Visiting/Living in Italy

Americans staying in Italy over three months are encouraged to sign up with the Consulates. See the “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program” webpage for information.

Americans in Italy are considered either a “non-resident” or a “resident.”
Each of these classifications carries a different set of privileges and responsibilities:


Americans staying or traveling within Italy for  less than three (3) months are considered non-residents. This includes persons on vacation, those taking professional trips, students registered at an authorized school, or persons performing research or independent study.

As of May 28, 2007, under Italian law ( ), all non-residents are required to complete a dichiarazione di presenza (declaration of presence). Tourists arriving from a non-Schengen-country (e.g. the United States) should obtain a stamp in their passport at the airport on the day of arrival. This stamp is considered the equivalent of the declaration of presence. Tourists arriving from a Schengen-country (e.g. France) must request the declaration of presence form from a local police office (commissariato di zona), police headquarters (questura) or their place of stay (e.g hotel, hostel, campgrounds) and submit the form to the police or to their place of stay within eight business days of arrival. It is important that applicants keep a copy of the receipt issued by the Italian authorities. Failure to complete a declaration of presence is punishable by expulsion from Italy. Additional information may be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  and the Polizia di Stato

Tourists may bring motor vehicles bearing non-Italian license plates for no longer than six (6) months without paying customs duties. At the expiration of this period the motor vehicle must be re-exported or registered and Italian license plates obtained. If it is not registered, the violator can be charged with smuggling and is subject to penalties.


Americans staying in Italy for more than three (3) months are considered residents. This includes Americans who will work or transact business and persons who want to simply live in Italy.

Americans must have an entrance visa which should be obtained at an Italian consulate before coming to Italy, in order to remain in Italy more than three months and gain resident status. This procedure will take several weeks to complete so it is advisable to apply well in advance of the departure date. The visa will be granted only for the time indicated on the application. Americans already in Italy without a visa will have to leave Italy to obtain one before they will be able to gain resident status.

Upon arrival in Italy, the American must obtain a permesso di soggiorno (permit of stay). As of December 11, 2006, an application “kit” for the permesso di soggiorno may be requested from one of 14,000 national post offices (Poste Italiane). The kit must then be returned to one of 5,332 designated Post Office acceptance locations. It is important that applicants keep a copy of the receipt issued by the Post Office. Additional information may be obtained from an Italian immigration website via Internet at: Within 20 days of receiving the permit to stay in Italy, Americans must go to the local Vital Statistics Bureau, Anagrafe of the Comune, to apply for residency. It generally takes one to two months to receive the certificate of residence (Certificato di Residenza).

In addition, as of March 10, 2012, under Italian law (Presidential Decree no. 179 of September 14, 2011) all American citizens who request an Italian permit of stay for more than 12 months are required to sign an “integration agreement” (accordo di integrazione) at the local prefecture (sportello unico per l’immigrazione) or at the provincial police headquarters (questura). By signing this agreement, Americans are compelled to achieve specific integration goals (e.g. acquire an adequate knowledge of the Italian language, of the Italian civil structure and culture) and accumulate a total of thirty credits. Simply signing the agreement will secure the first sixteen points.  The remaining fourteen points must be earned over the next two years by taking classes or passing a test in the Italian language, on the civil structure and culture, and by successfully completing a variety of other requirements. Failure to complete the integration agreement with the required credits is punishable by expulsion from Italy. Additional information may be obtained from the Italian Ministry of Interior’s website at

If the American wishes to relinquish Italian residency, he/she must apply at the Anagrafe for cancellation of residence and get a written statement that will allow them to take household goods out of Italy without difficulty and without the assessment of taxes after departure.

A motor vehicle may be imported duty-free within six months of receiving the certificate of residence from the Anagrafe and if owned for a period more than one year. Imported vehicles must be registered and Italian license plates obtained. For more detailed information, contact the vehicle registration office, Pubblico Registro Automobilistico (PRA).

Household goods may be imported duty free within six months of receiving the certificate of residence from the Anagrafe. An experienced and reliable shipping agent can simplify customs-free importation of household effects.

While in Italy, lost/stolen items should be reported to the local police and to the U.S. Consulate.
If the following documents are lost, replacements should be obtained from the offices indicated:

  • Permission to Stay (Permesso di Soggiorno) -from- Police Department (Questura)
  • Residence Permit (Certificato di Residenza) -from- Vital Statistics (Anagrafe)
  • Motor vehicle documents registered in Italy -from- Ispettorato della Motorizzazione Civile and Italian Automobile Club (ACI)
  • Passport or other identification issued by the U.S. Government -from- U.S. Consulate General

Work Permits

American citizens who have a job offer in Italy, or wish to work in Italy, either temporarily or permanently, must be provided with a work permit obtained by the prospective employer, and must obtain a work visa from the Italian Consular authorities BEFORE coming to Italy. A written job offer or an employment contract is not regarded as a valid document for working in Italy: the prospective employer is required to apply for preliminary clearance from the provincial employment office (Ufficio Provinciale del Lavoro e della Massima Occupazione) in the proposed city of employment by submitting evidence that persons qualified for the position offered to a non-resident foreigner are not available in the local labor market. If clearance is granted, the prospective employer is further required to obtain a work permit with the approval of the regional and central authorities. The permit is then sent to the worker so that he or she may apply for the entry visa. There are Italian consular offices in most major cities in the U.S. The procedure for professional and self-employment is basically the same as that described above. A permit to reside in Italy for the purpose of employment is obtained after arrival in the country from the central police office (Questura) having jurisdiction. To apply for permit, you must submit a valid Italian visa and work permit.