Residence Permits in Italy: Permesso di Soggiorno, Registration and EC Residence Permits

Information for EU citizens and non-EU (US, Australian) on the essential "stay permit" (Permesso di Soggiorno): Who needs what, where to go, how to make the application and the documentation required...

Legal Requirements to Enter Italy

The legal requirements for visiting or staying in Italy depend on citizenship - European Union (EU) or non-European Union (EU) citizen - reason for entry into Italy, and intended duration of the stay.

  • The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio degli Affari Esteri) website gives information for all non-Italian citizens travelling to Italy for long or short term, on visa (visto) and documentation requirements (and the cost) appropriate to the purpose of the stay: Click here

EU-citizens do not require a visa to enter in Italy, regardless of the planned duration of the stay.

All non-EU citizens require a visa for a stay of longer than three months (90 days). The home country Italian Embassy can provide guidance on the type of visa required and the documents needed for the application. The visa must be inserted into the passport before leaving for Italy.

Tourists and Residents

Under Italian law, every foreigner in Italy is considered to be either a tourist or a resident. As a rule, a tourist is a foreigner staying in Italy for less than three months. People coming on a business trip, students enrolled in short courses, people doing research on their own, for example, are considered to be tourists, as long as the stay does not exceed three months.

Note: As of May 28, 2007, all non-residents from non-Schengen countries (including Canada and the United States) are required to complete a Declaration of Presence (Dichiarazione di Presenza). Obtain and complete the Declaration of Presence at the airport on the day of arrival. Tourists arriving from a Schengen country can request the form from a local police station (commissariato di zona or questura) and submit it to the police within eight business days of arrival. It is important to keep a copy of the receipt issued by the Italian authorities. Failure to submit a Declaration of Presence within eight days is punishable by expulsion from Italy.

  • Additional information can be found (in Italian only) at the Italian Immigration website: Click here
  • And, at the Italian State Police website: Click here


A resident is anyone who plans to stay in Italy for more than three months. Foreigners working in Italy, seasonal workers, students enrolled in full-time education for a full academic year, or those who wish to live in Italy are considered to be residents. Residents require a permit or certificate of registration.

  • Permesso di Soggiorno (permit to stay): required by non-EU citizens, has an expiry date, is renewable, and is issued (with varying durations of validity) for the first five years of residence in Italy
  • Permesso di Soggiorno per Soggiornanti di Lungo Periodo, S.L.P (EC Long-Term Residence Permit): issued for an indefinite period to people who have had a residence permit for more than five years in Italy, and that have a minimum income (equivalent to the amount of social security benefit)
  • Certificato di residenza (certificate of registration): issued by the Anagrafe office of the local town hall, to EU citizens who intend to stay more than three months in the country

The Italian Immigration authority (Portale Immigrazione) provides comprehensive information in Italian for EU and non-EU citizens and their family members. (Note that the English version of this website may not be up to date).

  • Portale Immigrazione
  • Call Centre
    : 800 309 309 (for general information)
    Open: 24 hours (some information available in English)

The Public Security System in Italy, Polizia di Stato, has detailed information about all cases of immigration.

  • Polizia di Stato
  • The Immigration Guidebook of the Ministry of the Interior, "Staying in Italy legally" has comprehensive information in English for people in all situations: Click here
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