Checklist: Getting Legal in Italy


The processes & paperwork that are required to immigrate to Italy legally can seem overwhelming, but actually it is ‘simple’ …just follow the  steps and you’ll get it done.  The key is knowing the ‘What, Where & How’ and have a good dose of patience. Curious Cat Expat has provided an outline for you for the What, Where & How….the patience, well, that’s up to you 🙂

Documents & Identification (click on each for detailed info):

Many foreigners think of Italy as a fantasy land and have heard many a story of someone who moved to Italy on a whim 20 or even 10 years ago.  These tales give the impression that there are no rules, that it’s ok to arrive with your suitcase and stay.  Absolutely, not true…times have changed!  There are many hoops you need to jump through to be legal to stay in Italy and the Italian government is getting more strict as the years pass.

In 2009, Italy passed a law that makes it a crime to enter or stay in Italy illegally.  Illegal immigration is punishable by a fine (5 – 10 thousand euro) and you would be repatriated (you get sent back to your home country)

It’s your choice to come to Italy without a visa or skip the Permesso di Soggiorno (permission to stay) application.  Many people choose to gamble with the immigration system … HOWEVER, the Italian government is getting tough on this point.  If you get caught, not only will you be sent back to your home country, you can get extradited from the entire EU (all the EU countries, not just Italy) for up to seven years.  How can you get caught?  It could be as simple as a random ticket check at the Metro station or if you get in an accident, you never know.

 icon-thumb-tack Note:

Each person’s unique situation & circumstances may vary the requirements for entry & stay in Italy.

Let’s say you’re:

  • an EU citizen – a VISA is not necessary.
  • &/or you’re working for a government agency. The government agency will most likely arrange for your documentation appropriately.
  • &/or if you’re coming to Italy on a work permit, your company may manage many or most of the entry & stay requirements for you.

The above list is a guide, an overview and most helpful for the individual/family coming to Italy independently, without assistance from an employer.

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