Italy is one of the most beautiful countries to make a digital nomad experience and live as the Italians do.
Excellent food, welcoming people, the root of the history, beautiful weather. What else could you ask for?
Does Italy Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Italy doesn't have a specific Digital Nomad Visa – at least, not yet.
The Italian government plans to launch a new visa for remote workers, and the decree was first introduced in January and voted into law on March 28, 2022, However, there isn’t a specific law as of right now.
The Italian Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Labor, and Ministry of Interior must still sign off to implement the decree.
Workers from EU countries can stay in Italy without a visa, but their companies must be based outside Italy.
On the contrary, workers outside the EU must apply for a visa.
The future digital nomad visa will be an addition to the existing laws created to attract special workers who can contribute to the social welfare system and the Italian economy.
Tax breaks and visa options are available for digital nomads; we will look into them in more detail in the next sections.
Italy Digital Nomad Visa (Self-Employed Visa): Overview
The Italian Self-employed Visa is the closest alternative to a Digital Nomad Visa, but the process is not particularly easy.
In Italy, workers can be considered a "digital nomads" if:
- They are citizens from a country outside the European Union
- They are “highly-qualified professionals
- They are digital workers
If not European, an entry visa must be applied for via the consulate in the country of origin.
Also, all the individuals who want to come and work in Italy must request a stay permit (“permesso di soggiorno“) and have health insurance.
The future Italian Digital Nomad Visa will permit non-EU citizens to work remotely without applying for one of the few “working stays permits” according to the annual quotas set by the “Decreto Flussi” (pursuant to Legislative Decree No. 286 of 1998 – Consolidated Immigration Code).
Individuals will need to have a minimum income for themselves and, eventually, for their families. Another feature is that they have no criminal record.
The Italian Self-employed Visa is actually similar to the upcoming Digital Nomad Visa. The first residence permit for freelancers has a maximum validity of 1 year, renewable.
After 5 years of continuous registered legal residency in Italy, the applicants will be eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit.
Who Can Apply for Italy Digital Nomad Visa (Self-Employed Visa)
Extra UE citizens
The self-employment visa allows foreigners to enter Italy for a short or long-term stay, to carry out a non-subordinate work activity.
To obtain it, the foreigner must possess the professional and moral requirements established by the law, also for Italian citizens, to carry out the same activity.
It is possible to enter Italy within the quota established by the Flow Decree or outside the limits of the quota, even if this second option is very limited in practice. To be able to carry out a non-intermittent self-employment activity, you must obtain a self-employment visa. In addition, you must prove that you have adequate financial means at your disposition and that the law does not reserve the activity that you carry out exclusively for Italian or European Union citizens.
The procedure is diversified according to whether the activity you intend to carry out in Italy entails registration in Rolls or Registries.
What are the categories of self-employed workers usually foreseen by the Flows Decree to enter Italy?
The entry of self-employed non-UE nationals within the quota is allowed only and exclusively in favor of the categories provided for by the current Flow Decree.
The last decree adopted (DPCM 2021) foresees the following five categories for which the visa can be issued if the required documentation is submitted and the necessary requirements are met:
- Entrepreneurs who intend to implement an investment plan of interest to the Italian economy, which envisages the use of their own resources of no less than 500,000 euros, as well as the creation of at least three new vacancies;
- Freelancers who intend to exercise regulated or supervised professions, or unregulated professions represented at the national level by associations registered in official lists kept by the Public Administration;
- Holders of corporate administration and control positions expressly provided for by the Inter-ministerial Decree n. 850 of May 11, 2011;
- Artists of clear fame or of high and well-known professional qualifications, hired by public or private entities, fulfilling the requirements expressly provided for by the Inter-ministerial Decree n. 850 of May 11, 2011;
- Foreign citizens who intend to set up an "innovative start-up" pursuant to law 17 December 2012, n. 221, in the presence of the requirements provided for by the same law and who have a self-employment relationship with the enterprise.
According to the Minister of Interior, digital nomads are defined:
Citizens of a third country, who carry out highly qualified work activities through the use of technological tools that allow them to work remotely on a self-employed basis or for a business, including those not resident in the territory of the Italian State.”
As briefly mentioned before, they must also:
- Be non-EU or non-EEA citizens
- Hold a clean criminal record
- Show proof of suitable accommodation in an Italian region
- Have an annual gross income of at least €8,500 that was earned one year prior to their visa application, or is promised by a contractual compensation for services provided to Italian clients or an Italian company
- Have health insurance to cover their hospitalization or medical expenses in Italy for the first 30 days of their entry
- Demonstrate a certificate of ‘no impediment’ for them to provide their freelance services and highly qualified work activities in Italy
- Show proof of sufficient economic funds to maintain their stay and perform their services
Italy Digital Nomad Visa Options For EU Citizens
At the end of a gradual process of adaptation to the common visa policy laid down in the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement, Italy entered the Schengen system on October 26, 1997.
Therefore, the parallel and gradual abolition of internal border controls followed the strengthening of the common external border. Hence the so-called Schengen Area was achieved with full freedom of movement throughout the countries of all the signatories to the Schengen Agreement, and EU citizens can stay in Italy for a period of up to 90 days without any conditions or formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid travel document (i.e. identity card or passport).
If they decide not to report their presence, they will be deemed to stay in Italy for a period exceeding three months, unless proven otherwise. Hence, EU citizens who intend to stay for less than three months are not subject to the obligation of reporting their presence or to any other formalities.
