) – for people seeking to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days
  • Limited Territorial Validity Visa – issued for people seeking to stay in Italy due to humanitarian reasons, national interest, or under certain international obligations. These are issued by the citizen’s country diplomatic or consular representative

These types of visa also vary according to your reasons for travel, including business, tourism, retirement, study, family reunion, transit, and religious purposes.

If you plan to stay in Italy for 90 days or less, you can read our helpful guide on how to apply for a short-term visa (Schengen Uniform Visa)

 Important:

EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens are not required to obtain a visa to stay in Italy, although they will need to register for residency in their local municipality if they wish to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days.

Applying for a long-term visa

If you are not an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you may need to obtain a long-term visa (Visa D). You can check the visa requirements for your specific situation on the EU Immigration Portal by filling in details of your nationality, country of residence, reasons for travel, and estimated length of your stay.

We suggest you visit the Italian Consulate in your country of residence to confirm which entry documents and permits you will need for your relocation.

Different types of long-term visa (Visa D)

There are a variety of different types of long-term Italian visas, with different criteria. To help make your relocation a little easier, we have detailed the most common types below:

Work visas

In order to obtain a work visa, you must have already secured a job before relocating. This is because your employer will complete most of the visa application on your behalf.

Note that Italy uses a quota system for most occupations, which means that a work visa can only be authorised if you meet all criteria and if the quota limit hasn’t been met yet.

Since the process is administered regionally, the exact requirements may vary slightly depending on your area of work. Generally, your company will need to apply for an authorisation from their local Prefettura. Once the application is successful, your employer will be given your ‘authorisation to work’ and the local municipality will inform the Italian Embassy in your country of residence, who will provide you with an Entry Visa, which should take less than 30 days. Once your Entry Visa is approved, you will have six months to collect your work visa from your local Italian embassy.

The EU Immigration Portal contains further information for specific circumstances.

 Good to know:

You may be able to apply for an EU Blue Card if you are highly skilled, have a binding job offer/contract, and you are from a country outside the EU. This is a fast track process which can be started online, though it still may take up to three months for authorisation. You can find out more information on the European Blue Card website.

Self-employed work visa applications

Entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals will need to follow a similar process to obtain a work visa. If you plan to open a business in Italy, you will need to apply to the Chamber of Commerce for a certificate confirming their approval of the business you’re hoping to open. Requirements vary from case to case but you will generally need to prove your funding and qualifications, as well as business plans and credentials. Self-employed work visas tend to be valid for two years.

Note that applicants hoping to run a start-up business may be eligible for a specific ‘Start-up Visa’. More details can be found on the Italian Visa Startup website.

Seasonal/fixed-term workers

Seasonal, part-time, and fixed-term contract workers will need to follow a similar process to those with full-time salaried employment. Your employer will complete most of the visa on your behalf, although visas are usually only issued for six months, and extended for a further three months.

 Good to know:

Under the ‘Working Holiday Agreement’, if you are aged 18-30 years old and from Australia, New Zealand, or South Korea, or aged 18-35 years old from Canada, you can apply for a visa which will allow you to work for up to one year in Italy, provided you confirm that your primary intention is to travel. If you are a citizen of Canada, you may be able to extend this to two years.

An Italian Elective Residence Visa

An Italian Elective Residence is for non-EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who have chosen Italy as a permanent residence and who are able to support themselves without having to obtain employment in the country (dependent, self-employed, or remote). People who usually obtain this type of visa are retired or have high self-sustaining incomes and financial assets, for example, people with international investments or international properties. With this form of visa, you are not permitted to finance the residency through employment.

Student visa

You can apply for a student visa if you are over 18 years old. You must be able to prove that you are enrolled in a course in an Italian educational institution or professional training for a specific amount of time. Student visas must be obtained before arrival in Italy – they are issued by the Italian Embassies and consular posts in your country of residence.

EU, EEA, and Swiss students do not need a visa but must have a valid passport and register with the local police station for a residency permit.

Most student visas allow you to work for up to twenty hours per week but non-EU students must obtain a work permit, which can take up to two months. For more details, go to the educations.com website.

In order to apply for a student visa, you must provide a passport photo, passport, letter of acceptance from the university, proof of adequate financial means of support including the amount necessary to return to your country of residence or a valid return ticket, health documents, and proof of accommodation.

Family Reunification Visa

A Family Reunification Visa can be applied for once you have a long-term residence permit and you have an adequate yearly gross income to provide for all reunited family members. Family members include legitimate adult spouse, unmarried minor children or those of your spouse, dependent adult children with serious health difficulties, dependent parents who do not have children in their country of origin or parents over 65 (if their other children cannot provide support due to proven health reasons). Family members must obtain a long-term visa (Visa D) and apply for a residency permit upon entry into the country.

 Useful links:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy
EU Immigration Portal
Schengen Visa Portal

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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