Amalfi Coast, Italy

Everything you need to know about Italy’s digital nomad visa

It’s finally here! After two years of waiting and wondering, the requirements for Italy’s digital nomad visa have been released!

Read on for everything you need to know.

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Everything you need to know about Italy’s digital nomad visa

The digital nomad visa was legalized in 2022, but for two years, the process of actually making it operational stalled out. Just recently, an inter-ministerial decree was released, detailing the requirements. This includes rules about eligibility, income thresholds, insurance requirements, and other information.

Let’s get right to it.

Does Italy have a digital nomad visa?

Italy’s digital nomad visa was approved under an article presented on January 27, 2022 and approved on March 29 of the same year. Article “6-quinquies” to be exact. Check out the text here. 

Anyone wondering what the hell a “quinquies” is? I was too. It’s Latin for “five times,” which I’m guessing means that this law has been modified…five times. Yes, thank you, I am a master of deduction.

How can I get a digital nomad visa for Italy?

At the time of writing, the technical answer is: you can’t. That’s because the applications haven’t actually opened on consulate websites yet, but stay tuned!

Where is the application form for Italy’s digital nomad visa?

Once the application is made available, you’ll be able to find application details on the website of the Italian consulate in your jurisdiction.

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

What do we know about Italy’s digital nomad visa?

Thanks to the recent inter-ministerial decree, where I got this information from, quite a few things.

Let’s jump in.

Who can apply for Italy’s digital nomad visa?

In order to apply for the visa, you have to be a working professional who is a non-EU citizen, and you must be employed by a company that is based outside of Italy, or self-employed (the latter is an important distinction, keep reading for why!).

Red Vespa in Padua, Italy

Can freelancers apply for Italy’s digital nomad visa?

This was a big question mark when the initial information about the visa became available. This website said that because Italy already has a self-employment visa, that the digital nomad visa wouldn’t be available to freelancers. This one, from the website of a global mobility company, said yes, freelancers could apply. 

Let’s look at the text of the decree:

 2. Le disposizioni del presente decreto si applicano  ai  cittadini
di Stati non appartenenti all'Unione  europea,  di  seguito  indicati
come  stranieri,  che  svolgono  un'attivita'  lavorativa   altamente
qualificata  attraverso  l'utilizzo  di  strumenti  tecnologici   che
consentono  di  lavorare  da  remoto,  in  via  autonoma  ovvero  per
un'impresa anche non residente nel territorio nazionale.

“2. The provisions of this decree apply to citizens of states not belonging to the European Union, indicated below as foreigners, who carry out a highly qualified professional activity through the use of technology that allows them to work remotely, independently or for a company also not resident in the national territory.”

In my estimation, “in via autonoma” means that you can be self-employed as a digital nomad – this will save you a lot of pain and panic.

Why, you might ask?

Because the other option for people who are self-employed is to get a “visto per lavoro autonomo,” which is highly selective, and only open to the following categories:

  1. Entrepreneurs with at least €500,000 to invest. You must create at least three jobs, and the work has to somehow “support” the Italian economy (this will be evaluated by the consulate of jurisdiction of the visa applicant).
  2. Registered or unregistered freelancers. In Italy, you can register in an “albo” or “ordine professionale,” which is an official list of professionals. You can register as a lawyer, for example, or as a freelance journalist, etc. I’m not exactly sure how this system translates outside of Italy. In the US, for example, I don’t believe we have the same system, but perhaps you can prove it with other documentation (letter of employment, invoices and tax forms, etc.).
  3. Corporate figures of non-cooperative companies. Are you asking “what the hell does that mean?” Me too. This one reads like a shareholder meeting of Waystar Royco: “The presidents, members of the board of directors, managing directors and auditors of joint-stock companies only (joint-stock companies, limited liability companies and limited partnerships), already in business for at least three years.” Basically, if you’re a corporate bigwig, you can get Italy’s self-employment visa.
  4. Internationally renowned artists or those that are highly qualified who are engaged in business with public or private companies.
  5. Foreign citizens who come to Italy to run “innovative start-ups”.

Keep in mind that all of these come with a list of required documents to submit, some of which you may have to be in Italy to get – I just checked the website for the Ordine dei Giornalisti del Lazio for journalists, for example, and you need to present your application in person.

