Italian Digital Nomads Visa: Requirements and Application Process

Italian Digital Nomads Visa Requirements and Application Process

Finally! After several years of discussion, Italy has released a digital nomad visa scheme to attract remote workers who want to live in Italy.

There has been a lot of buzz in various expat circles about this new visa since it allows you to live in Italy as well as travel within Europe for one year.

In this article, we are going to show you everything you need to know about the Italian digital nomad visa, including requirements, the application process, and how to get it.

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Key Takeaways

  • Italy recently released a new visa for digital nomads in April 2024.
  • To get the visa, you need to have an online job for more than 6 months with a minimum yearly income of €28,000.
  • The visa is valid for 1 year and is renewable.
  • You can apply for it at the Italian embassy in your country of residence and then get a residence permit once you are in Italy.
  • With an Italian digital nomads visa, you can freely travel within Europe.
  • Since the visa is very new, the regulations are still unclear.

Background

Italy made an official announcement regarding the new digital nomad visa for third-country citizens in March 2024.

The visa has been available since April 4th, 2024, providing a new option for digital nomads who would like to legally live in Italy. The visa is valid for one year and is renewable.

In addition to digital nomads, the visa is also for remote workers who are on a company payroll and freelancers who are living outside Europe.

The Italian digital nomad visa also allows the visa holder to have Italian clients, which is a great perk that can’t be easily found with digital nomad visas from other countries.

Requirements

Here is the full list of Italian digital nomad visa requirements.

  • You must be over 18.
  • You must be from a country that is not part of the European Union or European Economic Area.
  • You must have a remote job or be a freelancer who works solely online.
  • You must have worked for the last six months.
  • You also need to prove you have the year’s income threshold, which is now €28,000.
  • You also can’t have a criminal record.

Application Process

According to the press and information from the Italian interior ministry, the application has two parts.

  • Part 1: Apply for the visa at an Italian embassy in your country of residence.
  • Part 2: Come to Italy and apply for a residence permit.

Let’s take a look at each part of the application process step-by-step.

Part 1: Apply at the Italian Embassy in Your Country of Residence

The first part must be done at an Italian embassy in your country of residence.

General Rules for All Nationalities

If you are currently living in your home country, you need to apply at the Italian embassy in your home country.

On the other hand, if you are living in another country with a legal residence permit, you can apply from an embassy in that country instead of the country of your citizenship.

milan,italy
The Italian digital nomads visa allows you to freely live and work in Italy.

For example, if you are currently living in Thailand with a valid long-term visa such as a business visa, you need to apply at the Italian embassy in Thailand.

Or if you are living in Mexico and have a residence card, you can simply go to the Italian embassy in Mexico and apply for the digital nomad visa there.

However, if you are in Mexico with only a tourist visa, you usually can’t apply at the Italian embassy in Mexico. Generally, your tourist visa doesn’t count as residency no matter how long you stay in that country with it.

Special Rules for Those with US Residence

If your current residency status is in the United States, you need to pay attention to which embassy is in your state’s jurisdiction.

For example, if the Boston consulate is in your state’s jurisdiction, you must apply at that consulate in Boston. You can’t go to the New York embassy to apply.

Required Paperwork

Here’s a list of documents you need for getting the Italian digital nomad visa. Please note that each embassy may require different documents. Please check with them first.

  • An application form
  • A valid passport
  • A passport-sized photo
  • A confirmed place of residence in Italy
  • Italian private health insurance
  • Proof of work experience of at least six months as a digital nomad or remote worker
  • Proof of annual income
  • A clean criminal record certificate
  • An application fee of €116 Euros

Submit an Application

Once you have all of the documents, it’s time to make an appointment with the embassy. It can be by email or phone, depending on which embassy you go to.

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You need to be at the appointment in person.

After submitting an application, most consulates mail your passport with the visa back. However, some may require you to pick it up in person.

Each consulate has a slightly different protocol for this.

Part Two: Apply for a Residence Permit in Italy

Once the first part of the visa is approved, you can go to Italy and apply for a residence permit, also known as permesso di soggiorno, at a local immigration office in Italy within 8 days after arriving in Italy.

Here’s what you need to bring with you:

  • Passport
  • All paperwork from the first process

It reportedly takes a couple of months to finish processing this residence permit. Once it’s done, they will take your fingerprints.

Processing Time

The first part of the process is reported to take about a month.

Once you get the first visa, usually valid for six months, you must go to Italy to process the residence permit, which is valid for one year. This part usually takes 1-2 months.

Reports say it should take 3 months from your first appointment to final approval of the residence permit. However, there needs to be more information on this aspect because the visa was started only in April.

A lot of it can depend on which embassy you are applying from. It also can depend on where you are moving to in Italy.

Some administrative offices in Italy are more efficient than others. Some offices are also simply busier and have more applications to process.

It also depends on your paperwork.

Generally, like everywhere else, processing time is faster if you complete the paperwork correctly the first time.

Renewal

The residence permit is valid for a maximum of one year. It can be renewed yearly, but only if the conditions and regulations that granted it remain unchanged.

Generally, for Italy, you can apply for permanent residence after 5 years. However, it hasn’t really been established if this digital nomad visa will count towards that time or not.

Advantages of the Italian Digital Nomad Visa

Here are the main advantages of the Italian digital nomad visa.

