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Immigration FAQ

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Public Civic Lawyer

Q: May everyone just come to Italy and legally look for a job ?
                                A: Unless you are a EU Citizen in order to work in Italy it is necessary to obtain both a 'Permit of Stay' and a 'Work Permit', rather than a 'Visa'. The Italian ' Dependant Work Permit ' application process must be begun by the company in Italy that hires the worker. The Italian work permit cannot be applied for by either the employee or a recruiting firm or a job agency.

Q: What is the general rule about obtaining the Visa/Permit of stay ?                            A: In Italy the is a “quota” system: the quotas limit the number of non-European Union nationals who are allowed to enter and stay in Italy to work. However, there are no limitations to entry into Italy for certain categories of employees. Each year, before the 30th of November, the Italian Prime Minister issues a decree, which lays down the aggregate number of non-European Union workers who can be admitted into Italy for the subsequent year (the so-called “Decreto Flussi”). As a rule, an Italian national or corporation employer is required to prepare and file a work permit application on behalf of the non-European Community alien. Therefore, an individual is not allowed to lodge a work permit application on his/her own.   There are certain categories of employees excluded from the quota system: being entitled to apply for a work permit at any time and without numeric restrictions: 

• Executives or highly qualified employees of foreign companies with offices in Italy;

• Exchange or mother-tongue university lecturers, professors and researchers;        

• Translators and interpreters;                                                                                                

• Home-keepers (provided that they have been hired abroad for at least a year by Italian or European Community citizens who live abroad but are moving into Italy);

• Individuals entitled to stay in Italy for training purposes;                          

• Employees of foreign companies working in Italy for the purposes of performing specific assignments;                                                              

 • Employees of foreign individuals or companies executing a contract in Italy;

• Artists;

• Professional athletes;

• Journalists;

• Individuals participating in exchange or mobility programmes;          

• Professional nurses.

The permit of stay for subordinate jobs purposes:  The Italian national or corporation employer of the foreign must forward the application to the Ministry of the Interior as from the date and time Txed by the “Decreto Flussi” via Internet. For this purpose, it will be necessary to download a special computer program from the website of the Ministry of the Interior. The quota (and therefore the work permit) will be granted on a Trst-come, Trst-served basis. The Ministry of the Interior will forward the application to the appropriate Immigration Office of the employer’s province of residence. After receiving the opinion on the work permit application of both the local Italian Labour Office and the Police Office (“Questura”) of the employer’s province of residence, the Immigration Office will release an authorization (“Nulla Osta al lavoro”) to the alien’s employer. The employer will thereafter send the authorization to the foreign employee (who must be out of Italy). The latter will have to apply for the relevant work visa at the Italian consulate in his/her country of residence within 120 days from the day when the authorization was issued. Otherwise, the authorization becomes invalid. Upon arrival in Italy, the foreign employee must go to the Immigration Office in order to execute a “contract of stay” (similar to an employment agreement) with the Italian employer and then apply for a work permit (“Permesso di soggiorno”) to the local Police Office. 

The permit of stay for self-employed jobsAs for the subordinate jobs, also the selfemployed jobs are also limited by quotas. However, these quotas are not consumed as fast as the quotas for subordinate jobs. Non-European aliens wishing to perform a self-employed activity in Italy are allowed to do so provided that the performance of such activity is not reserved by law to Italian natives or to natives of the European Union States. Foreign aliens may carry out the following self-employment activities: 

• professional activities;

• entrepreneurial, business or craft activities;

• service and consultancy activities;

• setting up a company or hold an office in a company or

corporation (i.e., be member of the Board of Directors);

Moreover, the following aliens  are also entitled to apply for a permit of stay to work as independent contractors:

• Exchange or mother-tongue university lecturers, professors and researchers;

• Translators and interpreters;

• Artists;

• Professional athletes.

The non-European alien who wishes to perform the activities above or belong to the categories above must:

• prove to the Italian authorities to be in possession of adequate financial means to perform the desired selfemployed activity; The exact amount of the financial means, which are necessary to perform the self-employed activity in question, will be determined by the competent Chamber of Commerce or professional body in case of professional activities. If the activity is not subject to registration with the Chamber of Commerce or with a professional body, the foreign alien must have a contract with an Italian company as an independent contractor (i.e., have in place a contract of services);

• meet the requirements set forth by Italian law to perform the desired self-employed activity, including, if mandatory, the requirements for the registration with a professional body or bar association (i.e., to work as a lawyer it is necessary to have a degree in law and the relative admission to the bar recognized by the Italian government);

• be in possession of a certificate released by the competent authority attesting that there are no legal obstacles for the release of the authorization or the license required to perform the activity which the foreign individual wishes to perform (such certification must not be older than three months) (i.e., it is necessary to prove that there are no legal obstacles to obtain a license to open a shop or a restaurant);

• have an adequate lodging;

• have an annual income higher than 8,500.00 Euros.

 Procedure in order to obtain a permit of stay for self-employed Jobs: The documents and evidence above must be submitted to the competent Police Office (also by means of a representative) who will release the authorization (“Nulla Osta”) which is necessary to obtain the visa for selfemployed work at the Italian consulate. Once arrived in Italy,the foreign alien must apply for a permit of stay to the local Police Office.  

