The foreign national may enter Italy if he is able to document the reason and conditions of his stay, as well as demonstrate the availability of financial resources for supporting himself during his stay and for returning to his country of origin, except in cases of entry for work purposes. Entry is denied to Italy if the person does not meet these requirements, or is considered a threat to national security or to one of the countries with which Italy has signed agreements for the free movement of persons between internal borders. The Consolidated Act on Immigration is the law of reference for immigration and the status of foreigners.

Legal residence: Required documents

To enter Italy legally, one needs a passport or another travel document and an entry visa (for visiting and/or tourism, work, study and/or research, for family reasons, etc.), which must be requested from the Italian embassy or consulates in the country of origin or in the country of permanent residence of a foreign non-EU citizen. Entry into Italy is allowed with visas for short stays, valid up to 3 months, and for long stays that require the granting of a (long-term) residence permit with a motivation identical to that of the visa. For stays of less than three months, visas issued by diplomatic authorities of other countries with which Italy has ratified agreements, or in accordance with European Community rules, are considered valid.

Entry for work purposes

A citizen of a foreign country, who wishes to enter Italy for work (including seasonal work), professional training or self-employment, can apply for a work permit through the Ministry of the Interior.

Every year, usually in January or February, the President of the Council of Ministers, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior, publishes a document on “Flows Decree”, which establishes quotas regulating the inflows of non-EU workers.

The decree has provided the new quotas for conversions as well as for entries related to autonomous workers, several categories of non-seasonal workers, and seasonal workers.

Applications for a work permit will be processed on the basis of their chronological order of submission. Due to the high number of applications, foreign citizens should apply for a work permit as early as possible in order to increase their chance of success.

The application period usually closes around December.

Illegal presence and expulsion

Failure to comply with these procedures, or staying longer than 3 months or the time specified in the visa, means the foreigner is in the country illegally, which will lead to his expulsion, except in cases of force majeure as provided for by law. The expelled foreigner may not return to Italy unless he has special authorization or if the ban on entry has terminated. Foreigners reported for serious reasons of public order and national security, and in protection of international relations, are not granted entry in Italy. In practice, it is illegal:

  • for non-EU citizens to enter Italy without documents (passport or identity card and visa);
  • for non-EU citizens who legally entered Italy to remain once they have lost the necessary requirements for their stay.

A foreigner who reaches Italy in an illegal manner is not granted entry at the border. If he has already entered the country, he is expelled unless he must be detained at one of the centers for immigration to determine identity and/or nationality. The expulsion order is adopted by the competent prefecture and carried out by the police.


Source: Italian Ministry of Interior