Oddly enough, I was given a “visto di lavoro autonomo” when I moved back to Italy in 2016 to teach at the University of Bologna. I don’t know why, and I didn’t ask questions, honestly. I just went for it.

I know of an American couple who applied and got a self-employment visa, and now live in a hill town outside of Rome working as classical musicians and running their travel and guidebook company, Little Roads Europe. You can read more about their story here.

Ok, back to digital nomading. To recap, the first two articles of the decree state that you must be:

  1. A non-EU citizen
  2. Highly qualified
  3. Employed by a company based outside of Italy OR
  4. Self-employed

Amalfi Coast, Italy

What does “highly qualified” mean?

The definition of proving that you’re “highly qualified” seems to be a bit nebulous. As far as I can tell, it means that you have a university degree and/or the knowledge and skills to…do your job? Presumably if you’re doing the job, you can do the job, but who knows? You may have to produce letters of employment or perhaps copies of your degree.

If a clearer definition of this comes out, I’ll share it.

Do you have to have a certain amount of work experience?

This is kind of an interesting one – the answer is yes. You have to have been working in the field for at least six months. New college grads, this may affect you. You’ll have to work from graduation until Christmas, then you’re free to come to Italia!

How do I prove my employment?

You’re required to present a work contract or a binding job offer. You can also present a “contratto di collaborazione,” which may help for those who are self-employed.

Let’s dig into that a little bit more.

As I said above, when I taught at the University of Bologna, I was given a self-employment visa, and my work contract was the type that is known in Italy as a “co.co.co,” which stands for collborazione coordinata e continuata, or “coordinated and continuing collaboration.” This meant that I was contracted to work at the university for a certain number of hours per year, but that I was able to take on other work, because it was not a full-time, forever contract (in Italy, there’s a type of contract for lavoro a tempo indeterminato, which means that you can basically keep the job for life).

Because these contractual modalities don’t necessarily exist outside of Italy, you may be able to get some sort of statement or letter from clients that you freelance for, stating that you “collaborate” in order to satisfy this requirement. Don’t take my word for it though – I can’t promise that this will work! If anything on this becomes clearer, I’ll update this post.

What is the income threshold?

Article 3 of the decree tells us that applicants will have to earn three times the amount for exemption from paying into the national healthcare system.

I believe that this amount is calculated on an annual basis and is based on one’s earnings from the previous year. For 2024, the exemption amount is €8,263.31, which means you’ll have to earn €24,789.93. At the time of writing, that comes to about $26,919.83.

What are the insurance requirements?

You are required to have an insurance policy that covers you for the duration of your stay.

What are the housing requirements?

You have to demonstrate that you have accommodation. This can presumably be done through a reservation of some sort, at least for the first month or so of your stay. I’d be surprised if you had to have accommodation secured for an entire year – renting without seeing a place is not common practice in Italy, for the simple reason that you might get scammed. Read more here.

Anything else I need to know?

You won’t require a nulla osta

One excellent thing is that Italy’s digital nomad visa does not require a “nulla osta di lavoro”, which is essentially a work permit that is requested by an employer. These are difficult to get, as anyone who has ever wanted to move to Italy to work will tell you.

You are exempt from the “decreto flussi”

This is another great thing about Italy’s digital nomad visa. Normally, there are only a certain number of work visas available for foreigners. Employers or those seeking a self-employment visa have to apply within the numbers allotted in the “decreto flussi”. If you don’t manage to get one of the allotted visas, you’re out of luck until it opens again.

Applicants for Italy’s digital nomad visa are exempt from this number.

You have to prove that your employer isn’t a criminal (yes, really)

Tucked right at the end of Article 3 is an interesting provision: You have to present a document stating that your employer has not been convicted of the following crimes within the last five years:

  1. Aiding and abetting clandestine immigration to Italy and clandestine emigration from Italy to other states or for crimes aimed at the recruitment of people to be used for prostitution or the exploitation of prostitution or of minors to be employed in illicit activities;
  2. Illicit intermediation and exploitation of labor pursuant to article 603 bis of the penal code;
  3. Crime envisaged by paragraph 12.

The “crime envisaged” by paragraph 12 is that of people who employ others without getting them a permesso di soggiorno (i.e. they’re working illegally in Italy and are paid under the table).

This document has to be accompanied by a copy of your employer’s ID. Perhaps they will release an “I am not a criminal” form stating all of these things that your employer can sign, but to my knowledge, this is not available yet.

So, to recap, Article 3 tells us the following:

  1. You have to have six months of work experience in the field you’re applying in.
  2. You have to prove your employment through a contract, a job offer, or a “contratto di collaborazione”.
  3. You have to earn a minimum of €24,789.93.
  4. You have to have an insurance policy that covers you for the length of your stay.
  5. You have to prove that you have accommodation.
  6. You do not need a nulla osta (yay!).
  7. You have to present a document stating that your employer has not been convicted of certain crimes within the last five years.

View from the top of the duomo of St. Peter's Basilica

Ok, I’ve gotten my visa, and I’m in Italy. What next?!

Once you’ve arrived in Italy, you’ll have to get a codice fiscale (social security/ID number), a partita IVA (a VAT number), and a permesso di soggiorno.

Codice fiscale

A codice fiscale is kind of like a social security number.

According to Article 6 of the digital nomad decree, the questura (police station) in your jurisdiction will generate and provide your codice fiscale when you receive your permesso di soggiorno.

Partita IVA

A partita IVA is a VAT number, which allows you to pay taxes. You will have to request one so that you can pay taxes on your income in Italy. Normally, this is done at the Agenzia delle Entrate (tax office).

Permesso di soggiorno

Any visa holder who is in Italy for a certain amount of time is required to get a stay permit, or a permesso di soggiorno.

Here are some general things to know about the PdS:

  1. You have to apply within 8 days of arriving in Italy by completing an application kit available at the post office.
  2. When you drop off your kit and pay, you’ll receive a date and time for an appointment at the questura.
  3. You have to go to your appointment to get fingerprinted and you must bring copies of all of the documents you had to send in with your application. I used to make two copies of everything, just to be safe!
  4. Your permesso di soggiorno will be available a few months after your appointment.

Useful things to know about the permesso di soggiorno process

Wait times, at least in Rome, are extremely long for getting a stay permit. You may only receive your permesso appointment after your visa has expired. Don’t sweat it – this is frustrating, but normal.

Can I only work in Italy a digital nomad for only one year?

The answer to this surprised me – no! As long as you meet the requirements, you can apply to continue your stay by renewing your permesso di soggiorno. How cool!

Note that typically, in Italy, the permesso di soggiorno trumps the visa once you’ve renewed it. This means that you don’t need to get another visa – you just have to apply to renew your permesso. The good thing is that you don’t have to return to your home country and apply for another visa, which is nice, buuuuut things do get a little sticky, at least for traveling outside of Italy while you wait for your permesso to be renewed.

Technically, once your visa has expired and you are in Italy solely on your permesso di soggiorno, you cannot travel in the Schengen area while waiting for your renewal. You can only travel directly to your home country. Given the current wait times, this could mean that you’ll be stuck in Italy for months and not able to travel elsewhere in Europe.

This is a massive bummer, I know. Basically, if you’re planning on staying for a year or more, you should do all your European traveling in the first year and be prepared to explore Italy extensively in year two (and three, and four, and five…).

Can I bring my family with me as a digital nomad in Italy?

The answer to this also surprised me – you can! This may require a higher income threshold.

Do I have to pay taxes as a digital nomad in Italy?

Yes. I don’t believe there’s any clear answer as to what the tax rate will be, but I’m pretty sure it will depend on your income. You should consult a tax professional to find out.

Wait, isn’t there a short-term digital nomad visa for Italy?

You might be referring to an article from Travel + Leisure, in which they announced that a small town in Sardegna was offering a digital nomad visa, and a rent-free one, to boot! 

Sorry to be a killjoy, but no, this is an informal program meant to revitalize a small town. It’s an adorable idea, honestly, but it isn’t an actual visa, and you can only stay for a month.

You can read more – and apply – here. 

In fact, the decree on the digital nomad visa specifies that even people staying for less than 90 days must apply for the visa. No more sneakily-working-remotely-from-Italy, I guess.

If you have thoughts or questions, leave them in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Guides for moving to Italy

It’s never too soon to start prepping for a move. If you plan on being first in line to apply for Italy’s digital nomad visa, here are some posts to help you plan:

How to get a SIM card in Italy

The ultimate guide to renting an apartment in Italy

Top Italy travel tips

A thorough guide to train travel in Italy

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