The permit of stay for study purposes: Non-European aliens are entitled to attend a course or University program in Italy. If the course or University program lasts for more than three months, it will be necessary to apply for a permit of stay. For this purpose, the first step is to ask for the release of a visa for study purposes to the Italian consulate of the student’s country of residence. Once in Italy, the student will have to apply for a permit of stay to the local Police Office. The duration of the permit of stay for study will be equal to the duration of the course or University program and at the end of the study period it can be converted into a work permit. This possibility of conversion is subject to the availability of the quota within the framework of the Decreto Flussi. The permit of stay for study allows the student to work under a part-time regime for no more than 20 hours per week, which can be accumulated for 52 weeks. In any case, the limit of 1,040 hours per year must be respected. 

Conclusions: It may not be so easy to obtain a work permit to perform a subordinate job if you do not fall into one of the categories under Art. 27 of the Italian Immigration law. Should this be your case, for a successful application your Italian employer must be ready to apply on exactly the date and time indicated by the Italian Government (if the “green light” set up by the Government is scheduled for 12.06.2010 at 9 am for example, the application must be sent on 12.06.2010 at 9.01 am!!!). On the other hand, if you fall into one of the categories under Art. 27 of the Italian Immigration law, your moving to Italy will be easier, but the duration of your stay will be limited (in general no more than two years). In any case, it is highly advisable (but no compulsory) to hire or to consult an agency who works in favor of immigrants/expatriates in order to apply for a permit of stay for work (either in case of subordinate or self-employed jobs). If you do not have a good command of Italian, an attorney or an agency can really help you. Unfortunately, it is impossible to give you advice on how long it takes to get a permit of stay (in general it may take a few months), so it is better to lodge the application as soon as you decide to come to Italy (of course this is not applicable if you have to wait for the “green light” of the Italian government). 

Q: What is the'SportelloUnico'?                                                                                                A: It is a Public office which handels some specific sort of immigration procedures like working permits within the quotas, family reunions. Being only one office in Rome expect long lines !

Q: May I switch a ' Tourist Visa ' into a ' Work Visa ' ?
                                                    A: A non EU Citizen with a ' Tourist Visa ' cannot switch it into a "Dependant Work Visa". The tourist visa is valid for a stay upto 90 days.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen married to an Italian citizen. We want to move to Rome. How I go about obtaining my paper work to become legal in Italy ?
                                            A: Being married to an Italian citizen you are eligible to apply for citizenship immediately.  (note it doesn't  imply that you'll get it immediately.)
You have get the full record - in original of the "Application for a marriage license" as this contains all the necessary information as well as a subsequent notation of the marriage itself at the office in the county where you were married Then, according to international treaty, you'll need to have the document certified by the state department (of the state you were married in - not the US state department). The certification is called an "Apostille."
Submitting a simple "certificate of marriage" might cause problems....
You'll also have to have your marriage certificate translated into Italian.
Then you should  register your marriage at the Italian Consulate which have  jurisdiction for the area in which you have residence in. The local Italian Consulate will forward the registration here to record it. Of course you also have to show your husband documentations proving his citizenship.
If your husband was born in Italy, all his family records are on file with the 'Ufficio di stato civile' at the Comune where he comes from.
And at the end you can claim the Visa for "Visto per familiare al seguito" or " Visto per coesione familiare"



Q: I'm a NON - EU citizen currently in Italy for 2 months as a tourist and I want to stay longer for up to one year to study. What can I do?
                                                     A: Assuming that you are here on a tourist visa and if your plan is to stay longer, you would need a different type of visa. To obtain another type of visa you would need to 
return to your home country and apply for  it at the Italian consulate which have jurisdiction for the area in which you have residence in.
By law you are only allowed to stay in the EU for a total of 90 days after your entrance and then are supposed to leave for 90 days before you can come back again. If your passport is stamped in any of the "Schengen agreement" Countries and you overstay your time, you can risk being deported from any of these countries ! 
As of May 30th 2005 the Italian Authorities in U.S. requires you to be enrolled in a college back home . "In order to better serve the student 
population and in an effort to efficiently process student visa applications, we have adapted new regulations for the presentation of 
student visa applications. We are now accepting applications and all required documents ONLY from a designated STUDY ABROAD ADVISOR representing those programs recognized by AACUPI (Association of American College and University Programs in Italy). The jurisdiction requirements remain the same i.e. the student must either live or be a matriculated student within this Consulate's geographic jurisdiction (see above). If the student is temporarily enrolled in a University for the duration of the study abroad program, the applicant is not considered part of this consulate's jurisdiction. He/she must follow the procedures set forth by the consulate which has jurisdiction in their area of residence/study."
You can check on Google "AUCPI" and there is a website explaining which colleges are part of this program. With this information you should ask if 
your University can apply thought the Advisor for the appropriate paperwork for you, perhaps your school here can do the same.In case you may be registering directly in a university in Rome, you simply need a letter of acceptance from that university.

Q: What is the 'Residenza' ?
                                                                                                      A: The 'Residenza' is the registration at the local cty Council. This procedure became complicated and in Rome it may take some months. Once approved you will be released a 'Certificato di residenza' needed for signin at the national health plan and other local admnistrative procedures.

Q: Is my driving licence recognized ?
                                                                                     A: The driving licence of the EU Countries are recognized. Some Countries have a bilateral agreement and licenses of other Countries must be converted into an Italian, sometime by attending a written and driving test.

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