Monday, October 12, 2009

Thinking of Living in Italy?

Have you dreamed of living in Italy, or staying for a long period? If so, here is some high-level information as to what is involved. Getting to Italy is a lot harder than most would expect! Note: The following pertains to non-EU citizens; EU citizens have laws specific to them (and which make stays in Italy infinitely easier). There are also situations where the following might not apply, as an example, a non-EU citizen traveling with/staying with an EU citizen spouse. Also note that regulations are constantly changing. You should always check your consulate's website for the latest information and consult with them if you have any questions.

Currently, U.S. and Canadian travelers are granted an automatic 90 day stay from the time you enter the EU (other non-EU citizens should check travel regulations). You should be certain your passport is stamped upon entering the EU (under local laws, travelers without a stamp in their passport may be questioned and asked to document the length of their stay at the time of departure or at any other point during their visit, and could face possible fines or other repercussions if unable to do so). This 90 days is the maximum number of days you can stay within the entire EU out of any 180 day period. You will need to be out of the entire EU for 90 days for every 90 in.

If you plan on staying longer than 90 days the situation becomes much more complicated: you will need to obtain an actual visa that is stamped in your passport. Visas cannot be obtained in Italy, they must be obtained from the consulate that serves the area in which you are resident. Although there are many visa types the most commonly issued are: elective residence, student and work.

Elective Residence visa-
This type of visa allows entry in Italy for aliens who intend to take up residence in Italy and who are able to do so, and to support themselves autonomously, without having to rely on employment in Italy, whether it is as a dependent employee or as a self-employed worker (or home country for that matter).

Student Visa-
Requirements for admission to schools, and visa issuance, varies according to the study program.

Work Visa-
Three types of work visas: dependent work, independent (autonomous) work, and performing arts work. To get a dependent work visa you will need to first find a job and then the company that hires you will have to supply many documents to help you get the visa. If you are planning on getting an independent work visa there are many more problems entailed, most notably the quotas on how many in each business sector.

Once you arrive in Italy with your visa you must apply for your "Permesso di Soggiorno" (Permit to Stay) within eight days from your arrival in Italy. This is the only legal document which legitimizes your stay in Italy.

Then, there is the process for obtaining your Carta d'Identita.....

and, on and on....

If you are interested in learning more about the "expat" life in Italy, or have questions you like to ask of expats I can suggest reading, and joining, the forum.

Lastly, be aware that there are possibilities of expulsion, fines, and being prevented from re-entering Italy if you stay illegally.

Photos: an Italian "visto" (visa) which is affixed to a passport

Stories, including cycling trip stories, for the Italian Cycling Journal welcome; contact See here for a chance to win a T-shirt for submitting a story.

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