Italy – Self-employed worker

Are you a non-EU citizen wishing to work as a self-employed person in Italy? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights you can enjoy during your stay.

To carry out independent activities in Italy, you must obtain:

  • an authorisation for self –employed work and a visa before you enter Italy;
  • a residence permit within eight days of entering Italy.

Italy operates a quota-system, fixed annually.

Non-occasional self-employed activities are permitted provided they are not reserved in law for Italian or EU citizens.

Where and how to apply

Authorisation to perform independent activities

You must first be authorised by the competent administrative authority to perform the self-employed activity. Which authority you apply to will depend on the nature of your activity – for example the Chamber of Commerce issues authorisations to companies, while a special authorisation from the local departments of health is needed to open a restaurant or bar.

The One-Stop-Shop for Immigration and the Provincial Directorate of Labour verify that you come within the quota and that you have all the necessary requirements to carry out your self-employed activity.


Once your activity has been authorised, the embassy or consulate in your country of origin or residenceSearch for available translations of the preceding link will issue you with a visa which you have six months to collect and use to enter Italy. This period of time is calculated starting from the date on which the authorisation to work is released. The authorisation to work is necessary to obtain the entry visa.

Residence permit

Within eight days of arriving in Italy, you must apply for a residence permit at the Local Immigration Police Headquarters (Questura) of the competent province where you will work. The application will be processed through the Post Office (Portale Immigrazione – in Italian).

As a general rule, visas to enter the Italian territory (excluding Uniform Schengen Visas) cost €116. As for residence permits, their 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 the sending of the postal kit; €16 for the tax stamp; and €30.46 for issuance costs.

Documents required

To be authorised to work, you must show that:

  • you have adequate resources where you intend to engage in industrial, professional, craft or commercial activities in Italy, or if you wish to establish share companies or individual companies or hold corporate positions in Italy;
  • you meet the legal requirements for the performance of the activity in question, including, when required, the prerequisites for entering into professional registers;
  • you possess certification from the relevant authorities, dated no more than three months earlier, declaring that there are no reasons to prevent the issuance of the necessary authorisations or licenses;
  • you are registered with the Chamber of Commerce.

To obtain a residence permit, you must submit:

  • your application, duly completed and signed;
  • a copy of your full passport or of another travel document.

Duration of validity of permits

Authorisations for performing independent activities are granted for a maximum of two years.

Residence permits are issued for the period of time and the purpose indicated in the visa.

Conditions for renewal

Renewal is granted provided the applicant meets the requirements necessary for their entry in the territory. Requests for renewal must be presented at least 60 days before expiration of the residence permit.


Decisions related to visas and residence permits can be challenged before the Regional Administrative Tribunal within 60 days of notification

Further information

More on self-employed non-EU citizens 1

More on self-employed non-EU citizens 2

Change of business activities

The holder of a residence permit for self-employed work may change of business activities in the course of validity of the residence permit.

Change of status

You can change from being self-employed to an employee during the period of validity of your permit, subject to recording in the Registry of births, marriages and deaths or, if the work relationship is on-going, subject to notification by the employer to the Provincial Directorate of Labour and to the Local Immigration Police Headquarters.

Your change of status will be registered when your original residence permit expires.

Family members

Family reunification is allowed provided the person residing in the Italian territory holds a residence permit of at least one year and meets the legal requirements as to incomes and accommodation.

Long-term residence

An EC long-term residence status is granted after five years of continuous and legal residence.

You must prove sufficient financial resources, 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;
  • a criminal record;
  • a certified identification certificate and a certificate of adequate accommodation where a permit is simultaneously granted to minor children.
  • the following levels of income:
    • 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 the double of the annual social security.

More on long-term residence (in Italian).

No information available