How to Apply for The Italy Digital Nomad Visa (Self-Employed Visa): Visa Requirements
As we just mentioned, anyone living in a Schengen State and holding a stay permit is exempt from the visa requirement for stays not exceeding 90 days in a 180-day period, if entry into Italy is not for the purpose of employment, self-employment, or study/internship training.
In Italy, the entry of foreign citizens for self-employment reasons is in fact subject to the quota established annually by the Flows Decree and to the categories of self-employment that the “Flows Decree” specifically identifies.
Foreign citizens who intend to carry out a self-employed activity in Italy must wait for the annual Flows Decree's official publication. Afterward, they can submit the request for the issuance of an authorization (so-called "nulla osta") to the Police Headquarters.
The request must be completed online on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, according to the time limits and the modalities prescribed by the annual Flows Decree.
At the time of the nulla osta request, the non-EU worker must possess the license or authorization documentation for the activity s/he intends to carry out or the registration to the chamber of commerce, which must be presented to the Police Headquarters.
The documentation dated no earlier than three months, together with the public security clearance issued by the Police Headquarters, must be submitted to the Italian diplomatic or consular Representation, in the country of origin or permanent residence of the foreign citizen, to obtain the entry visa for self-employment.
Furthermore, in order to apply for the visa, it is necessary to prove to the Italian diplomatic or consular Representation to have:
- Suitable accommodation in Italy, that may be attested by means of an ownership or rental contract or a declaration made by an Italian or foreign citizen legally residing in Italy certifying that s/he has made suitable accommodation available to the applicant;
- An annual income from legitimate sources higher than the minimum required by law for the exemption from healthcare spending (about € 8,400 to date), that cannot be attested by means of a bank guarantee or an insurance policy.
Documents Required to Apply for Italy Digital Nomad Visa
An EC long-term residence status is granted after five years of continuous and legal residence.
You must prove sufficient financial resources, and accommodation and must not constitute a threat to public order and security.
You must present:
- Copies of passport and tax declaration or declaration of income
- Your criminal record
- A certified identification certificate and a certificate of adequate accommodation where a permit is simultaneously granted to minor children
- Your level of income based on the following requirements:
- If you have no family, you must show that your income is equal to or higher than that of the annual social security level.
- If you have a family composed of one or more members, you must show an income equal to or higher than the annual social security level increased by half for each family member.
- If you have two or more children aged less than fourteen, you must show an income equal to or higher than double the annual social security.
The countries that apply the Schengen Acquis in full are Italy, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Hungary.
How Much Does a Self-Employed Visa in Italy Cost?
As a rule, visas to enter the Italian territory for foreign people cost €116.
For residence permits, the cost is €40 for stays between 3 and 12 months; €50 for stays between 12 and 24 months; and €100 for long-term residence permits, highly qualified workers, and intra-corporate transferees.
In addition, administrative costs amount to €30 for sending the postal kit, €16 for the tax stamp, and €30.46 for issuance costs.
Timeline to Apply For Self-Employed Visa
Once the admissibility of the application and the existence of the general requirements foreseen by the Consolidated Act on Immigration have been assessed, the entry visa for work is issued by affixing it to the worker's passport in the form of an adhesive label (so-called sticker) based on standard models.
The visa can be issued or refused within 120 days of submitting the application.
Simultaneously with the issuance of the entry visa, the Italian diplomatic or consular Representation of the country of origin or of permanent residence of the foreigner, delivers to the holder of the visa a written communication in a language that s/he understands or, if impossible, in English, French, Spanish or Arabic, according to the preferences expressed by the interested applicant, that illustrates the rights and duties of the foreigner relating to entry and stay in Italy as well as the obligation to present himself or herself to the competent authorities after his/her entry into Italy, within the time limits established by law.
What If I’m Not Eligible For a Self-Employed Visa in Italy?
The visa issued by Italian Representations abroad allows access – for transit or for a short stay (up to 90 days) – both in Italy and in the other countries that apply the Schengen Convention and is known as the “Uniform Schengen Visa” (USV). Similarly, the USV issued by the diplomatic-consular Representations of the other countries that apply the Convention also allows access to the Italian territory.
An entry visa for an extended stay (more than 90 days) is known as a “National Visa” (NV) and allows access for an extended stay in the territory of the State that issued it. If it is valid, it allows free circulation for a period not exceeding 90 days per semester in the territory of the other Member States.
More info here: https://vistoperitalia.esteri.it/home/en
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Tax Benefits of Working as a Digital Nomad in Italy
Italy has two regimes that can apply to digital nomads:
- The Regime Forfettario – a 5% flat tax for the first five years on a percentage (typically 78%) of gross billings, for the self-employed earning (gross) up to Euro 65,000 per year;
- The Impatriates Regime – a 70%/90% exemption in calculating earned income subject to tax. This relief is available to both the employed and the self-employed.
The contributions also include a public healthcare service. It must be said that it often happens to be obliged to pay for private healthcare, for this reason, it could be recommended to pay for private healthcare insurance too.
U.S. social security arrangements may cover U.S. and dual U.S./Italian citizens working in Italy. Because of the treaty between Italy and the US.
According to the annual turnover, different tax regimes may be selected, from which different ways of keeping the accounts may derive. Among them, the Tax Regime for Minimum Tax Payers strongly simplifies the management of accounts for those who earn less than 30 thousand Euros per year. Additional information is provided on the website of the Italian Tax Revenue Agency.
Acquiring the Italian VAT number
If the activity code falls within the Company Businesses, it is necessary to address the Chamber of Commerce. If it represents self-employed work, it is necessary to address the Tax Revenue Agency.
The acquisition and closing of a VAT code are free of charge.
Are You Ready To Apply For The Italian Visa For Digital Nomads?
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