Immigration to Italy

Introducing Italy which is considered to be the gateway to European countries while having several large international airports, Italian rail service and ferry terminals. At the beginning of 2017, there were 5,047,028 foreign nationals, who resided in the country. It is considered to be merely 8.2% of the country's population with a slight increase during the previous year. Italy’s residents included also children born in Italy to foreign nationals - 14.9% of total births in the country. However, an immigration background has around 6,200,000 people residing in Italy. This includes about 60% of immigrants living in its Northern part, around 26% in the Central part and about 16% in the Southern regions.

The official currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR). Italy is a core member state of the European Union and the Schengen area, which provides many benefits for its residents. Currently, Italy has several running business immigration programs as Italian immigration law allows foreign nationals to enter the country and carry out self-employment activities by acquiring a residence permit in Italy or to join one of the investors' visa programs will be required.

Immigration services

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration ( are responsible for immigration services in Italy. Italy is a civil law jurisdiction which, conforming to community rules as well as establishing international rules. As Italian immigration law allows the foreigners to enter the country for carrying out business activities, it is necessary to obtain a residence permit or an entry visa at the Italian Consulate in his country of residence. If one joins the above-mentioned investors' visa program, he or she will need to invest in Italian government bonds, in equity instruments or provide funding in one of the public projects. There is also an Elective residence visa (ERV) available for individuals who wish to live in Italy without working.

Additionally, Italian investors visa programs include such opportunities as obtaining Italia Startup Visa, Italia Startup Hub. These are for the applicants who have access to at least EUR 50 000 for running the company, or at least EUR 100 000 for joining an existing startup. These opportunities are for those businessmen who have a corporate purpose related to technological innovation relating to the specific business sector.

However, if one is a non-EU citizen, in order to stay in Italy for more than 3 months, he or she will need a temporary residence permit. This implies anyone who wishes to enter Italy with the intention to stay for a time period more than 90 days, to work or study in the country, must have a long term visa or entry permit issued by the mentioned Italian authorities.

Immigration service providers

No matter the fact that the Italian law sets certain legal conditions for investors visa and residence permit requirements, he or she shall not be granted a stay document, as long as he or she hasn’t been previously evaluated and approved by the Italian Consulate in his country of residence. Thus, any person seeking entry to Italy must start out by drafting as well as submitting an application to the Italian Consulate, responsible for the country of residence. If one will submit an application to a wrong Consulate authority, he or she will receive a refusal to issue an approval. Moreover, such services are usually best provided by law offices and immigration agencies.

Here are three email address of companies which offer immigration services in Italy:

  • E-mail:
  • E-mail:
  • E-mail:

Lawful immigration

In order to visit Italy legally, immigrants need to follow all the requirements provided within Italian law. The main legal document, which regulates the immigration of non-EU citizens in Italy, is the directive 2003/109/CE of the European Council, 25 November 2003 regarding the status of non-EU citizens legally residing in the EU country.

Italian Consulate is currently responsible for hearing and receiving visa applications and issuing approvals. For this reason, in order to successfully apply for visa one must submit to the Consulate, responsible for his or her country of residence.

Immigration law

Italy is among the few European countries to proclaim a right to asylum in their Constitution. Law 189 of 2002 regulates the immigration for immigrants from non-EU states in Italy. The extended title of the legal document is the Law No. 189 of July 30, 2002, Amending Provisions Related to Immigration and Asylum. This document is included in the Constitution of the Italian Republic.

Immigration statistics

According to immigration statistics of June 2018, the majority of immigrants that move to Italy come from Romania (23%), from Albania (9%), there are also Moroccan immigrants (8%), Chinese (5.5%), Ukrainian (4.5%). However, according to statistical data of December 2018, many immigrants arrived in the country came from Eritrea and Tunisia.

According to immigration statistics of the Migration study foundation ISMU, there are 690,000 migrants who have arrived by boat since 2013, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa.

Below there is a piece of information displayed regarding the biggest ethnic groups of immigrants in Italy as per year 2018:

# Group % of total number of immigrants
1 Romania 23%
2 Albania 9%
3 Morocco 8%
4 Chinese 5.5%
5 Ukraine 4.5%

Most popular cities by population

The most popular city for immigrants is considered to be Rome. This is due to it being one of the largest cities in Italy. Rome is a prestigious place to be in, it is also culturally significant in terms of entertainment. Some of the visitors also call it a fashionable, trendy and modern city thanks to the influence of another Italian pearl such as Milan.

Tourists also often visit Milan. There are some places that must be seen while visiting and exploring this city, for example, the Duomo of Milan is the city's most popular tourist destination since 2009.

