Establishing Residence in Italy

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It’s a document granted by the Italian government that bestows on a foreigner the right to establish residence n Italian territory. The duration of the permit varies.

The application for a residence permit must be filed within eight working days after being admitted to Italy. A delay is legitimate only in the presence of circumstances beyond anyone’s control. You don’t have to apply for a residence permit if you have come to Italy for a visit, business, tourism or to study for a period not over three months. In this circumstance a declaration of presence will suffice.

If a foreign citizen arrives in Italy to work or to reunite with his/her family, and applies for a residence permit for the first time, he/she must go to the appropriate Prefecture’s Unified Immigration Desk (SUI) (here is the map,) within an eight day period after being admitted. An appointment request can be sent via a Digital Signature Certificate (PEC,) with a copy of the postmarked visa attached. Subsequently you will be called to go in person to the SUI to:

  • Turn in the original of the necessary papers,
  • Be given the appropriate permit kit,
  • And for those between the age of 16 and 65, to sign the integration agreement (for additional info read the FAQ on the issue.)


If you are applying for a permit based on:

  • Awaiting employment, awaiting citizenship, international protection, family, self-employment, subordinate employment, out of the ordinary employment, seasonal employment, mission, religious beliefs, elective residence, stateless person (renewal,) study (long-term permit,) apprenticeship, professional training, EU Blue Card, need to amend residence permit (address, passport, civil status, adding on children,)

the requests must be deposited at an authorized post office, using the appropriate kit that can be found at all post offices, municipalities and union’s welfare agencies. 

In case of the following grounds:

  • International protection, subsidiary protection, 1° international protection, medical treatment, athletic competition, justice, integration of a minor, invitation, underage individual, family members (the granting of a permit to a non-deportable alien, ex. Art. 19 T.U.)  humanitarian, stateless person, workcations, and in every other case not specifically listed,

the application must be presented directly to the Questura (police.)

Generally, it’s necessary to have one’s personal ID (i.e., passport,) and any additional papers related to the type of residence permit being requested. Additional information can be had at an authorized post office, the Questura (central police station,) local municipalities and union’s welfare agencies.

The Questura will keep the original request. You will be given a copy that will serve as a receipt.


Please Note: When the application is deposited at the post office, the individual will be given a sheet with the date and time when he/she will have to go to the Questura to turn over ID photos and have their fingerprints taken.

The papers to be submitted are:

  • A €16 revenue stamp,
  • A payment of €30.46 via a postal payment slip (PSE,) for the electronic version of residence permit. The stamped receipt must be attached to the application,
  • Payment via postal payment slip of a sum that ranges from €40 to €100 for the permit itself. The type of permit and its length determine the amount to be paid.


Please Note:  The following categories are exempt from paying:

  • A spouse’s underage children or those born out of wedlock,
  • Those who have a residence permit for medical treatment,
  • Foreign citizens who are applying or renewing an international protection residence permit,
  • Those who are converting a still valid residence permit,
  • Those who need to amend a permit,
  • Family members of EU citizen who reside here based on D. Lgs. 30/2007.

The duration of a residence permit, if applicable, is equal to that of the entrance visa. In any case in the chart below, you will find all the info:

Employment with long-term contract

Max. 2 years

Employment with a short-term contract

Equal to the length of the contract; max of 1 year


Max. 2 years

Seasonal employment

Max. 9 months, no matter where you are employed

Waiting to be employed

At least 1 year, that is as long as the income support benefits that the foreign worker will receive, if superior to the year (L. 92/2012);

Study and training

1 year, renewable

Family members

The same as the person who has the right to family reunification, or max. 2 years

Application for international protection

6 months, thereafter renewable every 6 months until the procedure is completed

International protection (subsidiary and status of)

5 years

Special protection

2 years

Special cases

6 months, renewable for a year or more

Permit due to natural disaster

6 months

Permit for acts of bravery  

2 years

Volunteer work

Usually 1 year, max. 18 months

Scientific reasearch

Length of research program 

(D. Lgs. 17/2008)


The renewal must be filed at the post office or Questura, depending on the reason, at least 60 days before it expires. This is just a guideline, and should you not comply there is no immediate sanction foreseen. If the residence permit has expired for more than 60 days without proof that a renewal has been requested, you will be considered an irregular migrant.

