How to obtain work permit? Adm In ME has prepared a free guide for you

Italy is a popular destination not just for tourism and holidays, but also for working. While EU and Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland citizens are not subjects to any restrictions to access the Italian job market, non-EU citizens have to apply for a working residence permit.


There are several type of work permits which are related to the type of work the non-EU citizens are going to do:

  • residence permit for subordinate work;
  • residence permit for seasonal work;
  • residence permit for long-term seasonal work
  • residence permit for self-employed work.

Although every non-EU person has the right to work in Italy, there is an Immigration Quota Decree (decreto flussi), that establishes the actual need for immigration permits each year. This quota decree sets the limits for each category of worker/citizen allowed obtain a work permit.


Employers who intend to hire non-EU workers who are resident abroad must submit an application for a work clearance (nulla osta) to the Immigration Helpdesk (Sportello Unico Immigrati). The application must contain:

  • The employer’s guarantee that the employees will have an accommodation
  • The commitment that the employer will cover the travel expenses for the return of the workers back to their country, once the permit will expire.

After the Immigration Help Desk verifies that all requirements are met, the foreigners may apply for a visa to Italy’s Embassy in their country or to a Consulate Authority.

With the residence permit for subordinate work, it is possible to carry out an autonomous activity for the same period, provided that the general conditions are met.

The subordinate work permit has a maximum duration of one year if the employment contract is a fixed term and two years if the employment contract is for an indefinite period.


Seasonal work permits are only granted for specific sectors such as agricultural and touristic sectors. Employers from these sectors and the associations involved with agricultural and touristic affairs, whether they are Italian or foreigners with a legal establishment in Italy, have to apply for permission to hire seasonal workers.

The requests must be submitted online through the Ministry of Interior ‘s website, by registering and filling in the specific application form (C-stag). Employers should apply for clearance as soon as possible because applications will be viewed on the basis of the chronological order of their submission.

This permit has a duration from 20 days to 9 months depending on the seasonal work period.

Workers who prove that they have come to Italy for at least two years consecutively can obtain a three-year seasonal work permit. In this case, the foreigners holding the three-year work permit can receive the entry visa from the Italian consular authorities of their country of origin, presenting the proposal for a seasonal employment contract submitted by the employer.


Running a business, being craft worker, establishing a company or practicing a profession – all qualify for the same type of work permit: self-employed work.

Note that under Italian law, some professionals and trades must have specific qualifications and certificates recognized in Italy, so it is best not to start working before registration or before you are sure you have obtained all mandatory documents, otherwise you risk to pay a large fine or a be banned from entering Italy for many years.

Foreigners who want be self-employed in Italy, must, first of all, request a temporary provisional clearance from the police headquarters (Questura). The provisional clearance should be obtained within 20 days from the application day. The following step is to obtain an entry visa for self-employment from the Italian Embassy or consulate representation of their country. The visa is issued or denied within 120 days from the date when the application is submitted and has to be used within 180 days from issue date.

The duration of self-employment work permit is 2 years, with the possibility to renew it. The request for a new work permit must be done 60 days before the old work permit expires.

Foreigners holding a self-employment permit could carry out a subordinate activity without converting the permit. At the time of renewal of the permit, a new permit will be issued for the type of activity that actually takes place.


Employees who worked and lived in Italy for at least five years and have an income not less than annual amount of the social allowance can apply for a long-term EC residence permit.

The EC permit allows non-EU citizens to enter in Italy without a visa, to work and enjoy the social benefits provided by Italian Government.

The long-term permit has an undefined period of validity. However, in case foreigners are absent from EU territory for a period of 12 months consecutively, their permit will be revoked.


If foreign workers become unemployed, due to dismissal or resignation, they are obliged to register, within 40 days from the date of termination of employment, at the employment office (Centro per l’Impiego). After the expiration of their work permit, foreigners who have found employment will be authorized to remain in Italy, only by demonstrating a minimum annual income and the availability to start to work.

In case they don’t get a new job, they are obliged to leave Italy.