Migration in and out of Schengen area

Italy is also a member state of the Schengen area. Countries of the Schengen Agreement have no immigration or passport control at their common borders for traveling between their member states. Such countries also recognize Schengen visas issued by Schengen member-states. Therefore, for those who will need to travel through the Schengen area, normal immigration control procedures apply. Even more, admission to any Schengen country is referred to be an admission to the whole Schengen area. Therefore, no further immigration checks needed.

Third-country nationals holding a residence permit are able to stay in in the country in excess of 90 days. The immigration policies are rather strict, however, it is still possible to obtain a residence document, including a list of documents for requesting a residence permit or card can be found on the Civil Liberties and Immigration web site.

Types of visas in Italy

If staying in Italy for a short time period under 90 days, a third-country national must apply for one of several types of visas. This is needed for making one’s visit legal. According to Italy’s Immigration policy legislation, there are several different types of visas, which could be acquired depending on each case:

Short-stay Uniform Schengen visa (Visa C) Stay of more than 90 days in Greece Travel health insurance, documents on sufficient funds and proof of accommodation required.
Short-stay national visa (Visa D) Stay up to 90 days in Italian overseas territories. Travel health insurance, documents on sufficient funds and proof of accommodation required.
Limited Territorial Validity Visa Travel health insurance, documents on sufficient funds and proof of accommodation required.

Residence permit

Residence permit in Italy may be quite challenging to acquire, however, with carefully drafted documents as well as the correct framework it is still possible. We kindly recommend applying for preliminary evaluation procedure at the law office or immigration center. Therefore, depending on circumstances, one can apply and obtain one of the following residence permit types:

Stay Document (Declaration of a presence or Dichiarazione di presenza) – the following document in its essence is a residence permit for immigrants who legitimately reside in Italy and work on a temporary basis. In order to obtain such a document, an applicant has to comply with the following criteria:

  • validate their visa which, serving as a residence permit, or
  • apply for a residence permit during the initial 90 days of stay in Italy

Italian immigration system offers several types of Stay Document to the applicants:

  • Permesso di soggiorno - required by non-EU nationals. Valid for a limited period of time for the first five years of residence in Italy.
  • Carta di soggiorno – required by non-EU nationals after residing in Italy for more than five years which will be valid for an indefinite period of time.

Carta di soggiorno Cittadini U.E. – residence permit meant for family members of Italian citizens: parents of an Italian-born child, legal spouses, expats retiring in Italy and their dependents that are staying in Italy for more than three months.

  • Permesso di Soggiorno per Soggiornanti di Lungo Periodo – permanent residence card
  • Carta di soggiorno – for more than a five-year stay in Italy.

Depending on one’s case details, he or she might be able to apply for one of the following categories of immigration documents:

Authorization of stay A document of 1, 3 or 6-month validity term. Usually issued in exceptional situations, when the local presence of the applicant is required. For example, a volunteer on a mission, or to the parent of a sick child in Italy.
Certificate of Residence for Algerians a document, which can be acquired exclusively by the nationals of Algeria.

It is worth noting that, under the new immigration law intended to attract immigrants with special skills or education, the procedure has recently been simplified for certain categories including:

  • Self-employed businessmen with fixed high gross monthly earnings
  • Scientists with specific job/ research cases
  • Entertainment industry workers
  • Seasonal workers
  • Regulated professions (medical care representatives, lawyers, architects, teachers, etc)

There are several grounds for international investors to acquire Italian residence permit, by performing one of the investments below:

  • 2 000 000 EUR investment in government bonds, that have to be maintained for at least two years;
  • 1 000 000 EUR investment in “equity instruments representing the assets of a company constituted and operating in Italy” (e.g. shares), that have to be maintained for at least two years;
  • 500 000 EUR investment in a local start-up;
  • 1 000 000 EUR investment in a philanthropic initiative.

Immigration documents

To read more about the various immigration, residency and citizenship documents in Italy, please refer to the immigration documents section.


Thanks to the country’s geographical position as well as close proximity to the North Africa coast, the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea has historically been a very busy route for undocumented migrants. Becoming more and more prominent as people flows through other routes to the EU gradually faded, Italy joined the EU Dublin Regulation which required migrants to apply for legal residence as well as the protection or asylum permits in the EU.

In 2009 there was a flow of migrants picked up and built for a maximum capacity of people. Then, in 2011 there were Arab Spring rebellions in Tunisia and Libya causing the increase of migrant flows. However, today, the amount of immigrants in Italy is not that large as it was decades and years ago.

In case there are some questions or you need a free consultation regarding immigration opportunities to Italy, feel free to contact us: