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...

A guide for EU and non EU citizens on the paperwork required for visiting or moving to 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.

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.

  • 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
  • Citizens of certain countries require a visa

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.

All non-residents from non-Schengen countries (including Canada and the United States) are required to report their presence to the airport’s border authorities on the day of arrival. A Schengen stamp, the equivalent of a Declaration of Presence (Dichiarazione di Presenza), should be issued on travel documents. It is important to keep a copy of the stamped receipt issued by the Italian authorities.

Tourists arriving from a Schengen country can request the a Declaration of Presence form (Dichiarazione di Presenza) from a local police station (commissariato di zona or questura) and submit it to the police within eight business days of arrival. For tourists staying in hotels, the Declaration of Presence will be supplied and submitted to the authorities by the reception staff on check-in. Request a copy which can be shown to a police officer if requested. Failure to submit a Declaration of Presence within eight days is punishable by expulsion from Italy.


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
    : 800 200 309 (for general information)
    Open: Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 20:00 (some information available in English)

The Polizia di Stato website has detailed information about all cases of immigration.