Allows You to Legally Live in Italy

Italy is one of the most popular countries in Europe for many reasons. It offers an excellent quality of life at a much lower cost than the United States. The healthcare in Italy is excellent and comes at a much lower cost than in North America and Northern Europe.

The bigger cities, such as Rome and Milan, are well set up for digital nomads. There are quite a few co-working spaces, and these cities have a lot of expat and nomad communities.

amalfi coast italy
Italy is getting more popular among digital nomads.

If you opt for a more small-town experience, Italy can offer much in that respect. Many Italian regions in the South have issues with many people leaving to take up more lucrative work in the North and are offering incentives for many people to live in these areas.

This area is much less expensive, and you can find much more affordable lodging there than in the bigger cities in the North.

The US State Department rated Italian as one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker. Much of the vocabulary and grammar are much easier for an English speaker than many other European languages.

With a decent Italian course and some practice, you should be able to use basic Italian within a few months of studying.

Freely Travel Around Europe

If you hold a residence permit in Italy, you can travel around Europe without worrying about counting your days to remain in the 90/180. Romania and Bulgaria just joined Schengen this year, so there are becoming fewer options for nomads to pick different out-of-Schengen countries to sit out the 90/180-day requirement.

Extendable

Unlike several others, the Italian digital nomad visa is extendable. You can extend it for another year after one year. Many digital nomad visas do not currently offer that.

Low Income Requirements

The Italian digital nomad visa income requirement is lower than many other digital nomad visas out there.

The minimum income threshold is €28,000 a year, which is manageable for most remote workers from the US or the UK. It is still lower than the Italian visa requirement for retirement and living in Italy on a passive income without working.

Disadvantages

Let’s take a look at the main disadvantages of the Italian digital nomad visa.

Unclear Process

It’s still a new program, so there are not as many reports yet on the process. The official government channels are rather vague regarding some exact information on this visa.

The Italian embassies might also be oversaturated with applications because many people are interested in this visa.

The information for this type of visa isn’t even available at all the Italian consulates yet.

Unclear Path to Permanent Residency

While the Italian digital nomad visa can be extended, it has not yet been declared if it can be a path toward permanent residency.

Often, with digital nomad visas, the time you spend on this visa doesn’t count when determining permanent residence. Some reports say this residency might be counted towards permanent residence, but there isn’t enough information to confirm this.

Although this type of visa could be a good springboard for seeking another long-term residency option.

It can be an option to live in Italy for a year or two, and in that time frame, you can explore other options to remain there. 

Complicated Tax

Italian taxes can be complicated. The government website still needs to provide more direct information on how taxes are to be handled regarding this visa.

You can pay taxes in your home country or become an Italian tax resident.

The best way to handle this is to speak to someone in Italy who deals with US-Italian taxes. Italy does have a double taxation treaty with the US, so whatever taxes you pay in Italy are often offset by US taxes.

Should You Get It?

On the surface, this is a good choice for digital nomads. It sounds like an excellent opportunity to live in Italy, which is obtainable for an average remote worker and doesn’t require a large salary threshold or significant investment.

The biggest drawback is that because this program is new, there is not much firsthand information on the practicalities of this visa.

Alternative Options

There are other ways to live in Italy longer besides the digital nomad visa. Italy offers other types of visas for retirement, students, general self-employment, and language studies.

Student Visa

Some people opt for the student visa as it is pretty straightforward. 

You can get a student visa for up to a year to sign up for an Italian language class. These visas are generally valid for 6 to 12 months, depending on your chosen language program.

While language visas usually only last up to a year maximum and are not extendable, they can also be a springboard into other residence permits.

For the student visa, you generally need to be enrolled in an Italian language program, have a certain amount of money for subsistence, and have a place to reside in Italy.

It could be an alternative for someone who wants to temporarily live in Italy and decide later if they want to make it long-term. However, one thing that should be noted is that some of these classes have attendance requirements, meaning you must attend a certain number of classes to maintain the visa.

flying over europe with Italian digital nomads visa.
With the Italian digital nomads visa, you can freely travel within Europe.

Learning Italian can also help with business and other Italian-related matters, as many of Italy’s administrative aspects are limited to the Italian language.

English knowledge in Italy is not as widespread as in other European countries, especially if you want to reside somewhere other than Rome or Milan.

Self-Employment Visa

Italy also has another self-employment visa that technically can be used for nomads, but the process is a lot more complicated than the digital nomad or language studies visa.

Generally, you have to get permission from Italian authorities to be self-employed and collect a license for that before being able to apply for the visa from your home country or current country of residence.

Investor Visa

One more potential alternative is that Italy offers an “investor visa” which is similar to some golden visa countries. It doesn’t include property, but there are several investment schemes that start at  €250,000.

Family Reunification Visa

Another alternative option is a bit of a long shot for many, but an option for some is family reunification. If you are married to a European citizen, getting a residence permit in Italy is easy. You don’t have to be married to an Italian citizen, but any citizen of the European Union.

EU citizens are given the right to freedom of movement anywhere in the EU they choose; one of their rights is being able to bring their spouse there.

Digital Nomad Visas from Other EU Countries

Other European countries, such as Hungary, Portugal, Estonia, and Croatia, offer digital nomad visas. A list of digital nomad visas is available right here. 

Heidi originally from New Orleans, has lived in the European Union for nearly 13 years. She works as an analyst, and writer and also has a side business that relocates people to Slovenia and Croatia.

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