In case of an application or renewal of a residence permit, the individual is a legal resident and can work provided that:

  • The application has been filed before expiration or within 60 days after the expiration date,
  • You are in possession of a receipt issued by the responsible authority that proves that an application or renewal of the permit has been filed. During this time you will be able to enroll in the National Health Service, renew the Identification Card, change your residence, have access to welfare programs, get your driver license, etc.

The residence permit cannot be renewed or extended if one’s stay in Italy is interrupted by a sojourn abroad of over 6 months, or a span of time superior to half of the permit’s validity, except in circumstances such as military service or the like. Furthermore, the residence permit will not be renewed if the legal conditions that led to its being granted no longer apply.

What are the residence permits that can be converted into work permits?

Study, apprenticeship or training

Before a permit’s expiration date, it can be converted into a work permit if the request falls within the yearly quota set by related legislation. If the conversion isn’t approved, you are still allowed to work 20 hours/week.

Seasonal Employment

Before its expiration date, but it must fall within the quota set by related legislation.

Underage (art.32, comma 1-bis)

Social Protection (now under the rubric of special cases, art 18 e 22, 12 quarter)

Victims of Domestic Violence ((now under the rubric of special cases) (art.18–bis)

EU residence permit for long term residents issued by another EU member state (art.9–bis)

Special Protection (as in art. 32, ¶ 3, of the January 28, 2008, legislative decree n. 25)

Due to calamity (as in art. 20-bis)

Due to Elective Residence (as in art. 11, ¶ 1, letter c-quarter) of the President of the Republic decree, August 31, 1999, n. 394)

To gain citizenship or be recognized as a stateless person

Due to Athletic Activity

Due to Artistic Type Job

Due to Religious Beliefs

To Assist Minors

Due to Medical Treatment

Please Note:  The residence permits issued while waiting for international protection status, allows the petitioner to work two months after the date the request was filed, but it cannot be converted into another type of permit.

A residence permit holder can:

  • Sign up at a Job Collocation Center and develop a professional curriculum
  • Enroll in the National Health Service
  • Sign up with Social Security (INPS)
  • Sign up with National Work Insurance program (INAIL)
  • Request to be civilly registered in the municipality of residence
  • Join and/or promote an association
  • Join a union
  • Enroll in educational and training programs.

In the following occasions, they must show their residence permit together with a passport or any other personal ID:

  • To members of the public administration when applying for licenses, authorizations, registrations, etc.
  • When asked by the police and other security personnel. If one refuses to show their ID, he/she can be arrested and fined up to €2000.  When a valid motive exists, the police can ask information and proof of   income (from work or other legitimate sources,) that must be sufficient to provide for the foreign citizen and his/her family. 
  • They have the obligation to communicate within 15 days an eventual change of address to the local Questore (police functionary.) The communication can be made via an hospitality declaration and/or a “cessione di fabbricato” form according to norms in place.

No, the residence permit is valid till its expiration date and, except for seasonal workers, for a period of not less than 1 year. If a new job is not found before the expiration date, there is the possibility to apply for a permit awaiting employment.

The integration agreement is an Italian governmental document that a foreign citizen must sign. It commits the individual to a series of steps to further the process of integration via courses in language, social and civil education during the permit’s duration. 

When the agreement is signed, the alien will be given 16 credits that can be increased through the acquisition of knowledge of the Italian language level A2, fundamentals of the Italian Constitution, civil life in Italy or the completion of activities. The credits will be reduced in the face of criminal, administrative and tax related offences. 

In order to remain in Italy, the agreement expects that the migrant will reach a quota of 30 credits within a two-year period

Source: Portale Integrazione Migranti (Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali; Ministero dell’Interno; Ministero dell’Istruzione.)

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